Ever encountered that situation where you grab a handfull of brakes and it feels like, or infact your wrist shoot forward on your grips and you hang on for dear life????? Your brake lever angles might not be ideal for your terrain and riding situations.
We have a lot of new Mountain bikers out there right now, so these tips/tricks are to help you Ride #MOREAWESOMER and stick with us all!
Old guard... maybe this will introduce something new to you!
When do you need your ability to absorb impacts and brace your forward momentum to be on point??? When standing in attack position, heading downhill and you are going heavy on the brakes, that's when. So, the old school way of setting up your brakes while you are pedaling around on flat ground (I assume a remanence of road bike fitting) just doesn't cut it anymore. That old school way also had you riding with a finger on the brake lever all the time (again, not ideal these day... brakes just slow you down, hang on and go faster) , so it was assumed you wanted a straight line from arm, through wrist to finger on lever. But when you start to go downhill, or brace for braking you move your weight back or lower and all of a sudden you are trying to wrap your hands around the bar to grab the brakes. This will weaken you grip, force your elbows up and seriously hinder your ability to brake, control and brace yourself.... so, move those levers up.
HOW FAR UP????
This will depend on a lot of things, but namely your terrain and your body position when braking downhill to brace yourself. Here in Ontario, that doesn't mean horizontal (0 degrees) like perhaps some west coast riders, but a happy starting point I have found is between 25 and 35 degrees drop.
Start there, ride and watch for a few things.
1. Do you feel braced and strong when descending and when applying the brakes heavily?
2. Under a sudden hard brake application do you feel like your wrists are wanting to shoot forward over the lever? If so, perhaps you need to bring the levers up a little bit more.
3. On long descents where you brake a lot, do you get arm pump or baby finger fatigue? Your brakes might be too steep still, move them up a little
4. Can you not drop your heels or drop your arms to attack the downs??? Still too steep, move those levers up a little.
5. When descending and you need to grab the brakes, do you feel like you have to reach over the brake to grab the lever? Maybe bring them down a little. But if that only happens on the steepest trail locally, you might be ok to leave them where they are.
Get out there, make sure your on-bike tool is with you.. ride, make changes, ride again and figure out what works best for you, your terrain and your riding styles.
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