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How to Stop Bike on Descent if Brakes Fail?

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How to Stop Bike on Descent if Brakes Fail?

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Old 02-10-18, 04:40 PM
  #26  
MikeyMK
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Yes, but then you have the choice of cable calipers that stick, or rim brakes that are comparatively rubbish.
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Old 02-11-18, 10:35 AM
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Bad situation and I've never tried this deliberately, but when something wraps around the cogs on the rear it tends to lock the wheel up. Flop a jacket or strap back there.
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Old 02-11-18, 10:45 AM
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Don't leave home without one.
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Old 02-11-18, 10:47 AM
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They put deep, loose gravel run off pits on long Sierra descents in the California mountains to be there when Trucks lost their Brakes..

I have not ever lost braking on my bicycles , I keep my gear in top functioning condition. the key is; Maintenance and safety checks before each ride..




....
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Old 02-11-18, 10:54 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
They put deep, loose gravel run off pits on long Sierra descents in the California mountains to be there when Trucks lost their Brakes..

I have not ever lost braking on my bicycles , I keep my gear in top functioning condition. the key is; Maintenance and safety checks before each ride..




....
+1

Although, I'd say that I have never had a problem with rim brakes. I have disk brakes on my MTB and have also never had any problems. Maintenance is key.

As an aside, I wonder if disk brake systems that use mineral oil as opposed to brake fluid are more prone to overheating. Not sure about this.
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Old 02-11-18, 12:25 PM
  #31  
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While folks alude to poor maintenance as the primary issue, and are busy pointing to disc brakes... I have had good salmon Coolstop pads fade on a long descent while touring. I did retain just enough braking to slow, but doubt I could have stopped. This was with a full touring load.

Just sayin' there ARE other possible failures.
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Old 02-11-18, 12:34 PM
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Like an anti-lock, braking technology does, a pulsed application and release, will let disc or rim cool ..

I don't win money getting to the bottom of the hill first, so I moderate my speed.. without needing braking so strongly all at once..
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Old 02-11-18, 12:39 PM
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This thread really scares me. I ride my (Ultegra hydraulic) brakes like a clinically paranoid grandmother, and have never had even a hint of any problem in a very hilly area, but still...
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Old 02-11-18, 12:54 PM
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This is good to think about because as in this situation they fail right at the time you need them and since you're already going too fast, there's no time to cycle through all of the conversion requirements of all of the main religions one after the other so it's probably best to just pick one now... e.g., one of the more popular that entails very little skepticism or even much common sense is the religion of global warming alarmism.
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Old 02-11-18, 03:10 PM
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To start with, this is a hypothetical question about something extremely unlikely to happen on a two brake bicycle.

The systems are independent, and even if not in the best condition, the odds against of catastrophic failure at the same time are staggering. Yes, one can fail, and often will, but that gives you plenty of time to bring the bike under control and consider your options relating to continuing with only one brake, ie. walk down steep hills, pick up and carry a rock to use as a brake shoe on the front tire, or just hone for a ride.

If riding with only one brake which fails, the shoe on tire behind the fork may be one of the poorer options. It can compromise steering, and has a high risk of causing an endo if not modulated well. Also consider the reality that the action of the wheel would be to increase braking, so the likelihood of rider error is increased.

A better option is putting the left foot against the rear tire at the chainstay, Here the worst that can happen is locking the wheel and dumping to the side. This will likely cause road rash, and possibly some other injuries, but side falls are generally safer than endos.

Other options include riding it out using posture to maximize wind drag, looking for a soft landing spot, looking for a potential turnoff toward the uphill side, etc.

So, IMO it's best and easy enough to prevent this scenario altogether, but ride smart once you find yourself down to one brake, being ready to deal with it if that one fails too.

BTW- if we look at causes of injury on bikes,and consider the level of risk we assume every day by riding in the first place, the risk if dual brake failure is so low that it wouldn't even amount to a statistical blip.
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Old 02-11-18, 05:08 PM
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After reading this I took my new drop bar mountain bike out for a long downhill ride, and was even more paranoid than usual.

