Dr. Matt Miller is the inventor and founder of Brake Ace, a sensor that collects data about your braking and an app that makes braking recommendations to help you ride smarter. He’s also a former elite-level mountain bike racer and has coached riders at all levels of the sport.
In this episode we ask:
- How did you make your way up to the elite level of mountain bike competition?
- Why did you decide to look at braking performance as a part of your PhD program?
- What does the Brake Ace sensor look like, and how does it work?
- How difficult is the hardware side in terms of development?
- What’s different about your approach to studying braking performance? How did you figure out which metrics to focus on?
- Let’s talk about some common braking questions.
- Does the front brake generally offer more stopping power than the rear?
- Is locking up a wheel and skidding bad in terms of speed and/or performance, or is it desirable in certain situations?
- Should mountain bikers brake before a turn? How soon? Should we brake at all once we’re in the turn?
- What are some common braking skills riders need to work, or bad habits they need to break?
- How do the pros compare to weekend warriors in terms of braking skills?
- Do some of us brake too often? Could working on things like cornering and overall confidence allow us to simply brake less?
- Mountain bikers seem to be split between preferring brakes that modulate power, and those that have a quick bite. Is one better than the other in terms of performance?
- If bigger rotors offer better stopping power, why not max them out? Is it just because of weight, or is there another consideration?
- Tell us a bit about the MTB scene in Rotorua. How has it grown and changed over the past few years?
Learn more at brakeace.com and sign up for their email list to be notified about availability.
Scroll below for a full transcript of our conversation.
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Hey everybody, welcome to the Singletracks podcast. My name is Jeff and today my guest is Matt Miller. Matt is the inventor and founder of brake ace, a sensor that collects data about your braking. And he’s also got an app that makes braking recommendations to help you ride smarter. Matt is a former elite level mountain bike racer, and he’s also coached riders at all levels of the sport. Thanks for joining me, Matt.
Yeah, thanks, Jeff. Good to be here.
Yes, thanks for coming. So to be clear, you’re not the Matt Miller that works for Singletracks. You’re a different one.
Oh, man, it’s like the most common name in the world. I wish I could go back in time and tell my parents that everyone’s gonna have this name.
Yeah, yeah. I’ve known a lot of Matt Miller’s in my life. So yeah,
yeah, same. There’s a lot of us like all around the world.
Well, tell us tell us about you, Matt Miller. Give us a little bit about your background as a writer and how you made your way up to the elite level of racing.
Well, I grew up in the family bike shop here in little town of Nazareth, PA, which I just so happen to be in right now. And my grandfather started the bike shop back in the 70s. My dad bought it off him and then I was working there from the time I was 10. So I have like, these vivid memories of being a 10 year old kid, getting paid like $2 an hour, basically. slave labor, and, you know, trying to center you brakes on BMX bikes as a 10 year old and you know, putting together and even selling bikes. So I didn’t actually start riding until I was like 14, but we lived pretty close to some trails, like a mile away. Yeah. And that was maybe 2000. I got my first like, proper mountain bike, where I could would go out alone and those kinds of things. Disc brakes had just come out. And yeah, so that, you know, that gave me a lot of freedom. And I was basically the only kid in the family that rode at a certain point, even though lots of siblings and we all worked at the bike shop. Right. But I got really into it really into and I started racing, probably oh three, did lots of xc racing in the mid atlantic Super Series. And I got pretty good pretty quick. And I did lots of 24 hour racing. I was telling you off the air how you’re pretty close to one of the tracks that I raced in Conyers, Georgia. Yeah. And that’s where the money for our worlds. Yeah, man. That thing was bumpy. And like, we all had like 26 inch wheels and like 80 mils of travel. So yeah, that’s brutal. That was a year Craig Gordon got like real sick, and he won. And I passed him he was like just cramped up on the side of the trail. You got obviously laughed at me like multiple times before it passed him. But yeah, I got after that point, I got really into like, power meters. So someone had given me a power meter. And I used it on my road bike. And no one was using it on mountain bikes at the time. But I was I had, you know, started studying exercise physiology at the university. And I just got really into it. So I was like, surely something is good about these for mountain biking. Everyone’s like banana, you can’t use it. But you know, the technology got better. And by 2012 cork had come out with their mountain bike power meter. So I got one of those. And I, for my basically a capstone project at the university. I did the first study on functional threshold power FTP, and how it relates to mountain biking. Wow. So that got me really interested in research. And along the lines, somewhere there I started coaching. Lots of like, really good riders, I don’t know. I’m just really lucky. I coached guys like Jeff Malinowski, when he was like, he started his xe stunt. And Seamus Powell, who then went on to win five national championships. And we were using power meters all along there. And as luck would have it, I wanted to continue doing research in mountain biking, and I ended up getting a position. You know, I sent out emails to basically everyone that did research and mountain biking, and I got a position at a university in New Zealand. So in 2014, I packed the few things up that I had a bunch of bikes, and I moved to New Zealand. And basically, that’s where I live now. I just never left.
Wow, that’s really cool. So what was it about like mountain biking and power that people thought like, this won’t work? Or you can’t do it? I mean, was it like, the sensors themselves? Or was it like the sport because power is really weird and mountain biking? Like you you’re not putting out constant power by any means. It’s not like road biking. So was it? Was it like the technology or was it just the idea of like how you mountain bike wasn’t really compatible?
I think He’s like, basically just everyone’s understanding of power was just not like power meters that only really just come out like maybe, you know, at least widespread maybe five or 10 years before that where people started up power meters on the road bikes. And then people started also having a racing Power Meter. Yeah, because they were so heavy. And then so the information started to grow. And I was just kind of there when we’re like, actually, you know, what, mountain bike power meters are pretty useful if we look at the data in a different way. So it was just about kind of looking at it a different way. And understanding the demand for mountain biking is pretty unique, because we spend so much time coasting. So or, you know, going downhill where, right you as we found out, like you shouldn’t be pedaling anyway, because it’s just a waste of energy. Yeah. So yeah, I think it was just a basically the knowledge base, since that would have been, you know, 2010, or whatever the knowledge base is just has grown exponentially since then. We have sensors all over our bikes now. And we know so much more. So. There are a lot of mountain bikers that power meters, anyone who basically wants to get fitter has a power meter on their mountain bike. And they’re, they’re growing every year, which is, which is cool.
Definitely. So was that insight that you had that like, mountain bikers spent a lot of time coasting? Is that what got you interested in looking at breaking? Like how you can measure that?
