Video: Tracking an EWS Racer's Braking and Suspension Usage

Feb 29, 2020
by Matt Miller  
Views: 10,611    Faves: 12    Comments: 0


Over the holidays in 2019, I joined forces with Jono from The Suspension Lab in Rotorua, New Zealand to do full data acquisition (DAQ) on a professional level rider. With Jono’s suspension knowledge, and my brake power meter and BrakeAce software, we had a great opportunity to help one of NZ’s fastest go even faster The keen rider was Sam Shaw, who is a regular on the EWS circuit. Sam has recently been riding on a higher level than ever before and was wanting to set up his new frame for 2020.

Sam dropped off his new Transition Sentinel at The Suspension lab, and Jono had already hooked up the suspension potentiometers by the time I had arrived. I set about mounting the prototype BrakeAce sensor and getting everything fired up before we met at the trail. To fit on the brake power meter, we mounted Galfer 223 x 2.0mm rotors, which mated with his XTR brakes beautifully. It was a grabby setup with a light touch—perfect!


The aim was to have Sam do multiple runs on a track he knew. Between runs, Jono would do data-based suspension tuning, and I would run Sam’s braking data through the BrakeAce software to show him where he could improve his braking.

We picked one of the roughest, fastest tracks in Rotorua—National Downhill. It has everything: ruts, jumps, tight turns, drops and ridiculously fast speed sections. The demands on this course would put Sam’s bike and body through the wringer, so it seemed to fit the bill for our aim. Sam knew this track well--it was in his hometown, and he had even come 17th in a stacked DH field at National Champs less than a year before racing against the likes of Wyn Masters and Brook Macdonald on his trail bike.

Over the previous season, Sam used a super similar setup, only now he had upgraded suspension dampers and 12-speed XTR. The bike was pretty similar, but he hadn’t spent a ton of time self-tuning. Nothing really seemed to hold him back anyway.

photo by Ezra Newick

While Sam had ridden a previous prototype of the brake power meter, he never had a chance to use the BrakeAce software. After lap 1 we reviewed the data.

Firstly, this was the first time I had ever seen a data-driven approach to suspension tuning, and it certainly won’t be the last. Jono brought with him every tool possible, endless amounts of volume spacers, and one extremely accurate shock pump. And it worked, too. Sam finished the day by saying his bike felt better that day than any time last year.

From what Jono says, DAQ can help even the most experienced of suspension experts, himself included. The suspension experts have this uncanny ability to tune the suspension to best-ever control level by combining data, rider feedback, and suspension know-how. It was so cool to watch.

photo by Ezra Newick

Out of all the braking Sam did while riding, 90% of his braking was with the rear brake. This was the first time I saw someone so fast riding heavily with the rear brake, but Sam mentioned it was probably due to all the deep rut and steep sections—he was just trying to maintain speed.

The BrakeAce software highlighted to Sam where he was Brake Checking, which ended up being 13 times in run 1. We looked at where these were on the map and tried to remove them. The software also showed the locations on the map where Sam had a very high modulation or where he was braking too long, too lightly or too hard. In total, he had 39 braking events in run 1, with the average being well over 2 seconds each.

photo by Ezra Newick

In addition to all the unique braking metrics we have developed, one of the coolest features of the BrakeAce is that it is able to show the 3 places on the trail that Sam could improve his braking the most. We focused in on the sections between runs so that Sam knew where he could improve when he was back up to the top of the hill.

photo by Ezra Newick

Lap after lap Sam was able to use what he had learned about his previous braking habits to make small tweaks as he went on. He cut his braking time down by 15 seconds in the end, and had shaved over 10 seconds off of his lap time! Overall modulation was down, and the average time of each braking event was 1.7 seconds--all marked improvement. Sam also took 20 points off his FlowScore, which is a braking efficiency metric we have been dialling in.

Now all I need to do is hit this trail to see what my own FlowScore is!

A super interesting outcome of this day with Sam and Jono is that we were able to visualize how a pro rider brakes, how their suspension moves, and how these interact with each other. While we didn't do a complete interaction analysis with statistics and charts (okay...maybe a little!), the interaction was super easy to see under close inspection of the data or with the data synced with video.

