My Brake Broke, Now I'm Brakeless. Probably Gonna Die...

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2/19/2017 7:35 PM

So two weeks ago I bought a fly Springhanger brake, and one of the "knarps" on the spring/cable already popped off. Just like in this thread. Boo.

Anyway, did anyone else go brakeless as a matter of circumstance, or did you all do it by choice? I rode around for a bit today and rather liked it. It's a little bit quieter; no more cable slapping about, no more creaking from the cable at the lever. And, of course, no brake to adjust and maintain. I'm just worried about the extra time and, umm, technique it takes to stop.

Are my fears warranted? Or will it all quickly become second nature? I actually intend to get another brake (not a Springhanger!) sometime this week, but until then I'm just gonna ride without one. We'll see what happens.

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2/19/2017 7:47 PM

Just think ahead about stuff you're about to do and youll be okay. Practice stopping and get used to the techniques. Also when you get new brakes get good, non gimmicky ones with the springs around the brake post. There's a reason those are still being used on high quality brakes.

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2/19/2017 10:39 PM

I went brakeless once out of circumstance. My cable snapped and it was a Saturday evening. No bike shops open near me on a Sunday and it was the middle of summer. I stayed brakeless for a couple of weeks and quite enjoyed it. But at the time I liked going flat out at everything so getting the brake working was definitely a good idea.
I've been brakeless over 10 years now though, I put a brake back on a couple of years ago and was constantly terrified of cutting my hand up on the lever, and relied on it far too much so it came back off after 2 rides.

If you like brakes, definitely invest in a good one.

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2/19/2017 10:45 PM

Thought the same exact thing when I first took my brakes off. That was 4 years ago, Love the brakeless bike

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2/19/2017 10:50 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/19/2017 10:52 PM

Funny thing you made this Thread, I was just about to start my own on this issue.

A little under a month ago, I began a "BMX Experiment" project where I took my brakes off and added pegs by choice in search of a new setup and a fresh outlook on BMX as I was feeling a bit burnt out on riding. It's under the "Bike Checks" Forum. Anyways, prior to this experiment thingy, I had always, always run brakes (I've never NOT run them until then) and rarely pegs. Maybe about once every two months I would run pegs for no more than a week at a time.

As far as being brakeless, I can agree with all you've said that's nice about it. No cable noises, adjustments, those things. I've always run a gyro detangler, however. Sounds like you've been running a straight cable, but that matters none.

To give personal insight to your questions, I think the initial fear wears off after a while, but if you're accustomed to brakes like I was, there will always be that lingering fear that'll pop up when, say, having a collision that brakes could've prevented, or riding through traffic and not having a lever to stop you effectively. But that's just me, maybe not so much for you.

That being said, I'll actually be rebuilding my own setup tomorrow and it'll run straight cable. I was riding through traffic and it was terrifying. I ride that route everyday. Therefore, I want brakes not only to get back tricks I miss more than I thought I would, but for safety. Safety is the first priority for me.

If the fear never leaves you, get a brake back ASAP! Plus, epic brake tricks still await! smile Hope this is somewhat of use.

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Scooter kid trying to ride BMX.
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2/19/2017 11:20 PM

I really want to take off my brakes again... I just use my bike for transportation a shit ton, I don't have my license yet. I really like brakeless.

I'll probably do it when the weather gets better around here.

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Ride hard or Ride home.
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2/20/2017 8:37 AM

Your surely dead now

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2/20/2017 8:51 AM

Interesting replies. Thanks for the insights! I'm kind of haphazardly replying to all of you below in no particular order, though not necessarily by name.

I was really stoked on the Springhanger, mostly 'cause I love simplicity. Function > gimmick. But brakeless is even simpler! I don't commute on my bike right now or use it for transportation, but Austin is very hilly, so we'll see how it goes.

Correct, I was running a straight cable, and will likely go back to that setup if I choose to run a brake again. It's rainy here today, so I hope to get out and get a replacement brake. If it ends up sitting on my shelf or goes unused, I'll just sell it or give it away.

At this time, running a brake was just for stopping. Perhaps brake tricks are somewhere in my future, though.

grumpysteve, how were you worried about cutting your hand on your lever? It closing on your hand? Hand slipping and mashing into it?

Dan, what is it about the weather that might see you going brakeless again? Any technical reason? I see you're in Seattle. Is it weather related? The internet told me it rains there a lot.

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2/20/2017 8:54 AM

eskimojay wrote:

Your surely dead now

Haha, not yet!

