What to Know About Using Front Bike Brakes vs. Back Brakes

What to Know About Using Front Bike Brakes vs. Back Brakes

July 28, 2021

On the surface, stopping a bike seems like it’s pretty straightforward. You engage one handbrake to stop the front wheel and the other lever to stop the back wheel. However, it’s not always that simple.

This post will cover what you need to know about front and back bike brakes.

Front brakes

Your front bike brakes have more stopping power than the rear brakes and are your go-to brakes for stopping in an emergency. But you need to be careful when slamming on the front brakes because the sudden stop in motion can cause you to fly over the handlebars. To avoid flipping over, keep your arms rigid and lean back slightly to control both your bike and body.

When riding a new bike for the first time, start slowly in a parking lot or on an empty street. While peddling, gently apply the front brake to get a feel for how responsive the brake is. You’ll find that some bikes, particularly brand-new ones, have more sensitive brakes than older bikes.

Back brakes

Because the front brake is better at stopping the bike, experienced riders use their front brake about 95 percent of the time. But there are circumstances in which using back bike brakes is preferable to those in the front.

If the road is slippery, using the front brake can cause the bike to skid and lead to a fall. As long as you know how to control your bike while using the back brake, you’re less likely to slide out when braking.

When riding on a bumpy surface, especially if you’re going downhill, avoid using the front brake. If you apply the brake while going over a bump, there’s a chance that the bike will land on a stopped front wheel, which will cause you to fly over the handlebars.

Using both brakes together

Applying both brakes at the same time is typically not advised because the bike can get wobbly and hard to control. That said, engaging both brakes at once is advised in some situations.

If you’re traveling downhill for an extended period, avoid riding the front brake the whole time. This can cause the brake to overheat and possibly blow out your front tire. Instead, alternate between using the front and back brakes, or engage them both to reduce the strain on the front wheel.

Using both brakes is also advised when you’re braking while leaning into a turn. Using both brakes reduces the likelihood that either the front or back tire will skid out and cause a crash. We recommend slowing before your turn to completely avoid the risk of sliding out.

How are your brakes holding up?

Come down to Big Momma’s Bicycles if your back or front bike brakes are worn or if the cables are too loose. We offer a variety of repair services to ensure your bike is in the best possible shape and that you’re always safe while out on your ride. Reach out or stop by to learn more!

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