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  1. #1
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    Downhill bike or not? Front brake necessary or not?

    Hello folks! I switched my hardtail 26'er for a full suspension bike, because i wanted to try it out, and see if it was more of my style. It sure was, but later I found out that the bike i switched to, looks to be a Downhill bike, seems like it at least. I've been riding it for XC and All-mountain, but i find it quite heavy climbing increases and hills etc. So i wanted to hear something from you guys, who knows about these bikes. The model is called; Cannondale 1000 Gemini, 9 gears, fox 170 mm. back suspension, 100 mm. front fork suspension, XC rock Shox with lockout (probably less migration, probably more, you might be a better judge then me) - last but not least, only back brake? is that a mechanical failure? or just a question of personal references and needs? do you necessarily need a front break for riding DH? My all in all question is; Is this a Downhill bike, and if so; can it be used for it? As a beginner. My english is kinda bad, but had a shot at it. Think i mentioned everything i wanted to ask about. I hope you will reply and help, thank you very much

    I uploaded a few pictures, hope you can see them, if not however, it does look exactly like this one, but with a shorter front suspension & no front break.
    cannondale 1000 gemini
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Downhill bike or not? Front brake necessary or not?-dh-front.jpg  

    Downhill bike or not? Front brake necessary or not?-dh-fox.jpg  

    Downhill bike or not? Front brake necessary or not?-dh-side.jpg  


  2. #2
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    you should have a front brake for everything except possibly dirt jump bikes. About 70% of your stopping power comes from your front brake, and you should use it all the time. If you are wearing out your back brakes before your fronts, you're missing out on a lot of potential braking power. Downhillers especially use their front brakes. Possibly more than xc riders, due to the constant hard braking they need to do.

    And your bike may have been considered a DH bike a while back, but now it would be in the general trail category. Most current DH bikes have around 200+mm of travel in the front and rear. But your bike should be a fun do-everything ride. But definitely get a front brake on that thing, and practice using it as much or more than your rear. Start off easy, and get used to the way your bike handles while the front brake is on. You'll get it in no time.
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  3. #3
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    Front brake - you definitely need one.
    Fork - that is a XC fork on a DH/FR frame, I think that it would ride very strangely
    Riding - I would not ride that bike until it had a front brake. I would not ride that bike on any sort of downhill with that fork. I also wonder if it is too small for you, as there is a lot of seatpost sticking out of the frame.

    The bike is ~10 years old. I don't know how much money I would put into it. Sorry!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the reply guys! :-)

    The answers you came up with are kind of what i expected, anyway i just bought a new bike for XC/cross/All-mountain, I Live in Denmark, so there are not any Great DH tracks anyways, at least not close to where i live.
    So what you are saying is like; Get a front break, and it will be good for normal trail riding? it's a pretty decent bike actually, even though it's old - it's riding smoothly. My plans have never been DH and never was, just normal fully MTB, but if i want to sell it, I wanted to know what i could call it - started off with DH, but i guess i should call it more of a "All-rounder" having fun, kind of thing then? will probably be easier to sell with a front break anyway :P

    Would you consider this bike (With a Front break mounted of course) able to ride trails of this difficulty? Just an example!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alUWbGk8iMU

  5. #5
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    OMG! who mounts a camera like that. I got sick of watching it in about 10 seconds.

    As for the original post, front brake is absolutely neccessary for mtbing. I agree with what has been posted above that it looks like a XC fork on a DH frame. Probably makes it a XC bike now with a long chainstay. Still fun, i'm sure. And, it certainly looks like the frame is too small for you. A lot of seat post and headset spacers combined with riser bars are signs that you're trying to make something fit that doesn't. It seems like your putting lipstick on a pig... But, if it puts a smile on your face

  6. #6
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    jetboy23 - I know, right? just picked a random video of a not so technical and dangerous "downhill" track.
    What does put a smile on my face is that I got this bike in a trade, gave away my 26' hardtail 3x27 gears, which was no fun to me - this one i like better. A front brake should do good i suppose. Planning on keeping this one as a "playing bike" as a supplement for my new bike, which i got today for XC/Cross/All-mountain;
    https://www.google.dk/search?q=giant...-5%3B800%3B500 abit of everything.

    By The way - how much does it cost to get a cheap brake for the cannondale? I don't need anything advanced, just a brake will do really.

  7. #7
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    I had a fork you could reduce travel on, and two that could be locked down when compressed. All three different bikes felt really sluggish and bogged down when the fork travel was reduced. So if yours feels the same, the shorter travel fork is not helping how the bike rides most likely.
    I also think a front brake and getting used to using it, is something that will make you happy to have put on the bike.

  8. #8
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    rule of thumb

    front brake is for stopping
    rear brake helps in turning
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  9. #9
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    I would be dead if I didn't have a front brake. Even for xc. Get a front brake. Don't ride until you do.

  10. #10
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    That's definitely an older FR style bike with a lower travel fork. Looks like the shock can be mounted different ways to change the travel, so you could probably make the rear end match the front travel length.

    Regardless, stick a brake on there first chance you get. I'm guilty of not using the front brake as often as I should, but the several times that I have used it in an emergency, would have been very bad if I didn't have one.

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