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Old 02-01-2014, 10:19 PM   #1
CaliKarl OP
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One Finger On the Front Brake? Wait: all the time?

I've been told to keep one finger on the front brake at all times while riding off pavement. Well, easier said than done. My hands just cannot make that happen. I'll look into getting different levers and/or bars, but is it sufficient to keep that finger close and ready instead of resting on the lever? Thanks for your input.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:29 PM   #2
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Depends on how much too fast you ride ?.

Ride like me and the same amount of coverage I use on road is enough, possibly covering the brake if I hit something unexpected.

Riding in trees or similar I can certainly recommend it. You lose about a second and a half moving that finger ?. The point of riding with the brake covered is that you get a reflex 'clench' when 'oh shit!' happens, you'll have the front brake starting to work before you are aware of the hazard - by the time brain takes over and it can decide whether you need more brake or less you may have already saved yourself from a crash.

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Old 02-02-2014, 01:37 AM   #3
bush pilot
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Many of us old school riders also cover the clutch lever with two fingers, we grew up riding two strokes singles which had a nasty habit of seizing up at the wrong moment.

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Old 02-02-2014, 03:05 AM   #4
Anonawesome
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One finger won't do much for my brake. Mountain biking has taught me to use 2. It's just something you have to force into your head until you don't think about it. But like he said, it isn't really necessary unless you're riding hard.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:55 AM   #5
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+1 on the clutch bush pilot. Not only old dirt riders, but old drag racers.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:28 AM   #6
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I need 2. They have the side-benefit of helping isolate throttle input from elbow motion -- with 2 fingers on the brake I can stand and sit and move forward and back and the fingers help steady the throttle no matter where my shoulder/elbow/wrist are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliKarl View Post
My hands just cannot make that happen.
I had trouble at first too. Try it for 5 minutes at a time, then 10, then more . . . .
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:06 AM   #7
dondesmo
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One finger on the front brake lever all the time, pavement or dirt.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinnin View Post
I need 2. They have the side-benefit of helping isolate throttle input from elbow motion -- with 2 fingers on the brake I can stand and sit and move forward and back and the fingers help steady the throttle no matter where my shoulder/elbow/wrist are.

I had trouble at first too. Try it for 5 minutes at a time, then 10, then more . . . .
Exactly.

I have always done it- on the road or on dirt- to have better throttle isolation. It gives the rider very fine control of the throttle.

Anatomically you have finer movement control with your index finger than with your wrist.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:00 PM   #9
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Meh, Seems silly to me. Never had trouble modulating a throttle, never had trouble getting the brake on. I have had handlebars ripped out of my hands.

Some folks will complicate the Hell out of everything and tell everyone else that's the correct way to do it.
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Old 02-02-2014, 01:13 PM   #10
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I don't know about this covering the front brake lever. I do cover the rear brake pedal, and the clutch lever if I'm in tight stuff. I have had some nasty offs from that "reflex clench", its a habit I broke after the second time I locked the front at an inopportune time. YMMV
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:16 PM   #11
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One finger on the cell phone ready to dial 911 all the time.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:16 AM   #12
PeterW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingfixer View Post
I don't know about this covering the front brake lever. I do cover the rear brake pedal, and the clutch lever if I'm in tight stuff. I have had some nasty offs from that "reflex clench", its a habit I broke after the second time I locked the front at an inopportune time. YMMV
I have ABS that works on my current bikes. But yeah, I know where you are coming from, when it mattered to me my bikes had drum brakes - the ABS you have when you don't have brakes

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Old 02-03-2014, 05:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingfixer View Post
I don't know about this covering the front brake lever. I do cover the rear brake pedal, and the clutch lever if I'm in tight stuff. I have had some nasty offs from that "reflex clench", its a habit I broke after the second time I locked the front at an inopportune time. YMMV
Yup MM does vary and quite significantly from yours I'd say.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:53 AM   #14
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkent02 View Post
Meh, Seems silly to me. Never had trouble modulating a throttle, never had trouble getting the brake on. I have had handlebars ripped out of my hands.

Some folks will complicate the Hell out of everything and tell everyone else that's the correct way to do it.

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.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:20 AM   #15
DAKEZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliKarl View Post
One Finger On the Front Brake? Wait: all the time?
Not "on the ...Brake" But over the brake lever YES, ALL the time. (on road OR off)
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