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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:56 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Just been watching a youtube video on some of the basic skills (more through curiosity than necessity) and I have heard a few people mention it on here too.

The way to brake is always use the front brake more than the rear.

Now it stems from when I was taught to ride but I was taught that you should apply the rear first and use the front to aid it. This was because front wheel washouts are nasty and usually unrecoverable or if applied too hard you could go over the bars. Where as locking and sliding the rear is easier to recover from (repack shots on klunkers show this perfectly). It serves me pretty well, but am I doing it wrong? It's going to be hard to unlearn 30 years of riding if I am or is it just down to personal preference?

Carl.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:07 pm
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Location: brighton
The first I heard of this was on Sheldon's site and there's a good explanation there.

I've since switched to mostly front brake and I recommend it. I also had a badly split chin a couple of years ago (when I still mostly used the rear brake), the relevance of which will become clear if you read Sheldon's article. I would hope to have developed the skill to avoid that now, if I ever had an emergency braking situation again.


Last edited by jaypee on Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:09 pm 
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Location: Antwerp, Belgium
I still use the same technique I learnt racing motorcycles. I don't really ride off-road enough to develop proper MTB techniques and reflexes.

On grippy surfaces, all braking is done with the front brake, with the rear lightly used to stabilize the bike when you near the point where the rear end starts to move about on its own.

On wet/loose surfaces I apply the rear first, then as soon as I feel the weight transfer (more weight = more friction = more grip) I'll start using mainly the front. However in those conditions I'll keep the rear locked up tight until I can let go of the brakes or have plenty of front end grip again.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:16 pm 
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Front for slowing down, rear for the balance.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:25 pm 
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Location: The Home Of Mountain Biking, And All Great Things.
On motorbikes the rear is normally applying 'drag' to steer the bike. Balancing up the rear a little prevents the front washing out.

On a bicycle you often want to stoke the rear to prevent a washout.

If you were to only have one brake the front would be it, but given two use them both every time.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:42 am
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drcarlos wrote:
Now it stems from when I was taught to ride but I was taught that you should apply the rear first and use the front to aid it.
Sounds like the sort of rubbish they start off teaching kids and commuters on BSOs.

It's how i was taught in cycling proficiency at school. (By a teacher who couldn't actually ride a bike......)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:34 am 
King of the Skip Monkeys
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When its a good grippy surface, I load up the front brake to combine the resulting fork twang to power out or up, best with disc/ hub brakes. Rarely use the rear unless going down very steep stuff


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:43 am 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Location: Yateley, Hants.
Front brake first all well and good for pavements (I can see the logic but I have never had a problem using the rear but loading the front as supplementary power) and surfaces where grip is good but for MTB'ing it would seem Sheldon would agree with me:

Quote:
When to Use The Rear Brake:
Skilled cyclists use the front brake alone probably 95% of the time, but there are instances when the rear brake is preferred:
Slippery surfaces. On good, dry pavement, unless leaning in a turn, it is impossible to skid the front wheel by braking. On slippery surfaces, however, it is possible. A front wheel skid almost always leads to a fall, so if there is a high risk of skidding, you're better off controlling your speed with the rear brake.
Bumpy surfaces. On rough surfaces, your wheels may actually bounce up into the air. If there is a chance of this, don't use the front brake. If you ride into a bump while applying the front brake, the bicycle will have a harder time mounting the bump. If you apply the front brake while the wheel is airborne, it will stop, and coming down on a stopped front wheel is a Very Bad Thing.


Slippery and bumpy surfaces would cover about 95% of the terrain we see off road so it would seem strange that this MTB video would teach front brake first all the time.

Carl.


Last edited by drcarlos on Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:27 pm
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I rode a mountain bike off and on-road for a year with only a front brake while I trying to find someone local to do a frame repair. It's certainly possible - especially if you sit right back off the saddle (even more than usual). I probably rode down about 90% of the stuff I'd do normally and perhaps even a little faster too. There were plenty of terrifying moments as a consequence though.

Front wheel braking is remarkably good at slowing you down as it's difficult to skid it. Too much, of course, and you go over. It's can be quite hard to judge this moment and I guess that's why the advice has been to use plenty of back brake. Also if that skids, well it's not the end of the world.

After a year with only one brake, it's nice to have two.

My front pads always wear out faster than the rear now though.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:14 am 
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drcarlos wrote:
it would seem Sheldon would agree with me: *snip*
Slippery and bumpy surfaces would cover about 95% of the terrain we see off road so it would seem strange that this MTB video would teach front brake first all the time.

Carl.
TBH, two things spring to mind. 1) Sheldon was never much of a mountain biker. 2) Brakes and suspension have come on a lot in the last few years, its perfectly sensible to use the front brake on a bumpy surface if you know what you are doing.

As with all these things, its not cut and dried, it's more a matter of what is sensible as a minimum standard to fall back on.


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