Brakeless First Bike

Related:
Create New Tag

1/3/2020 3:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/3/2020 3:29 PM

I just finished buying my first BMX over the holidays. Since it's ultimately a test bike, buying used made sense to me. Obviously this significantly reduced my choices but also have me some good insights into what people actually ride. When I first started looking, I was shocked brakeless was even a thing.

After seeing people shredding through traffic using little 90 hops to quickly shed speed and change direction, I started to understand. Still, I decided pretty early to eliminate brakeless setups in my search or figure upgrades into the price.

I considered there might be some benefits to learning brakeless from the start, but I figured it would ultimately reduce my confidence and limit my ride time which are probably two of the more important factors in the shape of anyone's learning curve.

I'm curious about other people's thoughts on the subject. Would you recommend or warm against going brakeless on your first bike?

|

1/3/2020 4:28 PM

I like brakes. If you don't want to squeeze the lever you don't have to. I like having them there when I need them.

|

1/3/2020 4:34 PM

Good thread, I've been thinking about similar..

Coming from a background of front and back brakes old school BMX.. For anyone that thinks you can stop fast with only back brakes or your foot on the back tire, you can't. Sure you can stop, but not stop fast. Giving up FRONT brakes, you lose 85% of your ability to stop. (without getting sideways)

After 30 years off, I'm on BMX again. Looking for my first new modern BMX, earlier this past summer, I noticed NONE have front brakes. When I bought my new bike I decided to just go brakeless and try it, because to me, no front brakes seems like almost brakeless anyway, and I like the clean look and less bullshit anyway..

At first it was pretty damn spooky, and I had an almost constant feeling of being out of control. But after just a few quick sessions, I was already in the habit of using my foot. Soon after that, I was locking up my back tire to slide sideways in a skid.

Now with that said, if you can quickly, literally, lock your back wheel up with your foot whenever, how are back mechanical brakes any better at stopping?

There's the fact you are not able to use that foot for much else when you're using it to stop. And brakes can help with certain tricks too. Other than those two things, I don't feel brakeless, I just use a different brake.

Now here's another thing to consider.. My shoes don't nearly grip my son's 2.25 Odyssey tires as well as my 2.5 Cinema that came stock on my bike.

Have any other brakeless riders noticed different tires stop better/worse than others using shoes?

Would I recommend a new rider to start brakeless? With caution, yes.. No matter what, however you decide to stop, you still have to get to a point that it's instinct, and not a thought process.

|

1/3/2020 4:35 PM

I strongly recommend running brakes. Why take them off? You have so many more tricks you can do, its safer since its your first bike, especially when you ride trails. I think brakes are starting to make a comeback too.....

|

I like riding my bike.

1/3/2020 7:19 PM

I like brakes myself, it's just preference. If you have get a cassette you should be fine. I have a coaster and my brakes aren't working at the moment, I'm currently waiting for parts, but for now I have to ride brakeless. Going fakie fast is terrifying when your not able to slow down, even at my intermediate level. With a cassette you can slow down in fakie without brakes because of pedal pressure. Besides that I recommend brakes, but if you find a good bike that doesn't have brakes get. I know in like my area there isn't a lot of options for used bikes. Also don't forget you can get brakes, and that you should check pawnshops, I'm serious there is a lot of people that need money then and now so they pawn their bike. This is how I got my bike.

|

1/4/2020 12:17 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/4/2020 12:17 AM

Brake in my opinion are a pain in the ass. I love them and hate them. My current bike has them and I find I rely on them too much. Tire taps and manuals out of minis or quarters I have to do brakeless. If I use my brakes I just can't do it. Although when I just manual normal I rely on them. I'm in the process of building a new bike so this one I'm going to go brakeless for a while. Plus they are just a pain to keep dialed in. I do recommend brakes if you are just starting out though. It's safer.

|

1/4/2020 9:58 AM

Reasons to ride breakless:
1. You do tons of barspins and are tired of bruising your fingers
2. You tend to cheat with the break on manuals, and want to force yourself to master the balance point instead
3. You want to save a pound or so of cluck weight at each end of the bike
4. You are mechanically inept, and can't figure out how to tighten a spring or tweak a barrel adjuster
5. You are a poser and think it makes you look like a better rider