Yeah, yeah, that was exactly I was, I was actually like, I have this weird obsession with pacing. Because I understand so much about physiology and how the body works. That, and I obviously spent a lot of time mountain biking. Well, you get tired really quick, and you get tired. You know, because you have to sprint and you have to do it a lot of times. And you could go slightly easier, let’s say and be able to sustain yourself for longer, like well, okay, pacings. Pretty interesting. So I guess the idea for studying braking came from two things. We looked at a pacing study, during my PhD, where we saw that coasting down this hill was no faster than if you pedal and actually you saved a ton of energy if you didn’t pedal. So that was actually probably a good way to do it. Yeah. And then we were trying to do some other things just with power meters in an XC race. And we saw that or I found myself racing against us really fast, roadie, he was just breaking in every turn. I was like, I know this guy’s way fitter than me. And he was my supervisor. And he had been a professional road racer. And he was just breaking in every turn, I could hear his brakes. And I was riding with him. I was like, There’s no way I should be able to keep up with this guy, because he’s crazy fit, except the fact that I’m not braking. So yeah, I told them on Monday after that race, I was like, hey, I want to look at braking. Do you think we could build a sensor? And yeah, we built this monstrosity of a sensor. And the rest is history, I guess.
Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, I mean, one of the, one of the guys who used to write for us to row would he, he talked about breaking in terms of like, it’s kind of like a reverse accelerator, especially when you’re talking about like gravity riding where, you know, basically, when you let off the brakes, that’s when you speed up, and then, you know, obviously, they slow you down. And so that’s interesting that you come at it from that perspective of like, how can braking make you faster and, and make you faster without a lot of additional effort? So
yeah, it’s free speed. It’s absolutely just free speed. And, you know, Dre was on to it, because where you brake and how you brake makes all the difference on a downhill? Yeah, because you’re not pedaling, right. It’s just you and gravity and the bike, and it’s up to you to pilot it.
Yeah, yeah. And so yeah, that’s what we’re gonna be getting into a little bit later on, in this conversation. Tell us about brake ace, this sensor that you designed. What is the sensor look like? And how does it work?
Yeah, well, I can show you, Jeff, but everyone else is gonna have to Google it. But this is our, our new wireless sensor that we’ve been working on for an incredibly long time. So if I could explain how it looks, it just basically looks like a spacer that goes under your brake caliper, just like you would need to use if you wanted to use a bigger rotor. So it looks like that. But obviously, it looks like there’s a little extra something, something going on inside. And that stuff that’s going inside is basically a power meter. So there’s a power meter in there that’s wireless and sends all the braking information to your phone.
Okay, cool. And so it’s what is it actually measuring? Or? I mean, you say it’s a power meter, what is it looking at? Is it looking at like, is it optically looking at the pads brake pads, like, retracting and compressing, or is it is it looking to someone else?
Yeah, good question. So, it what it’s looking at is It’s looking at the flex inside of that sensor. So the sensor is designed in such a way that the, when you brake, it senses the movement of your brake caliper kind of towards the frame or towards your fork. You can’t feel it or anything. But it’s designed that if we place a strain gauge and a specific area, that we can pick up that information. And when you brake really hard, and you slow down a lot, we know that difference, it’s very, very sensitive, I can put it in my hand, and I can squeeze it in my hand, and you can pick up little tiny differences. And it’s just in the direction of the braking. So those little string gauges, they’re crazy little things. They’re super sensitive, the wires are basically like copper hair, and we have to solder them on to the module that then collects that information. So yeah, it’s it’s a pretty neat thing. We tried different ways of looking at braking, because there’s lots of ways that you could probably do it. And we settled on measuring power, because well, that’s what you do. When you’re measuring your pedaling. It’s all about energy. So when we think about a moving bike, what the moving bike has his energy, and we either give it more we take it away. So we need to be able to look at that very, very, very wide range of measurements, because it’s from really, really tiny breaking events to like these massive ones when we’re blasting down a hill. So it’s a nice, nice little we call it hypersensitive hypersensitive to your braking.
And yeah. Cool. Yeah. So it makes sense that it is similar to a power meter, because I think a lot of us are familiar with the like crank arm power meters, right? Where that’s the same idea where it’s measuring the strain. How much the crank arms actually flex when you’re pedaling.
Yeah. And the electronics in there are actually from a power meter that is on the market. So they’re very, very smart, and proven electronics, which we’re super stoked about.
Yeah. And so is this all like sort of self contained? Or do you have to calibrate it based on different frames and forks? Based on the way you’re measuring it?
Yes, there are some. Generally, what we do is we calibrate it in the factory. And that information is then stored in the sensor and stored on our servers. But what you can do is if you make like a huge change in your setup, like you add, like wacky math spacers, or you go up to like math, you’re basically that’s the only the main thing that you can do, you can recalibrate it, or you’re like, I’m not sure if the data is right, you can recalibrate it. And we have a calibration sequence that you can follow that goes to our servers as well.
Okay, cool. So how difficult has this sort of journey been developing this hardware for for measuring braking?
Dude, it’s been hard. It’s been hard. You know, cuz it’s, it’s a huge challenge, maybe not just so much in the hardware side. But like hardware is actually pretty straightforward. Like, if you make pedals, you got to make them strong, you got to make them light. And they fit in one way, right? Like, the biggest challenges someone has when they make pedals is making them be the coolest, most like functional pedals that exist, right? Because lots of people make pedals. But it’s generally like, proven like what you need to do. So we have that challenge, like making the coolest and the best. But also, we need it to flex in a specific area, and you can’t be able to feel it like it can’t actually move. Right. So that’s a huge challenge. And as we discovered along this journey, what should fit as a spacer on every bike doesn’t actually fit on every bike. But this is like a standard industry challenge, right? Well, that part isn’t going to fit on every bike. Right? So, you know, there’s 160 posts, Mt. 180, post Mt. 200. Post Mount? Well, we need two different sensors to be able to adapt to use with your your bigger rotor. So for us, that was the main hardware challenge, which fortunately, we were able to solve. But actually, like, the hardest part of what we’ve done is the software and the firmware side is rewriting all those electronics because not only do we have a hardware product, but it’s a hardware product that functions like a phone in a way like has the smarts inside of it and needs to also talk to your phone. So that’s taken a long time. And, you know, then we also go beyond that because we don’t just want to give you data, we want to give you something to do right we want to work basically like the shock was that that was our inspiration. We want to give you like this is your action point for your Rod, this is where you can improve. So the hardware challenge was maybe our easiest one is pretty expensive as anyone knows who makes hardware designs, hardware and prototypes things and make sure they work properly. But then we have the software and firmware assigned, as well. So she has been a journey, she has been a journey. Yeah,
lots of moving parts clearly. So you probably weren’t the first to look at breaking data. But maybe you’re looking at it more in depth than others have before. But like, what’s, what’s different about your approach? How did you figure out which metrics you wanted to focus on? Did that come from like, your racing background? Or was it more? Like just looking at the data and being like, huh, there’s some interesting things going on here.
