Australian Mountain Bike - - Front Page - WORDS: JARED RANDO IMAGES: DAMIAN BREACH

The ba­sic el­e­ments of brak­ing on a moun­tain bike are pretty sim­ple – brake early, try not to skid and use both your brakes. Then there’s the golden rule – never take your finger off the brakes! That said, when it comes down to the de­tails, it’s some­thing which is re­ally easy for rid­ers, and es­pe­cially begin­ner to in­ter­me­di­ate rid­ers, to get wrong. Ef­fec­tive brak­ing is not only im­por­tant to go fast, but also ex­tremely im­por­tant to be safe on the bike.

If I’m teach­ing a novice how to ride, I al­ways start out with the above men­tioned points, but a lot of brak­ing ef­fec­tively also ties in with your setup of the brakes. There’s a lot of per­sonal choice thrown in the mix when it comes to lever reach and throw, but for me there’s one thing I re­ally try to drive home and that’s one finger brak­ing (with your in­dex finger), and en­sur­ing your brakes aren’t set up too low. A rock climb­ing friend told me he uses his mid­dle finger to brake be­cause it’s the strong­est finger on the hand. I told him I pre­fer to have my strong­est finger hold­ing onto my bars… These days, if you can’t slow down with just your in­dex finger, it’s time to get your brakes checked. Mod­ern brakes are just so pow­er­ful and even the most ba­sic brakes should slow you down with one finger. Ul­ti­mately though, the pref­er­ence is yours but here’s some tips which I find use­ful to slow down fast.

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