MUni braking technique

I know, practice, practice, practice, but I’m wondering if anyone has any particularly helpful tips for braking while descending rough trails on a MUni.

My story:
I finally put the Magura brake I had sitting in a box on my KH29. I’m already quite comfortable using a Magura brake on my N36, but this is my first time on rocky, bumpy, and steep trails with a brake.

For the locals, I went down “dead campers” this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t seem too hard to keep constant pressure even when bouncing around on the trail. The main thing that threw me (literally and figuratively) was that the wheel stops when I roll off a drop into the air. I’m used to spinning through and/or adjusting the cranks for a nice landing. So, the rhythm of the trail just felt off, but I suspect I can get used to it.

For those of you who ride trails like this, do you let off the brake once you leave the ground so that you can move the wheel freely, or do you just pause your pedaling and start up again once you land?

You’ve discovered the most difficult thing about a brake in muni.

My experience is that I release or lighten pressure on the brake just before hitting the drop, and try to engage it before I hit the ground. Or I lighten enough that I can get good pedal position, and land with the brake engaged. Either way, it’s extremely difficult.

In 2 (3?) years of riding technical muni with a brake, I still find that I’m better on some trails if I don’t use it at all. That said, I can ride stuff with the brake that I couldn’t even start without it.

I find that I just barely drag the brake when I’m doing fast aggressive downhill. The edge of my ability steep technical stuff is when I really lean into it and pay attention to modulation.

I’ve found handle position to be incredibly important. I’ve got 2 years of using a magura on a custom brake mount that puts the handle ~1/2" from my middle finger. Now I’m on a stock KH, where it feels like the handle is a mile from my finger. The brake was far more useful on technical stuff with the former.

Try gliding down steep and/or bumpy stuff with the brake as an assist. it really helps teach modulation.

I’m a braking fool!

A belated thanks for the reply. :slight_smile:

Since then I’ve been on a handful of 29er muni rides. Today I revisited the “dead campers” trail during lunch, and I think I’m getting the hang of this brake thing. I was able to clear much of the trail in one shot, even some sections I’ve never cleared with my 24 without a brake. And my legs have started to adapt to the wheel locking on drops, at least for the smaller ones.

One thing I noticed, for anyone else looking for tips, is that I found myself choosing lines more like I would’ve on a mountain bike when the brake was engaged. That is, the smoothest line is the best, even if I have have to weave back and forth. Whereas, without a brake, I think the straightest line is often preferable. I guess, keep either the direction or the speed somewhat constant, and adjust for the other on the fly.