A little about the benefits of the rear brake
Since my articles are aimed at novice cyclists, on the pages of the site I constantly struggle with the extremely wrong opinion among newbies that the front brake on a bicycle is extremely dangerous and in order not to roll over over the handlebar, it is better not to use it at all.
And I, apparently, in the process of convincing about the importance of the front brake, somewhat hmm overdid it, because some readers understood this to mean that I urge to abandon the rear brake altogether.
I hope that no one will dispute the postulate “The main brake on the bike is front” (if in doubt, please read it). However, to be clear, it is necessary to talk a little about the contribution that the rear brake makes to the overall braking system.
Learn to feel the brakes
On steep descents, braking is a kind of art to find the edge of the wheel lock, both rear and front, and the worse the grip, the more important it is.
It is unlikely that any recommendations can be given here, except for the development of reflexes and the acquisition of flair. But for example, I can advise such a technique when braking backwards on a descent. try to brake impulsively: quickly squeeze all the way and release the handle, this will allow you to determine the blocking edge by wheel micro drifts, in the process you will understand with what effort you need to press the brake so as not to block the wheel but constantly be on the edge.
With the front brake, in principle, you can also train in a similar way, but it is better not to approach the wheel blocking itself, but to stop in the effort on the handle when the deceleration has become quite intense.
While the front brake does act as the primary brake on the bike, the rear brake adds at least a third of the braking force to the total stopping contribution. Accurately working with both brakes, you will slow down much faster.
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On a steep descent
Going down the hill, you must remember that the role of the rear brake increases, because the front wheel can break with heavy braking (I am not even talking about what you can be thrown over the steering wheel). Therefore, you need to shift your weight back and smoothly, but firmly press the rear brake lever, gradually connecting in front.
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On a flat road
At the moment of the beginning of braking, the rear of the bicycle is unloaded, the center of mass is shifted forward, and when using one front brake, everything that remains behind the axis of the front wheel, under the action of inertia, tends to rotate around this center of mass. In simple terms, the “butt” wants to overtake the front. the rear wheel of the bike tends to go now to the right, then to the left, turning the bike across the road.
Rear brake is important too, especially on mountain bikes
The only thing that keeps the rear wheel from this behavior is friction. the more slippery the road, the higher the speed and the more intense the braking, the more likely the rear wheel will become unstable when decelerating. Ideally, when the road is absolutely flat, the movement is straight, and the grip is maximum, we will not even notice the absence of a rear brake.
Now let’s see what happens if we connect smooth backward braking to the intensively braking front. The rear wheel, having received a deceleration impulse, will be as if pulled up from behind by an invisible rope that keeps the bike from yawing.
If you press the rear brake harder, then the wheel will block, and it, having lost grip on the road, will begin to rotate around the center of mass, leading the bike into a skid. You can stop this by immediately releasing the rear brake and immediately applying it to stabilize the rear of the bike.