It's no secret that braking with the rear brake makes the rear suspension harsher, nor is it a new idea that the front suspension dives when the front brake is used, but this video really sent these ideas home for us. Some viewers will focus on the rear suspension, saying that this brand or the other is better or worse under braking. On the other hand, I am more focused on front suspension diving under braking. The way 99% suspension designs are today, we almost have no choice but to have a high friction setup and variable geometry under braking.

As technology continues to advance, the interaction of braking and suspension should really be an area where the industry seeks to improve performance. There is no doubt that a rider can ride smoother without braking, but there are often times that we need to brake in the rough stuff. The multiple units of suspension and brakes need to be thought of as parts of an entire unit—all made to work harmoniously together to help the rider maintain more control.

photo by Ezra Newick

To that end, this is also what BrakeAce tries to do—it shows you where you can ride more efficiently. This doesn’t always mean that you shouldn’t be braking at all, but it does mean that riding performance is a constant evolution.

Just like technology.

photo by Ezra Newick

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107 Comments

  • 44 4
 Data driven FTW! Maybe, finally, MTB will start to come out of the shadows of voodoo and woo, and into the age of reason. If this is really what's happening, I can see these sensor suites drastically reducing in size and price. Maybe even certain aspects being built into shocks and forks OEM. Now, we have to get this kind of data to compare something like a Trust to a regular fork. Now that would be super interesting!
  • 23 7
 Road biking has no suspension and is still living in woo woo... as suspension engineer working with moto and car racing, as well as 4 wheelers, told me data acquisition is all cool. But one has to be able to manage and interpret it. It seems that for some it may be helpful but for most in the end it will be like power meters for general public, a gadget making them feel better.
  • 13 4
 Curious how 5 pounds? of telemetry equip. effects suspension and braking
I am sure this is taken into account?
P.s. please tidy up that wiring
  • 13 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I feel ya. But I'm a successful user of the Shock Wiz, made my two bikes noticeably better, and that thing is nothing compared to a real sensor suite like this. I really do think that easily 75% of the bikes out there are not properly tuned and would be a whole lot more fun for their owners if they were.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm sure lmao! You can easily build software to output what changes the user should make. It's not rocket science.
  • 1 3
 Kinda baffled by my downvotes? Data bad? :-/
  • 7 0
 @Chuckolicious: no. The internet lacks common sense sometimes.
  • 10 3
 @WAKIdesigns: power metre readings are not difficult to understand. Why do you constantly assume the 'general public' are unable to handle any kind of technical information? I assume you don't include yourself in that demographic? You're obviously so much smarter than all the public.
  • 5 0
 @Chuckolicious: sorry, voodoo's better and happens entirely in the mind where the cable routing is neater.
  • 13 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I just spent three days with Matt of @mtbphd trying to figure out just how useful this device can be. I went in to it with a couple different goals.

1. Compare results to generic assumptions about how to brake. "Don't brake in corners." "Hard on and off the brakes." etc... This is real data to test assumptions. As more people ride and more data is collected on the same track by different people we'll get a clearer picture of real world braking techniques.

2. How can the information be useful to different levels of riders? I'm a skills coach and my first thought was that every rider is unique and the info they need can't be spit out by an algorithm. That's my ego stepping up. But, it's true that we see common patterns in different levels of riders and the question is can this device help them be coached or self-coach through those.

So what can this data collection system provide?
It can show braking habits within a corner, specifically in relation to the apex. If a rider consistently applies extra brake force at or after the apex, what drill/ instruction can be picked from a menu to help them change that pattern for the better? Do they show signs of being able to modulate or are they "on and off" the brakes? Paired up with suspension telemetry do they check speed before the rock garden and come off the brakes to allow suspension to move or do they stiffen up in the rocks?
Like the shock wiz, the brake ace can help identify the the big issues and provide some solid guidelines for which direction to go if the instruction menu is designed well.

