I want to improve my cornering, particularly on hairpins on descents. One of the main tips I’ve heard is to never brake through a corner - by the time you start to lean the bike over, you should be completely off your brakes. Makes sense to me.
But something is bugging me. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of descents, including those by pros/ex-pros, where they brake into corners A LOT. Example here: https://youtu.be/RQqugV1pQOY
Please can someone explain this to me? I know a pro cyclist is going to be a lot more skilled at cornering, but I’d have thought being skilled wouldn’t help if you lose traction on a corner due to braking... does “don’t brake through a corner” just mean don’t brake harshly?
Dowsett whilst a top athlete and I respect him as a rider, looks on that video to be a poor judge of speed for the corners he's taking, he's clearly not able to reduce his speed to the correct level to make the turns without several bites of the cherry and multiple adjustments mid corner.
Others are saying that's fine, feathering the brakes a second, third or fourth time, and whilst for some corners that change camber/angle/steepness and direction you may have to brake again OUT of the corner when changing your direction, you ultimately want to be able to do that without braking again and again and again. In a race they'll be wanting to enter a corner at as high a speed as possible to avoid being dive bombed, but as we see all too often in pro racing this leads to crashes, braking multiple times is not as smooth nor IMO safe.
Leisure riders pushing too fast and then having to brake again and again to make the corner just isn't necessary and is less safe.
If you look at Dowsett's video on descending ('Alex Dowsett teaches descending') this to me proves he does not understand descending/cornering fully.
He talks about following other people, he talks about staying calm but at no point does he talk about using the road width and the line you might want to be taking and why, what to do and not to do with your body or bike, he does not mention anything about braking points and how to judge them, nothing to do with seeing the road surface and how that might effect your line/safety, hi9s 'advice' consists of just follow others in front and you'll be fine.
I would never watch or listen to advice for descending from a rider like Dowsett in all honesty, there are far, far better out there to be taking tips from.