Why having the most powerful brakes isn’t always a good thing

Hello. How are we all then? Feeling a bit better this year? Good.

Now, I have this mountain bike. Its got some really very powerful hydraulic disc brakes on it, from the Shimano Saint stable. That’s got to be a good thing, right? Well, usually that’s considered to be a very good thing – especially compared to my other bike, whose v-brakes are just downright scary. But thats not always the case.

So there I was yesterday, pedalling like a ballistic missile down the trail, clattering through the roots, really really going for it, when SLAM!

An overhanging bramble bush grabs a brake lever. All of a sudden my very powerful front brake finds that its being applied – hard. I’m still going forwards, but my front wheel really isn’t going anywhere fast, except perhaps sliding sideways out from beneath me. And now I’m lying face down in the dirt and the bike appears to be on top of me. Someone behind me is laughing. Wha…?

I’m really not happy about that happening, so after getting up and making sure I’m still in one piece, I take it out on the rest of the trail, which quite frankly rocked. Its the best way to make sure it doesn’t knock your confidence too much.

Today I seem to have a nice selection of bruises all the way up my right hand side and various strained muscles. Not only that but I have a feeling I may have ruined my nice red RaceFace jacket – seeing pink bubbles in the bottom of the washing machine isn’t right is it? Bah. Oh well – what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Or something.

Oh and Grant – This was not some sort of karmic balancing for my not going up to Scotland to play on bikes with you lot. I was going to crash either way. I think I was due a good one.

12 Responses to “Why having the most powerful brakes isn’t always a good thing”

1. grant

Crashing is a shitter for sure.

No karma involved. :-)

2. Olly

Nah, they’re alright. They show you where the limit is – and where the overhanging brambles are ;-) You gotta get straight back up and go for it though or that’s your confidence down the drain.

3. matt

My brakes were the opposite to yours, yesterday…
going down hill, pull lever.. NOTHING..oh poop…. wheeeeeee speed rocks.. weeeeee oh i can’t see anymore ARGHHH dog.. wheeeeee oh GATE… sliiiiiiiiide ;)

4. Olly

LOL! Nice.

My friend Gary is trying to make his Orange 222 as light as he can (within reason – its got to be a rough tough DH bike after all).

He’s got a Ti spring for his 5th Element and Ti bolts throughout the rest of the bike. He’s running tubeless wheels. He’s taken off the floating brake arm. He’s looking into getting Ti springs for his 888 forks. He’s even stripped off the bright orange paint.

And seeing as they’re about 1lb lighter than his Shimano XT’s, he’s got some pimpy Hope Mono4 brakes for it. You’ll never guess what: SQUEEEAAAALLLLLL!!!!! ;o)

5. matt

Has he got a flite saddle yet?

P.S. what did you actually do to your jacket?
I just hose my clobber off and let it dry, sometimes it;s a bit crispy when it’s dries.

6. Olly

Come to think of it, he has just got himself a super-light saddle. Brett’s got his old one.

I just chucked my jacket in the washing machine – its possible that I might then have turned the thingy to the wrong setting and given it a very hot wash. It still fits OK and kept me warm today. Its just not quite the vivid red it once was, and could be said to be verging on pink :o( The Azonic logo on my shorts certainly is. God knows if its still waterproof.

7. matt

Certainly does sound like you fried it :(
They shoujld make washing machines for blokes with just a single button ’40degrees’ :)

8. Dale

See… that would of never of happened if you’d been walking :)

9. rjw

40 degree wash is no use for a lot of cycling kit though, that needs a 30 degree setting. Especially Sealskinz socks.

Why do I know these things?

10. Olly

Alas this machine goes no colder than 40° :-(

Why are we discussing washing machines?!

11. rjw

Because we are sad blokes with no life?

Or maybe it’s because we are uber-rad extreme-sports dudes who generate more washing than normal, and own pimpy technical clothing which needs more care?

I think I prefer the latter reason.

12. Olly

LOL! Yeah, I’ll go with that one :o)