As we get up there in skill levels I feel the role of the brake ace quickly becomes less about how you should brake and more about identifying the cause of the symptom, which is braking. Myself and other coaches I've talked to about this immediately understand that in order to brake less or differently you need to increase another skill. A good example is the ability to pump a corner to increase traction vs slowing down to maintain traction. You can also improve line choice, which may not be as simple as taking a different line, it might mean learning to pre-turn, corner over a bump, etc...
Here is where the role of the coach becomes more important. The power meter didn't eliminate the fitness coach, it actually gave them more to do and a better way to focus their instruction. For more serious and intermediate riders the feedback loop needs more analysis which can come in the form of remote or direct coaching.

With Matt we tackled a short technical descent. Day one I rode it three times, starting blind as I'd never ridden it before. That night the data gave me three key events to look at as they showed where I was using the brakes the most according to three different metrics. The next day this gave me a place to begin my focus and ask what was going on there. We looked at each section and sessioned it once or twice. One section I knew was going to be a focal point as it was obvious I was doing a poor job remembering to set-up for a high line. The other two were not as obvious and this gave me direction to start in. The second section was a little more of a problem to figure out. It involved a rough (on the brakes) descent into a g-out ditch, that turned right as you crested the other side. I love pumping into a ditch and popping out, but the trail was so chaotic getting to it I hadn't really identified that I could do that if I changed where I slowed down so I could have time to set-up for the pump. The result was much better flow through that area. After two full laps to put that together I cut another 7 seconds off a 78 second lap. I agree you could say I was still learning the track, but I definitely rode those sections better and I messed up new sections as I was thinking so much about getting my three events dialed.

The next step would be to go back and see if I did those three events so well I eliminated them and had new key events, or if I needed to sideline one of the events as I felt it couldn't get much better there and I wanted to see where the next event might be. I was able to self coach my way through these sections, but if I was working with an athlete who was less aware of the possibilities I could be there to coach them through. As a coach I can't watch them on all the segments and the BA can help hone in quickly on areas to study.

For elite and professional races who are more capable of self coaching, especially in a DH environment, I can see them using the data after the majority of their practice runs. Let them get to know the course, work on it without the data till they think they are dialed, then look at the data. Try to see where the events are and investigate. As we've seen races are won or lost on tenths of a second.

All interesting stuff and very new territory. The data will trickle down to all levels of riders as the general conversation moves towards reality and not assumptions. Just the existence of skills coaching has made the understanding of what we do on the bike more nuanced, as the conversation in this thread proves.

I'm excited to see where it all goes. Like power meters I don't expect it to be on everyone's bikes but it's an industry that hasn't gone away so I see a bright future for the Brake Ace.
  • 1 2
 @harmar: plz don’t feed the trolls.
  • 5 1
 @harmar: Thanks fot that very interesting
  • 1 0
 I've seen other data acquisition setups measuring the force applied at the brake via a measure of the hose pressure (at lever, inline, or at pads) but with the sensors in the brake mount, this gives a more accurate representation of the effectiveness of the braking. To data-nerds who care I think it'd be interesting to see a correlation of the two, and a way to effectively distinguish between panic brakes, feathering, intentional hard speed-kills, and the speed limiting seemingly in use here. It's more obvious what the pros need to do to improve their games on race day, but for coaches to be informed of where regular-joes can start to sort their riding out it might be useful.
  • 2 1
 @harmar: interestin... wait what? Squirrel... My attention can't take that long of a reply, just like my use of gadgetry, just look at my garage full of stuff! I barley even use my GoPro amongst all the other shit I own. Maybe it can be summed up to getting most of my techy shit and tactical shit given to me for work. AAAAnd then I have my favorite few items, like a 20 year old Patagonia long sleeve poly pro shirt I wear almost every cold ride, the same pocket knife and same old beanie, yet I am a hoarder of gear.... With all that said, I do like evolution and technology and results - just tell me how I could improve my riding with proven techniques like driving my outside foot down in a berm or something! Thanks for the insight. I was just bustin your balls in the first part!
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: waki, did you change the country?
  • 1 0
 @TW80: I figured. Eventually we’ll understand it enough to make it simple and accurate, not simple and simple.
  • 29 2
 Isn’t this Braking News?
  • 4 1
 Not sure there is a formula that can stop someone to make pun on pinkbike !
  • 4 1
 @labourde: everyone is fearing a pandemic now, but the pundemic is all over pinkbike allready
  • 3 2
 I HOPE this testing and tuning helped him do eXTRa good(ridge) in the ROTORua race and still have enough JUICY left to show his GUIDE how it is done in the ULTIMATE DISCoteque.
  • 6 0
 People always tell you not to use any brakes in the corners, but there seems to be a bit of rear brake being used in many of the corners here, I‘ve always suspected.that even the pros are doing this (especially as, when it’s really steep, you’d have to slow to a stop at corner entry not to brake at all through a corner). Am I right?

