Great rides and the importance of proper braking on the trail
June 05, 2019
On Monday, I had to take my wonderful nephew Matthew to the airport at 4 am. It's always great catching up with him but that is pretty early. Don't they say "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."? So, I loaded my riding gear and headed out to the Buffalo Creek Trail system about 45 minutes outside Denver Colorado. 50 degrees to start and sunny! I tested Santic Cycling riding gloves, Zeray 108s pedals, a Superlogic Carbon Fiber Saddle and a pair of SIDEBIKE Vaper MTB shoes. I provide more on each of them later.
Trail conditions were dry and sandy with lots of corners. It takes a bit to get used to that after riding the firm trails of winter and it really shows the importance of proper brake alignment and usage.
While it's true that you don't want to grab that front brake lever by itself, it is equally important that you don't rely heavily on that rear brake either. Ideally, you want a balanced use of your brakes with slightly more of your stopping power coming from the front brake. Heavy back brake use causes the loss of traction and control of your bike (as well as anger from trail management folks). Your front brake puts more stopping power into the ground keeping control.
Adjusting to the terrain: While on straighter sections of trail, brake more aggressively to the front brake. This should continue until you are entering a turn. At this point, you should have reduced your speed to be close to where you want to be in your cornering speed. Now, lighten that front brake and rely more on your rear brake. While front braking is great for stopping, it isn't great for turning. You want that front wheel rolling through the corner vs. sliding.
Wherever you ride...road or mtb...have fun out there!
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