Eliminate the hand brake?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Hesaid, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    I'd be interested in hearing thoughts on this.

    Recently a FatCat escaped from the motorcycle dealer nextdoor to where I work, and took a liking to me. After a few days around the shop, I was able to coax it into a trailer and my father and I took it out to his place in the country, where it seems to have taken a liking to it's new home. We gave it a check-up and a bit of care, and got it all licensed and tagged. Not surprisingly, my niece and nephew took an immediate liking to the FatCat...

    And so begins the teaching of a niece and nephew the ways of a FatCat. Now, for those unfamiliar a FatCat has strong roots in the ATC family, and much like our appendix or wisdom teeth, it carries a few oddball bits of that ancestry with it to this day. One of these things is a lefthand side mounted lever, which via a cable, activates the rear brake (complete with a little notched lever lock to serve as a parking brake). It also has the normal rightside foot brake. Since the FatCat has an automatic clutch, the space was available, so two rear brakes it is. Now on this particular FatCat, the cable for the handbrake is stretched and in need of replacement, the footbrake works fine. This leads me to my question, should we repair the handbrake and instruct youngsters as to it's use? Or should we remove it and teach them as if this was any other motorcycle in the world? Now, no one is using the brake now, as it doesn't really work, so we wouldn't be losing anything, except perhaps a future bad habit.

    Any thoughts? Reasons why or why not to do this?

    MV
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  2. catzass

    catzass Triple Pilot

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    My first thought was to say remove it, but My second thought is instruct them to use it with the foot brake and they will be learning to pull the clutch when stopping. But I would be conflicted too. I'd be afraid it might back fire down the road with one of them pulling a clutch and expecting to stop.
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  3. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    That was a concern of mine as well. I can't really see any harm in leaving it on the FatCat, but if starts a bad habit... Also, I thought they'd have enough going on between using the front and rear brake together, two rear brake options would only add to the confusion.

    An interesting tidbit: Since both rear brakes are cable operated, when you use one, and the resulting lever back at the actual brake moves, the cable for the other rear brake goes slack. So if you're slowing using the footbrake, and then decide to use the handbrake as well, when you pull the lever and it is just slack... You get just a moment to panic before you figure it out. Fun times.

    MV
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  4. b1pig

    b1pig Been here awhile

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    in that line of thought, you can remove the whole thing provided it doesnt interfere with the operation of the foot brake.
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  5. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Yeah, removal of the handbrake lever/cable doesn't affect the footbrake at all. Front brake will still be on the right with the throttle, rear brake will still be on the right via foot. There just won't be anything on the left, no clutch, so... I figured that learing to use both front and rear brakes in concert can be challenging enough for some, why add to it with an extra rear brake that won't be applicable on any other bike?

    MV
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  6. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Remove it. It will be easier for them to learn a new lever, than to learn a different use for a lever that has always been there.

    If anything, you could try to hook front and rear handbrakes both to the right hand lever to avoid locking the front brake. If memory serves me, though, the front brake on the FatCat doesn't have enough power to lock the tire. (at least not with the hand strength of a child)
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  7. sceep

    sceep Been here awhile

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    I'd remove the foot brake, repair the hand brake.
    All bikes should have a LHRB and a rekluse. mucho easier to manipulate the singletrack/right hand switchbacks
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  8. crypto666

    crypto666 Long timer

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    Some people like to add the rear hand brake after they get an auto clutch.

    I don't see anything wrong with it, same as a mountain bike.
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  9. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    That's what I'd been thinking.

    You know, I'm not 100% certain, but I don't think Rekluse makes a clutch for a FatCat. And if they did, I'm not sure what the benefit would be over the factory auto-clutch, but I'm pretty sure the FatCat won't be on a gnarly singletrack, I'm not sure it would fit. Why do you say to remove the footbrake? Seems like the standardization would be a handy aspect to keep for the young'uns who will likey move on to something else later in life.

    MV
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  10. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Also, bear in mind the handbrake doesn't work now, and time and money would have to be spent in order to repair it. Removal would be easier, and spare some funds for a pricey front fender.

    Growing up, our ATV had the same set-up, with both cables operating the same lever for the rear drum brake. If I recall, despite many adjustments, one cable was, of course, always tighter, and worked better. We eventually just got in the habit of making sure the footbrake was the one that was tighter and used it for stopping, and the handbrake only for the parking brake feature, which we rarely used anyway.

    MV
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  11. WR450FADVn

    WR450FADVn Adventurer

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    for the money i would just remove it.... simple lol. parts for these things are hard to come buy and if there gonna just be moving onto a bike with a clutch theres no need to confuse them. the only good part abouth the hand brake is the parking brake as the auto clutch doesnt lock the rear wheel.
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  12. Idle

    Idle Been here awhile

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    Did you ditch the handbrake, and find a rounder front tire? And do you have pics?



    I have a Rekluse in my berg FE550. It was.. setup with a LHRBrake and no clutch or footbrake. I swapped it back to stock. I felt like it was only a matter of time before I ran over my foot looking for the brake.
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  13. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Brake removal is a project for this weekend. Still nothing on the tires. For pics, check out this thread:

    ATTGATT on a FatCat, F*** that!

    More pics will be up soon, this weekend should be busy.

    MV
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  14. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Ok, handbrake is removed. Brake handle and cable. The fuel tank does have to come off for this project, but it's fairly simple. It's also a good time to replace your old brittle fuel hose, ask me how I know... I think the most difficult part, as I'm sure most folks with FatCats can tell you, is removing and reinstalling the sidecovers, as the 25yr old plastic isn't as fresh and flexy as it once was, so care and caution are called for.

    [​IMG]

    After working on the bike, we went over to the track, where no one cared about the handbrake at all. Which was pretty much the plan. This way, when bikes with clutches are introduced, there won't need to be a lot of relearning. Luckily for the riders, our track marshal's boyfriend was there to keep her distracted. This meant far fewer red flags for us.

    [​IMG]

    I do think I'll take a close look at the handle bars, and make sure of their size, so I can get some protection for hands. Other than the gloves we keep reminding everyone to wear!

    MV
    #14