JP
  • 3 0
 You are 100% correct. Anyone fast does this, whether they admit it or not. Rear brake in corners doesn’t do much to slow you down, but it can keep you from going any faster. “Momentum management” is the term I’ve heard.
  • 5 0
 I've noticed that experts in many fields rarely quote absolute 'rules' when teaching. More about principles and how those principles can be applied in different situations.

In bike-land, it's only mediocre coaches stressing a "perfect bike fit" or teaching "rules for braking."
  • 1 0
 Yep, not all corners have berms. Sometimes you need to induce a bit of understeer and you won't be doing that by trying to spin the cranks.
  • 2 0
 That's why I'm going to a 203 rotor on the back this year. I grab a fistfuls of brake before I enter my corners. Yes there are times you get nervous and try to scrub speed in the corner...I'm sure a lot of us probably could make it if we had better cornering technique.
  • 2 0
 Front brake for slowing down
Rear brake for maintaining the speed you have (not going faster)
  • 6 2
 i would definitely buy this tech.As someone that likes to keep track of his sport progress(sportstracker) , i find interesting to know the statistics of my rides. Combined with maps it would be a nice addition to my rides-trainings.
  • 5 1
 Interesting as this is, the human body is still the most important factor. And to measure that, what better than a race? It would be great to participate in a race where there's not just a final time for the run, but every rider is being timed in every single section. It's from that that you can see where you need to become better.
  • 8 0
 You should build an app that does that!
  • 2 0
 Yes that exists. They call them splits.
  • 3 0
 @KiwiXC: I think I'll do that!

I'm trying out names.............What do you think of Strava?
  • 9 1
 @georgiamtbiker: oh KOM on, what a silly name
  • 7 0
 The rear to front braking split was interesting to see.
  • 11 0
 I have been criticized for using the rear brake far more often than the front, its nice to know that I'm not alone
  • 25 3
 @mtbxever: only people who never ride steep stuff criticise the use of rear braking.
  • 1 1
 @mtbxever: I learned it this way, has been sold to me under the fancy slogan "trail braking".
  • 1 0
 @mtbxever: I’m pretty sure there was a MTB PHD blog posts about rear braking years ago. You may be able to find it on his website.
  • 2 0
 It is cool to see. It didn't surprise me, though. More dominant rear than front.
  • 3 1
 @mtbxever: front brakes aren’t for emergencies only?
  • 16 1
 @fiatpolski: The back brake is a control system where the front is for slowing down.
  • 9 0
 @Arcadyus: if you squeeze the front brake hard you instantly generate an emergency!
  • 6 1
 @Tamasz: the term "trail braking" comes from auto and motorcycle racing, and references staying on the brakes through the initiation of a turn. It is a difficult modulation of the advantages to braking into a turn (weight loads the front wheels, and a change in bike geometry for motorcycles) and the disadvantage of forcing the front tires to both slow the vehicle AND start a turn, which can cause understeer.

