It’s a funny world. A few days ago on the bike forum, someone – and it wasn’t me, honest – asked:
“Trail braking on the road – is it useful? I’ve always looked on it as a track technique for squeezing extra seconds, but does it have a place on the road?”
He linked to a video (NOT the one in this post by the way) which I’d already seen, which – frankly – is actually a pretty poor explanation and demonstration of the problem.
It’s a question which comes up oh so regularly, and there’s so much poor information out there.
Not just that YouTube video, but what riders are taught, and what they learn for themselves.
There are instructors on basic training who hammer into novices that they should “never touch the front brake when leaned over, but only the rear, because it’ll have you off”.
Advanced instructors have been heard to say “if you’re riding right, you should never have to touch the brakes in a bend”.
Meanwhile, there are others who say “what’s the problem – it’s fun and it helps me ride faster on the road”.
There are the track riders who say “it loads up the front tyre which gives more grip and changes the geometry to make the bike steer faster”.
And there are one or two who even say “what’s the point in learning this stuff – you can’t plan for every circumstance that may come up and sometimes you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
Who’s right? What’s wrong-headed? And how do YOU know?
Well, one thing I have always tried to provide here at Survival Skills is accurate information and an honest assessment of what’s useful and what’s not so useful on the road.
And sometimes – as the video from my ’60 Second Safety series’ shows – it’s a pretty useful skill to have!
So if you want to learn about my thinking on trail braking INTO bends, and the closely related topic of braking MID-corner, then join me for ‘BRAKING the CIRCLE – the Survival Skills approach to braking in bends’.