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  1. #1
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    European brake levers switched left to right?

    Is it my imagination or do the English have their brakes set up opposite as our traditional set up. From the magazine I was looking at, it seemed like all of the bikes were set up with the right brake lever for the front brake and the left brake lever for the rear brake.

    Am I crazy?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatsig
    Am I crazy?

    Yeah probably.

    The tendancy is for N. American bikes to have left/front braking and for UK bikes to have right/front braking. I'm not quite sure where all the other countries of the world fit in.

    I've read many "reasons" for why this is and most of them somehow seem to center around hand signals. That reasoning, if it's even a viable reason, has very little to do with mtb'ing does it?

    I'm in N. Am (but I am from the UK) and I have mine right/front. To me I have sound reasoning for this. I'm right handed and if I have one hand in charge of any brake while I wipe, point, wave, drink, adjust, pick, hit with my dominant (right) hand, that hand isn't going to be in charge of a brake that's got the ability to send me into a Superman impersonation. Nossirr my left hand is going to be in charge of a brake that has the abilty to skid a tire at worst.
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  3. #3
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    Very interesting...

  4. #4
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    I personally use my brakes as front/right. I guess I am used to the motorcycle brake system wehre the left is the rear and the right is the front.

    Cheerio!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatsig
    Very interesting...
    Let's wait to see if Shiggy comes along with almost the same reasoning. We've done this many times before!
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  6. #6
    "El Whatever"
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    Motot Style...

    Moto Style all the way!!! (right/front)

    I'm leftie but I had never ever able to ride otherwise brake regarding.

    In mexico bikes are ridden USA specs (duh!! All serious bikes are imported from USA or from Taiwan with USA specs). I'm against the grain.
    Check my Site

  7. #7
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    Compae, Hay trillos por DF? Saludos

  8. #8
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    Compae, Hay trillos por DF? Saludos
    Quihubo compa!!!

    No se que chingaos son trillos!!
    Pero si hay muchos pillos. Un chingo de rateros.
    Un abrazo
    Tirame un PM
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  9. #9
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    Mae, Trillos son singletrack. Como le dicen uds, senderos? Hasta pronto.

  10. #10
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaco
    Mae, Trillos son singletrack. Como le dicen uds, senderos? Hasta pronto.
    Sendero, vereda, camino o simplemente singletrack (hay un monton de palabras agringadas por aca)

    Yes a lot of singletrack here. Sorry for the language change otherwise the Admin will pop us out.

    Lots of every kind of dirt roads. Much more like Bogota. Very, very high place. Mexico city is a high flat in the middle of the mountains. Everywhere you would like to go out of mexico city you gotta climb. From 2200m and up.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    Let's wait to see if Shiggy comes along with almost the same reasoning. We've done this many times before!
    NOT AGAIN!!

    I run left-rear because of cyclocross. When setting up for a flying dismount at 15 mph, standing on the left pedal with my right hand gripping the top tube, the last thing I want is my left hand on the front brake.

    What eMTea said is valid, too.
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  12. #12
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    That´s another English peculiarity, not European...

    ...they are the only ones running levers that way in Europe.(as far as I know)
    Some more English peculiarityes: they have car´s cockpit on the right and drive along the left side of the road.Although belonging to the EU ,together with a couple countries more, they are still using their own currency after the rest of the countries swaped to euros in 2002. They are the only ones in europe using different measuring units as pounds and miles instead of kilograms and kilometers.
    Cheers
    Last edited by What&son; 10-01-2004 at 12:11 AM.
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  13. #13
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    It is to do with the side of the road you drive on.

    If you ride on the left, then it's motorbike style (left/rear). If you ride on the right then it's right/rear.

    It's a legal requirement, yes the origins were based on hand signals when bikes were only required to have one rear brake.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    It is to do with the side of the road you drive on.

    If you ride on the left, then it's motorbike style (left/rear). If you ride on the right then it's right/rear.