Yeah, that that’s a good question. There was like, I know, back in the day, there was some exploration into breaking data. And what most like it was mostly teams on the World Cup, trying to use these data loggers, which we see. We see the mechanics using them. And we see the teams using them at the highest level during practice, right. So they plug in the wires into the data logger. And they collect a lot of information. And this information is also used when during bike development and things like that, what most historically, what everyone was looking at was brake pressure. And it basically, you would look at how the fluid pressure changes when you squeeze the lever. Okay, so that was the traditional way. But the ability to be able to quantify and put that information in the context is really difficult. Because you can’t actually see the interaction of the wheel with the ground. Resolute enough, when you’re using pressure, you basically just see the squeezing Enos of your wheel. So basically, you you could see pressure, brake pressure increase when you’re in the air. And that then doesn’t really mean much to us. Whereas if you use basically like a torque sensor, or power meter, you can see more, eventually the wheel is going to stop, because, well, now, the torque is there’s no torque, right? So we can, we can pick up those really fine interactions. And this opens up the door for us to be able to measure things like modulation. So these scores and these metrics and numbers that we created, we had to create them from the ground up because they didn’t exist, or at least these weren’t published anywhere where we could find them. Yeah. So we started. And this was basically the right place at the right time. For me, I had this opportunity where it was my, I guess, basically, my job was to lecture on sports science, but I was doing my PhD as well. So I spent the rest of the time in my office looking at data. Right? So we were able to just end when you when you go through a research program like a PhD, everyone’s looking at your data, and looking at what you’re saying about your data and be like, No, that’s wrong. No, that’s wrong. No, that’s wrong. So you really need to make sure it’s right. So what we did is we went to like, look, we’re gonna go straight to the source, we want to know torque, we want to know power, we want to know the energy that’s lost, we need to build this sensing element that picks up the torque so we can get power. So so that’s what we did. And we had to create these new metrics basically, on the fly, right? Because what a power meter does is it says this is how hard you pedaled actually, that’s great for someone like me, where I, it’s, my thing that I love to do is help athletes get faster and fitter and look at their power data. I’ve looked at a zillion Power Meter files, I can say, look, alright, this is your average here. This is your average here. Let’s try this, see if you can get faster. But we wanted since we wanted to take the shock was approach, we needed to make it easy for anyone to understand, so that someone without a PhD and braking could look at their own braking, and be like, Alright, I know what to do. I’m gonna go try this. Right. So we created for example, modulation. Now, I don’t know how everyone else defines it. But what we needed to do was we needed to be able to calculate it. Because I hear it all the time. When we look at bike tests or brake tests, like, well, these brakes, the modulation isn’t as good or the modulation on these is way better. So we have to create a way that okay, what what is it actually doing that this means modulation or modulation is occurring. So we created that and for example, in break ace, every time you break, it shows your level of modulation. So that’s just one of the scores that we have. Then we have things like intensity of your braking, the duration of your braking. And then I guess what I call it is the one score to rule them all, which is the flow score, which means that we can pit ourselves against each other are on a downhill. And we can just look at this flow score and determine who buys beers at the end of the ride.
Cool. That’s awesome. So yeah, I mean, it sounds like what you’re saying too is is this isn’t just measuring your braking, the sensor is also able to tell what your wheel is doing. Is that correct? Like he can tell if you’re locking up the wheel versus letting it spin, but slowing down? Is that a fair way to say it?
Yeah, definitely looking at how the skidding, we’ve done that. And that one’s there’s some real challenges on that to be able to have sensors fast enough to pick that up. So we’re, we’re continuing to work on that we found ways to solve that. And we published those findings. So skidding, we look at skidding. And we also look at basically everything else. So like, let’s say, you’re going down to downhill, and it’s a chunky downhill and you’re flying. And you need to be on your brakes off your brakes on your brakes off the brakes. But that’s like a little tiny movement, right with our fingers, we never actually let off, we never actually let off our brakes completely. And this is why they get so hot. But we’re on harder on less on harder unless, and we can actually look at what the wheels doing during that time. Because if you say you roll over a log or something like that, well, it might just kind of slide across that log, right, your wheel might slide across that log, and then it kind of locks up again, or something like that, after you’re on the other side of the long where there’s good traction. So what what our sensor is able to do is it’s able to understand what’s happening there. And that could happen. Even if you just keep your your lever pressure the same the whole time, that interaction with the ground is really what we’re looking at.
Yeah, interesting, right? Because, yeah, I mean, it would seem like oh, that’s the easiest thing would be just have a sensor at the lever, right? And you can just measure like, Did you push it down far or not far, but yeah, it’s clearly much more complicated the interaction between like, your braking, and then what that actually results in, like at the wheel and at the ground. So definitely a complex problem.
Yeah, and it’s also complicated by the heat, because that is the brake systems job is to basically convert your speed, if you will, to heat, right, so clamps on the rotor, and it’s create set turns that energy into heat, it goes into your rotor, is why the rotors get so hot, all your speed becomes heat. So once you have that heat in the system, you need to be actually be able to measure what the wheels doing. Otherwise, you know, brakes fade, right? I just started writing this morning, before we got on and my rear brake faded. I was like what the heck, this isn’t even a long downhill. And, you know, you got to let off the lever and then like, quickly grab it again, because you need to slow down. And they used to be a lot worse back in the day. I’ll tell you that when I was in Conyers, Georgia, and with whatever breaks I was using then. And you know, you get arm pump, because you’re squeezing them the next thing you know they’re in the bars. So you got to let them off. Brakes have come a long way, actually. But looking at that interaction with the ground is number one. So that’s what we do hear.
Yeah, yeah, that’s cool to see. And heard that explanation about sort of the job of brakes, converting all that energy into heat. I mean, that’s it. That’s, that’s all they can do. So it’s really good way to look at it. Alright, let’s talk about some common braking questions. And you’ve answered a lot of these on your podcast, your website, your social media, like, it’s really awesome to follow all of that stuff and to learn from all the things that you’re learning so but for the sake of our listeners, first question I want to ask is, Does the front brake generally offer more stopping power than the rear? I heard that a lot that, especially when you’re going downhill, more of your weight is on the front of the bike, and so the front brake tends to do more of the braking. Is that Is that true? Like? Does the data support that? And like, what is that? Was that kind of mean for us?
Yeah, so I’d say the answer is yes. And mostly No. So yeah, because this is the way bikes are sold, is we buy a new bike and as a bigger firm rotor, so like, well, it has a bigger firm rotor, because most of the braking or the front brakes more powerful generally is what?
We’re taller. You want more power, is it? Yeah, who knows what it is?
Yep. Well, we’ve we’ve looked at this a lot. And one of the metrics that we have, and you know, this one, I think we’re going to explore until the end of time brake balance is what does what we call it brake balance. We’re going to explore it forever. Because what I can do is I can take two riders down the same track and I look at look at their braking, look at it in brakes and it pits them against each other so I can look Have their scores, and they can maybe have your one guy might have 10% in the front, and 90% in the rear. Well, right. And the best I’ve ever seen is 5050. Wow. Right. So 50% Front 50% rear, I’ve never seen a higher percentage in the front. Yeah. But we then if we look like if we explore even further, we need to look at like, what are we actually doing when that braking happens? Like, what are we trying to do? Like, if you want to stop? The front brake is the best way to do that. Yeah, hands down, hands down. Like you can almost exclusively use the front brake to stop. If you do it the right way. Like we don’t want anyway flipping over the bars, right? But yeah, if you like if
you’re a woman, Miss misconception or not a misconception, but I mean, that’s the thing I’ve heard the most is new riders. It’s like they always get that advice, as the first people say is like, don’t grab that front brake. And so yeah, as writers, I think, some of us we were afraid of it, right. Like, we really tend to like back break first. And then maybe a little bit of front.
