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  1. #1
    Huffy Rider
    Reputation: motochick's Avatar
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    I do and have run my bicycle brakes the correct way for over 20yrs!

  2. #2
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    Front brake moved to right side of handlebar

    Hello all,

    I've noticed through the years that the front brake on mountain bikes are always set up to operate off of the left side lever.

    I've raced dirt bikes for decades. Naturally the front brake is on the right because the clutch lever is on the left.

    I have to have the front brake on the right, otherwise I risk killing myself. I'm just too tuned into "squeeze right lever, activate front brake"....

    So, How many fellow mountain bikers who come from dirt bike backgrounds make it a priority to switch that front brake on their mountain bike to the right side where, in my mind it "belongs".



    Just curious.

    Thanks!!
    Last edited by FisherCaliber; 03-27-2011 at 05:59 PM.

  3. #3
    Ride Responsibly
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    I have ridden motorcycles for over 35 years. Bicycles with hand brakes, including 10 speed road bikes, for just as long. Never altered the stock brake lever position and never had a problem.

  4. #4
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    I was never a serious motorcycle rider, but when I was a teenager, I rode a dirt bike with some friends enough for the muscle memory of the brake configuration to become natural. Never had an issue going between that and bicycles at the time or the few times I have gotten on a motorcycle in the last 25 years since then. With the foot brake, the twist throttle and the lever clutch, they just feel like two entirely different things to me.

    What I DO find really hard is getting on a bicycle where the levers are switched. My concern, were I in your shoes, is that if you switch the levers on your bike, then any time you use someone else's bike, it will be tricky. I remember once trading bikes with someone that was had switched the levers. Both of us ate ***** (me once, him twice) in the course of a half hour ride.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  5. #5
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    Motorcycling, both street and dirt, is a completely different activity than biycling. Muscle memory between the two has no commonality and the skills don't transfer from one to the other at all... the feedback and touch is just way too different.

    I too have been riding motorcycles for a long time (28 years now), and have NEVER had any issue with the front brake lever being on the left hand side on my bicycles.

    I know Sheldon Brown's opinion was that the brakes should be reversed so his strong hand would be on the front brake.... I think he was riding some real old school rigs without the braking power available with today's brakes... he also admitted to not always using the rear brake, which I think is ludicrous. I always use both front and rear simultaneously, and naturally modulate the brakes (front and rear independently) depending on how much available traction each tire has, just like a human ABS system.

    So personally, my opinion is set your bike up however you want, to your preference, but there is no 'correct way'.

  6. #6
    Huffy Rider
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    "With the foot brake, the twist throttle and the lever clutch, they just feel like two entirely different things to me."

    Some of us serious riders don't have foot pedals or clutch levers, my rear brake is a left hand lever. I won't even demo a bike if they can't switch the brakes, luckily they always have.

  7. #7
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Glad following the 'moto' example works for some of you.... But that doesn't make it the RIGHT way. It just works FOR YOU.

    Reminds me of the 50-y-o guy who tries to tell his wife to alphabetize the canned vegetables, cuz it's "the way it's supposed to be done."

  8. #8
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    All bikes sold in Australia must have the front brake on the right. It is just what you get used too.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  9. #9
    I always bleed like this.
    Reputation: PoorBehavior's Avatar
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    Do what feels right. I have my front brake on the right, never had any problems making the switch. It just felt correct. However, every time I go back, I have to think about which brake is which. For me front right clicks better than rear right.

  10. #10
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    I used to have my levers set up moto style, but switched them back because nobody else had it that way. Tuning/test riding customers bikes was more difficult. I really wish moto style was the standard though. Makes so much more sense to have your strong hand on the front brake.
    '12 Soma Analog SS
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  11. #11
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    I switched my front brake to the right. I'm relatively new to bicycling, been riding moto for a lot longer. Just didn't want to deal with switching back and forth.

  12. #12
    Rub it............
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    Do you remember hand signals from your Drivers License test when you first took Drivers Ed?

    Reason for why the front brake on a bicycle is on the left side of the handle bar is due to traffic laws. When using hand signals to indicate your movement, everything should be done with the left hand. So you can slow down without the front wheel locking up and pitching you over the bars. If you squeeze the rear too much, all you do is skid.

    But on a MTB, put them however they feel comfortable to you.

  13. #13
    DynoDon
    Reputation: manabiker's Avatar
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    Mine brakes have been on the right side for over 40 years, but I did buy a WWII Harley-Davidson that had the front brake on the left, a foot clutch, timing on the left twist grip, throttle on the right, shift lever on the left side of the tank, I just got use to the way it was set up because that was the way it was in WWII, I put alot of miles on that bike in Parades, Veteran events etc. never a problem, shifting now that took some getting used to, the foot clutch is pushed in to engage and the heel is used to push the rocker peddle out to disengage, then 3 speed tank shift, and the brakes didnt' do much anyway..I never had a road rage problem, probably because of the Thompson Machine gun replica in the scabbard

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    Last edited by manabiker; 03-30-2011 at 03:53 PM.

  14. #14
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    wow that is a cool bike! I wouldn't want to try to ride it though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    Motorcycling, both street and dirt, is a completely different activity than biycling. Muscle memory between the two has no commonality and the skills don't transfer from one to the other at all... the feedback and touch is just way too different.

    I too have been riding motorcycles for a long time (28 years now), and have NEVER had any issue with the front brake lever being on the left hand side on my bicycles.

    I know Sheldon Brown's opinion was that the brakes should be reversed so his strong hand would be on the front brake.... I think he was riding some real old school rigs without the braking power available with today's brakes... he also admitted to not always using the rear brake, which I think is ludicrous. I always use both front and rear simultaneously, and naturally modulate the brakes (front and rear independently) depending on how much available traction each tire has, just like a human ABS system.