Reasons to ride breaks:
1. You are a new rider and need the extra bike control
2. You are an intermediate rider and enjoy having the extra bike control
3. You are an advanced rider and take advantage of the extra bike control
4. You do lots of tech tricks that need the extra bike control
5. You know that you can choose not to pull the lever
6. You have better things to do with your feet
7. You are tired of buying new shoes
8. You are tired of being a poser and know that only time on the bike will make you a better rider

|

Remember when you could ride all day and not be sore for a week?

1/4/2020 10:10 AM

Brakes are way cooler than brakeless

|

1/4/2020 10:45 AM

I've mostly run brakeless in the past but I recently threw on some brakes. After doing so, I would say that brakes can add a lot to your riding. They open up opportunities for new tricks to learn and they can also make other tricks easier. That being said, they can be pretty annoying. Be prepared for the brake lever to tear up your hand. Your also going to have to learn how to maintenance and dial in your brakes, which isn't very hard but can be annoying, especially if you just want to go out and ride. Not to mention, brakes make tricks like barspins feel really sloppy.

As for brakeless, I don't really feel any less in control when just riding around. After you get some bike control, you can stop your bike without brakes just as quickly as you can with brakes. That being said, for someone who is new, it's probably safest to start with brakes. But riding brakeless does force you to become more in tune with your bike (sounds corny), you understand how to control your speed in different ways and it helps you build better bike control. It's also nice to not have to do as much maintenance on your bike.

Personally, I'd recommend that if the bike comes with brakes, keep them on, learn to work on them, and also learn to do some tricks with them, don't just use them to control your speed. Give them a chance and have fun with them. After all that, if you feel like you don't like them, then there is no harm in taking them off.

|

1/4/2020 11:07 AM

My bike was put together and picked up from the shop, the brakes were in a box separate. I removed the brake hardware and put that in the box with the brakes..

If I ever run brakes, they'll be front brakes. No cables rubbing on my frame, no gyro needed. Half the weight of back brakes for twice the fun..

|

1/4/2020 1:32 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/4/2020 1:34 PM

Undesemin wrote:

I've mostly run brakeless in the past but I recently threw on some brakes. After doing so, I would say that brakes can add a lot to your riding. They open up opportunities for new tricks to learn and they can also make other tricks easier. That being said, they can be pretty annoying. Be prepared for the brake lever to tear up your hand. Your also going to have to learn how to maintenance and dial in your brakes, which isn't very hard but can be annoying, especially if you just want to go out and ride. Not to mention, brakes make tricks like barspins feel really sloppy.

As for brakeless, I don't really feel any less in control when just riding around. After you get some bike control, you can stop your bike without brakes just as quickly as you can with brakes. That being said, for someone who is new, it's probably safest to start with brakes. But riding brakeless does force you to become more in tune with your bike (sounds corny), you understand how to control your speed in different ways and it helps you build better bike control. It's also nice to not have to do as much maintenance on your bike.

Personally, I'd recommend that if the bike comes with brakes, keep them on, learn to work on them, and also learn to do some tricks with them, don't just use them to control your speed. Give them a chance and have fun with them. After all that, if you feel like you don't like them, then there is no harm in taking them off.

> "As for brakeless, I don't really feel any less in control when just riding around. After you get some bike control, you can stop your bike without brakes just as quickly as you can with brakes."

From my experience longboarding, I know context is everything. It's super hilly around here which has its pros and cons. When I first started learning, if I stuck to the flats I was fine. But I had to work my way up to bigger grades and higher speeds.