Yeah. Well, yeah. So I can talk about this one for days. Let me oh, I’ll I definitely want to talk about beginners. But the first thing I think is like when you’re stopping, yep. 100%, like you need that front brake. But when we’re going down a hill, we’re not stopping. Right, we’re riding. So mostly, what we’re doing is we’re using the rear brake, just to kind of check up our speed, like, whoa, whoa, I’m going too fast, I need to slow down a little bit. I don’t want to stop. Yeah, but I’m going to use my rear brake for that. So that’s what we see in most people. Obviously, it depends on like, what the trail looks like. So here in Nazareth, PA, the trails are generally not that steep. So I’m much closer to 5050, with my braking, where when I slow down, it’s to get around this really tight hairpin turn with a tree on the inside. So I need to slow down a lot. So I’m gonna dump a lot of front brake. And I’m gonna slow down a lot and get around that. But when I’m back in Rotorua, the trailers steep. Yeah, not all of them, but a lot of them and they’re freaking fast. So mostly, what I’m doing is I’m like 80%, on the rear brake, just trying to make sure I don’t go faster and get in over my head. So it definitely changes where you are and what you’re trying to do. And then if I get to another hairpin turn, it’s mostly from brake. So what you said about what we’re told when we first start riding, especially with disc brakes, where you know, they can stop on a dime. Yeah. Beginners are told to lay off the front brake. And that’s not great advice, when you do want to stop. Yeah, because, and beginners, like, if you get to a sketchy section, you’re going to stop, right? Like, this part is too sketchy, I’m going to get off and walk. That’s sweet. Because this is this part of the development as mountain bikers, as you know, I’m going to walk this one, check it out the other side, and maybe I’ll try it. But if you try and stop with just the rear brake, you’re just going to skid, lose control, have to put a foot down, you’re going to end up going sideways, and you crash. Yeah. So this like, ability to manipulate which brake you’re using varies widely across different levels of riders. And one thing that we need to do is we need to be confident at using the front brake and realize as important tool in our tool chest to have a rider. So but obviously not when we’re going crazy fast. And we want to slow down. Because traction is also important. And we don’t want to start skating with the front wheel, because that then will also end up in trouble.
Yeah, interesting. Well, when you say that, you’ve seen some riders that are doing like 9010, where like 90% of the braking is the rear and 10 is the front. Does that mean like, like, they’re on the brakes that amount or like that they’re getting that amount of stopping power, right? Like, like, what I’m thinking is a little bit of front brake goes a long way, especially if you’re going downhill, right? So it’s like, what are those percentages really, really talking about?
That’s a good question. So what we’re actually looking at is energy at that point. So when we’re looking at balance, we’re looking at that heat, that heat that goes in, and you can think of it like a banana, right. So if you’re burning up like a whole banana on the rear brake, just by converting your speed into heat, you might do 10% of a banana on the front brake, so you’re just kind of not using it as much. And we can also look at the amount of time that you use it, and what the actual power is when you use that brake and also modulation between each brake. So you might modulate the front more, right when you’re going down a steep shoot, or something like that, or an end drag the rear it’s more even.
Okay, so yeah, you’re talking about the amount of energy that is dissipated at that break. That’s, that’s helpful. Okay, so let’s talk about skidding. So I’ve also heard that locking up a wheel and skidding is bad in terms of speed or performance. But I’ve also heard that like, it’s good and it definitely looks cool. Not because I don’t know there’s a lot a lot of pros and cons. But yeah, let’s talk about skidding like is getting good. The pros and the really fast riders that you’ve looked at, are they skidding a lot? Are they locking up their wheels? Or do they try to avoid that?
Yep. So I guess the thing is, skids are for squids. Right skidding depends on Yes. Like, if you ask a trail builder what they think about skidding like, no, don’t skip because it destroys our trails. Right? Right. Create a big rut and you chuck dirt everywhere. You know, personally, for me, I think the same thing when I see someone destroy a berm. Right, you smash into a berm and you throw dust everywhere. It looks great on Instagram, but it’s not great for your speed. And it’s not great for the trail. So yes, maybe don’t do that so much. But skidding is like skidding is not fast, because the you’re slowing down, right, you’re converting more of your energy, like in the sound and like throwing dust in the air. Right. And you know, also heat but it’s not great for your tires. But what the risk is with skidding is that you aren’t able to change direction in the way that you expect. Because a lot of different things can happen underneath your tires when they start sliding, and you are really lacking control. What also happens eventually in a skid is when you eventually do lose speed, and you’re still skating, you lose a lot more speed. So generally, if you say consider your racing or you’re going for a Strava segment or just trying to beat your buddies down the hill. skidding is you’re gonna have to do a lot of work to then gain that speed back up. So I am definitely not a big fan of skinning. Yeah, yeah, just for a lot of reasons. But I would say it’s also not fast. So if you look at what the the highest level at the World Cup, and then like a beginner or so there’s some are me, right? I might get, right, because I’m bit of a squared or something like that. But what look, Bruni does when he wins, the World Championships is he’s taking a swoopy turn around around this berm, and he’s really high up there, it’s not sharp edges, if you look at him, the trace of where he’s going is real smooth around there. And to be able to do that you need to have the appropriate speed when you get into that turn. So you don’t have to have the square edge turns. So skidding you end up doing a square edge, right, your rear tire slides, it’s not in a very nice arc, and then you’re at a weird angle compared to where you were before. So generally, it’s it’s not that great. You know, some people have perfected it, but there’s better
ways. Yeah. Yeah. So this, I think, kind of leads into my next question. And this is one of those things that that I’ve seen from your research and what you’ve been talking about, and that’s cornering. So it sounds like one of the things you found is that some of the best, most effective riders are going to break just before a turn, if I’m correct, right. And for me that I associate that with skidding because I’m gonna if I’m doing it late, like it’s too late, and I’m really grabbing on to it. So how do you? How do you optimize that? Like, how do you know where the right places to break before a turn?
Yeah, I think what we need to everyone needs to be on the same pages is like, what is what is before the turn mean? Right, right, because someone might look at a turn and be like before the turn is the middle of the term. Or someone else might say before the turn is before my bike starts to lean at all. For example, if if we take a downhiller they take late breaking to the next level, right, this is what pros are doing differently, they’re breaking at the last minute possible. And what ends up happening is what we can do to get like very precise location. And even if you’re like, I’m not sure about GPS and as far as precision, you know, you can only take GPS so far. Like even though we even if we use like a crazy high speed GPS, I’d be like, I don’t believe, right, because we’re all used to send crazy GPS numbers. So what we can do is ArtSuite export the data from break ace and sync it up with your GoPro and if you sync it up with your GoPro you can see exactly where you were or in the turn when you were on which break? Yeah. So that’s pretty sweet. Because then we can, we can look at, you know, you versus look Bernie, for example, and we can see like where you start breaking and where he starts breaking. So what, what top riders do at certain times is the braking, like right at the apex right at the apex. And what that means is, all the time before that, they were able to ride without braking, which means they were going really fast. Yeah. So when we think about braking early, and braking before a turn it what that means is actually be slowed down a lot before the turn, and then had to somehow get through it. And hold on and hope that we didn’t need to break again. And it’s really scary to be able to do that. To be able to then to slow down be like, Yep, this is the speed that I need to slow down enough and then get off them. Now you’re looking through the berm. And you you get through it without dabbing the brakes again. Yeah, so that late braking strategy, just they take it to the next level, obviously. And that means that we have maximum speed before we start braking. Yeah. And then they’re off the brakes.