Front brakes do a better job of slowing a vehicle vs rear brakes. Not to say you should have mastery of both, simply that when its time to slow down the front brake will do a better job. Thats why cars have a brake bias towards the front (and bigger front rotors).
  • 3 2
 @protwurst: There is an article on Betterride net where Greg Minnaar is given as an example of using trail braking, especially since he stays centered while braking, unlike common advice to lean back while braking hard. The theory is very similar to cars but application seems even harder. In theory dive of the front not only adds grip, it also compresses the front giving you better geometry since head angle is steeper for a moment making it easier to turn in. I know two turns on my local trails where I succeeded with that by a pure chance ( I got loads of grip despite surface being loose) but when I tried to practice it, the results were rather pathetic. The issue is that even if we take the important factor of surface, depending on speed the brake path has different length and it is quite difficult to apply brakes in right moment and deal with unsettled bike, then deal with it coming back to normal. There is a bloody sketchy berm at the beginning of Moetown trail in hafjell, where rough off camber surface is in preferable brake spot, if you brake too early the bike decompresses exactly where you want it heavy, if you brake too late on rough it feels like you will not make the turn. A really tough stuff. Fascinating on many levels
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah, I think his definition of "centered" means making sure there is more even pressure on the tires on the ground where your body position will change according to steepness and technicality of the trail. When you have more even pressure (centered) on each of your tires, you maximize grip.
  • 1 0
 @protwurst: To me, road auto racing and road motorcycle racing is different animal because there is way more grip. I think motocross braking is a better comparison. Mountain biking there are a lot of times where there is not great grip. I consider mountain bike braking to driving in the snow if you want maximum grip.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: Sure, I agree. Just that the term trail braking doesnt mean "dragging the rear tire" and that even in situations with bad grip you need to use both brakes, but primarily the front. For mountain biking trail braking would likely involve staring primarily on the front, then swapping to the rear as the turn is initiated.
  • 3 4
 @tacklingdummy: there’s no centered, you will have more pressure on front wheel while braking no matter what you do. We would rather say centered over BB in relation to the forces acting on the bike. If you watch Greg Or Amaury or Danny Hart (and most other riders) they are not adjusting their body position much during braking, taking a lot of force through the arms/ bars whereas some coaches theorized that one should manage everything through the BB/legs as much as possible. Light hands/ heavy feet approach. The obvious downside of this approach is that the moment you release the brakes you are too far back since force is not acting from forward direction anymore. This inevitably means you are hanging off the bars for a moment and if you want to brake late that is a no no. You want to turn in and your bike has rearward weight bias and is understeering. This means with light hands heavy feet you must end your braking earlier to retrieve the balance before you reach the the turn in. With late braking with lots of use of front brake you get a win win situation - loaded front and steep front. Now that I think of it, since it is preferable to pump many berms rather than rail them, pressure point being around 2/3rds in, it could be that you could brake even later. I can imagine that a top elite rider has brake distances and brake balance so dialed they are managing their body position so well under heavy braking that they can brake hard and Turn as they are releasing the brake. Braking seems to be the most underrated skill out there (I am perfectly guilty of thinking more about lines rather than where to brake and how hard) and often drowns in bullshit like brake jack anti rise and other stuff. It’s haaaaard.
  • 1 0
 Of course there are times when you just hit the rear brake, and never really vice versa. But when he does hit the front brake, the graphing software is printing the rear graph overtop of the front, so it looks a little misleading.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree with light hands/ heavy feet. Riding like you are on flats. However, I disagree with you there being no centered. Trying to put more equal pressure on front/back tire at any given time while riding will increase control and grip. This will get you to adjust your braking and body position accordingly. Being too heavy on the front or rear is not good.
  • 2 3
 @tacklingdummy: That’s impossible to achieve. You can’t weigh tires evenly at almost any point if only due to the fact that weight balance of the bike due to BB being closer to the rear wheels is different. Light hands heavy feet is an advice for beginners. Advanced riders operate with movements. Also you may argue whatever you want, top riders load the front for braking instead of trying to get behind bb. Why wouldn’t you like more pressure=more grip on front tire when braking? Same when initiating the corner? “Balance” is the new “lean back” for coaches. Good coaches teach how to move on the bike, not how to stay centered. It’s a ridiculous concept.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Agree to disagree. I don't see your view as accurate.
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: skiing offers an interesting comparison. If you ski something steep, you don’t lean back and initiate your turns from a far back position. Instead you attack down the hill and ensure your shins are contacting the boot. Same with steeps on a bike, only now the weight transfer is going through your arms.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: "There is an article on Betterride net where Greg Minnaar is given as an example of using trail braking, especially since he stays centered while braking, unlike common advice to lean back while braking hard. The theory is very similar to cars but application seems even harder. In theory dive of the front not only adds grip, it also compresses the front giving you better geometry since head angle is steeper for a moment making it easier to turn in."

