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Razors Edge

Fun (and Danger!) On Gravel

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Out riding some gravel backroads on Saturday, and I hits a nice downhill stretch I had never ridden in this direction (North to South).  It was a pretty straight section with loose gravel that is relatively well maintained and traveled, but only by locals.  As I got going pretty fast, I realized there was a S-curve coming up fast, and I had a good bit of speed (too much speed), so I hit the brakes.  Well, too much braking to the rear (still getting  used to the power of hydraulic discs!) and the rear came around to my right (somewhere between my 4 and 5 o'clock) but luckily the front wheel stayed straight and I was able to "save" myself as well as scrub the extra speed.  Nice burst of adrenaline as I saw in that instant the road gravel rash I was about to experience :frantics:

On the plus side, coming down a later paved but messy descent that hits a grade in 15-20 range, the brakes kicked butt! So much safer and controlled and reactive than my road bike's rim brakes.

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Some pics just before the fun on the gravel portion that is much more compacted.  This sort of gravel surface is more what I typically see but it definitely gets worse in many areas where the rain affects the condition.

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About now our trails go from hard pack to loose over hard which can be pretty similar and just as sketchy on narrow tires like a gravel bike or even the 2.2 Ikons on my Anthem.  Cornering is different and yeah your tires can easily break loose.  Ruts, sandy sections and rocks can all take you out on a gravel bike unlike on a MTB.

Glad you pulled it off and didn’t have to pick gravel out of your wounds...

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2 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

On the plus side, coming down a later paved but messy descent that hits a grade in 15-20 range, the brakes kicked butt! So much safer and controlled and reactive than my road bike's rim brakes.

 

Remember Page Turner going on & on about how good  rim brakes are & discs being unnecessary! Yeah I never believed him having ridden both.

I have cable actuated discs that work really well Compared to the canti’s I had on my first cross bike but I love the two finger braking on my Anthem.  It’s not about raw stopping power but modulation & the effort (or lack there of) to utilize the brakes.  My hands would be worn out on a descent with my old crosser. 
 

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If you think about it mechanically, rim brakes are really disc brakes as well.  (brake pads applied to a spinning disc) The difference is in the materials used.  You wouldn't want to do to your rims what you do to a rotor so pads with that much stopping power are out.  Additionally, rim brakes have much more movement in relation to lever travel, so much less leverage.

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20 hours ago, ChrisL said:

Remember Page Turner going on & on about how good  rim brakes are & discs being unnecessary! Yeah I never believed him having ridden both.

I have cable actuated discs that work really well Compared to the canti’s I had on my first cross bike but I love the two finger braking on my Anthem.  It’s not about raw stopping power but modulation & the effort (or lack there of) to utilize the brakes.  My hands would be worn out on a descent with my old crosser. 
 

 

6 hours ago, maddmaxx said:

If you think about it mechanically, rim brakes are really disc brakes as well.  (brake pads applied to a spinning disc) The difference is in the materials used.  You wouldn't want to do to your rims what you do to a rotor so pads with that much stopping power are out.  Additionally, rim brakes have much more movement in relation to lever travel, so much less leverage.

Yeah, I think it's all a sort of gray area of braking control making disc brakes seem better???  The argument is always that on traditional rim brakes, it is still super easy to fully lock up one or both wheels - meaning, obviously, that rim brakes can "stop" a bike as long as there is grip between the road and tires.  But I think the ability to get to the 90-99% level of braking which is just before lockup and stay there to slow but not skid is what sets the disc brakes apart.  I tend to feather my rim breaks a bit on long, fast descents to prevent overheating the pads & rims, but so far, with the discs, its more a wait later to use, apply with more power, and then continue on.  I haven't done a long mountain descent yet, though, so maybe that would be different.

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3 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

 

Yeah, I think it's all a sort of gray area of braking control making disc brakes seem better???  The argument is always that on traditional rim brakes, it is still super easy to fully lock up one or both wheels - meaning, obviously, that rim brakes can "stop" a bike as long as there is grip between the road and tires.  But I think the ability to get to the 90-99% level of braking which is just before lockup and stay there to slow but not skid is what sets the disc brakes apart.  I tend to feather my rim breaks a bit on long, fast descents to prevent overheating the pads & rims, but so far, with the discs, its more a wait later to use, apply with more power, and then continue on.  I haven't done a long mountain descent yet, though, so maybe that would be different.

I changed over to disc brakes a few years ago when I dismounted a tire on my bike that came down some long downhills at 45 plus and found that the bead was melted and stuck to the rim.  I decided then and there that I must be close to melting a tube and spring a leak or having a blowout.

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