One Finger On the Front Brake? Wait: all the time?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by CaliKarl, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Long timer

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    My foray into trials riding a few years ago taught me to keep the clutch covered. Never heard to keep the front brake covered. Especially off road. As a riding buddy once said, "the clutch is your friend."
    #21
  2. my6

    my6 Been here awhile

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    My buds have looked at me and shook their heads but I've always cut my levers down to size. Enough room for two on the brake and three on the clutch. I learned that from Professor Bailey back in the early 70's if memory serves me.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
    #22
  3. Wingfixer

    Wingfixer Watch this...

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    Same here, except most of my riding buddies do the same.
    #23
  4. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    most bikes with cut down levers wont pass a uk mot.
    i do cover the front brake going round town. but on the open road.
    #24
  5. CaliKarl

    CaliKarl Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all your replies. I'll play around with it, but ultimately neither my index nor middle finger can cover the front brake while standing. I wear a size XXXL glove and have very cumbersome hands, which certainly ain't helpin'. I'll just ride slow and have my finger ready.
    #25
  6. Swashbuckler

    Swashbuckler Been here awhile

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    1 finger on the brake and 2 on the clutch during spirited riding or while in traffic. My 1 finger on the brake is just strong enough to provide sufficient braking without hesitation. I have tiny fingers so adjustable levers are a must.

    I do it because I use this technique for mountain biking. It only takes one time for you to be losing control and lifting all your fingers (not thumb) off the throttle/grip to grab the brake when your wheel hits something and shifts the handlebars right out of the grip you didn't have.

    Go hit up the parking lot, throw out a couple markers, do some tests of you own and let us all know how you feel about it!
    #26
  7. Drstimpy

    Drstimpy Been here awhile

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    From one finger on each MTB lever it didn't take much to be comfortable with the following
    One finger on the brake lever...one on the clutch lever. Can break traction on all my bikes with one finger braking and one finger clutching seems to work well. I tend to preload the shifter so it only takes a whiff of clutch to shift.

    I like the security of three fingers on the grips, especially in dirt where an obstacle may disagree with you on direction of progress!

    Wouldn't like the increased reaction time associated with no fingers on the brake.
    #27
  8. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    Your fingers can move to the levers much quicker than your brain can decide to brake or not.
    #28
  9. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    Oops you just went from rider to statistic.

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    #29
  10. henshao

    henshao Bained

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    This seems like a serious response to a facetious statement....
    #30
  11. bracky72

    bracky72 Long timer

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    Seems silly to me. This is akin to the hi viz thread.
    #31
  12. Drstimpy

    Drstimpy Been here awhile

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    No offense but I can't disagree more!
    You will hit something you don't want to hit and I will have stopped just in time in same situation.

    60 mph is 88 fps so even if you are superman with a 500 ms reaction time to lever, you go 44 extra feet!


    Some must watch while others must sleep
    #32
  13. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    I'm sorry, in fifty years of riding it hasn't happened yet.

    I'm pretty sure it's not going to start happening now.

    Yanno, going into an area of dense idiots doing god knows what in their cars, I might be ready on the brake. When everyone on the highway changes lanes at once, maybe. Zipping into a parking lot, sure. Going down some road with deer all around, probably. Going down a steep rocky incline on a dirt bike I might keep a finger on the brake since I'm using it more often than not anyway. Depends on the situation.

    Just riding along, with nothing in particular going on, nope. My finger will be on the bars, maybe in my lap staying warm, maybe scratching my nuts. Maybe reaching for a drink, maybe taking a picture. I'm just not that paranoid.
    If I was that scared of it I wouldn't ride at all.
    #33
  14. Drstimpy

    Drstimpy Been here awhile

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    Just a good habit for me. I must be surrounded by idiots more often than not.


    Some must watch while others must sleep
    #34
  15. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Not so much the correct way, but rather a good practice in general to be prepared if riding briskly (aka fast). Shortens reaction time and allows some fine braking as needed quickly.

    Obviously not for you and that is fine.

    Personally it is two fingers on the brakes when applying the brakes so I don't get the bars ripped out of my hands. I still have a grip on the bar. Learned that in trials and then in harescrambling. Develop sufficient strength to use two fingers or occasionally three. Works for me pretty much everywhere. So that's what works for me as learned without any internet input in 1971.
    #35
  16. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Wow - it appears when you're riding you're just diddling around. :huh

    Not so much for me. The road is the fun and I usually try to find something entertaining to ride. no time to diddle around, the next corner is here or the road is a bit rough. I stop if I feel like taking the time to scratch my nuts... although I will stand up to fart.

    Oh, also no cup holders on my dual sport either. If I need to do that stuff I shouldn't be riding. That's why they put cup holders and blue tooth in cars - for people who'd rather screw around than actually drive. Then people think they need it stuck on their bikes because they need distraction. Next you'll be telling us having fingers on the brakes interferes with your texting... :rofl
    #36
  17. Badjuju

    Badjuju Biker Billy

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    #37
  18. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    I take it you actually have ridden. Can you think for your self? If so, do so.

    No you cannot easily keep your brake lever covered all the time.

    No, God will not send a lightning bolt down to kill you... or even knock you off your bike.

    But yes, I am poking fun at you.

    Do what works. I don't have fingers on the brake when going up a hill off road, but I am ready if I don't make it. I do have my fingers on the brake lever when going down hill so as to be ready to brake, same with faster trail riding. If you have it covered you are more likely to be ready to apply the brakes in an even fashion so as to not fall on your ass. If you have to suddenly move to grip the brake when not having it covered it is likely you might tend to grab it.

    Fact is my levers are set for seated riding and mildly crouched weight back riding as might be done when maneuvering a trail at a rapid pace or going down hill. Plus I have smaller hands With them there I cannot easily use the brake when bolt upright or leaning forward going up hill. I don't need them going up hill and I seldom am standing bolt upright.

    In addition, off roading with most all bikes now, two finger braking is totally sufficient. No need for three or four. Thus the reason all serious off roaders have two finger levers.

    Do what you find works. You will also find you will change what you do as you ride more and also if you change bikes. It is all a process of continuous improvement. No one can really tell you what is right for you. You try it and see if it works. If not, change it up or don't do it.

    It's kind of like the "always stand up when off roading" thing. What BS that is. Do what works! I do stand when I've found it necessary and I also know what is necessary for me may not be for everyone.
    #38
  19. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    Cup holders? Yeah right. What do I look like, a Gold Wanger?
    Straight roads I'm not going to go balls out all the way, it's just not that much fun. Plenty of time to scratch one's balls.

    Corners are fun, unfortunately some roads are straight.

    In a set of corners, you know exactly when you will be putting on the brakes, it's not going to be a surprise unless you totally screw up your line. Again, your finger can move to the lever quicker than your brain can decide to brake or not.
    If always keeping a finger on the brake were a good idea, wouldn't you think racers would all do it? Watch the road racers, motocrossers, any of the others you don't see it.

    Trials riders do, but they are using both the brake and the clutch constantly.
    #39
  20. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Been here awhile

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    Ditto to everything you said there (except 40 years in my case). Plus I like to have good control of my handlebars.
    #40