Is this not a common technique among decent riders, especially in tight, blind corners without support...???
  • 1 0
 @dubod22: if you attack steeps on a bike like you do on skis you're going to get into trouble. Above a certain incline you need to be off the back. On less agressive inclines and at higher speeds you're right though. Weight on the front of the bike/ski is what keeps you in control, it's just that you can't OTB on skis unless you hit something under the snow à la Schumacher or your skis dive into powder, which I've only experienced on almost flat terrain when just cruising.
  • 1 0
 @dubod22: erm, if you are riding down a steep, it’s different than when braking. You don’t want much pressure on bars just like you don’t want pull, you want to provide yourself range of movement for the arms and bars so that bike can move freely under you and you can move it anyway you want at all times. But all in all it’s not some static centered position, you still do thing all the time,. It’s different with braking since the the force starts acting on you from more forward direction. Now I totally get what you mean with being forward, but in most cases we mean that because we tend to stay too far back. However I don’t really see anybody (who is not riding with seat all the way up at least) riding with weight on the bars on steeps, it is so unlikely that it is hard to cue people on that.

So far the best exercise I fiund for riding steeps is dropping into skatepark quarters
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: It seems in many discussions here on PB people confuse statics and dynamics. That is, people strive for balance when you don't need (or even want that). Your skatepark example is a good one. When you drop in you position yourself similar to when you would ride on level terrain. It doesn't put extra weight on the arms because you accelerate (or "fall") together with the bike. There would be weight on the arms if you were trying to keep your speed steady (which is a static situation) but you are accelerating so the arms don't do much.

Now I don't call myself some mtb god by any means and I probably only just started working on using the rear brake more. For years I've had a good hydraulic disc brake in the front but the frame would only take the old v-brake in the rear so soon enough I just neglected that one.

Either way, when you do have grip:
rear brake stabilizes (or causes understeer)
front brake allows you to slow down (and steer, if you still aren't losing grip, possibly induce oversteer as the desceleration unloads the rear wheel)

When you don't have grip:
rear brake causes the rear wheel to lose grip (and gets you some oversteer)
front brake causes the front wheel to lose grip (and gets you understeer)

Ideally I'd like to see riders use their brakes such that they maintain traction. Just because it doesn't make such a mess of the trails. Of course there is a limit to grip and if you got in a situation where you still need to ride it out then sure I don't really want to drag your dead body out of the woods either. But I feel too many people rely on the emergency brake. After all there is no upper limit to how hard to squeeze the brake lever if you want to lock the rear wheel and slide down the hill in a straight line or whip out the rear wheel to make it through the corner. Especially when there is a race and people come who are not familiar with these descends. Stuff with roots and steps that was only just doable with the front brake gets complete ripped apart by these racers. Because they're way too chicken to modulate the front brake and maintain grip, because they're scared to go OTB. And here's thing. If you felt the need to apply so much front brake that you'd go OTB, you'd never have been able to even come close to getting that level of deceleration with the rear brake anyway. So if you're happy with the amount of deceleration the rear brake was getting you there, you could have gotten the same with the front brake yet cause less wear and still not go OTB. Basically, learn to ride your bike. Learn the endo, learn front wheel pivots. I've talked to racers about this but it seems they somehow consider racing and self preservation more important than trail preservation. So this attitude never helped me develop any appreciation for racing. Sorry, I don't give a shit about your race result if you ripped the place apart to get that. And especially if it wasn't necessary. If you were afraid to ride it properly, just don't ride it at all. I think it is kind of ironic to realize that it may be those same riders who would think that a 6kg heavier e-bike with 250W additional power output on the climbs would cause more trail damage than any rider dragging a loaded rear tire to a skid.

