Jan 31, 2007

Lazy Fingers

We're lazy. You should already be riding so that you cover the front brake lever with two (Rossi prefers three) fingers, while gripping the handlebar grip with the other two fingers. The logic is simple. You can brake earlier in an emergency – I'm told the difference is half a second, which is quite a number of feet when you're going fast.

But we're lazy. When you're braking into a panic stop, two fingers are a good beginning, they're a bad end. As the weight begins to transfer forward, and the lever comes back towards the grip, you should also be adding a finger or two to the brake pressure end of things.

In the middle of the corner, where you need to be finessing the throttle, Rossi uses no fingers on the brake lever at all. The message is simple: don't get lazy. The fingers need to be moved around for best effect, so do it. Cover that lever. And when you need to add more fingers to the brake lever. And when you need to, take all of them off as well.

Images from Yamaha Racing


Glifford said...


I have an observation. When I ride with gloves... all I need is just the thumb and the index finger to control the throttle, the rest of the three can rest on the brake. Well sometimes the middle finger too.

But on the rare occassions I ride without 'em. Just two fingers cannot grip enough. So keep just one finger on the brake lever. Have found compromises in braking effort because of this. So sometimes I grip the end of the handlebar. Just near the end weight. This allows me to grip the end of the lever... thus offering more leverage. More braking force with less effort!

But the solution is to wear gloves all the time! I know :(

The BATFAN said...

Thanks to your earlier posts, I have been doing this since the beginning and though there have been some falls due to the sharpness of the brakes, I am learning.

I have not yet reached that level of leaving the brakes yet though. Need to give it a it of time. But I think in traffic I would always like to cover the brakes. I find myself at times to be really slow in traffic but then I think its better late than never.

I know people ride bikes without even using the front brakes. One of my friends said that he *NEVER* uses the disk brakes for its sharpness. What I feel is that such people would never know how to use it in case of emergency either. They simply believe bikes are to be driven and enjoyed and not to be put so much thought about.

At times I have found myself over using the front brake and I now mostly stop with the front and curse myself after stopping that I missed the rear brake completely not even having it covered properly. Any advice please.

The upside though is that I know I can stop at the speed that I am on and am always in control. And I am prepared for *MOST* things (not everything) having learned to use the front brakes.

rearset said...

When I'm on track or on a road I know really well, I use the rear brake very rarely. And mostly for stabilising the bike when I'm hard on the front brake at that. In my book, the only time you can 'overuse' the front brake is if you fall.

As far as the sharpness goes, get used to it. And learn to finesse the brake on. That means a sharp brake will need more careful application and less lever travel to do what you want. So you need to adapt to that.

Glifford: 'When I ride with gloves...' :-D

rearset said...

Sorry, to add to the beginning of that comment. On an unknown road or in traffic and on poor traction, I always cover both brakes and vary the amount of front and rear application to the situation. It's not something I consciously think about anymore... I guess the process, the theory and the application has been internalized.

Or as Keith Code says (post coming up), I spend only a fraction of a dime on it now. And have almost a full 10 dollars left to spend