Braking can actually make or break you as a biker. The problem is that driving and braking properly on two wheels can be more difficult, particularly when cycling downhill. Most bikers have experience with over-the-handlebar mishaps resulting from improper braking. In this article, we will discuss how to brake when cycling downhill and we will also cover some of its hidden truths!
How To Brake When Cycling Downhill?
When riding downhill, use the back brake in combination with the front brake to carefully slow down and come to a smooth stop. When cycling downhill or in turns, do not grasp the brakes, particularly the front brake, since this might force the bike to jam and cause you to fall.
This blog will go over why braking downhill is so difficult, as well as what you must understand, plan, and look for on downhills. Let’s have a look at it.
Which Brake Should I Use When Cycling Downhill?
Bikes have both front and back brakes. It can often lead to some misunderstanding about which brakes should be used. There are three major possibilities that we can encounter:
- Making use of the front brake
- Making use of the back brake
- Using both brakes together
Utilizing the front brake on a bike is more useful and provides greater stopping force than using only the back brake. However, the maximum stopping force comes from employing both the front and back brakes. Front brakes typically generate up to 75% of total stopping power (Source). Although, when cycling downhill, that percentage may grow much more.
Even though both the front and back brakes can stop you down, the front brake is intended for more powerful braking, whereas the back brake is designed for speed control.
How To Brake When Cycling Downhill
Downhill Braking Practice
It is critical to learn gentle braking while cycling downhill since grabbing the brakes means danger. You must try cycling downhills to understand how your bike rides and how much grip it offers. When performing quick and controlled braking downhill, strive to find your equilibrium point. Even little changes in body posture can significantly impact the effectiveness of the brakes.
Never exceed the speeds at which you are comfortable. Furthermore, if you’re approaching a turn, be certain to approach it at a far slower pace than the limit. Take into account that the bicycle can move rapidly through the turn, so it is best to be cautious and not move too quickly.
Your Center of Gravity And Bodyweight
Check that your center of gravity and body weight are both equal. Even though it is suggested to apply both brakes at the same time, it is also critical to know how much force should be placed on them, which is related to how the weight shifts between the front and back.
You really do not need to be far back since it will put the majority of your body weight on the back wheel, leading the front wheel to lose traction.
First, Use the Rear Brake.
Applying some extra force to the rear brake is advisable to avoid the weight from suddenly shifting to the front. When the weight changes to the back, more force can be put to the front brake to compensate.
Do Not Grab The Brakes.
If the front brake is grasped too hard, the front wheel will jam, possibly causing sliding or forcing the biker to jump up and over its handlebars and fall.
It is best to prevent skidding. Although rear-tire sliding cannot be a major worry, losing control of the front tire can be extremely harmful.
Check if the bike is in good shape.
It should also be noted that the bike should be in good shape and that the brakes should be tested to make sure they operate correctly.
How To Brake When Cycling Downhill For Long Rides
Many bikers may be concerned about cycling downhill for long stretches of the road since the bike can get overly fast. It is essential to take measures and be prepared for such long stretches of road. Bike Riding is a good exercise that keeps your body and shape fit.
Pull and feather the back brake throughout long downhill stretches of road. Although, be certain that the tire does not jam. If the back brake is insufficient to maintain your pace down to a safe level, slowly use the front brake.
Keep your concentration and pay close attention to what is coming while maintaining a safe distance from other cars and persons. Take into account that a small creature can run in front of you at any time.
The road surfaces differ, and this affects the bike’s traction. It, in return, will have an impact on how soon you can come to a halt. The road will have a lot of traction in dry weather. Wet roads, trash, scattered gravel, stones, and potholes, on the other hand, will reduce wheel traction.
Related: How to Remove Coaster Brake?
The Necessary Aspects
- Don’t be scared!
- Brakes should be feathered – use a little pressure.
- There should be no sudden moves.
- Use your weight as well.
So, we’re cycling downhill and come to a corner in the road – what now?
How to Brake While Taking Turn and Cycling Downhill
Braking in turns is typically avoided since it might be dangerous. It is usually a good idea to brake before entering a turn. When braking while turning, the wheels may lose grip. Tires have confined traction, and part of it is already getting used during turning.
Furthermore, braking while turning causes the bicycle to stand up, and you can not adopt the ideal body posture since it is more difficult to lean. It can upset your direction and balance. There is also a good likelihood that the back wheel may skid.
In contrast, bikers may have to utilize their brakes around turns at times, particularly when cycling downhill. If brakes are not utilized when cycling downhill, the bicycle will speed up while taking a turn, causing the bike to lose all grip. It’s especially risky if another turn comes soon after. While certain turns may not need speed modulation, others may.
- It necessitates braking before the turn to slow it down to a sufficient speed, followed by a more regulated back brake drag through the turn to avoid the bicycle from speeding too rapidly. In these situations, the back brake is sometimes used extremely gently.
- Although if things go out of hand and you’re about to crash, using the back brake can assist. It can force the back wheels to skid, which is less dangerous and generally results in a slide rather than a fall down—in any case, colliding should be prevented in general.
All of these strategies, when used together, will result in a smoother and more pleasurable ride. A few of these braking tactics are simple, while others are difficult. Although, if you set the time to master these abilities, your speed and grip over the bicycle will improve drastically!
I hope it will make riders enjoy their rides even more, particularly while cycling downhill. Keep practicing, be cautious not to exceed your safety limit, and have fun riding.