Now I don't mean to say it is wrong to push things and lose traction while doing so. I just don't think it is good to heavily load a tire and use the brake to still consciously push the grip to failure. But yeah sure I occasionally whip out the rear wheel too when I feel I otherwise wouldn't make that corner at speed. But I reduce rear wheel traction by unloading it. Either by a weight shift (possibly paired with the front brake) or by dabbing a foot. And I also use the rear brake for stabilization on the steeper descends so that I don't need to rely on front tire traction only to decelerate. But unless you're riding a not so steep descend or your bike is particularly short, you won't ever be able to get most of your weight over the rear wheel so that you would be able to primarily rely on the rear brake for deceleration or keeping speed steady.
  • 2 0
 I would love to buy (or rent?) something to track my brake usage. I KNOW I tend to come into corners too fast and grab a fistful of brake right at the apex. A tangible metric to work towards might finally put an end to that momentum-killing habit.
  • 2 1
 Bikes with electronic pedal assist have a sensor in the brake line so that it shuts of the motor when you apply brake pressure. At least I think Magura implements a HAL sensor in their brake lines so expect other e-bike brake manufacturers (most notably Shimano, probably) would have something similar. If you run Magura brakes, you can obviously implement their sensor in the brake line. Possibly even if you're running old school low pressure Julie brakes as they use it on their low pressure hydraulic rim brakes too and these use the same brake lines. Not sure if it is just an on-off thing or whether it actually measures the amount of pressure. Even then it wouldn't directly correlate to the actual brake force as the dynamic friction isn't just linear with brake pressure but also depends on the speed you're going. But yeah, if you just want to measure whether you're braking or not it would probably be the most simple thing to use. That is, if you have someone who understands how to link the output from that sensor to your cycling computer or phone app or whatever you use so that you could somehow link the brake data to your GPS data.

Or if you only need the immediate feedback, you could possibly just link these HAL sensors to two bright warning lights on your handlebars. If you apply the brake, the light will inform you. I don't know too much about electronics but I feel that pretty much anyone with a shallow interest in electronics will be able (help you) build something for your bike.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Nice. I own a YT Decoy and a (dusty) electrical engineering degree. And it's about to snow.

Time to dig through the spare parts bins for an LED.
  • 4 0
 Would be super cool to see on the red bull coverage of UCI DH when, where and how much brake the riders are braking at various spots on the tracks.
  • 1 0
 I would love to see a pro race (or do data acquisition runs) on the Structureworks bike and obtain the data from that - and compare to the geometry changing telescoping forks that (as they pointed out) is 99% in use today. That COULD start a sea-change in the mtb industry!
  • 1 0
 Pen and Paper? Maybe I just have too much time. Keep a diary on your workbench and write down how things felt after you make a change. You'd be amazed at what you will learn. You can put it into a spreadsheet to be even more organized.
  • 1 0
 Come on, this is a perfect time for everyone to get all harsh on the Sentinels ride characteristics and get Transition to drop the new Sentinel... PK Trolls.... where are when we need you...
  • 1 0
 Ok so that is some seriously fascinating stuff. I need to watch this several more times and study it while I’m actually awake. I’m struck by how lightly he feathers the front brake.
  • 2 0
 This is really cool. The world gets better when smart people ask questions and then go about answering them with tools they've made themselves.
  • 3 0
 Next gen mtb video game please.
  • 2 0
 It exists, it's called Decescenders. Loads of mods available for it is well. Check it oot on Steam
  • 1 1
 Exactly!!! Someone needs to develop this, STAT
  • 1 1
 @JimmyWeir: it kinda sucks on Xbox always not reading your controller.
  • 1 0
 @Arcadyus: git better
  • 2 0
 Cool, so only use rear brake, right? That's our takeaway from this? Check.