    It's a legal requirement, yes the origins were based on hand signals when bikes were only required to have one rear brake.

    all i know is i had to switch the cables on my rental bike while in New Zealand
    when the going gets tough the world gets reduced to one pedal stroke at a time

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimjo
    all i know is i had to switch the cables on my rental bike while in New Zealand
    Yep, in NZ we're left/rear. I had major mental battles trying to ride bikes right/rear when I was visiting the states. No problem when you've got time to think about it, but when the instincts take over.
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  16. #16
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    Been on motorcycles for over 20 yrs, so I'm kinda partial to the right/front, myself. That said, I've been too lazy to switch 'em, so....

  17. #17
    Get your freak on!
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    Another Left/front user here!
    When I was in the US, every one was freaked out to hear how I run the brakes the opposite. It's no fun when your trying to whip out the rear end in a turn in a emergency Very scary!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike_freak
    Another Left/front user here!
    When I was in the US, every one was freaked out to hear how I run the brakes the opposite. It's no fun when your trying to whip out the rear end in a turn in a emergency Very scary!
    uhhh...left-front is the usual setup in the US.
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  19. #19
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    Please ignore

    this post
    Last edited by Travis Bickle; 10-05-2004 at 12:30 PM. Reason: duplicate
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  20. #20
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    Scientific Poll

    According to my recent poll 54 % of MTBR members prefer the right/front brake setup. See the data for your self below. This is +/- 2% points 9 times out of 10.

    Brake lever poll - Euro or N American
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  21. #21
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    Left/rear

    Most of the bikes in SA are like that ...
    1. Moto style , easyer for guys comming off motocross.
    2.I am left handed and comming from trials It was easyer use my left hand to control the rear wheel during pedal kicks

  22. #22
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    FWIW Australia is right = front as well.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy©®™
    uhhh...left-front is the usual setup in the US.
    OOops! LOL! I meant right-front.... sorry for the confusion

  24. #24
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    it is possible to swap levers on hydraylic (disc) brakes?

  25. #25
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    No. Its simple. Anyone with a motorcycle background will use a right hand brake. The left on a motorcycle is always the clutch.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by stavpal
    it is possible to swap levers on hydraylic (disc) brakes?
    Yes, if you have hayes, just swap the levers from left to right. Otherwise you need the same levers left and right, swap the hoses and rebleed if necessary.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Yes, if you have hayes, just swap the levers from left to right. Otherwise you need the same levers left and right, swap the hoses and rebleed if necessary.
    ummm, i mean if the brakes are set right-rear to swap the hoses and make them front-right

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by What&son
    ...they are the only ones running levers that way in Europe.(as far as I know)
    Some more English peculiarityes: they have car´s cockpit on the right and drive along the left side of the road.Although belonging to the EU ,together with a couple countries more, they are still using their own currency after the rest of the countries swaped to euros in 2002. They are the only ones in europe using different measuring units as pounds and miles instead of kilograms and kilometers.
    Cheers
    We're funny that way, I had my brakes set up left/rear for the past 6 months, I swapped them over a couple of days ago, now I'm thinking about swapping them back, something feels funny

    We use celsius instead of fahrenheit, body weight is in stones, not lbs (a stone is 14 lbs, so it's still an imperial measurement), but food weight is generally in grams, unless you're ordering food at a deli counter, speed limits are in miles an hour (god help us if we ever switch over to kph, the carnage that would ensue there will be lethal), height is feet and inches and distances are in miles, but lengths in general usage will be in metres.

    That's about it really, I think we only do it to confuse foreigners,

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    No. Its simple. Anyone with a motorcycle background will use a right hand brake. The left on a motorcycle is always the clutch.
    I ride a motorcycle, but have left front and right rear for the following reasons:
    1. I rode bikes first
    2. I brake more with the front (ie left) and I like to shift while braking, so I split up the duties.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoseki
    We use celsius instead of fahrenheit, body weight is in stones, not lbs (a stone is 14 lbs, so it's still an imperial measurement), but food weight is generally in grams, unless you're ordering food at a deli counter, speed limits are in miles an hour (god help us if we ever switch over to kph, the carnage that would ensue there will be lethal), height is feet and inches and distances are in miles, but lengths in general usage will be in metres.

    That's about it really, I think we only do it to confuse foreigners,

    Degrees C in the UK? I thought you used degrees F? You did when I lived there 35 years ago anyway. You also use cc's for engine displacemen instead if Cu Ins but you measure bore and stroke in inches. Weird! Your paranoia over switching from MPH to KPH is funny! We switched in Canada years ago and there were no problems.