From my first few bmx rides, I was glad to have a brake otherwise I would have had to make detours. I don't know though, maybe I need to earn those areas the same way I did with my longboard. It's fun thinking back at all the things I couldn't do when I first started.

|

1/4/2020 5:38 PM

I can’t afford to be buying new shoes all the time. Most pros get given an endless supply of kicks by a sponsor, so it’s no issue for them. Plus, brake tricks are fun.

|

1/4/2020 6:03 PM

Brakeless 4 life.

|

1/4/2020 7:17 PM

I'm an old-timer who recently got back into riding and I always have ridden brace myself but now I've been riding you know modern bike no brakes and I love to having no braces more exhilarating this puts more of a thrill to riding and I try to go to back to brakes and it was boring and I felt like a old man so I took them off and I love it I love the rush and the thrill and the excitement #nobreakgang

|

1/4/2020 7:46 PM

Jimi_407_BmX wrote:

I'm an old-timer who recently got back into riding and I always have ridden brace myself but now I've been riding you know modern bike no brakes and I love to having no braces more exhilarating this puts more of a thrill to riding and I try to go to back to brakes and it was boring and I felt like a old man so I took them off and I love it I love the rush and the thrill and the excitement #nobreakgang

You know what I love? Sentences, full stops and paragraphs...



(I also quite like brakes)

|

1/6/2020 8:13 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/6/2020 8:15 AM

I'm a newb and I took my brakes off of my el cheapo used bike. First, I wanted to clean it up so it was part of the process. Secondly, I wanted to try it. Third, my brain likes things simple.

I need to learn how to skid or do 90's though.

I see it sort of opposite. Lots of people recommend newbs keep brakes on. But to me it makes sense that when you get good you might want brakes more. For different tricks.

However, the big caveat is I've yet to ride at a park. So....... there's that. I'm just learning simple tricks in my driveway and street. I don't really feel like it's hard to stop with your foot though. Or at least slow down. Yeah, if I was riding in traffic in a downtown area I might change my tune. I live in a subdivision that is mostly flat, and very little traffic.

So.... I've got nothing against either or. But for me I'll stick with brakeless until I think I need them.

Until this thread I didn't even realize a person would use their back brake while doing a manual..... I guess cuz all the youtube vids I've watched on how to do it, I think most of them don't have brakes on.

My el cheapo bike is already really heavy......... It's at 28 pounds as it sits........ blaaaaaaaa


|

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.

1/6/2020 8:19 AM

Fortyseven wrote:

I'm a newb and I took my brakes off of my el cheapo used bike. First, I wanted to clean it up so it was part of the process. Secondly, I wanted to try it. Third, my brain likes things simple.

I need to learn how to skid or do 90's though.

I see it sort of opposite. Lots of people recommend newbs keep brakes on. But to me it makes sense that when you get good you might want brakes more. For different tricks.

However, the big caveat is I've yet to ride at a park. So....... there's that. I'm just learning simple tricks in my driveway and street. I don't really feel like it's hard to stop with your foot though. Or at least slow down. Yeah, if I was riding in traffic in a downtown area I might change my tune. I live in a subdivision that is mostly flat, and very little traffic.

So.... I've got nothing against either or. But for me I'll stick with brakeless until I think I need them.

Until this thread I didn't even realize a person would use their back brake while doing a manual..... I guess cuz all the youtube vids I've watched on how to do it, I think most of them don't have brakes on.

My el cheapo bike is already really heavy......... It's at 28 pounds as it sits........ blaaaaaaaa


28 lbs isn't really that heavy. I guess it's on the heavier side for today's standards, but it's pretty normal. Mine is like 26 lbs.

|

1/6/2020 8:52 AM

Ah, that's good to know. Thanks.... I try to keep my eyes open as to how heavy everyone's is and it seems like they're usually lighter. But as you know I'm new to all this.


|

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.

1/6/2020 9:06 AM

How's the new setup feeling? Have you gotten used to it yet?

|

1/6/2020 9:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/6/2020 9:41 AM

Yeah, I like it a LOT. I'm up to 9' manuals. I know I know... that's short. Plus it still feels like there's a fine line between looping out and keeping the tire up. I'm still bad. When you ride it a bit like that it starts to give you hope though.

My barspins are fun. (well, I'm not sure what we're supposed to call non lift spins....) My bunny hops need a lot of work and the smaller bike still feels a lot more erratic than my big cruiser when doing them. But I think when I do actually do it correctly I'm getting more air.