(off to put a 240mm rear rotor on...)
  • 1 0
 Would have been nice to see the front and rear suspension in a similar graph to the brakes. Those gauges are sort of meaningless without context.
  • 1 0
 Whist people are talking brakes, my biggest take-away from this vid is that I REALLY aught to get my fork and shock serviced.
  • 3 0
 Braking??
  • 4 0
 Breaking bad
  • 4 0
 @pipomax: I am breaking bad too
  • 1 0
 Weren't Vouilloz and the SUNN team using telemetry in the late nineties? Maybe not for braking, but it's been around.
  • 1 0
 They used data acquisition yes, telemetry is live data streamed to the pits, which isn't much use in mountain biking
  • 1 0
 @TheSuspensionLabNZ: Ah good point.
I've often wondered whether we'll see electronic suspension controlled via rider (before a large jump increase rebound and HSC) toggled on and off by the rider.
Are riders allowed radio? Something like Google glass on the helmet with colours for the split would be useful.
  • 2 1
 Gloveless NZ style! Count in precision, directness & timing on removing gloves.
  • 2 0
 Need abs and let some phd worry about optimising the slip ratio
  • 1 0
 I really tried but can't concentrate on that telemetric stuff.....had do look at the trail instead :-)
  • 1 0
 What brand is the "extremely accurate" shock pump? picture blows up to blury to get a logo or brand name.
  • 2 2
 It's cool to have a visual of the rear suspension stiffent up when he apply brake.
  • 1 1
 The Sentinel has a fairly low brake squat (41%) so most likely you are seeing a forward weight transfer as the suspension remains active under braking.
  • 2 0
 @Joecx: that's 41% anti-rise which means it has a low value of resisting extension, ie will stiffen up. (100% is "neutral" >100% means it will squat under brakes)
  • 2 0
 What bike is he riding?
  • 4 0
 Transition Sentinel
  • 1 0
 Fastcinating stuff. Nice trail~
  • 1 0
 is it better to put the camera on the fork and shock ??? : D
  • 1 0
 Where do i get that fancy tool rool
  • 3 3
 It funny how some riders tell people to use more front than rear.
  • 3 1
 It all depends on what you're riding. A smooth section at 70kph into a tight rough section: loads of front to scrub off speed. A super steep and rutted section to a 90º turn: you'll be using more back brake than front, probably. The problem is that nobs tend to only use the back brake for fear or going OTB (bad body English, not a problem with the brakes) and skid everywhere, so experienced riders tell them to use the front more. That you then, is it?
  • 2 3
 @yonibois: It's funny how the "experienced riders" online seem to preach about front brake with little knowledge of what's being ridden and by whom.
  • 3 2
 @yonibois @yonibois: To clarify what I mean. Yeah, there are situations when you need dominant front brake but they are far and few between. You have to really have good grip to get away with dominant front brake, otherwise you risk front wheel washouts or OTB. Majority of the time trying to keep the front wheel rolling and more even pressure on the tires is best.

My mental thought is not necessarily about what brake to use, but it is just to keep more even force on the tires pushing into the ground which changes depending on the trail conditions and steepness.
  • 1 0
 @Eatsdirt: That's because the front is where you get most of your braking from. If youre more experienced, good chance you're going faster and need both brakes. Knowledge comes from experience..
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: Save the braking to where it's effective. Roll through the loose and brake on the firm. Of course, there are always shitty situations where you don't have a choice. But that shouldn't be the norm.
  • 3 1
 @canuck-rider: I think you assume I'm not experienced, and that I don't use front brake when it's appropriate.

When I go through rear pads well over twice as fast as front, it's not because I'm doing it wrong as internet professors would say. Riding blown out, steep, kitty litter over concrete requires more braking finesse then many here have probably ever experienced.
  • 1 0
 @Eatsdirt: I ride in the Okanagan..trust me I know what it's like to surf loose over hardpack. What's loam? Rains here. turns into greasy clay. Everyone can always use more experience. I'm putting 203 rotor on the back, but I still will be doing most of my braking with the front. Didn't mean to lecture.
  • 1 1
 Where is the blood doping and anabolic steroids usage at???
  • 2 5
 Homeboy needs to learn how to utilize both brakes more evenly and stop power sliding through the corners...
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