Industrial Strength Backyard Zip Lines

Common Zip Line Braking Methods

Posted on 03 September 2016


All Zip Lines require some type of braking system. These are referred to in the zip line world as passive braking and active braking. An active brake is one that must be initiated by the rider, such as a leather glove. This is a kind of risky method because the rider must reach up and slow themselves by using the friction from the leather glove to slow themselves. Passive Braking involves no action by the rider.

Bungee Brakes

An example of passive braking is The Edge Series Stop Block. This braking system encases the cable line at the end of the ride and has bungee cord (usually 15' or more) that is connected to the block and then strung out and anchored to either a tree or post nearby. Once your trolley makes contact with the white stopping block of the deceleration system it engages the bungee and stretches it until all of the momentum is absorbed. The bungee cord will then retract and bring the rider back to the low point of the cable where they can safely dismount. This method is very common for backyard zip lines because it is extremely easy and hassle free, it also makes for a smoother ride.

Spring Brakes

Another example of passive braking is The ZLP Spring Stop Brake. This system works similar to the bungee brakes except there is no need to have an anchored bungee cord at the end of the ride. This system works by absorbing the shock directly from the trolley and then using the momentum of the rider, it pushes the trolley back towards to low point of the cable where the rider can safely dismount. For set up you feed the cable line through the padded ends of either side of the spring, the only downfall is if your cable line is already set up you will have to remove the cable line to feed it through the spring. Many backyard zip lines use this method because it takes up less cable and allows for a longer ride.  
There are other methods of braking such as gravity brakes, the use of rubber tires, etc. but I don't recommend them. A lot of times it is good to have two methods of braking for your zip line, a primary and a secondary- especially if your zip line is at a higher incline, is withstanding a lot of weight, and is used frequently. Taking the necessary precautions will ensure that you enjoy your zip line in the way that it was intended, most injuries are a result of the people altering their zip lines or having ineffective braking systems. I hope this article helped!
If you'd like to check out our different braking systems click here!
If you need help deciding on a zip line check out this article!

Happing Zipping!

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1 comment

  • Jim: June 27, 2016

    This was a great help when deciding which braking system to go with for my zip line, thank you!

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