Mountain Bike Braking Technique – Braking with Less Dive


This mountain bike braking technique will help you ride with more balance, flow and control over obstacles on the trail.  Here’s why:

In your quest to go faster and hold more speed on the trail, you’ll often try to brake later and in a shorter distance. And if you try to push the limits too far by braking too much and too late, you can easily cause excessive fork dive.

Too much fork dive right before ruts, rocks or logs that you can’t jump, perhaps like the one in this video below, can catch you by surprise.  All of a sudden you have far less front travel and the bike is pulling you over the bar. Then, you panic and grab even more brake, and BANG! Your front wheel hits the obstacle and stops instantly while you go over the bars! If you do manage to stay on the bike you get bounced out of control all over the place.

Here’s how to prevent all that with proper mountain bike braking technique so that you have more suspension, control and momentum over obstacles.

Proper Mountain Bike Braking Technique

This technique uses the Front Braking mountain bike braking technique.  If you’re not a Front Braker, click on the link below the video to find out more.  Front braking is one of the keys to advancing your mountain biking braking technique.

  1. On approach to an obstacle you need to brake for, start front braking a bit sooner than you normally would, with a little rear braking as well. Apply about two to three times more braking force through your front brake, compared to your rear brake.
  2. Shift slightly rearward, low off the saddle to combat any heavy braking forces and keep a relaxed grip on the bar.
  3. Once the heavy braking is done, return the fork high in its travel by easing off the front brake earlier than you normally would.  This video below provides a good example of this.
  4. While easing off the front brake, apply more rear brake if you need to slow some more. You’re going slower now, so there’s far less chance that the rear wheel will skid.
  5. Then, a couple of metres before the obstacle, (or earlier if you’ve reached your approach speed) completely release the front brake, then the rear brake second.
  6. Your bike will contact the obstacle with balanced suspension, instead of half its front suspension.

It is crucial to be off the brakes by the time you contact the obstacle.  This will allow your bike to roll over the obstacle with active suspension, instead of bucking and bouncing with the brakes on.


More mountain bike braking technique tips:

How to Front Brake on a Mountain Bike
How to One Finger Brake on a Mountain Bike
The Heel Drop for Better Descending Control

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