When you have to descend mountains at 60mph on narrow tyres then you need a reliable way of stopping the machine.
But weight considerations mean that US Postal rider Lance Armstrong probably relies on the same system as the person who delivers your mail.
Disc brakes used on cars and increasingly in off-road mountain biking are far too heavy, as are V-brakes found on cheaper mountain bikes.
The only real development of recent years has been the dual pivot system, which evens out braking power across both rims.
Despite modern technology's relentless march, nobody has found a better way of linking the levers and brakes than the humble cable.
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