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how do you cover your brake????

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by jeffatav, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. lately I have been noticing I have naturally started covering my brake lever with the last three fingers of my right hand and controlling the throttle with my index and thumb.

    I should point out that I seem to be riding like this only in slower and unpredictable traffic.

    It helped me avoid a T boning this afternoon.
    A car came out of a side street and paniced when they finally saw me and stopped accross the road.

    I am sure because of the brake set up I desribed, I got on the brakes REALLY quick!!!

    does anyone have any other techniques or opions????????

  2. Covering brakes is one of the best survival techniques you can learn.

    And you should start doing it the moment you've matered fine throttle control well enough to spare a few fingers for the brake!

    It stops you grabbing, makes you more likely to squeeze the lever instead, (controlled braking, fewer lock-ups) and cuts down on your reaction time. You're always ready to brake when you always have the lever covered.

    I do the opposite to you - I cover the front brake, generally, with the FIRST 2 or 3 (3 is better but I used to ride dirt bikes....) fingers of my right hand. Reason - these are your strongest fingers. Once you're confident, you should be able to leave "holding on" to your "outside" 2 fingers and thumb. Even under hard accelleration over stutters, it still works for me. If you need more of a death grip than what these fingers can provide, you need to relax more!

    So stick with it and always keep your levers covered. And congratulations on avoiding the T-bone.

    Bikers never order T-bones. They tend to go for sirloins. Have you noticed that?


  3. and I thought covering the brake with one 3 fingers is wrong... :shock: :shock:
  4. cash -

    Wrong why? To be sure, there are rules and "rules of thumb" to just about everything in biking. I used to ride/race dirt bikes and always use just 1 or 2 fingers - you're hanging or harder over bumps and jumps, and besides, on dirt, a big handful risks a lockup easier on a loose surface.

    On the road I used to ride with 2 fingers. Then riding hard in the twisties and racing as well...the first time your brakes fade, or you overcook it and need a BIG stop, you can find out that 2 fingers aren't enough. Having to let go and re-grab with more fingers - especially if brake fade means your lever has come back to the grip and trapped your other fingers - is brown trousers time!

    Now I use 3.

    There are very few concrete rules in the end. I imagine some people teach 2 fingers so that newbies can hold on with more fingers and establish better throttle control. In the end, it's what works for the individual. After... (stand by, I'm feelin' old again) 32 years on bikes and 24 of them riding every day on the road, it's simply what works for me.

    Try everything, settle on what works for you, but stay safe in the meantime.

  5. Hey jeff

    I use the same technique as you do, and it usually is prety good.
    It has two limitations that I can see.
    1) you can have issues getting full power on the break because of teh finger underneeth getting in the way
    2) After 6 hours of twisties the whole hand is strained and in pain (Took about 4 days to fully recover)

    It was advised that your best alternative is teh motorcross method of holding with the last two fingers on the hand and covering the break with the pointerand midle finger.

    I personaly am not finding this working, but think that what ireally need is a diferent shape of leaver for it to work well.

    [EDIT]Here is the chatter about the aftermath of covering that way on GOR (Along with lots of other chatter) https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=27100&start=0 [/EDIT]
  6. From riding dirt bikes and downhill mountain bike i use two fingers, but recently when i did my L's the instructor constantly whinged at me for doing it. Hard habit to break.

  7. I've been going between 2 and 3 fingers... 3 i find it a bit harder to use the throttle while downshifting and braking but i'm more confident on the brakes... 2 fingers i've been keeping on there when just riding along straight road in case i need to stop in a hurry. Reading in ACMN etc that advanced riding courses are saying 4 now aren't they (vague memory)?
  8. old blue, the instructors in the riding course said not to.. In the case of emergency, you cannot fully apply the brake because your other fingers are blocking the lever... unless I misunderstood what you said.. :)
  9. Just had a nice long ride through the twisties etc ( I think I'll post another thread about taking the LLLLOOONNGGGGG way home!) and kept my three fingers on the lever the whole way just to see how it felt in other riding conditions.

    Throttle control was good and gearing down with a blip was fine.

    When not needed for work, the three amigos just sat there nice and relaxed and Mr pointer and thumbman took over for the ride!

    Mrs palmer didn't mind and the whole family came home happy!!!

    Unless someone can come up with an iron clad reason, (apart from someone telling them in a class full of newbies to use four fingers) I think I will use it generally as it seemed to evolve naturally.

    I wouldn't use it on continuous highway miles, and I think a constant change of grip would be required to keep the hand feeling fresh.

  10. cash -

    I'm an instructor. But don't hold that against me!

    If you use the 3 INSIDE fingers on the lever, you can't trap any others - the lever, after all, curves outwards towards its end.

    If you hold the grip with any INSIDE fingers and use OUTSIDE fingers on the lever, yes, you can squash those inside fingers. I see plenty of people using this grip, nonetheless. Not a great habit.

    It's personal preference in the end. I've been riding for 32 years and on the road for 24 of those (cue groans and comments about arthritis) and the 3 inside fingers works fine for me. Experiment, get comfortable, but beware the finger trap...

  11. Just noticed in the latest RAPID mag that the riding instructor, Bernie Hatton (runs riding Top Rider advanced courses), that answers questions in the column suggests 4 fingers all the time for inexperienced riders/ riders without fully developed braking control or older bikes that require more force to pull them up. Experienced riders use 2 fingers for a range of reasons listed from fine throttle control to easier to balance with the clutch to having more fingers to hold onto the grip.
  12. My hand are too small \:D/