1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 83
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    14

    How many fingers do you use on your brakes?

    I have been riding regularly for several years, and just two months ago, I upgraded to a bike with disc brakes. The improvement in stopping power is awesome, and I have much more confidence going downhill now (also due to the change to full suspension).

    I have noticed that in pictures of people taking jumps and downhills, many seem to use just one finger on each brake. I have tried it, and it does seem like I can probably get enough stopping power, but it seems to take more effort and I don't feel confident in my ability to make a sudden stop or slow down suddenly when going downhill. It also feels like my fingers can slip off the levers more easily.

    I am wondering how many people here use two fingers with their disc brakes. Are there any good reasons why I should challenge myself to learn to use just one finger on the brakes? Or should I just go with what is comfortable now?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
    Reputation: CHUM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    8,197
    go with what's comfortable...IMO...

    for me i run single fingers on my hydraulics.....for my V's and canti's it's 2 for the rear and 1 for the front. (general rule)

    single fingers on your brakes allows for more 'control' (more fingers on your bars)...
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    263
    i use two fingers

  4. #4
    g3h6o3
    Reputation: PissedOffCil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    3,708
    Uno but some brakes don't easily allow 1-finger braking. I run BB7s and Formula Megas and 1 finger is all I need!
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  5. #5
    bi-winning
    Reputation: rkj__'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    11,135
    It depends on the shape of the brake lever, the braking system, and my physical condition.

    Usually on my MTB with Avid levers and BB7s, I just use one finger. But, if I am in a race situation where the course is really hilly, and I am getting really fatigued (ie 8h solo race) I'll sometimes use two fingers.

    On my commuter bike with V brakes and Shimano levers, I tend to use two fingers quite often, as it just feels comfortable with the levers.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  6. #6
    *****************
    Reputation: Bikinfoolferlife's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    12,378
    I still use two for the most part, just been doing it a long time and it feels good to me, even tho my brakes would work with one finger. Funny thing, the reason I noticed this thread was I just saw a recent pic of Ned Overend and noticed he had two fingers covering each lever and wondered if he did it for the same reasons I do.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  7. #7
    Just Ride.
    Reputation: Joel.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    729
    I use one finger, but if i know there is a big downhill section I tend to use two.
    Last edited by Joel.; 10-06-2009 at 06:51 PM.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    37
    I have avid single digits. I use one or two.. Usually one or it will put me over the bars.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    81
    Two now, but when i first got back on the bike i used four >_<.

  10. #10
    Walmart Bike Member
    Reputation: Spawne32's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    284
    avid single digit 5 and avid fr-5 levers, i use 1-2 depending on how much pressure i need to put
    Quote Originally Posted by Juggler2
    There is only one Bike Forum standard... quality is directly proportional to money spent.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Swthrtsuzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    746
    Two. One would be sufficient for braking power, but two feels more natural.
    2008 Specialized Safire Comp

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Kaba Klaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,673
    I use one finger only. I either configure the brake so I can use only one finger - or I toss it out.

    Why one finger only? To have control for moves and to simply hang on. I do ride DH in the resorts and some of the aggressive riding transports to trail riding. If I'd use more than one finger for the brakes I'd fear my hands would slip of the bars.

    Brake configuration: (1) For a better leverage you need to move the brake levers further to the middle of the bars. I see many beginners running the brake levers touching the grips. But this means that the index finger touches the lever blade to the very inside. Not a lot leverage and the brake feels powerless. Moving the lever to the inside of the bar allows the index finger to grip the outside of the lever blade for max leverage. On my bikes I almost have an inch of space between grips and brake lever. (2) You need to adjust the reach. That means you have to adjust the distance between the lever blade and the grip. Or at least the point at which the brake engages when you squeez the lever blade in. If the lever blade is too far out or engages to far out the brake feels weak and your hands will tire very soon. Too far in feels just unsecure :-)
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  13. #13
    Custom User Title
    Reputation: dr13zehn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    377
    I used 2 for awhile when I was running non hydro brakes, but with the juicy 5s, I almost always use one finger now.
    Every once in awhile I will use two when the section goes down at a very steep angle, though I really don't need two. I guess it's a psychological thing in those situations.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    81
    Do different levers sit at different distances away from the bars? Using one finger makes the finger feel like it is stretching for me with my bike.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Kaba Klaus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,673
    Quote Originally Posted by quikflip27
    Do different levers sit at different distances away from the bars? Using one finger makes the finger feel like it is stretching for me with my bike.
    Probably yes. But more important: About every lever can be adjusted. For real hydrolics there is usualy a small allen socket on or under the lever blade. Typically very close to the ever axle. Turning that socket in increases the distance, turning it out reduces it. Be careful to consult the manual though. Many brakes have a socket to keep the lever blade's axle in very close to the lever adjustment socket.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    542
    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    Uno but some brakes don't easily allow 1-finger braking. I run BB7s and Formula Megas and 1 finger is all I need!
    Same here. Different brakes have different abilities, but properly set-up BB7s are a 1 finger affair.

