That may have made sense back in the day
when we were riding fully rigid hardtails
with steep head angles and seatposts that
were a mile high, but nowadays, bikes are
designed with a geometry that actually
rewards you for being centered on the bike
and not scraping your butt on the rear tire
on steep descents. By consciously moving
your weight slightly forward on the bike on
descents, you increase the traction in the
front and will likely feel more confident.
The takeaway: Balanced body position
makes better braking.
Rather than simply thinking about
placing your weight back, think about
moving your weight off the handlebar and
driving it into your feet. This will not only
increase your traction, it will also keep your
weight distribution centered.
The takeaway: Heavy feet on descents.
EASY DOES IT
With all this talk of using your brakes
more, it would be easy to get carried
away—and then carried off in an ambulance. We don’t want either for any rider.
It’s best to use a smooth and constant
braking motion in nearly every situation
rather than a quick and jerky motion at the
last second. Believe it or not, many of the
riders who feather their brakes almost con-
stantly are the ones who are quicker. Think
of your brakes as “speed modulators” rath-
er than stopping devices.
The takeaway: Don’t panic brake.
There is no worse time to hit the panic
brake than at the apex of a turn. Your
wheels will lock. You will likely lose control
and possibly crash. Rather than blistering
into a turn and hoping you will be able to
hit it, think about your exit speed. Think
about the quickest way out of the corner
rather than the fastest way you can enter
it. You will likely find the best method is to