    So personally, my opinion is set your bike up however you want, to your preference, but there is no 'correct way'.
    I disagree that the motorcycle riding is completely different than MTB. I have mine switched but it has been switched for as long as I have been using brakes on handle bars. Also been riding motorcycles as long as I have been riding bikes. So I am not a good example BUT everytime I get one of my dirt biking friends into mountain biking after a short while they ask me how I get used to the brakes being switched from bike to motorcycle. I tell them I have my bike and motorcycle the same. They switch theres and instantly love it.

    And for me 90% of my braking is in the front. The back does nothing for me but skid. I am the same way on my dirt bike, the only time I really use the back brake is when I am racing. Motorcycle is alittle differnent as I don't like to have to pull in the clutch when I want to use my back brake so I usually only do it when racing and need to push the corners alittle harder.

    But I do agree with you that it is all preference and there is no 'correct way'.

  16. #16
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    Moto style all the way . Raced motocross as a kid, ride off road now, and hate switching back and forth from one side to the other...doesn't feel right at all. My girlfriend changed hers for one ride years ago and never looked back either. She said that anytime she has to do something with a hand(grab drinking hose, adjust pads, etc) it's her right, being right handed, and if she needs to brake it's better to hit the rear than to hit the front with only one hand on the bars and/or turning .

  17. #17
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    haven't been on a bike for to long to say and raced 4 wheelers for years, snowmobiled at least 2000 miles a year for 15 years. any memory's of brake orientation on a bike was gone. So seems natural to have the front brake on the right side. decided against it though not wanting to have to readjust or get used to a different set up then what most are running. figure I will get used to it. did get into a situation a little over my head and grabbed a handful of left brake instinctively and over the bars i went. but i'm stcking with for now and think i am going to be fine with it. if not i will take 2 minutes switch the sides and go, will have to be care riding someone else's rig though!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigpedaler
    Glad following the 'moto' example works for some of you.... But that doesn't make it the RIGHT way. It just works FOR YOU.
    As mitzikatzi says, if you're in Australia, UK and a bunch of other countries it is the RIGHT way. Also common sense would suggest, following the moto way makes it much easier for people who ride both. The rationale for the moto way is probably because most people are right handed, front wheel braking is 90% of your braking power and also the place you need the most finesse and control - which is why you would use your right hand.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
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    That Harley Is Pure Sickness!!!!!!!
    My Bike: http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...3&postcount=49

    On-One Whippet 650b XC machine

  20. #20
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TigWorld
    The rationale for the moto way is probably because most people are right handed, front wheel braking is 90% of your braking power and also the place you need the most finesse and control - which is why you would use your right hand.
    I always figured that the reason the right hand was the front brake was because the right hand works the throttle, meaning the left hand lever needed to be the clutch, so that just leaves the right hand lever for the brake.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  21. #21
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    The annoying thing about front brake on the right is that most frames seem to have the cable routing optimised for front brake on the left.

  22. #22
    Waiting for my Obamabucks
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    What?

    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    Motorcycling, both street and dirt, is a completely different activity than biycling. Muscle memory between the two has no commonality and the skills don't transfer from one to the other at all... the feedback and touch is just way too different.

    I too have been riding motorcycles for a long time (28 years now), and have NEVER had any issue with the front brake lever being on the left hand side on my bicycles.

    I know Sheldon Brown's opinion was that the brakes should be reversed so his strong hand would be on the front brake.... I think he was riding some real old school rigs without the braking power available with today's brakes... he also admitted to not always using the rear brake, which I think is ludicrous. I always use both front and rear simultaneously, and naturally modulate the brakes (front and rear independently) depending on how much available traction each tire has, just like a human ABS system.

    So personally, my opinion is set your bike up however you want, to your preference, but there is no 'correct way'.
    I find riding mountain bike and off road motorcycle is really similar. I have had my brakes moto-style, front on the right, for almost 30 years. They used to call it euro-style back in the Greg Lemond days because the euros have been that way a long time.
    I will say, thought, that I'm in the minority and most of my moto buddies leave their bikes with the front on the left. I've been changing them since I was a kid so I decided to stick with it.
    Last edited by Teebird; 04-11-2011 at 01:52 PM.
    2010 Santa Cruz Blur LT2, Fox TALAS Terralogic, Fox RP23 shock, SRAM X0, XTR Trail Brakes, Stans/Chris King Wheelset

  23. #23
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    As a biker I have always had the front brake on the right since most braking is done with the front which is why bikes have the big double discs there. Additionally I used to do cyclecross and you have to have the front brake on the right so you can hop off and stop at the same time.

  24. #24
    ouch....
    Reputation: girgl's Avatar
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    way back after my first 3-gear rides, I got my first real MTB coming from Raleigh, called "Kalahari" with a spectacular carbon-fibre-style paint job and a pure Cromoly tubing, the front low-profile cantilever was mounted to the right. It was weird after the other kidīs cycles, but at that time I thought that was an english MTB, so everything would be wrong anyway....and so left it that way.
    Later MTBs send me down a couple of times and beeing used to chasing cattle on a moto, I had to invest in rhs levers for the front brake. 15 years ago I learned how to bleed brake lines the hard way on the first Magura rim brakes and later with the discs.

    Every other correct mounted bike sends me down most effectful in front of my friends,

    I stopped testing different bikes, my (finger-)muscles are stupid nd not willing to learn other patterns...
    right hand side front is right for me and stops thieves at the first stop
    prost girgl
    ????

  25. #25
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    Don't get me started about my near catastrophies when I go from my Ducati to my 1955 Triumph Speed Twin with right foot shifting.

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