Brake or Brake-less

From The Foot Down

Following on from the hemet debate from a couple of weeks ago lets shoot the shit out of the brakes vs brakeless issue. Firstly though I must say that I am very pleased with the comments on the helmet post, these things usually descend into inane name calling pretty quickly but it looks like you, my lovely readers, are a very reasonable, intelligent bunch! As expected though most commenters were helmet wearers so it would be nice to hear from some more bare heads.
brakeless fixed gear bikeBrakeless, some people see it as suicidal but I would disagree. Riding a brakeless fixed gear bike isn’t like riding with a brake, you simply don’t do things the same way. People with a brake usually go pretty fast and stop at the end whereas brakeless riders tend to start to slow down earlier and come to a stop a lot more gradually, folks don’t see that though and actually often refuse to believe that it’s a viable method of coming to a stop.

There is absolutely no denying that a front brake will bring you to a stop far more safely than locking up your legs but that doesn’t mean that fitting a brake is a must (unless you are a staunch law abider). I think in most circumstances skip and skid stops work absolutely fine but there are certainly cases where they are less than ideal. Locking up your legs at 30+mph with a mid 70GI usually results in a bit of a fucking scary wobble followed by a bunch of skips, a booming heart rate and a big “PHEW!” at the end but this is also the reason for riding brakeless isn’t it?

Being a death defying badass is what it’s all about, oh, and “the zen” that people went on about a few years back (where did the zen go?), I just can’t imagine that the thrill is the same with a brake, I suppose it’s a bit like jumping out of a plane without a backup parachute, if the main one fucks up then you are fucked but if it does work you feel like a million bucks when you gently land on your feet and don’t end up as a gross bloody puddle of guts and bones in front of your friends and family.

Maybe riding brakeless is just plain irresponsible but I’ve yet to see anyone riding without a brake crash into anything because they didn’t have a lever to pull on, at the end of the day you still need a fair distance in which to stop with a front brake. If someone opens a door right in front of you or a car pulls out of a junction right in front of you or a pedestrian walks out right in front of you then you are going down, with or without a brake. Being on the ball and paying attention to what is going on around you at all times is more important than a brake if you ask me.

Like with helmets the fixed gear scene is split right down the middle when it comes to brakes, people on both sides of the fence are very proud of their choice and are adamant that the braking method they have chosen is the best way. Lets hear your thoughts on this, have you had any accidents that a brake would have prevented? Have you pulled your brake in an emergency and gone over the bars like a human cannonball? Do you think brakeless riders are morons? Is fitting a brake for pussies???

Qtd from The Foot Down