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Technique for holding handle bars

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by davidp1984, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Nothing came up in search.

    And I'm doing this off the iPhone so big up to me :)

    Talking about leaving the tips of your fingers on top of the front brake/clutch (covering the brakes) vs holding the handles.

    Some dodgy drawings of what I mean:



    When I did my l's the instructor said to hold the handle bars and not to cover the front brake/clutch because you may squeeze the brake in a panic. But i find this style to feel unnatural, it just seems awkward.

    Is there any other reason as to why you should/n't hold it one way to the other or is it a case of each to their own?

    P.s. I drew those pics in 30 seconds, good huh.
  2. Great pics champ lol
    It's because you will just reef on them when the panick hits. Lock up. Have to get off them again. And back on them again.
    The theory is that in the time to reach over with your fingers the panick pang has passed and you will be able to nicely squeeze the front brake and not have to go through the on off on again scenario.
    I have also seen riders hit the brake with the throttle still on when they ride like that.
    It takes a cage driver three seconds to realise he needs to brake and get on them. A rider has an 1.5 sec average. So you should not have to have your fingers hanging over them if you are on the ball.
    ps. Why didn't your instructor explain this. Or you ask him. No such thiing as a dumb question in class time.
  3. Out of curiosity, what's your reference for that? Any particular papers or texts?
  4. Round town I tend to have index and middle fingers covering my levers. Out on the road I don't.

    But I suspect I'm well out of the squeeze in a panic stage :wink:.
  5. Giggle giggle @ the drawings.
  6. I'm with you PatB.
    It all depends on where "and how" I'm riding.

    Wish some people would stop making stuff up ;)
  7. Your instructor is correct in that you shouldn't be covering your levers. In an emergency situation, provided that you're holding the grip correctly (wrists in a relatively lower position), you reaching for the brakes will naturally shut the throttle off as well, which begins the setup phase of braking (the weight transfer to the front).

    If you have your fingers covering the levers, one will have a tendency to simply grab/jam the brakes without shutting the throttle off first, which means you're not fully set up for hard braking, as you won't have a big enough footprint on your front tire just yet.

    As for those who cover two fingers (index/middle) on the brake lever, that's needed for more advanced/racetrack techniques such as trail braking/blipping throttle for downshifts, but I personally don't see a need for cruising around with two fingers for same reasons stated above.
  8. I tend to cover the brakes when I can percieve a possible bad situation, ie coming up along side traffic, or an over eager driver wanting to pull out of an intersection. By then I am normally off the throttle anyway.
  9. Up until only about a month or so ago I couldnt even reach the brake/clutch lever, the distance was too far away so I had to take my hands right off the handlebars to use them. Got them brought back in as far as they could go, but even so, they are only reachable via tip of fingertip only. Oh to have the luxury of having them comfortably within reach.........
  10. Actually, this is good -- That is, covering the brakes with throttle off, anticipating the possible use of brakes. This is one valid reason to cover the brake while riding. After this point, if you do need to use the brakes, it's a matter of further setting up (not hammering the brakes, but properly squeezing progressively harder).
  11. Um its in the manuals they give you when you go for your instructors license. I got mine through AGIS about a decade ago. The guy John who runs the place has an amazing wealth of knowlege. It's part of the things you have to learn.
    Its also in the team moto instructors manual that Richard drew up many years ago. He is at hart now and could be in theirs too. I don't know.
    It's why you should check your mirrors if you have to really pull it up hard.
    The reason for it is the hurt factor. Love the reality of bikes.
  12. i cover both brake and clutch, its a habit i have from motocross days. 2 fingers on the clutch (index middle) and the brake side is a little funny. i have broken my right hand a few times so it doesnt work as it should. as a result, i cover the front brake when cruising around with my middle and ring fingers, but if i'm riding hard i swap that to the index and middle fingers. its uncomfortable for me to use my right index finger, and it swells up quickly with repetitive use.
  13. Fair enough; Just curious because as part of my new career I'm being trained in crash investigation, reconstruction and so forth, and I've not yet encountered studies/papers/texts/etcetera which state that motorcycle riders have a total response time for a complex reaction situation which is different to car drivers. None of the texts I've encountered so far make a distinction between vehicle-operator types.

    I'd appreciate it if you could point me toward any which do show that information; it'd be useful to us.

    Mind you, I have read an interesting paper which illustrates how two-wheel vehicles take substantially longer in terms of both time and distance to complete an evasive swerve compared to a car evading the same object.
  14. Situation, cover, especially when other traffic is around but normally not for me anyway.

    Regarding breaking time. Found a bit of a discussion here.

