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  1. #1
    I like rigid MTB.
    Reputation: edle's Avatar
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    Is it safe to use only the rear disc brake for trail riding ?

    I'm planning to use rear disc brake only on my steel 29er in order to save weight. I save 1.09LBs if using rear brake only.
    Is it safe to use only the rear disc brake for trail riding ?
    The trail that I usually go to has only a few steep/short section.
    How reliable is modern MTB hydraulic disc brake ?

    The rear disc brake is a brand new Formula RX.

    If everything goes according to plan, the steel 29er will be around 20.2LBs.

  2. #2
    ups and downs
    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
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    It's not about safe, about 70% of your braking should be done with the front brake.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  3. #3
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    I once lost the front hydraulic line on some old Magura rim brakes on a previous bike. This made for the most uncomfortable, and slow, ride back to the truck. I would never go without a front brake.

  4. #4
    psycho cyclo addict
    Reputation: edubfromktown's Avatar
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    Think of it as a pound of prevention... I'd keep both brakes in the event you decide to ride other trails or have a failure. If you can't bear the thought of one extra lb. then go with front brake.
    Last edited by edubfromktown; 02-01-2013 at 11:21 AM.

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure if ditching a brake(s) in order to shed weight is a good idea.
    2007 FS KHS XC104
    2012 FS Yeti SB95 (Race/XT)
    2013 HT Cannondale Trail 7
    2013 HT Specialized Hardrock Sport (the commuter)

  6. #6
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    While already at an impressive weight, saving up for new front teeth will be more expensive than 2 seconds slower on the trails. Nothing really makes sense about this type of weight weenieism.
    Good brakes build confidence.
    A confident rider can be faster.
    The level of skill at which that weight can make a serious difference would indicate a pro level rider, who would not be asking such questions. Riding 10-20hrs a week will make you a better/faster rider, not 1lb off an already light bike.

  7. #7
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    Reputation: Saul Lumikko's Avatar
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    A bike should always have two proper means of stopping. If one fails, you'll have a plan B.

    If you are only to have one actual brake on the bike, it better be the front one and the drivetrain should be fixed singlespeed. That's two methods of stopping right there.

    Just look at the bikes people use to win world class races. None of them have removed a brake to save weight, have they? The benefit of having two brakes (for safety) and specifically a front brake (for effective deceleration) obviously far outweighs the small amount of weight saving from omitting it.

  8. #8
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    Instead, remove your saddle and seat post, and sharpen the top of your seat tube.

    Not only will you save weight, you'll retain that element of danger you are apparently seeking.

  9. #9
    Rogue Exterminator
    Reputation: kjlued's Avatar
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    As stated most braking is done with the front.
    However, that aside I would not trust a bike with only one hydro brake.
    When they work, they work great but it seems when they fail, they fail completely.
    What is worse once it goes out you usually can't fix it on the trail.

    If you must go with one brake then I would go with mechanical.

    But, when it really comes down to it is 1 lb worth the risk?

  10. #10
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    I have seen this only one time in my life. A very accomplished endurance XC rider was riding a rigid fixie. He only had a rear brake for backup. Of couse he was slow as hell on this and took every ckicken pass he could. To each his own. Sounds boring to me.

    Are you riding in a non-technical hillclimb race?

  11. #11
    I like rigid MTB.
    Reputation: edle's Avatar
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    No racing. Just recreational cycling and a bit of WW.

  12. #12
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    Is it safe to use only the rear disc brake for trail riding ?

    Why do you need to save weight if you're not even racing? Sorry but this is about as a ridiculous idea as Ive ever heard in regards to mountain biking!

  13. #13
    Rogue Exterminator
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    Quote Originally Posted by static_x3 View Post
    Why do you need to save weight if you're not even racing? Sorry but this is about as a ridiculous idea as Ive ever heard in regards to mountain biking!
    I tend to agree.
    Drop a pound of the wheels, I see the big deal.
    Drop a pound off the bike at the expense of your brakes I just don't get it.
    Kind of like not wearing a helmet to save weight IMO.

  14. #14
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    Is it safe to use only the rear disc brake for trail riding ?

    Not only is it kinda dangerous, you would be skidding all over the trails and ruining them. Please don't.

  15. #15
    FKA Malibu412
    Reputation: Glide the Clyde's Avatar
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    Lose weight other ways, not at the expense of a safe braking setup. Or, do what my boys do. Don't listen to advice and learn it yourself the hard way (I did this with my dad, too).
    "I love the bike. It's my meditation. I think I'm bike-sexual." -Robin Williams

  16. #16
    I like rigid MTB.
    Reputation: edle's Avatar
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    Bad idea. Got it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    Bad idea. Got it.
    Glad you got thw point everyone was trying to make. It's also very destructive for the trails you ride on with only the rear brakes. You'd be dragging your back tires causing excess damage.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    I'm planning to use rear disc brake only on my steel 29er in order to save weight. I save 1.09LBs if using rear brake only.
    Is it safe to use only the rear disc brake for trail riding ?
    The trail that I usually go to has only a few steep/short section.
    How reliable is modern MTB hydraulic disc brake ?

    The rear disc brake is a brand new Formula RX.

    If everything goes according to plan, the steel 29er will be around 20.2LBs.
    You're good with just the rear. You can save a bunch of weight by drilling holes in your steerer tube as well.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    I'm planning to use rear disc brake only on my steel 29er in order to save weight. I save 1.09LBs if using rear brake only.
    Is it safe to use only the rear disc brake for trail riding ?
    The trail that I usually go to has only a few steep/short section.
    How reliable is modern MTB hydraulic disc brake ?

    The rear disc brake is a brand new Formula RX.

    If everything goes according to plan, the steel 29er will be around 20.2LBs.
    you could probably save 2 lbs going to a chinese carbon frame for about $380

    $.41/gram

  20. #20
    Bro Mountainbiker
    Reputation: Sheepo5669's Avatar
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    Go fixed gear. No brakes, no problems.

  21. #21
    turtles make me hot
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    Some knucklehead on our local trails rides a Ti Linskey and has it down to some insanely low weight. He has no front brake on it.
    I know I would never ride like that and when I saw how light the rest of his bike was, I was kinda thinking what's the point?
    What are the lightest brakes?
    I like turtles

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Some knucklehead on our local trails rides a Ti Linskey and has it down to some insanely low weight. He has no front brake on it.
    I know I would never ride like that and when I saw how light the rest of his bike was, I was kinda thinking what's the point?
    What are the lightest brakes?
    I'll give the guy credit for his life-risking devotion to WW-ism, but I have 3 rules:
    1. Comfort comes first - sorry uber-light saddle, if you hurt my ass it's a no-go.
    2. There's a limit to the cost per gram of saved weight, although we've all bought stupid stuff - I'm the worst offender.
    3. The new part/setup should not easily kill me.

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