I believe many people have the problem of going over their handlebars while they tried to stop their bikes in a sudden which may lead to a slip or falling off the bike. It’s a common sense among those experienced cyclists that front brakes are more efficiently while you need to stop the bike in a very short time---the bike can stop three times faster while using front brakes than using rear brakes! Some cyclists rarely touch their front brakes and only use their rear brakes to stop the bike for that they are afraid of turnover on the road especially when an emergency happens. But these people have no idea about using rear brakes only will lead to bike-drift which is as dangerous as bike-turnover!
Some people wonder is there any way to use front brakes safely and wisely on road in that as we all know, it’s very, very hard for us to brake in a sudden and to brake safely. Of course there it is! In fact, your front brake is the most efficient one when it comes to stopping the bike, not using it is a waste tons of stopping power. Some methods to use front brakes efficiently are as followed.
1. Keep your arms stiff.
We get most of our stopping power from the front brake, especially in a panic stop. But keep our arms stiff so that our weight doesn’t shift forward in which way we would brake pretty hard. If we are on a tri-bike or time-trial bike, our weight is way forward anyway, so hard braking on the front isn’t such a great thing to do in that case.
2. Brace yourself then squeeze your front brake lever firmly.
In the unlikely event, your rear wheel leaves the ground and still rising, relaxing your grip. If that’s not quick enough move your weight back when braking.
In practice it takes a lot of efforts to lift the rear wheel especially braking from the hoods where there is less leverage, and that happens slowly enough you can back off. In practice people only go over the handlebars when they forget to brace themselves and as a result, they stop with the bicycle. Pay attention to straight arms with locked elbows, and shift your weight behind the seat to allow harder braking before rear-wheel lift becomes a true. In that article Jan Heine deemed that velocity on the aerodynamic drag is helpful to keep the rear wheels on the ground, which with the lift occurring at the end of the brake.
3. Be aware of your positioning.
You need to lower your body, and put your weight at the rear of your bike, also use your hands to push the front wheel forward in order to loose your bike with the same speed inertia.
4. pay attention to the signal.
Besides really odd situation, using two brake, and brake gradually instead of grabbing the levers in panic.
The front brake has most power to stop the bike while the rear brake adds stability. Why? Imagine that the bike is on the verge of a flip. The rear wheel has little contact with the road. You may think it locked, or when the rear wheels lose its grip, the bike fishtailing may occur. These are your signal to relax the front brake a little. When the rear wheel sits back down and you can stay upright.
What if you miss this signal? Physics gives you a second defense line. The moment your rear wheel actually leaves the road, it stops providing any braking whatsoever. So the total braking force will be reduced a little, and you won’t actually turn over, well, not for a few more milliseconds, and that lifting of the rear wheel is a signal to relax your front brake which I hope you will not miss. Now it starts to matter that you haven't suddenly grabbed the front brake with full force, because if the rear wheel lifts off while the braking force at the front increases dramatically, well, it's time to buy a helmet.
To some extent, you can practice this safely. Get up to a good speed, squeeze two brakes moderately, then squeeze the front brake harder and harder until eventually stop. Pay attention to the signals!
5. Get your weight as low and far back as possible.
The key to not go over your handlebars is to get your weight as low and far back as possible, to in fact ‘lean into’ the deceleration forces caused by braking.
It makes sense to adjust your balance accordingly-through getting your weight back and low if you consider deceleration as a negative acceleration. If your weight is high and forward, the way to front-brake safely is by doing it gently. If you’re able to get back far enough, you probably won’t be able to generate enough braking power to send you over the handlebars.
For what it’s worth, most of your braking force is on the front wheel. If not using it you need to extend your braking distance significantly which means taking on a different kind of risk- really, you will have a higher security sense knowing how to brake aggressively if you’re going fast enough that it’s an issue.
To get easier with using front brakes, consider practicing at a low speed, on a downward slope, preferably with dirt or grit to give a sliding sensation in which the slope will emulate deceleration forces, and require you to shift your weight backwards to avoid having all your weight on the front wheel and you can do it slowly. The benefit of this approach is that it gives you a feeling for what you’ll get at higher speeds, especially in wet or slick conditions, without having to do your learning there.
6. Let it “drag”
The bottom line is don’t grab the brake with all your efforts — let it “drag” by gradually increasing the pressure on the lever — and everything will be all right. I always recommend the “pulse” action which is similar to anti-lock brakes where you grip/release/grip/release both levers until you’re safe, rather than in rear-wheel skid mode, and it is definitely not going over the bars!
To practice for yourself, find a calm stretch of road where no unexpected risks would happen then concentrate on stopping using only your front brake. To do this perfectly, you had better slide your butt back off the seat a bit and brace in the drops on your palms, making sure not to let your weight slide forward over the bars under braking. As long as you keep your weight properly positioned on the bike I honestly suspect that there is no way to flip, and if you have good control of your braking force it’s pretty easy to modulate when the rear wheel starts leaving the ground. If you wonder where you’re at, feather the rear brake and wait to feel it skid. Just don’t be afraid of it and you’ll see that it’s not dangerous at all. Once you’re more comfortable practice panic stopping from a neutral riding position, you will see a big different in actual dangerous situations.
Of course there is - with caution. When doing deep, long descents on winding roads with rim brakes when I am presuming that no one wants to speed up, one should alternate between front and rear brakes to avoid overheating the rims/tires. On normal rides, I always use both at the same time.
9. Use both brakes at the same time.
The most effective way of slowing your bike down is to use your front brake. However, the best advice I think is to use both brakes at the same time while appalling different pressure to each depending on how fast you want to stop.
It is quite easy to go over the handlebars while using only your front brake when emergency stopping in panic so practice your position as well as using both of the brakes. The easiest way to put it is: the harder you brake the further back you need to push your weight. It is not an instinctive move, especially in panic so you need to practice straightening your arms while pushing your back behind your saddle while braking. Putting your hands on the drops also helps because it also pushes your weight down and your hands are more secure.
After viewing the methods above about how to use front brakes safely and wisely, have you learning something new which may do you a great favor when a panic stop occurs on road? I do hope this article will help you.