How to Brake Just Like the Pros

Do you want to know how to brake on a mountain bike just like the Pros?  Would you like to learn the correct braking technique that not only gives you more control, but actually helps you go faster on a mountain bike?

Yes please. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll learn the Pro mountain bikers’ three braking secrets. Secrets so powerful that when applied correctly will give you advanced braking skill and more control than ever before to help you go faster on a mountain bike.

The 3 Secrets to Better Braking on a Mountain Bike

Much of a Pro mountain biker’s control, skill and speed lies in…

1. the way they use their brakes

2. the way they think about braking, and    3. the way they set-up their brake controls on the handlebar

These three secrets are key to developing greater speed and control on a mountain bike.  This page covers the first secret – the way the Pros use their brakes.  You’ll find the second secret here and the third secret here. BUT FIRST, let’s get started with secret number one.  Welcome to the world of…

One Finger Braking

One Finger Braking

Why One Finger Braking is King

Modern mountain bikes, particularly those with hydraulic brakes, have a hidden treat. Their brake systems and brake levers are specially designed to be used by one finger only, in any situation. Moving your brake levers inward so that you’re only using your pointer fingers will give you

  • better bike control
  • better feel for what the brakes and tires are doing
  • greater confidence in all of your riding, compared to two or three finger braking.

And unless this skill is learned, your mountain biking may never reach the level you want it to. Seriously.  But, hey, it’s all good.  Let’s do something about it.  But first I’ll explain a little bit more why…

One Finger Braking Gives You More Control

With One Finger Braking at least three fingers from each hand are sharing the job of holding the bar, even during gear shifting. Because of that…

  • your hands will feel more secure and balanced on the bar.  No more straining your little fingers just to hold on
  • you’ll ride with a more relaxed grip.  Less hand and arm tension and stiffness will improve your flow with the bike
  • gear shifting will become easier

All that will combine to increase your control and confidence on the bike.  Because of that you’ll push your limits more and you’ll use the brakes less, keeping more momentum in every ride you do.

Special tire code for the MTBtips Community:

Use the voucher code MTBTIPS online HERE at Chain Reaction to receive an EXTRA 10% OFF ALL tire prices. NOTE: The code expires at 12pm (BST) on 29th July.

Take the Leap and Switch

Take the leap and switch to one finger braking.  You may surprise yourself by how quickly you get used to it. That nervous feeling of not enough steering control at high speed…Gone!

Super Tip: Better Hold = More Control. Maximize your hold and control with two mountain biking gear essentials

1. full-fingered mountain bike gloves – with non-slip silicon grip pads under the braking fingers to aid handlebar and brake lever control

2. quality lock-on mountain bike grips – good lock-on handlebar grips lock firmly on the handlebar.  If your grips spin or slip on the bar then it’s hard to keep control of the bike.

Where to Next:

How to Use the Front Braking Technique – Braking Secret no.2
Proper Brake and Shifter Setup for One Finger Braking – Braking Secret no.3

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