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Triangle Inline Skate Club Meetup Message Board › Brake or no brake?

Brake or no brake?

Daniel
user 13952478
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 4
I was skating around a track yesterday and my heel brake caught the rear wheel of my other skate when I was doing a crossover around the turn. This caused me to fall and pick up a few minor but painful scratches. Because of this, I'm considering removing my heel brake.

Does anyone have any suggestions for things I should consider in deciding whether to remove my heel brake?

I would appreciate any comments/suggestions.
Simon
user 13392992
Cary, NC
Post #: 5
I am sorry to hear about the tumble. It's all a matter of risk vs. return! For me I'd much rather have a brake to help me stop very quickly, which I need to do often when skating outside. I almost never use my brake when staking inside, but outside there are other perils, such as cars, kids, dogs, etc, which require you to do safe emergency stops. So the issue really is whether I can learn to not trip myself on my brake while doing cross-overs... well, I've never really had that problem, but my brake is one of the old ABT brakes that Rollerblade were so proud of in the 1990's, but are no longer used. I think it's far easier to trip yourself with the newer brakes, I'm afraid.

Bottom line: Keep the brake on and practice, practice, practice those cross-overs. I believe that you're likely to be far more seriously injured without a brake, so I suggest keeping it on.
Daniel
user 13952478
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 5
For me I'd much rather have a brake to help me stop very quickly, which I need to do often when skating outside.

Good point. However, my skates, like speed skates, do not have a connection to the skate cuff, and so the power that can be exerted via the brake is much less. I can stop at least twice as fast using a standard t-stop. But I'll leave the brake on my recreational skates, which does have a connection to the skate cuff.

Keep the brake on and practice, practice, practice those cross-overs.

I usually don't have a problem doing crossovers in either direction, but I take your point: there's room for improvement! :)
David
TermiSkater
Group Organizer
Cary, NC
Post #: 27
I'm a long-time fan of heel brakes on both rec and racing skates. While T-stopping is entirely practical under many circumstances, when you are skating at the limit of stability (ie. down a steep hill at a speed where you feel like you don't want to change anything for fear of falling!) you usually don't want to lift a skate and place it down "behind you" to generate braking force. In this situation the heel brake is (in my experience at least) much easier to apply with the least chance of causing a fall. In addition, regular T-stopping will reduce the life of your wheels which typically cost lots more than brake pads. Finally, although you say that you can stop twice as fast with a T-stop as compared to the heel brake (I assume you're talking about on your racing skates - not your rec skates) - I'm guessing it's because you don't have one of these:

http://tinyurl.com/Ga...­

The heel brake on a racing skate (or to be more specific - any skate with a longer frame, typically because it uses larger wheels [eg. 100mm] or has five wheels instead of four) is less effective than the one on a rec skate simply because it's farther back from your heel. It's the same effect as having a longer handle on a wrench - in reverse. The farther back the brake is from your heel, the more effort is required to lift your toes and get most/all of your body weight on the brake pad. The addition of a leash like the one shown in the video changes all that, since you need not try to do the impossible using sheer foot/ankle strength, but can use your arm instead. Unfortunately, Mark Farnsworth (the creator of the Gatorback break leash) has closed his doors and these aren't available any more. :( However, it's not too difficult to fabricate something yourself to accomplish the same thing. Several of us in this Meetup have brake leashes on our racing skates. Check 'em out next time you see us.

Finally, I'd say the majority of skaters I've seen at road skating events don't seem to have heel brakes. I think this is partly because they don't need them (or at least don't believe they do), partly because they are of limited effectiveness if you *dont'* have a leash, and partly because it's just not "cool" to have a brake on your racing skate! Just like driving in a car, part of safe skating is to minimize the need to use a brake in the first place. Having said that - unexpected things can and occasionally do happen. I would never consider skating without a heel brake because in my experience it has far more stopping power under varied circumstances than any alternative. With the leash I can put virtually 100% of my weight on that small rubber pad and burn off my kinetic energy pretty quickly (hopefully before I hit whatever obstacle just appeared in front of me unexpectedly!)

As to the effect of the heel brake on crossovers - obviously it can hang you up - and you can learn to accomodate it with practice. However, in my experience accelerating through relatively tight turns - and therefore doing crossovers - is very common when skating on a track, but much less so when road skating. Conversely, the need for braking is far less on a track, and potentially far greater when road skating! So you might consider skating without the heel brake on a track, but with it on (and a leash too) when road skating.

At the end of the day, you gotta do what works for you!

Skate safe,

David
Daniel
user 13952478
Raleigh, NC
Post #: 6
Thanks, David. Very informative and thoughtful response.

I have seen one of the brake leashes before (I think Dave has one on a pair of his racing skates). I'd be interested to know how something like this can be made.
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