intermediate riders are terrified of the front
brake sending them over the bars. While
it certainly can do that, not using it at all
will cripple your riding performance. When
slowing down, momentum causes much of
your weight to transfer to the front of the
bike so that most of your stopping power is
in the front wheel. If you only use your rear
brake, you will usually skid and likely lose
control. Most braking situations require a
combined application of the front and rear
brakes to stop quickest. If that scares you,
try getting used to using the front brake on
a familiar surface, like a parking lot, then
translate that to the trail.
The takeaway: Use the front brake
instead of skidding the rear one.
DON’T GET BACK
The classic advice is to get as far as
you can off the back on steep descents.
That makes plenty of sense, because it
puts your center of gravity back and will
keep you from going over the bars, right?
It’s true: These things that are made to slow you down can make you go
faster if used properly.
Use them both: Many riders
are afraid of the front brake,
because it might pitch them
over the bars. While that may be
somewhat true, the best riders
know that the most control is in
that scary front brake.