Sam Song

Having front brake off while on rear

13 posts in this topic

So I have this bad habit of locking my front brake whenever I go on the back wheel, that I am trying to break. 

I tried to ride briefly yesterday with me intentionally trying to have the front brake off, and it felt like I somehow have less power on my bike since I have one less finger gripping bar with the front brake index finger off the lever. I noticed it in rear to rear gapping, where I could not get as far with the front brake off. 

I tried to do the pedal up to rear with the front brake off and it was not nearly as bad, but still feeling like I have less power because of the front brake index finger not gripping. Side hop was not an issue with the front brake off thankfully. 

Has anyone felt this way when trying to do trials moves with the front brake off when unnecessary? Would you still do the rear to rear gaps with the front brake off? 

Any tips on relearning how to ride with the front brake let off?

 

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I have been guilty of this in the past and still am sometimes. Do you think it’s to do with confidence of not gripping all fingers hard or physical that you aren’t able to grip as hard and throw the bike? 

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With taps I found i used to have the front brake on slightly and and would cause me some issues so I started riding with my right hand just gripping the bar and not covering the front brake, it worked to get me out of the habit.

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Why is it a "bad habit" that needs breaking?

 

It's weird to hear people are this way, I was always the opposite. Always rode deathgrip unless I actually needed either of the brakes.
Not going to front? Only cover the rear brake.
Manual line? Cover neither.

Covering brakes I wasn't using made me feel as you feel when not covering them - lack of power.
This caused me some issues with hooks. I had to do the first part full deathgrip or else I didn't clear the front wheel, then after hitting it I would change grips whilst swapping up to rear to grab a fistful of levers. Made it work, but I knew it was harder for me than it should've been.
Not an issue any more, of course :lol: 

 

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3 hours ago, aener said:

Why is it a "bad habit" that needs breaking?

 

It's weird to hear people are this way, I was always the opposite. Always rode deathgrip unless I actually needed either of the brakes.
Not going to front? Only cover the rear brake.
Manual line? Cover neither.

Covering brakes I wasn't using made me feel as you feel when not covering them - lack of power.
This caused me some issues with hooks. I had to do the first part full deathgrip or else I didn't clear the front wheel, then after hitting it I would change grips whilst swapping up to rear to grab a fistful of levers. Made it work, but I knew it was harder for me than it should've been.
Not an issue any more, of course :lol: 

 

I'm the same as you, I'm death grip on the front brake unless I need to use it, often swapping from death grip mid move.

That's riding street though, on natural I tend to cover both brakes as things can take you by surprise 

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10 hours ago, Matt24. said:

I have been guilty of this in the past and still am sometimes. Do you think it’s to do with confidence of not gripping all fingers hard or physical that you aren’t able to grip as hard and throw the bike? 

I think it is both. The first time I got on the rear wheel with out the death grip on my front brake hand, I felt less confident.

It makes sense that I feel less powerful since the index finger does a large part of the grip strength as well. 

6 hours ago, aener said:

Why is it a "bad habit" that needs breaking?

 

It's weird to hear people are this way, I was always the opposite. Always rode deathgrip unless I actually needed either of the brakes.
Not going to front? Only cover the rear brake.
Manual line? Cover neither.

Covering brakes I wasn't using made me feel as you feel when not covering them - lack of power.
This caused me some issues with hooks. I had to do the first part full deathgrip or else I didn't clear the front wheel, then after hitting it I would change grips whilst swapping up to rear to grab a fistful of levers. Made it work, but I knew it was harder for me than it should've been.
Not an issue any more, of course :lol: 

 

I only thought it was a bad habit to break first for the aesthetics reason since it is more stylish to see the front wheel rolling when on the rear in riding videos, but also that I presumed not locking the front wheel when unnecessary can "save" the arm to last longer. 

When you say deathgrip, do you mean the fingers wrapped on the grip without the lever, or the brake locked?

 

So to be clear, you guys do death grip unless you are tapping or needing to do front wheel moves where you consciously have to control the front brake?

As in for rear to rear gaps, you would do death grip when you are landing it right?

 

Edited by Sam Song

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Sounds like the guys above are and they are far more capable than I am!! However I have always covered both brakes and thought most people did but I could be wrong - that is an assumption I made 17 years ago when I first started riding... not sure what grips you are running but I always found using thinner grips gave me a bit more confidence. Not super thin but enough that you can feel your fingers nearly touching the palm as they come round. 
 

I guess like most things you’ll need to learn what’s comfortable and go with it. I don’t think there is a formula to one or the other being a huge difference to riding - if you like the style but want to cover the brake you’ll just have to stick with it until the confidence and strength in grip with 3 fingers returns..

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As a relative newcomer, I always thought it looked "cool" when a riders front wheel is in the air and it's just happily spinning round while they do their manual or gaps or whatever. In my mind it seemed to embody a more confident attitude - not death gripping both brakes for dear life.

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13 hours ago, Sam Song said:

I only thought it was a bad habit to break first for the aesthetics reason since it is more stylish to see the front wheel rolling when on the rear in riding videos, but also that I presumed not locking the front wheel when unnecessary can "save" the arm to last longer. 

When you say deathgrip, do you mean the fingers wrapped on the grip without the lever, or the brake locked?

 

So to be clear, you guys do death grip unless you are tapping or needing to do front wheel moves where you consciously have to control the front brake?

As in for rear to rear gaps, you would do death grip when you are landing it right?

 

Ah. I see. That's fair enough - I can't speak on the arm pump issue but I could be persuaded to believe it might have an effect for some people. If it's just something you prefer the look of then go right ahead, but I wouldn't put too much effort into it if it's proving difficult and has no real benefit.
Deathgrip refers to fully gripping the bar - not touching the brake lever at all.

And yes, if I wasn't using a brake, I would grip the bar with a full fist.
A gap to rear: Three fingers and thumb on the bar, one finger on rear brake. Four fingers and thumb on bar - no fingers on front brake.

All those issues went away with riding brakeless, but I sometimes have the ridiculous and endlessly-amusing-for-other-people issue that sometimes if I ride someone else's bike with brakes, I use them to set up and then forget to let go of them on a sidehop or something, resulting on going over the bars for absolutely no visible reason :lol: 

Edited by aener
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I'm weird I guess, but I think stationary looks better.

And it's lighter than a rotating wheel ;)

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59 minutes ago, Adam@TartyBikes said:

I'm weird I guess, but I think stationary looks better.

And it's lighter than a rotating wheel ;)

Maybe the front end of modern bikes is so light that they want it to feel a bit heavier without actually being heavier to balance out the rear for a more even perceived weight distribution whilst keeping overall weight as low as possible? :lol: 

Edited by aener

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If you want to learn to not use the front brake just take it off or rotate the lever under the bar so it's out of reach for a bit

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I’m having exactly the same issue and I’ve noticed a long time ago but I haven’t really done anything to change it. I don’t feel weak when holding the bars with a full hand but it somehow feels weird and I feel like I have less control of the bike which isn’t a thing anyway.

I agree with @isitafox there - just take your front brake off and you’ll have no other option but to get used to it. Might end up learning frenchies as well haha.

Its definitely a thing you and I need to address though. Remember ages ago I was doing a pedal up and as per usual I had my front brake locked. I went too close to the wall and my front wheel hit the edge, so I ended up in a “superman” position nearly smashing my face in the wall. I knew a guy who broke his nose doing that and since then I’ve always been shitting myself when doing taps. If I had the brake free, I would have just done a touch up..

 

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