    As I grew up with Imperial I still do many mental calculations back to Imperial. After all, doesn't it make more sense that there are 1760 yards in a mile than 1000 meters in a kilometer?

    One of the weird switches here in Canada we we went officially metric was from gallons of gasoline (petrol to you guys) to litres (liters?). When we were in "gallons" the public would grumble when the price rose 2 cents per gallon. After the switch to litres a similar 2 cent rise got a similar reaction. Did anyone realize that the rise had increased 4.54610 times? Now it fluctuates by 10 cents a litre without even a comment in the coffee shop.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    Your paranoia over switching from MPH to KPH is funny! We switched in Canada years ago and there were no problems.
    I think (but might be wrong) that Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right in the 60s.

    Now that would have been a sight for the first few months.

    Wombat

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat
    I think (but might be wrong) that Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right in the 60s.

    I remember seeing their change-over on TV. At a certain time everyone had to stop driving and switch over to the other side of the road. Of course all road signs and stuff had been pre-errected. What a massive effort it must have been.
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  33. #33
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    Going Euro ...

    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatsig
    Is it my imagination or do the English have their brakes set up opposite as our traditional set up. From the magazine I was looking at, it seemed like all of the bikes were set up with the right brake lever for the front brake and the left brake lever for the rear brake.

    Am I crazy?
    Ya know, a LOT of people use presta valves on Mountain Bikes because of their popularity from European road cycling!!! Now presta valves brake easier and aren't compatible with MOST of the equipment out there designed for both car and bicycles.

    But it's "chic" to use presta valves designed for skinny road rims. So people do it!!!

    I would think the left/right brake decision is a LOT more important than the presta/shrader issue.

    For me, I would think that the "safer" orientation is putting the rear on the left. The reason is simple. It's easier to brake AND shift AND avoid ENDO when the rear brake is on the left!!! It's also easier to wash out if you brake too much in front.

    Ohh the conundrum because when you're going downhill most of your weight is shifted to the FRONT wheel, that is where breaking is more effective. And one SELDOM brakes while going UPHILL !!!!

    Flippy users, what do you think the cost benefit is of the "English" arrangement????

  34. #34
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    As a former motorcyclist the FIRST thing I did was switch to "right-front" with my brakes.

    The other way would have had me on my ass in no time. Not to mention the potential danger when I get on a motorcycle and am having brain signal crossovers from the bike to the motorcycle!

  35. #35
    willtsmith_nwi
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    Not Americans ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoseki
    We're funny that way, I had my brakes set up left/rear for the past 6 months, I swapped them over a couple of days ago, now I'm thinking about swapping them back, something feels funny

    We use celsius instead of fahrenheit, body weight is in stones, not lbs (a stone is 14 lbs, so it's still an imperial measurement), but food weight is generally in grams, unless you're ordering food at a deli counter, speed limits are in miles an hour (god help us if we ever switch over to kph, the carnage that would ensue there will be lethal), height is feet and inches and distances are in miles, but lengths in general usage will be in metres.

    That's about it really, I think we only do it to confuse foreigners,
    Miles and pounds form the basis of the "special relationship". We Americans are English spawn. There is no getting around that.

    Save we have the sense to drive on the RIGHT side of the road as opposed to the WRONG side!!!!! ;-)

  36. #36
    willtsmith_nwi
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    New Avid Levers ...

    Quote Originally Posted by stavpal
    ummm, i mean if the brakes are set right-rear to swap the hoses and make them front-right
    Apparantly Avid has listened to this debate and decided that all their levers should now be bolt/on and ambidexterous so that switching is easy!!! This probably makes inventory easier as well since they no longer need to produce left vs right handed levers.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat
    I think (but might be wrong) that Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right in the 60s.

    Now that would have been a sight for the first few months.

    Wombat

    But they only had a dozen or so cars at the time

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    Apparantly Avid has listened to this debate and decided that all their levers should now be bolt/on and ambidexterous so that switching is easy!!! This probably makes inventory easier as well since they no longer need to produce left vs right handed levers.
    So they're only four years behind Hayes then.
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