    To aid in the effort department , ensure that your levers are positioned so that the fingers you use are on the absolute outer edge - this provides more leverage. Also, many people wrongly tune their brakes for an overly stiff lever pull - this setup will require more effort and at the same time diminish modulation. The trick is to balance modulation/responsiveness/effort.
    -Don "LordDRIFT" Draper.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: traffic002's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,703
    Depends on the terrain I suppose.

    But I typically use one finger. Middle finger. Adjust your lever so you don't mash your other digits. The middle finger is positioned the farthest out on the lever. Also allows your index to work with ring and pinky to hold onto bars. I've found this provides the least amount of fatigue to your hands.

    Then work on braking a little earlier and a little less. As you learn to carry more corner speed, you actually do brake less. I typically use my brakes to help turn in and adjust my line in the corner versus all out scrubbing off speed. You actually scrub speed as you are cornering so you don't need to jam so hard. Use more of your concentration on managing traction in the corner.

  18. #18
    Sir Crash-a-lot
    Reputation: mizm05's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    104
    I use 2, but I'm about to upgrade to BB7's from V brakes so I'm sure I will learn to use one finger pretty quickly in the near future.
    "I crash well..."

  19. #19
    Crash Guru
    Reputation: ProStacks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    136
    It really comes down to the person ridnig (and they brakes they have). I have seen plenty of people use 1 finger, and when i made upgrade from Vs to Discs i could see why, and I even went with 1 finger braking for a little while. But, 2 fingers has always been more comfortable for me, so that's what i use mostly.

    I'm often on the end of a few jokes as i brake with my middle and ring fingers, rather than index and middle. To me, Its nice to have my index wrapped around the handlebars.

    Not to hijack your thread, but just out of curiosity, does anyone else here do that?
    Quote Originally Posted by joehspicer @msn.com
    Your no longer a virgin... and your ass hurts?
    I think you're doing something wrong there

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    542
    ^^ Yeah retards and weird people.... j/k.
    -Don "LordDRIFT" Draper.

  21. #21
    Custom User Title
    Reputation: dr13zehn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    377
    After a few others mentioned they use the middle finger to brake, I tried it out myself and I cannot stand it. I feel I have a much more secure hold on the bar when I brake with my index finger.
    Now about the ring finger!?! That just seems weird to me, but whatever works for you, brother.

  22. #22
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,811
    I've gone for one finger.

    Lever setup has a lot to do with it: one finger near the end of the lever should do it.

    With V-brakes I used two fingers, I might have been able to set up the levers so that one would have been enough.

    Before V's, I had a bike with cantilevers. Sometimes I'd hold the bar with my index fingers and have the other three on the levers.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Joeboater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    476
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaba Klaus
    I use one finger only. I either configure the brake so I can use only one finger - or I toss it out.

    Why one finger only? To have control for moves and to simply hang on. I do ride DH in the resorts and some of the aggressive riding transports to trail riding. If I'd use more than one finger for the brakes I'd fear my hands would slip of the bars.

    Brake configuration: (1) For a better leverage you need to move the brake levers further to the middle of the bars. I see many beginners running the brake levers touching the grips. But this means that the index finger touches the lever blade to the very inside. Not a lot leverage and the brake feels powerless. Moving the lever to the inside of the bar allows the index finger to grip the outside of the lever blade for max leverage. On my bikes I almost have an inch of space between grips and brake lever. (2) You need to adjust the reach. That means you have to adjust the distance between the lever blade and the grip. Or at least the point at which the brake engages when you squeez the lever blade in. If the lever blade is too far out or engages to far out the brake feels weak and your hands will tire very soon. Too far in feels just unsecure :-)
    I also move my levers inboard for more power...works well. Sometimes I'll use 2 on the front, 1 on the rear, as I sometimes need to increase the braking on the front, but rarely on the back.
    "The quality of the box matters little. Success depends upon the person who sits in it."
    The Red Baron
    I need a better box

  24. #24
    Underskilled
    Reputation: CaveGiant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    4,109
    what Kaba Klaus said.

    Your 1 finger will also get stronger.

    its not the number of fingers on the lever that is important, it is the number of fingers gripping the bars. I am a 3 finger bar man!

    If your one finger is not strong enough, get a hand excersizer.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    372
    V-brakes with ceramic rims, I use two on the rear and one on the front almost all the time. Sometimes I will use two on the front but normally only on really slow technical descents where I am threshold braking on both wheels. The ceramic coating makes a big difference in how effective my brakes are, with XT brakes and levers they work great.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •