Video: Aaron Gwin's Tips to Improve your Braking

Jan 9, 2022 at 6:49
by Ed Spratt  

bigquotesA video on how to best use your feet to increase braking performance and safety on the trail. This might feel a little strange at first but be patient. Remember, the steeper the trail and harder you brake, the more dropping your heels will help. If you are not braking very hard or on a flat trail, you do not need to drop your heels as far. Hope this helps! Aaron Gwin


  • 150 4
 Ha! This is fake! Gwin does not brake... how would he know. Wink
  • 19 0
 Read title fully expecting Article to feature hot wedge your foot in between the rear tyre and chainstay…..
  • 68 5
 Aaron Gwin's videos on his channel are gold! As an amateur gravity racer for over 20 years, I'm learning new things from a mountain bike legend. He pushed DH racing to evolve when he dominated for several years. Being able to hear his perspective on riding, training, etc., is awesome.
  • 17 1
 Hi channel is legitimately good. Different style from Cathro ofcourse, but equally in depth and educational.
  • 26 34
flag cru-jones (Jan 9, 2022 at 17:19) (Below Threshold)
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: IMHO Gwin's videos are better than Cathro's. Quite straight to the point without a lot of distraction around the topic. And while Cathro seems to be a likeable character, him impersonating a bad rider can look like he is ridiculing those people who benefit the most from such videos. Aaron's videos on the other hand make him look much more approachable than what my impression was before.
  • 2 0
 @cru-jones: fair, I see where you're coming from. I loved Cathros videos and got a lot out of them, but get what you're saying. Gonna dig into Gwinn's stuff a bit more.
  • 62 1
 Fred Flintstone drops his heels to help brake and no one gave it a second thought.
  • 41 0
 First to go chainless too.
  • 47 2
 Gwin giving away all his secrets is kind of sus. If he makes a tire pressure video we'll know he's checked out.
  • 33 0
 Yo fam! Stoked you guys are enjoying the videos. It’s been a learning process but really enjoying getting them out there finally. I’d like to add an extra note to this video since it’s been annoying me since I posted. When braking, you should almost always be mostly centered on the bike. I exaggerated the body lean back to better show the heel drop on the easy dirt rode portions but that wouldn’t be the best position on the trail usually. It felt somewhat more natural/justified since I was braking to a complete stop in those shots but you don’t usually do that on the trail so that’s not exactly great technique. Body should stay centered with bent elbows etc. I’ll clarify/cover body position in detail in a future vid. Word!
  • 3 0
 I could be the model for the wrong way to do things. I know you have a challenge with that.
  • 1 0
 I think it would be helpful if you demonstrated how to do it chainless.
  • 29 0
 It's a trap Gwin wants to slown down his competitors
  • 27 1
 1=extract chain
2=remove brakes
  • 20 6
 3 = remove brain
  • 11 0
 @Danzzz88: no 3 is tuck position
  • 19 2
 Great that Aaron is passing on what he has learned!
But Hope he still has a few more years of racing world cups though?
  • 6 0
 So, in essence, he is saying the better you are at keeping yourself from doing and endo when you hit the brakes, the faster youll stop
  • 2 0
 Don't know how useful that que is, but it's 100% correct. The more your weight is going into the tires - and the less it's going over the front axle - the more power and control you'll have.
  • 5 0
 I always drop my heels far enough to brake with the heels. But when braking really hard, I step on my toes.
  • 2 0
 Friendly reminder that flexibility and mobility are more important than muscle mass.

I have garbage flexibility and mobility and as I learned more and more about the sports I was in the more I realized yoga would get me further than the gym.

For example my limited ankle mobility makes this lesson (and wakeboarding) almost worthless.
  • 5 1
Learn to brake BEFORE
you learn to haul azz? But, Where’s the fun in that?
  • 1 0
 Wow. Hadn’t seen an Aaron Gwin instructional video. Really great job. Must be the most expensive mtb instructor in the world.

I always find it helps to think about staying behind the bike so I can drive it forward when it’s trying to rotate me over the top during hard steep braking.
  • 5 1
 Ummm can we get a bike check??
  • 8 2
 It’s a prototype with some parts on it.
  • 1 0
 Possibly the new Carbine Mullet?
  • 1 0
 @BikesNRussets: you mean that typical Intense carbon prototype? Aluminium race version will hopefully follow shortly.
  • 3 0
 @lkubica: I wish, I love my m9. Make intense aluminum again!
  • 3 0
 @BikesNRussets: It's true, carbon Intense for me is like a Santacruz with weird colors. But those alu prototypes Gwin has been riding, they look cool. Intense currently has no idea how to differentiate from other brands and it looks like they lost their premium brand image, at least in Europe.
  • 1 0
 It is the new Intense Tracer prototype.
  • 2 5
 The bike looks totally lame to me
  • 1 0
 You can have the review tomorrow
  • 1 0
 Not dropping heals whilst braking thus using the largest muscle group the legs, would cause fatigue and arm pump as the upper body is taking all the weight and brake forces through into the handlebars.
  • 5 3
 Ride a brakeless bmx and learn to control the bike without them. That would be mine.
  • 3 3
 That’s the route I used too!
  • 27 3
 Okay now take that same brakeless bmx and barrel down a WC DH course let me know how your "control" works out for you.
  • 2 5
 @mhoshal: The skills work very well on the race course, I recommend it.
  • 2 2
 I'm not even joking, my bike control got so much better after riding a break less bmx for a few months. I know some mtb hipsters hate bmx but trust me it works wonders, try it its cheap.
  • 7 0
 @mhoshal: okay, not sure that was necessary, meanie. The point is that when you get back on the big bike you’re much less likely to grab the levers when things get hairy. Because you develop more control in much the same way that riding pump track teaches you to control speed without any gradient.
I’d expand my advice to anyone that really wants to get better at riding mountain bikes in general: get a bmx or at least a dj bike. Watch Gwinny too, if you like.
  • 1 0
 @ProperPushIrons: I rode brakeless on my rigid dj bike for a year or so. Riding street only. And I mostly learned to not gain more speed than necessary, i.e. gentle pedal into a move, rather than accelerate harder and brake check to the "right" speed for a given feature or move. But you're right that it makes you ride some things faster/slower than one would normally do. It makes one a smoother rider, which is good, but I don't think it'll make a rider profoundly better at mtb. Imo riding dh chainless probably helps one learn to not overbrake more than riding brakeless bmx does. Still everyone should try riding street brakeless, it's a fun new challenge.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: Yeah man, I haven’t tried chainless yet I will have to try that. I found it helped me safely find the maximum speed limit for a feature easier and safer than I could before, I don’t know why people are downvoting what I’m saying but it truly helped me on the race course.
  • 1 0
 @BikesNRussets: Yeah, totally agree. I think you become more attuned to your speed and how that’s gonna play out with regards to everything in front of you. It’s not just a case of becoming numb to having no bail out and death gripping everything (as some seem to believe). It will help (force) you to find that limit of grip but I think there’s more to it.
And for the record I believe in learning to use brakes well, too. This was just an observation of my own progression. Two things have helped me progress faster than I could have by training solely on the mtb: pump track and bmx.
  • 1 0
 A similar training method is used in motorcycle racing. Try to go around the course without your brakes, slowly increasing corner entry speed each lap. You never go flat out on the straights because you aren't going to brake at the end, but you can better at finding the limit of corner speed.

Also, doing this on a mini bike (50-150cc sport bikes) is even better, and a popular thing for fast riders to do.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: I didn’t know that, thanks!
  • 3 0
 Jumps and drops are my most intimidating aspect of biking.
  • 3 0
 Me too, but thinking back to my first time riding a real trail, I do think Aaron's right. For a rank beginner, the scariest part is when it gets steep and they have to keep the speed in check. That person isn't even thinking about hitting jumps and drops yet.
  • 2 0
 Don’t brake on the lip of either lol!
  • 1 0
 Stop intimidating with them then. You'll scare the rest of us
  • 3 0
 Gwin videos are just a great brain-dump of skillsSmile
  • 3 0
 BRAKING NEWS! Gwin does use his brakes!
  • 1 2
 This the first time I've watched a video and then paid attention two hours later and noticed exactly what he was talking about. Not exactly the same (I was on my fatbike and the trails are packed snow right now) but when I dropped my outside foot for the flat-out-foot-out corners (sweepers are best when you put your inside foot out and rear trail brake through the corner, especially when there is a deepish tire groove in the snow). It was while I was using the front brake into the corner, my body position immediately got jacked so I couldn't rail through the corner. It was fine with feet parallel and it was fine to brake after I had dropped the foot, I just couldn't drop my foot while braking.
  • 3 5
 I thought everyone dud this naturally anyway...but what I will say is I think too much heel deop and backwards weight shift definitely isn't too good. You want to prevent going over the bars with your bodyweight for sure but you also want to get enough body weight over the front tyre to generate maximum grip. Moat braking on any vehicle is done at the front of the vehicle..more weight equals more traction equals more braking.
  • 1 0
 I don't think it's possible to go too far back (assuming you're braking in a straight line and not cornering, that's key). All it does is move your braking potential toward the rear wheel. You just have to understand this and choose not to lock up the unweighted front wheel. If you had 2-metre-long arms you could theoretically put >90% of your weight on the back wheel and stop just as hard as you could in a normal front-biased situation.
  • 1 0
 So Intense still has a blind graphic designer for their bikes. I support them keeping diversity in mind.
  • 2 0
 It’s adds style, I like it better than the all black bikes or single color bikes today. But that’s just me, so you do you.
  • 1 0
 @BikesNRussets: Totally fair. For my part I hate all the colors out there atm. I like my bikes pretty stealthy. Plain bare carbon would be best. I think 2 colors per model would be optimum. 1 very understated and they something else. For me Intense bikes hurt my eyes and have at a very high level for years.
  • 1 0
 @Cyberhatter: Yeah man, I’m on a race team with intense and we are divided on the colors some hate it and some love it. I totally think they need more options, a matte black tracer would be rad AF. But what intense needs the most is to make welded in the USA frames again, my ol M9 is so sick.
  • 1 0
 Nice To see our local trails being used for these videos!
  • 1 0
 Sneak peak of what looks like to be the new Carbine Mullet.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else like seeing Gwin on an enduro bike?
  • 1 0
 Lock up the brakes, lock up the suspension!!
  • 1 0
 Aaron, please buy a better microphone. TY
  • 1 0
 i'll save you some time, "remove your brakes"
  • 1 0
 Is this north Tucson? Looks like it.
  • 1 0
 Learning from the best!
  • 4 6
 Intense paid ad?
  • 8 0
 It’s a pretty intense ad
  • 7 0
 I think it was sponsored by Basically.
  • 4 0
 Intense is his sponsor so it makes sense they’re involved in the ad!
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