Interesting. So yeah, I mean, you say you say most of them are braking, like as close as possible to the apex. So yeah, again, what is that point? In a turn? Like, if we’re looking at a, I don’t know, 90 degree kind of berm. Like where where is that? Exactly?
That’s a good question. We had to like be able to define that actually, in our software, right? Like, what what is an apex, so we can identify that then in the plot. And basically, what we do is we find the center of the turn, and we make that your apex, so not the center of the turn, the center of the path that you took. So what is your apex? Right, because someone might go, you know, way outside early in a turn, and then cut inside or inside and then outside? So what was the sharpest part of your turn? And how did your braking relate to that? So the best riders might have, you know, their apex, their turn might be super wide and super smooth. Just like when you’re going around the you know, on the highway, and you’re riding real smooth, you’re like, Yep, I like this line. Whereas, you know, someone like me, maybe a bit more squiddy will have a sharp apex, and, you know, I’m not sure where it would relate to them. But it varies wildly wildly based on turns, but you know, the great thing is like, now we can quantify that, right? We can quantify, like, what is what was my braking compared to look Bruni? And why is he so much faster? And how can I be more like him?
Right? So, okay, so we were breaking, we’re at the apex of the turn, that’s when ideally you’re going to be breaking right is at the apex. And then how long are you holding on? Like, is this just like a tap? Does that depend on sort of your your skill level? Or is there like an optimal way to sort of let off the brakes? Once you’re within a turn?
Yeah, I think so. I think maybe I should preface this saying that I’m not like a qualified skills coach. And I think skills coaches are extremely good at communicating this part. Where like, when you should let off the brakes and how you should do it. And generally, what they what skills coaches teach is that you should kind of ease off the brakes, ease off the brakes, because especially if we’re just getting started writing our our ability to change speed extremely quickly, we’re just not quite there yet. So if we can change speed, gradually and gradually slow down the time that we change our speed, or gradually shorten that time that we slow down, then we can we that’s kind of on our journey to improvement. So maybe a beginner might slow down earlier, and brake harder as they go, and then let off their brakes as they go through and pass that Apex just because we’re still exploring how much speed we actually need for this term.
Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. And so is, is briefcase like within the app? Are you getting those kinds of tips and feedback? Like if I went through a turn what it tells me afterward, like, Hey, you’re breaking too soon? Or you’re not letting off your brakes quick enough. Like is that? Is it that sort of that level?
That’s definitely where it’s going. So we’ve explored that by being able to say, like, where your apex is, how you were braking before it, how you’re braking after it. So we have ways to quantify that. That is, we’ve kind of kept that on beta. And we’re using that internally in the software. And that’s, that’s really where we want to go like we want it to be, in a way your skills coach, right, where there’s video tutorials that look at what you did with your breaks. All right, this is what you did. Now try this. So what we’re doing at the moment, what we do is we basically, we it’s called key opportunities. And instead, it looks at all the places that you break that might be 90 times, and gives you three places to go to improve. And these are your three key opportunities and shows you what you did in that time. And in the future roadmap, if I look at the future of brake ace, the plan is to then be able to implement like, actually, this is your tip, like this is this is what you should do. And here’s someone showing you what to try. Because we know actually a lot about the trail. We know the gradient, we know your speed, we know what you’re doing. And alongside that, obviously, you can send your key opportunities to your skills coach, and maybe even like a video of yourself going through that section. And your skills coach can now coach you remotely. Right? Yeah, they’re like, right, or try this at home. Yeah, yep. Exactly. Exactly like power, you know, because they’re, when I was coaching athletes, and I still do this, just because I love it. Coaching athletes fitness, most of them I never met, right there on the other side of the world. And I if I look at their information from their rod, it almost feels like I was there with them. Like I can understand their pedaling, I can see what their heart rate did. I can see all these things. So that’s really where we want to go. Is we want to go towards like a remote skills coaching kind of thing.
Yeah, very cool. Well, yeah. So I know, you said you’re not a skills coach. But I’m still gonna ask you skills questions. Okay, go go for it. Yeah. And this will all be, you know, again, like, Yeah, I’m glad you, you said that. But also, you know, again, this approach is different, right? It’s a data driven approach versus the way that a lot of even the current pros learned, right? Like, I imagine a lot of them it was trial and error. Or maybe they just naturally like, understood the physics of braking, and turns and all that stuff. And so, I mean, one of the questions I have, after looking at all this data from, you know, pro riders to Weekend Warriors is like, how do the pros compared to regular riders in terms of their Braking Skills? Like, can you look at the data from one rider and another and be like, Oh, that guy’s a pro? That person is not like, is it? Is it kind of obvious what they’re doing differently?
Yeah, it’s definitely night and day in terms of where they’re braking and their overall braking is hugely different. For example, with Sam blenkinsop spent some time looking at his braking, and then I rode the trails after, you know, my I was way, way, way, way off, like they were his home trails, and it was just not even comparable. And, you know, we had GoPro stuff, GoPro videos from all that stuff. So I was able to do is look at what he was doing, go back and be like, how the heck did he do that? You know, but what, what he has in his skills tool chest is skills that allow him to not actually need to break, right. And it might be like, a ability to move the bike. And it might be the ability to turn and look through the terrain and be able to predict what his traction is. So I think this is a difficult this is it’s an important thing to say that we’re not saying don’t break, right, because we never want to say that because you just done can end up getting hurt because he was he would still break. Just be like, not a lot. Because what he’s doing is maybe like turning the bike in the air and getting around this turn in a way that I never even thought about. Yeah, you know, like maybe picking up the rear end, which is a skill that I don’t actually have. Right? Yeah. But if I wanted to be able
to trail to slow you down, like you’re saying like, yeah, absolutely. Pushing into a berm more or Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Yes. So what we can do is like, if we look at me versus him, it’s like, well, you know, if I want to ride that fast, I’m gonna have to go to this turn, and try new things until I could get around it with, you know, a braking profile that’s closer, you know, or flow score that’s closer to what his braking is. And for me, I don’t know might not ever be possible. But what I can do is now that I can see what I’ve done, that gives me like, a carrot, right? Where I’m like, Well, this is this is the bar. How close can I get to that bar? And let me explore new things to try to get to that bar.
