My new muni (KH24 - whenever they get in stock) will come with a brake, a recommendation from the knee doc following surgery.
My questions are whether I should also order the brake extender, and if so, which “handedness” do I want? I hold the saddle handle with my right hand – is that also the hand I’m supposed to brake with? I noticed on the description of the Delta extender that – and this seems confusing – the right-handed one points left and the left-handed one points right. So which one is the correct choice?
Also, any tips for how to go about learning to use the brake? It seems it might be tricky trying to hold on for balance while applying a steady amount of braking. I’m worried that hitting a bump (and we have very rocky trails) could cause me to jerk the brake handle resulting in me being pitched off the front downhill (not desirable for my freshly fixed knee).
Thanks in advance.
Re: Which Brake Extender?
Yes, you want to use the same hand that grabs the handle to control the brake. As far as the delta levers go, I’m not sure there’s a huge difference. I originally mis-purchased…got the left-hand one (facing right), sawed it shorter, and it worked just fine. Then I lost it. When I bought the replacement, I couldn’t remember which to buy, and ended up with the right (facing left). After sawing it shorter, this also works just fine. I think you can get used to either direction…everything’s pretty close together under there. I think I prefer the right (facing left) a little bit more…the forces tend to want to make my hand go right, and with the lever to the left of the brake handle, there’s something in the way to keep my fingers from slipping off.
Your point about the over-braking leading to UPDs is valid. Just don’t get going too fast and then deploy the brake. It just takes some practice, and you’ll get the control over it. Some tips: start on less steep hills, and get used to pedaling while applying the brake. Then work up in steepness. When approaching a hill, start applying the brake before you get to the steep part, so you’re already pedaling through the resistance when the true steepness starts. And practice practice practice. It does get easier.
I agree with Tom. I’ve also tried both and there’s little difference between them. (I tried to post this before, but the internet ate my post).
I also thought that I would get bucked off by rocks when applying the brake. that is until I got a brake and found that its really not a problem. Tom kinda makes learning to use a brake sound hard - really its not. You’ll have it down within a ride or two no problem. Brakes are great; not just for yr knees, but for extra control on steep descents.
Oh, I can make anything harder than it really is. I have a gift that way…
I have a KH24 with a Magura and don’t use an extender. When gripping the front of the seat, I just sneak a finger under the saddle and LIGHTLY feather the lever. On super long descents I often have to change fingers or hands, which get tired and numb after a quarter mile or so of constant pressure on the brake handle.
If your rim is true, the braking is pretty smooth; when you peddle against mild braking you can go as fast as you want with a lot of stability. The brake is a big boon on super steep terrain, and on long fire road type descents where you’d have to be backpressuring the peddles for hours and working your quads and knees like mad.
On insanely steep stuff, you’ve just got to practice applying the right pressure, smoothly, not shock-loading the lever. Start on lower angled stuff and work steeper.
One valuable tip is to remember to keep peddling and applying some thrust to the wheel when you are braking really hard, and to start braking before the super steep section. Slamming on the brake is an almost certain way to eat dirt.
Kris H. virtually invented using the brake for steep terrain and he ought to chime in here.