How to brake properly on a bicycle? 10 tips
We’ve already learned so much together… I’m talking about all sorts of bike tips that we sometimes publish. Of course, these tips will be useful for beginners in the first place. Although, who knows, maybe they will be useful to someone else. In any case, they are free) By the way, having learned to brake correctly, you start to drive faster. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but the reality turns out to be so.
0. Make sure the brakes are on
Not funny, by the way. The fact is that there are bicycles whose design does not provide for the presence of brakes. We are talking about track bikes that are made as rigid, light and fast as possible. The essence of these bikes lies in the name itself — they are intended for use on the track, that is, on the velodrome. The floor is lined with special types of wood, there is no wind, the turns have a slope so that you can not slow down…in general, everything is done there for maximum speeds, brakes are not used there and speeds too. There is only one star at the back and it is directly connected to the bushing without a ratchet mechanism. If it seems that this technique does not go fast…then I hasten to assure you that they are gaining 70 km/h. Of course, for such speeds, it is necessary to have a certain amount of training.
in general, there are no brakes, if you want to stop, you have to slow down the rotation of the pedals with your feet, gradually stopping your course. The second way to stop is to transfer the weight of the body to the front wheel and lock the pedals. In this scenario, the wheel is completely blocked and the bike stops. You could see this in the fixers environment… yes, such bicycles are also called fixes. So that’s what it’s all about… fixes are the most dangerous on public roads for the above reasons. in some countries, it is required by law to equip bicycles with independent brakes.
Then, sometime, when you gain experience, you can try other options. but even in this case, choosing a bike without brakes, you put at risk not only yourself, but also others.
1. Make sure that the brakes are set
Someone likes when the brakes grab at the beginning of the handle stroke, someone likes when they grab closer to the steering wheel… it does not matter where they will grab, as long as they allow you to slow down. It is also important to take into account that the handle is brought too close to the steering wheel can limit the braking force in emergency situations. That is, the handle should still have a decent power reserve and not be pressed against the steering wheel closely.
In addition to the handles, you should adjust the brake machines (calipers). The ideal is a parallel supply of pads. Then the beginning of braking is well felt and the quality of braking is more interesting. And it does not matter the design of your brakes, this rule is valid for any brakes from any brands with any pads (disc hydraulics or mechanics, rim hydraulics or mechanics).
2. Consider road conditions
Braking in dry and wet weather is quite different.
first, the rim classic on highways or mtb with the presence of water works much weaker and it is important to take this into account while on the road. Eventually, they will slow down, but their effectiveness will decrease by 80 percent. Disc mechanics and hydraulics are less sensitive to moisture. There, the efficiency decreases only at the very beginning of braking, but quickly returns to normal. There are many reasons for this and we will not dwell on them. just fix it in your head that disc brakes in the presence of moisture slow down almost without loss of efficiency.
secondly, wet weather implies the presence of water on the road. looking ahead, i will say that you can drive fast on a wet road, aquaplaning will not happen. i say this for a reason, but because many people start from the theory of the automobile. but let’s not forget that the contact area of the bicycle wheel with the road is much smaller, the pressure in the tires is usually higher than that of the car… all this allows the bicycle wheel to maintain the same contact area with the surface, both in dry and wet weather. If you dream, then, of course, yes, the bicycle wheel can start aquaplaning, but at speeds close to the speed of light, so do not worry.
Braking in wet weather still becomes less effective even with disc brakes. The whole point is to reduce the coefficient of friction between the tire rubber and the road. That is, the braking distance will increase. It is also useful to take this factor into account when cornering, the wheels can simply slip if you start laying the bike on a wet road, as on a dry one. Rails… there is generally a problem, metal soaked in rain and does look like ice. But we’re talking about braking. So, take into account the weather conditions in the context of braking, the situation on the road, the presence of various artifacts on the roadbed, dust, gravel, resin. All this greatly affects the braking performance, and therefore the distance required to stop.
3. Do I need to slow down at all?
The question is excellent. Often, some riders hit the brakes simply because it’s scary to go fast. Well, that makes sense. or not. It would be a good idea to look further ahead to make sure there were no obstacles that would require a reduction in speed…it is likely that you should not slow down at all. Quite often the work of reducing speed is taken over by the wind and the curve of the landscape, let them do some work for you.
4. Brake before turning
Well, this statement has been heard by many, there is no need to even argue. Indeed, it is most safe to slow down before entering a turn.