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2/20/2017 10:26 AM

Yeah, just catching my thumb on it really. I remember how much it stings! And a lever means I can't hold my bars how I feel comfortable (flangeless, thumb and fore finger on the bars. Doesn't matter how wide my bars are, that's just how I like to hold it! )

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2/20/2017 10:51 AM

So for the weather here, it rains. A lot. And it's a lot harder to stop when I run brakeless as my feet just slide on the ground when I put them down, or when I jam a foot in my back tire to stop. As soon as the ground dries up I'll be taking my brakes off

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Ride hard or Ride home.
Pink N’ Pretty

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@tarsales

2/20/2017 12:29 PM

DanTheBikerMan wrote:

So for the weather here, it rains. A lot. And it's a lot harder to stop when I run brakeless as my feet just slide on the ground when I put them down, or when I jam a foot in my back tire to stop. As soon as the ground dries up I'll be taking my brakes off

Lol since I ride chrome rims brakes dont even work on my bike in the rain.

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2/20/2017 1:28 PM

grumpySteve wrote:

Yeah, just catching my thumb on it really. I remember how much it stings! And a lever means I can't hold my bars how I feel comfortable (flangeless, thumb and fore finger on the bars. Doesn't matter how wide my bars are, that's just how I like to hold it! )

Right on, gotcha.

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2/20/2017 1:29 PM

DanTheBikerMan wrote:

So for the weather here, it rains. A lot. And it's a lot harder to stop when I run brakeless as my feet just slide on the ground when I put them down, or when I jam a foot in my back tire to stop. As soon as the ground dries up I'll be taking my brakes off

Hmm, yeah, sounds sketchy.

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2/20/2017 1:34 PM

Just got back from empire, got the fly Manual with the "traditional" springs-on-the-arms setup. I doubt empire is reading this thread, but a huge shoutout to them for doing the exchange without a receipt! Much appreciated!

Off-topic, but I also bought a new seat post. whistling

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2/20/2017 10:37 PM

Only thing to worry about is cars coming out from corners or driveways and hitting you. And hill bombing needs to be a bit more calculated .

Other then that , it's more fun in my opinion . Just have to commit , and when doing a big gap , pedal fast because you can't stop lol

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2/21/2017 4:32 PM

I've literally have every brake setup. I like them all for different reasons.

Brakeless because it is nice to not hit levers on barspins etc and feels free-er

Rear brake because fufanus and tiretaps, plus skids.

Front brake because nosepicks

Both because best of all.

Right now I have both. When it is pump track and only rails, it likely will switch to rear only.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura

2/22/2017 6:24 AM

Go to the cupboard and pull out a big cup, take a big spoon, go to your local hardware store and buy a big bag of cement. Take it home. Take your big spoon and place 1 spoon of cement into cup. Mix with water and drink.. Do this once a day until you harden the fk up

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2/23/2017 4:26 AM

When I started riding I was brakeless. I didnt know it was a trend, i just knew I wanted to do barspins and not deal with the brake cable. Well i never really learned barspins, but I could do footjam tailwhips (sometimes) on flat and mellow banks, but apart from that there was really nothing else. For my latest build i put brakes on, but old habits die hard and for the first few days i had to remind myself to sit + chill and not always be standing and ready to jam my foot into the back wheel. I put them on to be able to stop and learn some brake tricks, so will see how that goes.

But riding brakeless you really have to be aware of your surroundings and anticipate any situation.

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2/24/2017 7:30 AM

thairishguy wrote:

When I started riding I was brakeless. I didnt know it was a trend, i just knew I wanted to do barspins and not deal with the brake cable. Well i never really learned barspins, but I could do footjam tailwhips (sometimes) on flat and mellow banks, but apart from that there was really nothing else. For my latest build i put brakes on, but old habits die hard and for the first few days i had to remind myself to sit + chill and not always be standing and ready to jam my foot into the back wheel. I put them on to be able to stop and learn some brake tricks, so will see how that goes.

But riding brakeless you really have to be aware of your surroundings and anticipate any situation.

I'm actually kinda sorta learning barspins right now. Lots of jammed and hyper-extended fingers, but such is life. The way I'm learning them, yeah, not having the straight cable makes it quicker to attempt spin after spin after spin, but the straight cable was forcing me to try them both directions; spin with the left, then spin with the right to "correct" the cable. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, I'm gonna try to hit the park early tomorrow morning before the crowds show up. That's normally (always) when I go anyway.

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