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  1. #1
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    Front brake question.

    I live where the trails are dry and dusty at times. When I descend down fairly steep hills sometimes my rear tire washes out a bit. I haven't crashed or fallen yet. I'm good with brake modulation and use both front and back equally. I decided to try using a little more front brake and it helped but, someone told me that was a bad idea because I will endo.
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  2. #2
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    All the good bikers whom I know rely upon and use the front brake. One some steep trails I would not be able to ride safely without it and would slide right on over the edge.

  3. #3
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    Just dont use the front when dropping over a ledge or root. Ask me how I know HAHAHA

  4. #4
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    You can add to braking with the right tire at the right pressure. Check what other riders are using. What tire and pressure do you run? It should be somewhat dependent on getting rim hits. Go lower until that happens. Rim width also contributes. How wide is the interior of your rim? 30mm inside dim can add to your footprint at a lower pressure for more solid braking.

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzle View Post
    I live where the trails are dry and dusty at times. When I descend down fairly steep hills sometimes my rear tire washes out a bit. I haven't crashed or fallen yet. I'm good with brake modulation and use both front and back equally. I decided to try using a little more front brake and it helped but, someone told me that was a bad idea because I will endo.
    Go with your gut. I think you're on the right track.

    Maybe that person would endo...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Some that ride stiff and stay on, above, or forward of their seat will endo. The rest of us know how to throw our weight back and low to slam the front for a fast stop on a steep section. Practice your downhill braking technique, get comfortable with it, and don't worry about things others say.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You can add to braking with the right tire at the right pressure. Check what other riders are using. What tire and pressure do you run? It should be somewhat dependent on getting rim hits. Go lower until that happens. Rim width also contributes. How wide is the interior of your rim? 30mm inside dim can add to your footprint at a lower pressure for more solid braking.
    Tire pressure is already on the low side. Lower then 40 psi for sure. Not sure about the rim with. I will look into that. Thanks!
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigflamingtaco View Post
    Some that ride stiff and stay on, above, or forward of their seat will endo. The rest of us know how to throw our weight back and low to slam the front for a fast stop on a steep section. Practice your downhill braking technique, get comfortable with it, and don't worry about things others say.
    I'm good at throwing my weight back. Your right. I just need to figure out what works for me. Thanks!
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by banditpowdercoat View Post
    Just dont use the front when dropping over a ledge or root. Ask me how I know HAHAHA
    Beer in your hydration pack?
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzle View Post
    Tire pressure is already on the low side. Lower then 40 psi for sure. Not sure about the rim with. I will look into that. Thanks!
    40 psi is a figure for a very heavy rider possibly close to 300 lbs. Use the method of reducing one psi at a time until you get some rim hits in the bumpiest section of your ride, or until the tire get squirrely in curves. Start with 28 and see how that goes. Because I'm on wide rims my rear is 21 psi or so and the front is 16.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzle View Post
    I live where the trails are dry and dusty at times. When I descend down fairly steep hills sometimes my rear tire washes out a bit. I haven't crashed or fallen yet. I'm good with brake modulation and use both front and back equally. I decided to try using a little more front brake and it helped but, someone told me that was a bad idea because I will endo.
    I agree with the others that there is some reason we have 2 brakes. Just be careful with the front when it's slick out.

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    40 psi is a figure for a very heavy rider possibly close to 300 lbs. Use the method of reducing one psi at a time until you get some rim hits in the bumpiest section of your ride, or until the tire get squirrely in curves. Start with 28 and see how that goes. Because I'm on wide rims my rear is 21 psi or so and the front is 16.
    Is that with tubeless? I know I couldn't go that low running tubes. We have a lot of sharp rocks, so I can't get away with much under 25 without ye ole snake bite.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzle View Post
    I'm good at throwing my weight back. Your right. I just need to figure out what works for me. Thanks!
    for sure move your COM back so that even as the hill steepens and you are on the brakes its is behind your front wheel. Also with a tubeless tire set up you can run much less than 40psi.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    40 psi is a figure for a very heavy rider possibly close to 300 lbs. Use the method of reducing one psi at a time until you get some rim hits in the bumpiest section of your ride, or until the tire get squirrely in curves. Start with 28 and see how that goes. Because I'm on wide rims my rear is 21 psi or so and the front is 16.

    Now I know for sure I have to much tire pressure!

    Not sure what you mean about squirrely in the curves.
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    I agree with the others that there is some reason we have 2 brakes. Just be careful with the front when it's slick out.