Although no one forbids braking in a turn. The main thing is to choose the moment when the trajectory is most direct. Press the brakes as gently and carefully as possible. Work with the handle in the same way as on a straight line is not worth it, because you can easily break into a skid. It is necessary to brake in a turn, for example, when its radius suddenly changes or an unexpected obstacle occurs.
So that… slow down before turning, especially if it is “closed”. If you have to brake already in it, then do it as carefully as possible.
5. Don’t be afraid of the front brake
Many people are afraid of the front brake like fire. Someone avoids using it because of the unpleasant experience when they had to fly through the steering wheel, someone is simply afraid of it without good reasons for this. And for good reason.
The front brake is much more efficient than the rear brake. Just noticeably more powerful. If you pay attention to mountain bikes, motorcycles, and even cars, you will find that after stopping, the front part of them rises, and the back part falls. This is because the vehicle, like the person on it, has inertia. If you do not work with this inertia on the bike, it will throw you out of the saddle every time. And it is very simple to work with it, it is enough to transfer your weight as much as possible back and well rest your hands on the steering wheel before braking with the front brake.
If you do this, you will find that braking with the front brake is much more efficient, the bike stops much faster. Stopping will happen even faster if you use both brakes at once. However, it should be understood that even when transferring weight back, it is possible to tear off the rear wheel and turn forward. Therefore, the front brake should not be pressed sharply, even in the most emergency situations. The beginning of the impact on it should be as smooth as possible. You’ll get used to it over time.
It is also useful to know that when braking with the front brake, wheel locking is much more difficult and less frequent, but it still happens. In this case, it is very difficult to maintain control. Again, if the weight is shifted back, and your hands are on the steering wheel, then you will have to cope. I had a situation where in a very wide turn I was braking with the front and rear brakes on the wet road, in front of the car. Both wheels were blocked then, but it was possible to maintain balance. Although yes, there was no question of controllability. Consider also the condition of the road… if the braking starts on the asphalt and moves to a dusty area, then the intensity of the impact on the handle should be reduced, since the wheel lock may well occur. Let go of the handle should also be when you move out on the sand, it is generally very insidious in this context.
All in all, don’t be afraid of the front brake. Start using it at least a little to start with, then you will get a taste and the skills will come by themselves. When I first started driving, I only used the rear brake. Now I rear brake myself only a little help, the main braking, especially emergency, I have a front brake.
Did I fly over the steering wheel? No. However, there were situations of sudden braking, when the rear wheel rose very high, the benefit of intuitively releasing the hand and the bike returned to its original position. To date, the rear wheel only rises when I brake when I want it to. By playing with the weight and pressing force, I can control the height of the rear wheel lift. In emergency situations… they happen to me over time less and less, as I drive only when there are no other road users.
6. Rear brake for loose roads
Just now I tried to persuade you to use the front brake more often, and now I will dissuade you. Loose surfaces are very slippery, and locking the front wheel completely deprives you of the joy of choosing the direction of your movement. Therefore, on loose areas, it is most prudent to use the rear brake. Don’t forget that a locked rear wheel brakes much worse than a rolling one.
7. Do not block the wheels, leave it to the children
First, braking with a locked wheel is very expensive. The tire will sooner or later become unusable from this mode. Although I must admit that it gave me a certain pleasure. The fact is that I bought such tires, which in the warm season whistled during the movement of the yuzom on paving slabs and on asphalt with a high content of resin. just like car tires, only quieter. Well, I liked this business, so I had fun. And then I went and bought new tires again and again.
The transition to the road race was very disciplined for me, as the tires are much thinner in every sense. One braking sw forms a very noticeable flat area on it. If the braking was long, then such a flat spot will still ” knock” on the ass while driving. So that… now I don’t block the wheels.
8. Do not apply the rear brake
No, seriously, I told you about the charms of the front… leave the back already alone.
9. Disk or rim brakes?
what difference does it make?
Big one, by the way.
In my opinion, disc hydraulic brakes are much more interesting than rim brakes. But the rim at times can surprise you with its efficiency. Only if it’s not dusty, dirty, or raining. Disc brakes have the greatest advantage in terms of modulating (controlling the compression force of the brake pads) forces with a small force on the handle. Modern hydraulic models allow you to perform even the most intensive stops with just one finger. None of the rims are capable of this, even under the most ideal conditions. On the other hand, it is easier to block such a wheel, which is fraught with skidding and falling.
10. Learn to slow down
Yes, even such a simple case requires preparation. A competent understanding of the processes that occur at the time of braking allows you to better manage your brakes. Under ideal conditions, the front brake should account for 75% of the total load, and only 25% of the rear brake.