I think possibly bars with less backsweep MIGHT help with that. Or just time. You got any bars laying around you wanna sell that are tall? 9" plus?

There was another local guy that offered to unload some stuff, but now I forget what his name was...… Or maybe it was you... No, it was someone in Milwaukee, not Kenosha.

I also need some knee pads forthwith. I keep draggin my feet as to what to order. I thought about ordering this cheap 13 dollar pair on amazon but I keep hoping I'd see some at a local shop so I can look at them. But the Trek store in Racine doesn't carry any and I'm not sure where else to look. Maybe I should go to Dick's Sporting goods. You got any advice on that? Do you buy stuff local?

The gearing on this bike is pretty low but I'm not sure I want to change it. It makes it easy to ride out of tricks when going real slow. But I think I lack some momentum for manuals..... It's like 43 gear inches. 32 tooth front sprocket and 14 tooth rear.

I need to true the rims better and install the newer tires I bought that I had put on the project bike. I'm not sure if one is better than the other but I don't like how these ones look. LOL.

I've decided I like the color. It reminds me of the sunrises and sunsets and the rims are the color of the lake. Plus it looks so much better once I took the "Fantasy" stickers off. LOL. Only thing is people might think I'm gay. Oh well.

Thanks for asking man. I appreciate that.




|

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.

1/6/2020 9:56 AM

i find that most people who are brakeless are influenced either by their local riders or some pro. which is cool if you want to ride brakeless.. where im from everyone is brakeless besides a handful of people. I love fufanus, i use my brakes when i throw tailwhips. i like the back tire stopping and when i put my foot on the front pedal the cranks dont drop.. i love 540 tire taps.. i just love brakes.

i rode brakless for less than an hour in my 14 years of riding.. its not for me.

|

1/6/2020 10:27 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/6/2020 10:32 AM

9 feet for manuals isn't bad for just starting out. Manuals are a trick that require a ton of practice to get good at. Even to this day I'm pretty inconsistent with my manuals and I used to practice them every day for like 3 hours straight way back when I first started riding.

I think you would definitely find bars with less back sweep more comfortable, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. I find that over time you can get used to most variations in geometry and it will eventually start to feel natural. Skill is a thousand times more dependent on practice than geometry. Unfortunately, I don't have any bars laying around i could sell, but i see a lot of good deals every now and then, especially on here.

As for the kneepads, I'm not exactly sure where would be a good place to get some. If you're willing to drive a little, there's a bike shop near me that I like called southport bikes and boards. They might carry some, but I would definitely call them up first to make sure.

I don't really prioritize buying stuff locally (though it is nice to do that) I just try and find the best deal, regardless of whether I'm buying online or in person.

|

1/7/2020 7:52 AM

I never heard of that place. I'll have to check it out. There's a pretty good shop up in Milwaukee called South Shore Cyclery in Bayview. Right off Layton and 32. I do go south a lot though. My Dad lives in Illinois and my Grandma too. And I've been going down 31 to 173 to get to her assisted living out in Fox Lake.... I'm assuming that place is more towards the lake but I'll google it.

I hear you about not necessarily buying local... But sometimes it's really nice to see what you're buying first. And also sometimes shipping makes a good deal, not a good one any more. Even on here I've seen a lot of good deals on bars but then shipping...….


I hear you about the backsweep. That's what I'm worried about, I'm getting used to them. LOL. And I don't really want them to stay. They're cheap bars. I'm guessing. And I think they're a little bent already.

|

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.

1/8/2020 12:32 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/8/2020 12:34 PM

I rode brakes, I tried gyros, I did not like it, so I went brakeless on a coaster and it feels way better, it is hard to explain but it has a “flow” to it, not having anything on my bars.And it keeps your rims nice, but there is a learning curve and I felt a bit scared at first, then after a while it is natural.But if you commute with it it makes sense to ride brakes, just my opinion. But i

|

1/8/2020 5:36 PM

I've done both. Rode brakes forever, then went brakeless for close to two years. Put them back on and realized I'm better off with them. I like doing brake tricks now that I am old.....plus there is nothing like a chrome rim with clear pads.

|