But one thing I thought about:

Originally Posted by raria View Post
Definitely brake fade. I was 30 meters behind him and I could smell it.
There is no smell from bike brake pads. They aren't made of asbestos. So what is going on?
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Old 02-11-18, 05:29 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
There is no smell from bike brake pads. They aren't made of asbestos. So what is going on?
If the only thing we could smell is asbestos you would have a point.

But human noses are not a one-note wonder.

When I cook, I smell then taste.

-mr. bill
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Old 02-11-18, 05:32 PM
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When I was a kid my bike wouldn't stop. Never figured out why but my mama bought me a new pair of shoes and the same day I used them to stop the bike by putting them between the front forks and onto the tire. Wore a hole in both shoes soles. She was not a happy person from that. I had to wear them for a good while until I got another pair.
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Old 02-11-18, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
If the only thing we could smell is asbestos you would have a point.

But human noses are not a one-note wonder.

When I cook, I smell then taste.

-mr. bill
As I was rolling down the hill, riding the brakes to the point that the pads have become glazed (I was trying to push it), I couldn't smell anything from the bike. I did smell someone using spray paint quite a distance away, so I don't think it was my nose at fault.

I'm calling B.S. on this story.
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Old 02-11-18, 06:37 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Heh, Ted Shred shows how. But you might be doomed if you aren't wearing Vans shoes...
And he never really does stop.
Converse all stars work just as well when Iwas a kid.

Not so sure about my Giro Trans though.
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Old 02-11-18, 07:50 PM
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This is awesome. We now have a new dimension in the disc vs rim brake argument.
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Old 02-11-18, 11:01 PM
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I thought that the first serious objection to hydraulic disc brakes from the get-go was the rotor overheating and the fluid boiling, leading to failure on long descents. People could lose one, then doing the same thing lose the other, and were cautioned to feather the brakes, and let off periodically on big hills. My impression was that those problems were mostly solved, but not completely.

So I didn't think it was new, nor unusual for both brakes to fail. Or did I imagine that history?
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Old 02-12-18, 01:58 PM
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I remember reading in an older book that one way to stop a bike when the brakes had failed was to spin the handlebars to get the front wheel sideways and let the front wheel and forks collapse into the ground! How would you practice that maneuver?
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Old 02-12-18, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mgb View Post
I remember reading in an older book that one way to stop a bike when the brakes had failed was to spin the handlebars to get the front wheel sideways and let the front wheel and forks collapse into the ground! How would you practice that maneuver?
You don't even want to try.

Turning the front wheel sideways is a 100% sure way to cause an endo.
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Old 02-12-18, 03:19 PM
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Old 02-12-18, 05:33 PM
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Straddle the bike on the top tube. Put both feet on the ground to slow down. Pray that your flip-flops have enough padding to do the job. Well, at least this was how we did it when riding down a steep hill without brakes.
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Old 02-13-18, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
There is no smell from bike brake pads. They aren't made of asbestos. So what is going on?
The smell of someone ****ting themself.
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Old 02-13-18, 08:57 AM
  #48  
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Look for a long, steep uphill driveway or side road.
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Old 02-13-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
As I was rolling down the hill, riding the brakes to the point that the pads have become glazed (I was trying to push it), I couldn't smell anything from the bike. I did smell someone using spray paint quite a distance away, so I don't think it was my nose at fault.

I'm calling B.S. on this story.
Assuming you're going fast enough, "the smell" will be subject to airflow. If you're driving a trash truck, you're not going to smell the crap in the back unless the wind is blowing faster from behind you than the speed at which you're traveling. Is it possible you were traveling fast enough that the wind wasn't blowing the smell back up to your nose?
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Old 02-13-18, 12:44 PM
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This scenario sounds like a great time to practice surfing the top
tube because you are already screwed.
Might as get some style points and go out with a bang.
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