Yeah. Interesting. That brings up another question. Do you see a difference between someone who’s writing like say enduro style, which is often a lot of times it’s it’s on site, meaning like, you haven’t written that trail a lot, or maybe you’ve never even seen it versus someone who is like in a downhill competition where they’re very familiar with the track, they know exactly where to break, when, how much. How does that look? Does it look like like, enduro style? Is it super jagged compared to somebody who’s riding downhill or are there some similarities there?
Yeah, I mean, first off, like racing, full stop is totally different, totally different than riding. And we what we see is that once someone starts racing, now you’re under pressure, I gotta get it right, gotta get it right. And nine times out of 10, there’s over braking happening compared to the way you just wrote it like, half an hour ago, which is crazy. Because you know, what we also find is like, once we’re under pressure, and we’re like, I’m going for the Strava segment, or I want to win this race is like, then we’re, we’re thinking about all these things. Whereas when we’re just riding, we might be able to find flow. And you know, finding the flow state is like, optimal. And that’s when you you are actually probably breaking closer to the way you break when you just ride. Generally, I’m racing like we might push harder or pedal harder in certain sections. So we can sometimes go faster. But even for myself, when I raced on my local trails, I over break compared to the way I braked in practice, and I can see that difference just real quickly, at a glance. You looking at the flow score, I get up, I’m like, Oh, my God, my flow score was garbage. And so we definitely see that in racing. And yeah, I think it’s really what the best part about brackets is, is tiny, and it’s fits on your bike, and you can race with it, you don’t have a zillion wires, that’s waterproof too. So you can then compare your racing to your training. But then, when we look at, let’s say enduro or downhill, and we look at practice versus, you know, our different practice runs, as we start to learn the track better, we’re start, we’re able to identify like, where we don’t need to break as much. Yeah, and we have this metric that we use in breaks, called a brake check, a brake check. And it’s generally like a pretty light event. And we all do it. It’s like, you’re riding down here like, well, you just grabbed the brakes for a short moment of time. It doesn’t really do anything. But usually it it indicates that you’re not sure what’s coming up. So you’re like, Yo, well, I’m going to check up on my brakes. And just to make sure I don’t go too fast. Oh, man, that didn’t do anything. Yeah. Right. So when we do like maybe the first practice run, we might have like, 25 brake checks, every time it’s slowing you down a little a little. But it also indicates that overthinking part, or maybe not understanding that trail enough, and you get better and you get fewer brake checks, fewer brake checks as you go. And if you do it, right, you get to the race run, and you have no brake checks, right? Because you’re focused and you know what’s happening just like you might understand the downhill race, right? If you, let’s say, maybe pedal too much and get too tired, you’re gonna have more brake checks than you did in the first run. And that’s why you might go slower. But you know, the best downhillers, for example, are the ones that are able to eliminate those brake checks and assure of their breaking points. Just like the best enduro racers are the ones who are able to predict and remember what’s going to happen on the trail with really limited on the understanding of that. So maybe whether it’s sightlines or under reading the terrain to know actually what is after this corner. And in sport, like any sport, if we look at the research in any sport, that ability to predict what’s going to happen before it happens is what separates the best from the second best. Yeah, like a, you know, even considering like a soccer ball, like the best soccer players are the ones that are able to know where that soccer ball is gonna go before the kicker even kicks it. Right? Because they’ve seen so many. Yep, yep, exactly. And that’s the same for mountain bikers, is we’re able to be like, you know, I’ve seen a turn like this before, I’ve seen a line before a turn just like this before I know which direction that turned goes. So that means I know which line to be on now. So that learning is, is very important. And we can see that that in breaking.
Yeah, that’s fascinating. It sounds like next you need like some kind of like, brain monitor like a neural where you can be like, Oh, are you in the flow state or not? And like yeah, because it definitely is fascinating that it affects your braking so much in a competition versus just being out for a ride. So you talked a little bit about brake modulation and how that even that term is like kind of difficult to define. And everybody has a different idea about what that means. But mountain bikers seem to be kind of split between preferring breaks that modulate their power nicely and those that have like a really quick bite. And I’m not going to name any brand names, because I don’t even know if that’s a real thing either. Like these breaks, they they tend to bite faster and these modulate. I don’t even know if that’s true, but is one of those better than the other in terms of performance? Like, if if you were to design the ideal break, like, Would it be one that has that like really quick power versus one that that you can kind of modulate? For lack of a better word?
Yeah, Jeff, that’s a good question. Because I think about this a lot. And I think about like, okay, how can I take two breaks and like, test them actually test them against each other. So it’s not like, my, my feelings. And like, you know, the color shirt, I was, like, my favorite color on the day, or like what I’m thinking about for dinner? Yeah, it’s really hard to do. Because you would need to know like, how hard someone’s squeezing. And then then look at the interaction of the wheel with the ground, right, that resultant wheel, that resultant torque, that resultant power. And you’d need actually a lot of sensors to be able to do that. So we we were like, Oh, forget it. We’ll save that test for a little bit later. Once we have like, once we add the pressure sensors back on and look at them all together, we got a bit distracted trying to make a hardware product. So we took a lot of thought. So what I like is generally I like the gravitas break possible. So only the way we do it now is like the parking lot test. Or I let me go test this bike, I’m going to spin around in the parking lot going really, really slow, like way below the speed that I’ll be riding and we’re like, Oh, holy cow. These are grippy. And someone might be like, Nah, I don’t want those brakes. Yeah, but well, you only just try them on in the parking lot. Why don’t you get it out to the trail and see what they do? Yeah. Whereas the other brake might not grab as fast. And you might be like, Yeah, that’s the one I want. On a trail. Yeah, well, maybe it’d be better to get it out on the trail straightaway and try that. Yeah, what I like is, the gravity is break possible. I like those organic pads that bed and fast, they wear out really quickly. You know, they only last a few months. And I’m happy to replace them because they work bloody good. So because like what you want is you want your breaks to be there when you want your breaks. So if you’re going quick down a trail, like you don’t want to have to grab more break than you expect or, you know, need more break when you don’t have it. So I want to break this right there right away, because I can modulate it, you know, once I get into like a steep shoe and I need to change and manipulate the how my tires working with the ground, I can do that. Whether I have grabbed the brake or not. But what I can’t change is if that breaks there right when I need it. So that’s why I Adyen generally lean towards breaks that are pretty grabby.
Yeah. And I imagine the pros do too. I mean, that’s, again, like that’s what they want is like quick hits, it sounds like versus you know, I mean, I’ll admit, I drag my brakes probably way more than I should. And, and part of that is because I can like if I have one that I feel like modulates really well, then yeah, I feel like I’m doing something I’m like, I’ve got it just the perfect point. But like, yeah, really, you want to improve your skills to the level where you can sort of use them the way they’re intended to be used? Yeah, makes sense that you would want that Quicker, quicker bike.
