Brake Fade or Braking Technique?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Brake Fade or Braking Technique?

    I am having trouble determining if my brakes are fading on me or if it my technique. I have gotten used to single finger braking and most of the way down a run I can use just one finger on the rear brake and one on the front brake. Towards the end of a run I find that I have to use two fingers on the rear brake to get the required braking force. I am using Hayes Stroker Trails.

    I ride Snowshoe, WV for a weekend a month so I am more an AM rider pretending to be a DHer. So the terrain is rocky and steep in sections.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    does your lever have to travel more to get the same braking? if so - brake fade.
    if not - finger fatigue.
    Just my educated guess/opinion.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  3. #3
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    I had those brakes and would completely loose the rear after every run on a downhill my closest ski resort. Got sick of them sucking so much and got Shimano's

  4. #4
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    like highdelll said, if you find your lever getting progressively closer to the bar during a run to get the brake to bite adequately - brake fade is the culprit, at this point it really shouldn't matter whether you're using one or two fingers, a faded brake will feel like sh!t even if you hamfist it with your entire hand.

    if the brake is still biting before bottoming out, but you're having to use 2 fingers to get the same power out of it - you're experiencing hand fatigue, and need to re-examine your brake setup and your braking technique

    from your explanation, it kind of sounds like the latter is your issue.
    brake setup and technique is a complicated subject, because everyone tends to have a certain preference based on their hand size and strength.

    in general though, for downhill there are a few things to consider
    - get the most powerful brakes you can afford (or at the very least, the biggest rotors)

    - make sure your bleed is SOLID, air in the system will affect the way your brake feels from run to run, and won't allow for a good consistent setup

    - run the lever as close to the bar as you can, so the brake lever "bottoms out" right before hitting the grip, that will do wonders for relieving hand fatigue

    - don't drag your brakes, pulse and modulate instead - giving your brakes time to stay cool, you don't want to cook your pads, rotors or brake fluid by overheating the system

    - if you feel you cooked your pads or rotors from dragging the brake too much, it'll significantly reduce the braking power, you'll need to sand, wash, deglaze or replace the cooked items to get the power back. If the fluid is cooked, you'll need a fresh bleed.

  5. #5
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by blender
    ...
    - don't drag your brakes, pulse and modulate instead - giving your brakes time to stay cool, you don't want to cook your pads, rotors or brake fluid by overheating the system
    Just to add to that great tip...I break heavily on the front in the straight - then transfer to the rear just before the corner. I then 'cover' the rear - just in case.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by blender
    - run the lever as close to the bar as you can, so the brake lever "bottoms out" right before hitting the grip, that will do wonders for relieving hand fatigue
    I'd say this is one of the personal preference ones, I have long fingers and I don't feel as confident if my levers are that close to the bars before locking the wheel.

    I would add to the list that generally speaking the levers shouldn't be placed on the bars immediately next to the grips. A small gap between the two will help modulate the force applied with the index finger. You'll be sort of «pulling» the lever a bit (almost from the side) instead of just "squeezing" it.


    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    Just to add to that great tip...I break heavily on the front in the straight - then transfer to the rear just before the corner. I then 'cover' the rear - just in case.
    Same here, I try and use both, not just the rear. The front brake is actually much more effective in slowing down than the rear one. Although it takes a bit of time to feel confident to use it, it definitely a plus in braking technique.

  7. #7
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    to add, I also rotate braking duty between both for long straights.
    (I'm NOT saying to use one at a time - just a way to let one cool.)
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  8. #8
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    More front brake.

  9. #9
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    Quote Originally Posted by TIMBERRR
    More front brake.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  10. #10
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    Yup.

    More front brake.

    70% to 100% of braking power comes from the front in my riding. Get your weight way forward and really ride the front wheel most of the time. Pick clean lines. Keep your bike lose underneath you and move dynamically. Brake less. Pick lines where you can control your speed using the terrain features to control your speed, then you can use less brake. The ultimate flow.

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