    Is that with tubeless? I know I couldn't go that low running tubes. We have a lot of sharp rocks, so I can't get away with much under 25 without ye ole snake bite.
    Yes, I have tubleless. I agree it's nice not to worry.
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  15. #15
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    You guys sure run low psi! I do go tubeless but my tires are not tubeless. Seems like I will just figure this out. Everyone and every situation is different because we all live in different terrain.

    I was just wondering if I was doing anything wrong and maybe I am. Sometimes I find it hard to figure out my own mistakes and I live where there is sharp lava rock so I get freaked and I stiffen up.

    I may be more of an intermediate rider but on the beginner side because I hung it up for a decade and still can't ride a lot now. I use to ride back in the 90's. when I was in So. Cal. on my retro mostly on fire roads, but I like this new technology so I gave my old one to my 10 year old.

    I also freak a little being under 5"4' on a 29er because of the stand over height and what seems to me weird geometry, but I like how it rolls over things.
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  16. #16
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    If you find a pressure that's squirrelly in curves, you'll recognize it. A lot of us can't go that low without getting rim hits first.

    For a data point, I weigh 145 lb and use 20 psi front/22.5 rear in my 29x2.3" tires.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    "squirrelly" the feeling you get just as the tube "snake bites" and whatever grip your tire had goes away. After a couple of them, you can "feel" what is too soft, best to pull over and pump the tire up.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by milliesand View Post
    "squirrelly" the feeling you get just as the tube "snake bites" and whatever grip your tire had goes away. After a couple of them, you can "feel" what is too soft, best to pull over and pump the tire up.
    No. I mean the feeling you get when the tire is on a skinny rim and folds over under cornering pressure and can produce a sudden washout and you hit the ground. A very good reason for wide rims so you can avoid this. It can be a higher psi then for rim hits if the rim is skinny enough. With my 30mm interiors I don't get that anymore.

  19. #19
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    This is my first bike I got already built up from a dealer so I'm stuck with what the manufacturer gave me which I wasn't happy about. I can't buy new tires and rims at this time so I will improvise.

    I will look into what other riders around here are doing here.

    Good advice here! Now I know what to be aware of.
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  20. #20
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    Okay, now don't get me wrong. I'm happy with my bike and very and appreciative but the wheels just looked skinny and scary...ha ha!
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  21. #21
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    Back to topic: Front brake will slow/stop you, rear brake will maintain speed (i.e.- you won't speed up). For beginners, I recommend equal pressure on both to start, then gradually move to using them independently.

    To test, get on flat ground and stop using only rear brake. Now do the same thing using only front brake. Be comfortable with both.
    We don't ride to add days to our life, we ride to add life to the days we have left here.

  22. #22
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    Front brake is where the power is at, theres a reason on bikes, motorcycles, and cars the front is either bigger rotor, or twin rotors. Once a tire is sliding, you will not get any more traction and braking power, actually less. If you really need to slow down, the front is the one that will do it, but you need to watch out for the "circle of traction" in addition to your center of mass going too far forward past your front point of contact. Circle of traction is a visualization of how much traction your tires have. The more brake (and acceleration) the less turning traction and vice versa.

  23. #23
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    Definitely work to progress into using your brakes independently depending on the situation. It takes some practice to learn about what happens. As others have suggested, don't do that practice anytime you're in the air. Weird things happen when the wheels stop rotating mid-air.

    Generally speaking, the wider the rim and the bigger the tire, the lower you can go with pressure. I have 65mm wide rims with 4" tires, and usually ride with about 9psi or so with no rim strikes. Too much lower than that, and they get some unusual handling characteristics at speed, so I generally only go lower when I'm going to be going very slowly on very bumpy terrain. In deep snow, I might go as low as 2psi. Rim strikes are super soft and aren't such a big deal in deep snow, but the extra footprint from the tire is a big help.

    I've felt the squirrely feeling others have mentioned before on my old mtb. It was on the back tire. I don't remember the pressure, but I remember an odd sideways sensation as the tire flopped around. This was with tubes, too. I didn't have any rim strikes, so I was able to inflate the tires a bit more to make that sensation go away. If you let it go without addressing it, you can roll the bead right off the rim. Especially if you're cornering with some speed.

  24. #24
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    Thanks so much guys. Great advice! I will practice.

    Harold, I have to see a picture of what 4 inch tires, 9 and 2psi looks like.

    Are you guys messing with me because I'm a girl? ...ha ha!
    A little pain never hurt anyone.

  25. #25
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    my bike on the left, roughly 9psi. my wife's (with 26x2.4" tires) on the right.


    North Carolina April 2015 10th Anniversary by Nate, on Flickr


    Brown County Snow Night Ride by Nate, on Flickr

    closer to 2psi in this pic.

    definitely not a joke. And 4" tires are far from the biggest you can get these days.

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