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  1. #1
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    Front brake vs rear brake

    I wear out between 2 and 3 sets of pads in the rear for every set in the front. I had someone comment on another thread that he wears out 2 - 3 sets in the front for every set in the rear. What is your experience in this area, and/or is there some wisdom out there regarding what the wear rate would be given a perfect rider spending their time riding cross country and all mountain.

  2. #2
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    Which one do you use the most? Front or back?

  3. #3
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    Sounds like you use more back brake than front. You do know that the majority of your brake power is up front right?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by freakybro View Post
    I wear out between 2 and 3 sets of pads in the rear for every set in the front. I had someone comment on another thread that he wears out 2 - 3 sets in the front for every set in the rear. What is your experience in this area, and/or is there some wisdom out there regarding what the wear rate would be given a perfect rider spending their time riding cross country and all mountain.
    I wear them out pretty equally...

    It sounds like you are feathering the rear brake, going downhills etc.

    This will cause the brake to operate much hotter, and war quicker..

    The better way to brake is to stab the brake on for a second then let it off for as long as possible...

    You can alternate between front and rear...and probably use the front more than you are currently.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    I wear them out pretty equally...

    It sounds like you are feathering the rear brake, going downhills etc.

    This will cause the brake to operate much hotter, and war quicker..

    The better way to brake is to stab the brake on for a second then let it off for as long as possible...

    You can alternate between front and rear...and probably use the front more than you are currently.
    Actually, for a given amount of energy scrubbed off the amount of heat generated is the same. Whether you choose to generate a lot of heat at once or spread it out over time doesn't really matter except that the peak temperature could be higher. The only way to really keep your back brake cool is to lock the wheel and let the tire get hotter instead ;-).

    Using both brakes will spread the heat over two discs. And brake discs are cooling whether they are being used or not so cycling them is rather pointless.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Actually, for a given amount of energy scrubbed off the amount of heat generated is the same. No it also depends on how much heat is removedWhether you choose to generate a lot of heat at once or spread it out over time doesn't really matter except that the peak temperature could be higher. The only way to really keep your back brake cool is to lock the wheel and let the tire get hotter instead ;-).

    Using both brakes will spread the heat over two discs. And brake discs are cooling whether they are being used or not so cycling them is rather pointless.
    Not at all true

    Stabbing the brakes works really well.....I cooked my brakes cooming down Mauna Kea...The only way I got stopped was to stab them off and on...

    The reason it works is when the brake pad is removed from the rotor, a great deal more air can flow over the braking surface of the pad....This increased cooling flow is what causes the average temperature of the brake pad to fall.

  7. #7
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    Get a bigger rear rotor. A common setup is 180mm F / 160mm R. But 180mm R is ideal for me and the way I ride - I scrub speed with the rear brake, and use the front for more heavy braking. I do try to be more even, but habits are hard to 'brake'.
    M

  8. #8
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    Interesting topic. I'm still awaiting delivery of my first disc-equipped bike. Previously I had evenly wearing rim brakes on a Rockhopper. They were horrible brakes though.

    As a relevant comment, on my motorcycle I also had slightly more rear pad wear than front, but it's true that for strong stopping power you have to do front more than back. It's especially counter-intuitive on a street motorbike weighing 500 pounds. The front just dives. You just have to modulate it firmly.

    On a mountain bicycle, you wouldn't want front brake grab coming downhill. So it has to do with skillful modulation. This is why I'm excited to be getting hydraulic discs. I cant' wait to try them.

  9. #9
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    I think dive is only an issue when you "grab" the front brake instead of squeezing it with steady even pressure. I learned ridding street bikes that a sudden hard grab isn't ever really necessary. Smooth and even braking can be achieved even in emergency situations.

    Sent using my fat thumbs!

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    on the mtb i'm about even f/r. on the street bike i use the back at redlights otherwise i'd forget it's even there

  11. #11
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    Since I posted the question, I've found other sources recommending 60/40 front/rear brake use. This looks like a good opportunity for me to improve my riding, since I'm currently probably around 20/80 front/rear. I have a motorcycle crash in my past where the front wheel locked up on some sand in the road I didn't see, so I'm pretty wary of that ever happening again. Thanks for the input.

  12. #12
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    For me, the only time I touch the back brake on a motorcycle is at slow speed turning in a parking lot and emergency braking. On my mountain bike I am pretty front heavy as well but use the rear as a trim adjustment for turns.

    Sent using my fat thumbs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danielrg_usa View Post
    I think dive is only an issue when you "grab" the front brake instead of squeezing it with steady even pressure. I learned ridding street bikes that a sudden hard grab isn't ever really necessary. Smooth and even braking can be achieved even in emergency situations.

    Sent using my fat thumbs!
    I hope the Hayes Dyno Sports on my new Trek Mamba (to arrive soon) will be as easy to modulate.

    Previously, my rim brake Rockhopper (been sold) wasn't so easy to modulate such that you could not "squeeze it with steady even pressure." It grabs. So especially coming down steep rocky terrain, you have to ride on partial rear brakes to control speed. You'd want full travel on front shocks, too, so it becomes a skillful balance of when to modulate front and when to modulate back.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danielrg_usa View Post
    For me, the only time I touch the back brake on a motorcycle is at slow speed turning in a parking lot and emergency braking. On my mountain bike I am pretty front heavy as well but use the rear as a trim adjustment for turns.

    Sent using my fat thumbs!
    Maybe getting off topic, but a while back, a few buddies and I were riding (on motorcycle) through winding mountain roads littered with leaves.

    One of my buddies took a nasty spill because he used front brakes.

  15. #15
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    I use my brakes pretty evenly as well, and usually go through pads around the same time also (I'll just replace both at the same time). If you're using 20/80 on downhill riding I'd probably suggest changing that up a bit. You'll probably become more stable and get better balance as you learn better braking technique.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by solidass View Post
    Maybe getting off topic, but a while back, a few buddies and I were riding (on motorcycle) through winding mountain roads littered with leaves.

    One of my buddies took a nasty spill because he used front brakes.
    Th key there is the leaves. Especially if he was leaned over at all. Had he used the back the rear probably would have swung out ending in a high side. Just like mountain bikes your brakes are only as good as the surface your riding on and how much grip you have in your tires.

    Sent using my fat thumbs!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danielrg_usa View Post
    Th key there is the leaves. Especially if he was leaned over at all. Had he used the back the rear probably would have swung out ending in a high side. Just like mountain bikes your brakes are only as good as the surface your riding on and how much grip you have in your tires.

    Sent using my fat thumbs!
    Yep. Exactly. Some motorcycle riders don't realize that, yes you can use front brakes on a turn, but there's no such thing as oversteer sliding when you lose traction. You just go down.

    Using front brakes all the time is not prudent.

  18. #18
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    The best book I've ever read that seriously helped with my braking and riding techniques on both motorcycles and bicycles is Sport Riding Technique: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track. This book and a few track days were HUGE in improving my overall riding. I realize it's not MTB'ing, but I do believe that this book can also help all cyclists (pedal powered or motorcycle) who want to be faster and safer overall.

    Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track: Nick Ienatsch, Kenny Roberts: 9781893618077: Amazon.com: Books

    -RW

  19. #19
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    Its not a problem with the brakes. Its a problem with technique.
    Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!

  20. #20
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    This braking video with Barel was posted today.

    How to Brake with Barel | IMB | Free Mountain Bike Magazine Online

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