Brake less and you Will go faster. Hey, that’s simple logic! If I don’t brake as often, I’ll go faster on a mountain bike. Yes, but have you ever actually focused solely on constantly braking less during your ride?
You’d better try it then, because it’s one of the easiest ways to go faster and it doesn’t really take any extra energy to do it. Just a bit of brain power. And as a bonus, while this tip helps you brake less, it also teaches you to become better at reading the trail conditions in the process.
How? All that extra speed on your wheels makes everything come at you that bit quicker, and that pushes your mind to get better at making even quicker decisions to help you overcome those trail features and keep that extra speed.
So, instead of trying to ‘think about being faster somehow’ as your riding along the trails, focus on braking less using the techniques below. This will increase your speed and then you’ll have no choice but to learn to think quicker to keep the advantage!
Think About This…
Whether you’re an experienced mountain biker or a newbie looking for some beginner mountain biking tips…
If you want to go faster on a mountain bike, it’s not enough just to think about doing more of the physical things that give you more speed, like pedaling stronger or faster. Learning to go faster is also about minimizing, or doing less of the things that slow you down, like braking.
So brake less and you will go faster and keep more of your momentum. But, keep in mind as with all things mountain biking…
It’s How You Do it That Makes the Difference
Braking less or not braking at all at the right places on the trail will help you
- Ride smoother using less energy
- Roll/ride further up the next hill
- Overcome more trail obstacles with less effort
…just to name a few. So, how is the right way to think it?
Thinking Your Way to Speed
To keep more momentum on your next ride keep asking yourself this same question before every corner, every obstacle and before every time you go to squeeze the brake levers:
“Do I really need to brake here?”
Keep questioning yourself in your head and you’ll start to realise over and over again that you can
- brake less
- later, or
- not at all
Braking is habit forming. So too is braking less. So break that bad habit of braking just in case you need to slow down, and rather work on the new habit of not braking unless you have to.
Out of Control
When first including this tip in your ride you might feel like braking less puts you out of control. If that’s you then try rolling more instead.
In many cases a light and quick squeeze on the brake lever then rolling to lose speed, instead of a full stab of the brakes like what you used to do, is all that is required. Remember, if those big handfuls of brake aren’t really needed, then they are costing you energy and momentum.
And what’s more, if you over-brake a hundred times a ride, that’s a hundred times you need to speed up again more than you have to. So try rolling more, then include braking less as your confidence increases.
Do a few runs of the same trail to feel the difference of braking less. That feeling is speed, my friend. Speed and momentum. Remember it. And also remember this…
More Momentum = Better Balance
The more momentum you have, the better your balance on the bike will be. Suddenly those technical turns are easier because you’re going faster and have more momentum to keep you upright. As well as that, your new found momentum is helping you blast further up the hills before the tough pedaling starts.
All because you started focusing on only braking when you really, really need to. A simple change of habit. Free speed.
That was easy wasn’t it? Singletrack here we come!
- find a familiar trail and start braking slightly less or slightly later. Really feel the difference and the changes that more momentum brings to your rides. Question yourself often. All the time. Play this game regularly and more and more speed will happen.
- realise your full speed potential with one-finger front braking
- grab some high speed cornering skills