front brakes really needed- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    front brakes really needed

    do you really need front brakes? every time in my bicycling experiences i use a front break i have gone over the bars.

  2. #2
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    For mountain biking, absolutely. In fact you should be using about 70% front brake.
    You need to practice modulating the brakes and shifting your weight towards the rear to keep you from endoing (over the bars). At first it sounds crazy but you'll get the hang of it.

  3. #3
    ballbuster
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    I have a hard time believing that

    Quote Originally Posted by admiral
    do you really need front brakes? every time in my bicycling experiences i use a front break i have gone over the bars.
    You would only go OTB if you leaned forward and cranked on the front brake as hard as you could. The idea is that you need to lead back when you crank on the brakes. Also, bad to crank on the brakes to the point of sliding when in a turn. Brake before the turns. If you are afraid to use the front brake, you should practice using it until you are comfortable with it. Do some mild hard stops going straight on flat paved ground, and build up to harder stops. If things start to go funky, let go of the brakes.

    Given the choice, I would rather have a working front brake than a rear brake. Front brake is your friend.

  4. #4
    i also unicycle
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    yeah, if you're going over the bars you need to not be so rough with the front brake. feathering, modulating, etc. practice in a nice flat area(parking lot/trailhead) would work well, and slow down using only the front brake. practice more and you'll get it. on most trails i ride i'd die without a front brake, it does most the work, and actually slows you down where grabbing enough rear brake is impossible without wheel lock up, at which point you've lost some control and are damaging the trail.
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  5. #5
    LCI #1853
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    Quote Originally Posted by admiral
    do you really need front brakes? every time in my bicycling experiences i use a front break i have gone over the bars.
    Yes.

    Most of your braking power is in the front brake. Use both brakes to stop, maybe squeezing the front brake a bit harder. When your rear tire starts to skid, that's a signal to let up off the front brake a bit and avoid the trip over the handlebars.

    Tom

  6. #6
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    Yes, if trail riding, definitely needed.

  7. #7
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    I use the front brake everytime I ride.

  8. #8
    Five is right out
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    Quote Originally Posted by admiral
    do you really need front brakes? every time in my bicycling experiences i use a front break i have gone over the bars.
    Read this:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

  9. #9
    Rod
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    Yes, the front brake is absolutely necessary on any type of trail riding on virtually any vehicle. I grew up riding atvs and my friend's atv didn't have front brakes. He got me to ride it down the "benches" that led down from the strip mine. I slid all the way to the bottom with my rear brakes locked up on the edge of being out of control. A bike is even worse considering there's only 1 rear tire with a much smaller footprint. Granted there's not as much weight, but I wouldn't bring a bike off that same hill with only a rear brake. With a front brake there wouldn't be a problem though. I usually brake about 60 front 40 rear when I'm on my bike. The front brake has much more stopping power than the rear, but like others have said don't shift your weight forward or you'll go over the bars. With practice you'll learn how to use your front brake.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    You would

    Given the choice, I would rather have a working front brake than a rear brake. Front brake is your friend.
    ^^^^^^ Ditto that ^^^^^^^^^^

  11. #11
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    well you don't "need" a front brake on your bike but do you "want" a front brake on your bike? Heck yes.

    Here is the best way that I can think of for one to learn to ride a mountain bike properly:

    find a nice reasonably easy loop, something with some uphills and easy downhills, some fast turns and some tight turns and head over there but first remove your rear brake, lever and calipers all. Then start this loop slow, practice controlling your speed on the descents and turn. Then begin lapping quicker until you can make it at a fairly good clip.

    Now put your rear brakes back on but dial them in so that they will not lock your rear wheel then head out to a more technical trail and ride that, get a feel for how the front works on technical sections, shift your weight back and let the front slow you, only use the rear when you need to control speed on in corners and only very lightly.

