Does a brake help in downhill hops?

Just wondering if a tap on a brake just prior to a minor hop (like over a 6-12 inch drop) would help at all? Maybe just as a confidence booster as I work on this?? I know from mountain biking that a brake tap can really help “coil the spring” of your body just before a jump…

In my experience, you brake before a drop only if you need to slow down to check it out at a slower pace. It’s quite different than on a bike especially as there’s no need to keep the front wheel up. Rolling downhill hops in some ways are set up like rolling hops to get onto something except that you’re using the rolling momentum to direct yourself to the best landing surface, not gain height.

If you ride long distance XC in bumpy terrain, using a brake as you ease over small (say 6-12") drops and roll out from them can cumulatively (over hundreds of bumps) save energy by reducing the sharp impacts.

On larger drops, braking the instant after landing (say after about a 1/4 pedal turn) and through the rest of the roll out can smooth it out quite a bit.

If you think in terms of trying to replace your foot-braking with brake braking wherever possible, that helps a lot.


Thanks Kris! I will take this advice as golden. Also FYI I just received my KH29 two days ago, and thoroughly enjoying the ride. It’s a beautiful work of craftsmanship, engineering and function. The adjustments on the seatpost are excellent, being able to fine-tune both the angle and fore-aft settings make a huge difference. Thanks for the great work.

I think it is so cool that Kris takes the time to be involved on this forum, they are a lot of young people who read our comments and he is a great role model.

I also just got some brakes and Kris is right on with his comments, teh brake augments your feet in resisting downhill movement, so you can use them for control/stability, easing transitions, smoothing out bumps, etc…

I have found that they can be grabby, so use more toe-in to avoid pad hang. Also, I’d only get hydraulics, I think cable actuated brakes would be a problem for many reasons. The Maguras are a very nice brake, esp wih steel lines.

any type of force feedback?

As far as the cable vs hydraulic brakes, do you have any resistance on the hydraulics as to tell you how hard you are pulling on the brakes (force feedback)? That would be my only issue. Of course, I haven’t thought about brakes since '04, so I’m sure things have really changed.

Yes. Feel is kind of similar to v-brakes, in that you can feel it, but they’re kind of more sensitive.