Yeah, and on this, I think is really important to like, always make sure your stuffs clean, like those brake pads and brake rotors get dirty really quick, and also bed them in properly. Like, so this is like, you know, tip the holy grail tips for having good brakes is like bed those things in properly. So follow the procedure that the manufacturer sends you to bed the min, we’ve actually been working on like, like, what does it actually look like when you bed your Braixen? Like, can we develop a part of the brake ASAP, that says, you know, you you’re not bedded improperly yet? Actually, we can do that if we know enough about the materials that are being used. So yeah, we’ve been exploring that and most people don’t bet their brakes and properly and then we can actually see that like how the brakes performing once it is bad improperly, you know, you get less noise and they just work better. And then they need to be cleaned pretty regularly. So I I’m obviously obsessed with breaks. So I clean mine, like pretty pretty often change the pads pretty often. And just make sure everything’s there. Yeah,
yeah, that’s great advice. Definitely. Something that I don’t do and yeah, I mean, as mountain bikers we just figure like, whoa, to go ride on the trail. They’re gonna get better at in like, I’m gonna be a little extra the first couple of turns but
dude, it’s like, it’s crazy because I can look I can see the difference. Whether I bet my brakes in on a bumpy road versus a flat or like a smooth road. Hmm. And you’ll just get like, these way, you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever driven a car that has like, worn out, I guess they just say worn out brakes. It’s usually like a wavy rotor. Yeah. So and what happens is the pads are grabbing more at different times as the rotor spins through. And if I bet my brakes and you know, kind of a wavy road that only gets worse over time, right? So and you can feel it then when you go down a smooth road, because you like, Oh, what the heck is happening with my brakes. There’s all these these pulses pretty much. So if if they’re bad and properly, we can avoid a lot of that. And that just makes them last longer and work better. So interesting thing to
do just solved one of my problems. I had this, Jerome and I talked about this back and forth for a while. I was telling him, my brakes are always squeaky like they’re squeaky or than anybody else’s. They’re always making some noise, not like a rubbing noise. Like, just whenever I you know, tap them a little, they’re like, make us squealing noise. And I was like, doesn’t matter what bike I’m on, like, you know, I’ve tried all kinds of different breaks. And he and I went through a whole bunch of things, but I think I think he may have hit it. Like I think it’s didn’t betterman properly.
Yeah, try it.
Yeah, ever do try
it? Well, you know, I think if it’s been on a few bikes, right, or you’ve had those for a while, you’re probably due for rotors. And I think this is something that we don’t do enough is change our rotors. We change our pads, but also rotors wear out pretty quickly. And, like, surprisingly quickly, like almost like, whoa, that’s, that’s crazy. But you know, if we’re racing in the World Cup, we might do two rotors in a weekend, right? Oh, geez. But for us, that’s not. Maybe we could do two rotors in a year, right? Because what happens is like that pads constantly rubbing on the brake rotor, and it’s just creating this smooth surface is putting dirt in, it’s putting like maybe inconsistencies in their grooves. And then when we change the pads, things get funky. Right and maybe squeaky. So generally, I recommend that we change our rotors and we change our pads. I don’t know what the brake manufacturers say, I don’t make brakes, but it’s noticeably better. When we change those things. And I just change I have to change them all the time on my bikes, because I’m constantly changing setups, that that’s how I noticed I’m like, Wow, man, new rotors make a huge difference.
Yeah, well, how do you how do people know? Is there a rule of thumb like, every two times you change your pads or can you measure it with a caliper? Like, what’s the best way to know when it’s time to change those rotors?
I do not know. I don’t know the answer to that one, actually.
But yeah, I’m going to investigate that because yeah, that’s good question. And I got me there too. I probably haven’t replaced my rotors in a long time. So let’s talk about rotors. So bigger rotors, obviously, you’re going to offer better stopping power. So why Why don’t bikes maximum out like why don’t we just have 200 words or two Thirteen’s or whatever? Like, front and rear? And let’s just have the most braking power we can.
Yeah, I love that. I even made a t shirt one time that said ride bigger rotors, because bigger rotors, a bigger rotors are awesome. I really love them. I think there is a misconception that they provide more power, what they get what they actually do is they just make it easier. You don’t have to squeeze as hard to get the power that you want. Yeah, right. So you have a greater mechanical advantage. But yeah, yeah. So since the rotors job is to accept all this heat. And you know, if we go bigger, it makes it easier for us. Well, bigger is just better. Up to a certain point, right? Yeah. So I like them for that reason, because it’s you know, I can dump all the heat into there. And it saves my my pads from getting hot my brake calipers from getting hot and hopefully my brakes don’t fade as much. Yeah, so that’s, that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing because the caliper doesn’t can’t accept a ton of heat. And once it does get hot, well, then the next thing you know it’s in your fluid. So you don’t want that. So if you can get a bigger rotor that can accept a lot of heat and heat up very quickly. Well, that’s good. So generally, I like to say yep, good big rotor. So I’ve tested rotors up to 246 mil. This is a big rotor. Yeah. And they look ridiculous. So they are so easy to use you bare you don’t need to squeeze very hard and you’re slowing down exactly how you want. Yeah, and that’s great. The problem is they get so big, that any little wave in the rotor down at the where you bolted them on gets pronounced like exponentially by the time it gets to your caliber, you get a lot of like rubbing issues, which is annoying, right? So I kind of so they made them thicker, right? So those really big rotors became thicker just to kind of try and solve some of those problems, but then they don’t fit great in your calibers. And the problem with us mountain bikers, is that we’re really picky and we want everything to be light, and also work really well, like a motorcycle, you don’t have that problem, like you’re gonna put a big rotor on there, right? Because you want it to stop and you don’t care if you’re Harley 700 pounds. Right? But we want our mountain bikes to be like 25 pounds and go off 20 foot drops, right? You know, the brakes are an easy place to like, lighten it up. So basically, where we’re at, at this point in mountain biking is some people want bigger rotors, but there’s not enough people that want bigger rotors to warrant having massive calibers that work really well with them. So the biggest size that works pretty good now is a size 220 and 223. Okay, so I know a lot of people that are using them, and we had to actually develop a whole new geometry on brake ace, like a separate sensor to be able to work with that size. Yeah. Which is sweet because I, they ride really nice. They’re definitely worth trying. So when someone said to me actually a long time ago that the biggest rotor you can have is the wheel.
Right? Yeah. There’s rim brakes.
Yeah. But everyone knows how bad they are. And they’re even these hydraulic rim brakes back in the day, as well. And you know, they were real stinkers. They didn’t work great. But, you know, you just can’t get the, you can’t grab onto them hard enough, because it is still the rim. So I’m not actually sure what it would look like with a gigantic disk the size of a wheel that had the same size caliper. But I imagine it’s a bit of a liability.
Yeah, that could get weird. So it makes me mix. I remember seeing a thing at InterBike. Like years ago, back when rim brakes were still sort of a thing. That claimed to be like a anti lock brake thing. It had like some springs and some things that were kind of like I know the one rakes. Yeah. Well, so I am surprised that that hasn’t really like translated to mountain biking, like does. Does that make sense? Like, is it a or is it just a ridiculous idea? That that, you know, in a car, like you’re able to control your braking much better by having it like pulse or whatever, but like in mountain biking, we would never do that, would we?