    This is how most people can ride. 90% of mountain bike trails could be ridden without a rear brake and it used to be recommended that if you break your front brake way out on a trail to stop and swap the rear to the front and ride on.
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  12. #12
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    Perhaps consider going for a mountain bike course where they start you with the basics , braking and control, sounds very un manly but I did one last year picked up lots of good skills, we started with basics and ended up jumping smal dirt jumps by the end of the day, we did transitions , berms ,braking body positioning ( attack position) jumps , bunny hops , it was a great day, about 6 hours of riding.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffus
    Perhaps consider going for a mountain bike course where they start you with the basics , braking and control, sounds very un manly but I did one last year picked up lots of good skills, we started with basics and ended up jumping smal dirt jumps by the end of the day, we did transitions , berms ,braking body positioning ( attack position) jumps , bunny hops , it was a great day, about 6 hours of riding.

    This sounds a lot smarter than going out and getting yourself hurt.

  14. #14
    jalopy jockey
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    You would only go OTB if you leaned forward and cranked on the front brake as hard as you could.

    Given the choice, I would rather have a working front brake than a rear brake. Front brake is your friend.
    I could go OTB without leaning forward on flat ground. and without cranking on the front brake. Normal seated saddle position heavy front brake brake (not full on just heavy), and I get significalnt lift. I 'could' go over. Then I feather to stay in a reverse wheely for a sec or two. lots of fun. But then I gots me real good brakes. Scoot back a bit and she stays planted though.

    That said if I had to choose which brke worked it would be the front. Lots more power and less skidding.

  15. #15
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    my rides became much more enjoyable when I learned to use the front break ~75% of them time

  16. #16
    C S
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    As the others have said, your front brake is much more useful than your rear brake. You can put more pressure on the front brake without skidding and you slow down much faster than you do using the rear brake. You need to learn to not grab the front brake really hard though...thats why you go OTB. My main use of the rear brake is on steep, loose trails that have tight turns. Even then, I am using both brakes, but I probably use the rear a little more.

    A few weeks ago, I had to ride my bike without a front brake after busting its hydraulic line. I really realized how much more useful the front is than the back.

  17. #17
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    To all you front brake addicts:

    When you go down a rocky steep hill (mountain) grabbing the front is a recipe for diaster, and over the bars.

    If controllable the front due to weight transfer only has a lot more power.

    I wear out my rear pads a little faster than my front pads, because of the roost.

    But I feather the braking front and back.

    I have had several panic stops on pavement, and have done a 20 foot front wheel stand to get stopped.

    So yeah you need to use the front, but let up a bit you need to learn the rear too.

  18. #18
    local trails rider
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    The front brake has more stopping power but you need to learn where to use it, and how.

  19. #19
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    I tried riding without the front brake once (took it off when I was doing something to it). It was scary, not only for the lesser amount of stopping power, but you'd be amazed how you get used to bracing yourself on the downs by having both hands at the ready on the brake levers - I simply felt vulnerable that one of my levers was missing. So after you have been riding for a while, just take your front brake off & you will realize how much you rely on it.

    And the other thing - the less braking power you have the slower you ride!

    Perhaps you have been reading the DJ / Street thread? If so then keep reading and you'll realize that they can get away without a front brake because of the type of riding they are doing.

  20. #20
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    They guys at the lift thought I was crazy but, I once rode an entire day of lift assisted downhill with only a front brake on my bike. I was missing an adapter to install my rear.

    Guess what...I didn't go OTB a single time...

  21. #21
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    One of the main reasons to learn to use your front is to not tear up your trail

    1. Rear braking only creates gouges in the trail that will grow during rains which channelizes the trail.

    2. It creates heavy braking bumps that will only get worse as time goes by as braking bumps are self-perpetuation.

    3. It widens turns creating instability on switchbacks and under cutting the top portion of switchbacks.

    4. It wears out your rear tire very quickly.

    5. and ultimately it can get your local trails closed because when trails are torn up it is easy to cast cyclists with the motorcyclists and then you can watch people use trails that you used to use.

    Now this is not to say that you shouldn't use your rear brake but your responsibility to your trail dictates that you learn to use your rear brake in moderation and avoid skidding the rear tire whenever possible.
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