    Bike Safer - Stopping Distances
  15. That's interesting, though I've spotted a complication in the braking-reaction-time thing - reading the experimental method, the riders only had to react to a green monitor changing to the colour red, and had specific instruction to apply the brake lever as soon as they saw that occur.

    A vehicle operator primed to anticipate an impending specific stimulus, and with the decision already made to apply the brakes the instant a stimulus, will always react much, much, much faster than an alert vehicle operator with an unexpected stimulus in their direct field of view and a complex decision to be made prior to action being taken (in that case, the widely-considerded standard seems to be 0.75 to 1.5 seconds to react, and then muscle movement time on top of that).

    Edit: Mind you, that doesn't mean it's "wrong" - In situations where you're *anticipating* that a pedestrian might step out between parked cars on this one street, and you're covering your brakes to do an emergency stop the instant it happens, then those reaction times in the braking-reaction-time study could be achieved.
  16. Yes True Spots a better system would throw some random elements in, a circuit with multiple locations where you may or may not be asked to brake would give a more accurate spread of data. The next Netrider ride perhaps we can have random flag marshals jump out. ;)
  17. I only cover my brakes if I've had time to detirmine ahead of time that I'm likely to need them. In this situation I will have already shut off the throttle and apply light pressure to shift the bikes weight in preparation. It's a rare event though which makes my riding style very different from my dirt biking days of the past.

    As a general rule I find it's better not to cover the levers because (not surpisingly) it encourages you to use them whenever danger strikes. This sounds like unusual reasoning but it pays to remember that braking is only 1 of the 3 most effective options at your disposal in a brown pants moment.

    Rolling on more throttle can often get you past a (moving) danger more effectively than trying to stop before hitting it. Distances, speed, gear selection and power can all influence how effective it is though and thus it is not generally mentioned when you get your license. For this to be really effective, you need to know how your bike performs in the given circumstances and make the assessment quickly, so it's not the best idea for everyone.

    Counter swerving can be a very effective means of moving away fron danger to avoid it. There is less chance of losing traction than braking and it will likely be your only choice if you are given very little time to react. For this reason, most courses spend a lot of time instructing you in the proceedure. If countersteering is your only option, the last thing you want to do is hit the brake so you will be glad your fingers are well away from it in this situation.

    If you feel the need to cover your brakes during general riding situations, I would suggest that you are not really confident in your ability to control the bike in an emergancy braking situation. I would suggest you find a quiet road to practice your e-brakes until you have them so well sorted you can do it any time without having to think about it. :)
  18. I thought those drawings was a cow puking :)

    dont hold the handle bars - caress them
  19. lol!!! yup ... invoking "Edward Scissorhands"? :D

    Back when did my L's the instructor suggested covering brakes when going through areas potentially presenting greater hazards, such as a busy shopping strip and in circumstances that TRA mentioned. Otherwise, no.

    For riders just starting out thought it could also be a bit of a security blanket thing - hadn't crossed my mind that it might be more comfortable, my hands would get achy if did it all the time.

    Advance warning: If have aversion to the 'MU' word, close eyes now ..

    Spots, aside from the Motorcycle Instructor Training Manual(s) Brett mentioned, there was also a study done by MUARC where it was shown experienced motorcycle riders detected hazards 4 seconds earlier than experienced car drivers.

    That certain hazards were identified more often by experienced riders than experienced car drivers and that overall, experienced riders responded earlier to hazards and detected a greater number of hazards than car drivers.

    heheh ... 'k, I showed you mine now you show me yours :wink: ... name and/or link to this paper?

    An evasive swerve being like a hard turn, I'd have thought motorcycles being lighter and more nimble would accomplish this quicker than cars so I'd be interested in seeing this. When it comes to braking I understand they're not.
  20. Sweeties I have always been uncomfortable with this terminology.

    This little biscuit is not a fan of OEM levers they are limited in play, plus adjustment and many seem to be a designed as an after thought.

    Sugarplums I believe with the strength of our dollar the opportunity exists to buy superior product at a more competitive price point from abroad (thank goodness levers don't have an AS Sticker)

    Darlings this is exactly how I ride and my levers a rotated down at around 32 Degrees, so that this little dear heart can keep a straight line through the hand, wrist and forearm (I also elbow point like Spies).

    ......the other interesting thing is that delicious high performance racing gloves are being produced with the outer two fingers substantially pre-curved.

    Lovelies as for the brake I have a small degree of play from free play to full bite, at The Temple of Speed my often used technique after going through T3 is to 1 Finger Brake at my marker whilst keeping the throttle open T4 is one of two hard braking corners there
    (yes...I have made a none too elegant dismount at Honda).

    It is important to note that my preferences are just that............mine.
    They have been developed through trial and error, any initial changes that you seek should be subtle