I think we will. I did this thing on my Instagram. I did a poll. And I said, because one of the companies released this abs for E bikes. I said, Do you think ABS is the future of mountain biking? Like 95% of people said no. Yeah, but if you look at any other wheeled sport, where you’re trying to go fast, ABS is there. Right? I guess maybe motocross? I’m not sure if it’s actually there. But the very like the terrain and mountain biking. I think we need it. I like on both wheels. I think I think it’ll be there. Like the safety control and the speed in like motorcycle racing just exponentially increased as soon as bikes had abs. Interesting. So I think we’ll see it, I think there will be some challenges, just because like, we’re picky, and we love lightweight things. So abs really needs to get to the point where it doesn’t weigh a ton. And I’m not sure if it’s really there yet. But you know, if you’re racing downhill, you should probably shouldn’t care about weight anyway. Right. Right. It’s probably a benefit to go to be heavier. You go faster? I think we’ll see it. I don’t think it would be awesome. I would love to ride one. And you know, I think I think we’ll see prototypes sooner than everyone is ready for. Yeah, but that’s the problem is everyone needs to be ready for it. Right for it to be a product. Yeah.
I feel like the biggest, you know, I mean, obviously there are technological hurdles, but I feel like just as big is gonna be a lot of people are gonna say this, this feels like cheating, right? I mean, like, your whole thing is about like, let’s, you know, figure out how we can improve our skills and like become better writers through braking. And this feels like, you know, it’s just cheating. It’s, it’s a way to like not have those skills and instantly be better. And so yeah, but I feel like our sport we’ve we’ve had a lot of things like that were initially people are like is not fair. We didn’t have that. Oh, yeah,
you know, e bikes are probably there. Now. We’re like some people don’t consider it a mountain bike. And maybe it depends on where you are. Because in Rotorua I’ll tell you, like 50% of people there have mountain bikes and they are loving it. And the trails are no worse off. We get a lot of people riding there. And you know New Zealand a general like we see a lot of E bikes, a lot of E bikes, it’s pretty sick. So I think like, you know, it all goes in waves like, I don’t know what what was cheating, before, like, maybe 20 Niners were seen as cheating, right? We’re like, No way. 26 is the only way 26 Or die. But man, I would not go back to 26 inch bike, they are sketchy. So like not only did speeds increase, but also like we’re, we feel safer. We probably are safer until we hit the deck. But it’s overall like a better experience. And it’s easier to get into riding when some of those like extremely difficult things to do. Like, you know, slow down are when they become easier for us. So ABS will do that. And I look forward to it. Right? Yeah, it’s gonna be good.
It’s awesome. Awesome. Alba. Well, so yeah, I want to close by just asking you a little bit about Rotorua since you live there. And you mentioned kind of the scene there. How has it changed or grown since you’ve you’ve been there? I mean, all of a sudden, it seems like it’s kind of launched onto the world stage like what’s what’s it like riding in Rotorua?
Well, I’ll tell you like mountain biking is what took me there. So I moved there for a reason is because I live two minutes away from like, literally a two minute bike ride from trails. And I get on the trail network and it is expansive. I think one of the like, it’s changed a lot. It was probably the first place I visited when I went to New Zealand. Like there were trails in the town that I lived in. At first, which was Palmerston North is great. And that grew and grew and grew in mountain biking. And New Zealand in general. They just have, like the government is paying to put in trails, like local governments are building building trails, and they’re not cheap. Like it creates jobs. It creates, you know, jobs for trail builders, it creates jobs for bike shops, and it it’s there’s an insane amount of bike shops in Rotorua. And, you know, it’s really easy access. And that’s one of the great things about is that you know, town kind of surrounds this forest. And you can ride from your house. And next thing you know, you’re in trails. Yeah. So I think when I first went there, maybe in, I guess 2014 would have been the first time I went there, it was still growing. Like they had already had World Champs there in 2006. So mountain biking was already like a thing there. But it just has grown and grown and grown and grown and my neighbors arrived. And you would look at them you wouldn’t wouldn’t be like mountain biker, mountain biker. And maybe they don’t identify as mountain biker, but they mountain bike. So like the whole Col de sac mountain bikes, and like the neighbors across the street mountain bike, and you see them out on the trails. And it’s just become so normalized in New Zealand in general, where you know, someone who is a mountain biker, everyone knows someone who has a mountain biker. So the tendency then is for everyone to mountain bike, right? Because you’re like, Well, Steve mountain bikes, so I’m gonna go mountain bike with Steve. And it’s pretty amazing how it’s become like the thing to do mountain biking families. And you know, what it does is it leads to like a really high level of rider because yeah, you increase the number of people that do it. Well, next thing you know, you have a lot of people that are really into it and really good at it. And we just had Jenna Hastings from Rotorua win the junior women’s downhill world champs just a few weeks ago. And she’s, she’s young, and she has been writing. She has been around mountain biking her whole life, her whole family mountain bikes, and her neighbor’s mountain bike, you know. So it’s, it’s a pretty cool place in that and we can ride all year. And this, it’s like perfect traction basically every day. So yeah, it’s pretty good. It’s all volcanic soil. And I think that really helps. Because for a place to be a mountain bike destination, you need to be able to mountain bike. Yeah, all the time. And, you know, for someone that’s really into it, like myself, and I deal with mountain bikers all the time. It’s like, a pretty good place to go. Because, you know, if I need to do testing, I can go out if I want to go for fun, I can go out, and it’s all right there any day.
Yeah, that’s really cool. It’s interesting, because, you know, obviously being in the US and seeing it, you know, it, it seems like a destination right? It’s like a tourist place but it’s cool to hear that, you know, the the local community and like the people who live there are benefiting from it and are getting into it. And you know, I mean, it sounds almost like you Have some of the towns out west Colorado? Yeah, yeah, definitely where? Where it’s not just I mean, yes, there’s a ton of tourism. And there’s big races and events, and people come in to do that stuff. But the end of the day, like it is a community there. And there’s young riders and friends and neighbors and people of all ages. And yeah, that’s a really special. That’s awesome. Cool. Well, Matt, thanks, again, for taking the time to chat with us. I learned a ton about breaking, and really excited to see what else you’re able to learn and how you’re able to continue to develop the product. So yeah, keep us posted.
Yeah, thanks for having me, Jeff. And if, you know, we’re going to be opening pre orders, like really soon for breaks. Obviously, we’re delivering this first product to our Kickstarter backers. Very soon, I just got photos from the factory that are our, our metal pieces are on their way to us, and then we’re going to put them together. It’s like, it’s really exciting. And you know, if someone wants to learn about breaking, we wrote a book about breaking. It’s called free speed. And that will be available on our website on break ace.com soon so people can join our email, follow us on Instagram there and stay up to date on what’s happening with breakouts because we’re, we’re moving fast and we’re making moves. And you know, we’ve come a long way and we can’t wait to show it to everybody.
Yeah, that’s awesome. Cool. So yeah, breakouts.com We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. That’s all I’ve got this week. We’ll talk to you again next week.