Forum home Mountain biking forum MTB beginners

Braking too much?

I CrashedI Crashed Posts: 2
edited November 2010 in MTB beginners

I'm Rob, 15. I have recently starting mountain biking but was a little worried that I am braking far too much.
I am only riding on a gentle track which I have ridden every weekend for about a month now, but have only just started going down steep hills etc.
Earlier today I attempted to ride down a narrow rocky path but fell face first into a hedge. I was just wondering if braking too much was the cause, and a common thing for beginners or if it's just me.
I am riding a Specialized Hardrock comp



  • very possibly, yes. MTBing is about weight or rather where you put it. braking hard on steep hills with out pitching your weight back, is a recipe for a face plant.
  • Also be careful how you brake!

    Sharp sudden braking leads to bikes stopping, if your weight isnt back you wont stop as fast as the bike= face plant hedge!

    Too much front brake and weight forward= face plant hedge

    Too much back brake= back end skids out= face plant hedge!

    The more you practice to better you will get (even if you just get better at finding soft places to land!
    Wheeze..... Gasp..... Ruddy hills.......
  • FSR_XCFSR_XC Posts: 2,258
    Momentum and balance will make all the difference to how your bike reacts and handles.


    I don't know exactly where you are living, but it might be worth you going out with a group like the Cornwall MTB Club. They meet every Sunday and there are a couple of people there that would help you with you bike handling etc.

    Alternatively One & All MTB meet at Bissoe Cafe of a Sunday and they have a trained coach.

    There is a fair chance someone will live close enough to give you a lift.

    Also check out the thread in MTB Rides - 'XC in Cornwall - any willing volunteers ?'
    Stumpjumper FSR 09/10 Pro Carbon, Genesis Vapour CX20 ('17)Carbon, Rose Xeon CW3000 '14, Raleigh R50
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    edited November 2010
    As long as you're not skidding everywhere, or braking in the wrong places (ie wet roots!) then it's not too bad a thing- most people brake too much, it's pretty much just a matter of degrees as to how much they overbrake, fairly few riders can honestly tell you they don't I reckon...

    But still, braking less means you'll need to pedal less for the same speed, and generally comes with experience and competence. So it's a good thing to work towards. Remember tyres only have so much grip and suspension only has so much control, and braking will be using up some of each.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Like others have said its a question of balance, both you and the bike. Sometimes you can move the bike around below you but quite often you will need to shift your weight forwards, backwards and side to side.

    Would second going out with a local club as you'll meet lots of other riders who will look after you and give you some pointers but also you'll learn some new routes and not need to worry about the navigation.

    Plus bikeradar have quite a few video's that you can watch and see just how much the pro's move around and shift their bodies whilst on the trail.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • Hi Rob,

    Looks like some good advice on this thread.
    Most important thing when you are learning is a good helmet!

    Other than that it's just practice, practice, practice. Get smooth on easier stuff and build up.
    Sometimes the fear kicks in and you may grab at your brakes which could add to your chaces of stacking it.

    Momentum is your friend, some sections of trail are easier when taken, let's say 'less slow' .
    I see some people attempting technical sections at a walking pace and not making it because it's much harder to balance at a really low speed.

    Best advice on here though is to find a group to go riding with and watch the good guys to see how they ride stuff.
    Learn from thier experience.

  • If you ever have to ask yourself if you're braking too much, chances are you're braking way too much.

    Off the brakes!!!
    I had to beat them to death with their own shoes...
    HiFi Pro Carbon '09

    LTS DH '96

    The Mighty Dyna-Sore - The 90's?
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    If you are loosing grip on a DH, braking will only add to the problem. Grip is finite, braking increases the demand.

    Try to get in to the habit of doing all the braking up front before you get to the difficult bit and then use your brakes to affect the stability handling and manage your speed.
  • DubcatDubcat Posts: 831
    As a fellow beginner i empathise. This weekend i tried braking less and it made a dramatic difference to my riding. When I allowed the bike to pick up a little more speed i found my balance improved tremendously and my arms ached a lot less. Everything got better. I would then brake as much as poss in between the speed bursts when there were not rocks or roots around to kill me.

    I still brake too much but really felt the improvement in my riding when i reduced this. When you brake not only are you stopping the bike from flowing over the course but you are also forcing a lot of weight forward if you are pointing downhill. Your arms and body become tense too and it's this last bit that was causing me to crash more than anything else. Soon as i let the bike get more speed my body and arms relaxed, I let the bike do it's thing, and life just became a lot easier. It's a scary thing to do though at first..
    Well it is for me anyway.
    2010 Specialized Rockhopper
    2012 Bianchi Infinito
Sign In or Register to comment.