View Poll Results: How many fingers do you use to brake?

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  • 1 finger only, no exceptions.

    101 43.72%
  • 1 or 2 finger, depends on the situation/brakes.

    88 38.10%
  • 2 finger, never tried 1 finger.

    18 7.79%
  • 2 finger, tried 1 finger, didn't like it.

    21 9.09%
  • 3 or 4 finger.

    3 1.30%
Results 1 to 35 of 35
  1. #1
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    SIngle finger or not?

    Been trying single finger braking for ages, but still prefer two finger braking in many situations. What about you?

  2. #2
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    One finger in technical sections. Like having more hand on the bar. Two or three fingers when I'm also changing gears with dual control shifters.

  3. #3
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    I used to use two almost all the time, but noticed the other day that I only use one almost exclusively now and haven't noticed any difference... so there you go - not sure what that proves. I do use my index finger which some other riders seemed to think was odd.

  4. #4
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    1 finger does in for me in any situation I've come across. Disc brakes have so much bite I can't imagine why you would need two fingers unless you had rim brakes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDubT
    1 finger does in for me in any situation I've come across. Disc brakes have so much bite I can't imagine why you would need two fingers unless you had rim brakes.
    Not even for endos or initiating tail slides?

  6. #6
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    ironic question considering I just switched....I was always a two finger guy....but always favored small diameter handgrips......I just recently switched to a larger handgrip....which made the two finger a bit unstable in tech sections. I subsequently moved my brake levers inboard (towards the stem on the handlebar) to more closely align the maximum leverage point on the lever to my pointy finger (a one finger brake setup).

    Long story short....I really like the increased control of the one finger vis a vis steering...but still use two fingers when I want to finesse something such as some of those tricky descents when you're on the verge of having a tire grip vs. break loose.....somehow....the two finger works best for me in these situations.

  7. #7
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    I've been one finger since I changed to disc brakes. As Maadjurguer nentioned, the trick is to move the brake levers inboard of the shifters, so your finger is at the best point for leverage.
    Endos and skids no problem.
    Although, if the performance from your brakes is crap, you may need two fingers.

  8. #8
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    Can only brake with 1 finger since starting trials. You need as much handlebar grip as possible for trials so I got used to it and wouldn't go back.

    Lever needs to be as inside as possible as previously mentionned.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  9. #9
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    "Lever needs to be as inside as possible as previously mentioned."
    Yes!

    I chopped off my shift indicators so I could swap the shifter and brake positions.
    Grip-shifter-brake


    1 finger always

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrism
    trick is to move the brake levers inboard of the shifters, so your finger is at the best point for leverage.
    I have lever set for perfect single finger braking, nearly an inch inboard of the grip, use single finger baking on fast smooth sections of trail, but on slower very technical rocky sections of trail and for tail slides and endos use two fingers, although my forefinger is in the 'hook' and my index finger is balanced on the tip of the lever.

    Maybe because I'm older and have 15 years of road motorcycling (3 fingers) I find I can put more power through my brake system with two fingers, and two fingers seem to give me more modulation feel. I just can't get the full modulation feel and power I need with one finger. Although I'm wondering if I used a more powerful system like Avid Code this might be enough power for me to change to single finger in all situations.

  11. #11
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    Only one finger for sure, I have better use for the rest. Besides modern brakes are so powerfull that if you feel you need more you are probably pulling fron the wrong part of the lever.

  12. #12
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    I am a 2 finger person. I ride dirt bikes and can't do one finger on them so I think that's why I use 2 fingers on my bike. Just habit and what I am used to.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    Not even for endos or initiating tail slides?

    Not even for endos or tail slides. Like I said, there's really no reason at all to use more than one finger with a good set of disc brakes. Using two fingers might give you a little better modulation, but I've never come across a situation where I've needed it.
    Last edited by GDubT; 03-24-2011 at 08:51 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDubT
    Like I said, there's really no reason at all to use more than one finger with a good set of disc brakes.
    What brakes are you using? I'm using Elixir 5's, are they not enough?

  15. #15
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    I'm a 1 finger guy. I use to use 2 fingers with v-brakes, but with hydraulic discs 1 finger is plenty. I think it gives you more control having 4 fingers on the grips and 1 finger is more than enough to lock up the back.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    What brakes are you using? I'm using Elixir 5's, are they not enough?
    BB7 in the back and BB5 in the front. I don't really know too much about each and every hydro brake out there, but if the Elixir 5's aren't working for you, you either a) don't have them dialed in properly or b) should try a different set of brakes. I've read lots of bad reviews about the 5's and that could be your problem no matter how well you set them up.

    I've had nothing but good experiences with mechanical discs and I would definitely recommend a set of BB7's if you're in the market. Super easy to set up, bite like crazy and you don't have to worry about bleeding them ever...plus they're way cheaper than most hydros. Modulation is where I think you'll notice the difference going with a better set of hydro's.

  17. #17
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    I used to need two fingers to stop. Got new brakes recently and haven't ever needed two fingers since.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDubT
    BB7 in the back and BB5 in the front.
    No that then...my Elixirs are dialed properly and are similar in modulation and power to BB7s. I've previously used both BB5s and BB7s.

    I think some of the problem here is I'm using two fingers on very rocky very steep technical natural trails. Maybe aggressive technical AM/Light FR would describe it. Probably I need Codes/R1s or bigger rotors. Of course many people swearing by one finger braking are really XC/light trail riders, and for that I too use one finger.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    Of course many people swearing by one finger braking are really XC/light trail riders, and for that I too use one finger.
    I wonder what kind of statistics this is based on?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    I wonder what kind of statistics this is based on?
    On the fact that some people who swear by single finger are using BB5s, which must surely say something relevant.
    I was hoping that someone might say that the terrain they were riding, brakes they were using or rotor size they had had an effect.
    For example "I used to use Avid J3s and used 2 fingered braking on my Nomad, but since I switched to codes, it's one finger all the way".
    or
    "I use Hayes Stoker Trails and occasionally I used two fingers in the knarly stuff, but since I switched to 185 rotors I only need one finger".
    (These are both fictional, but examples of what I was hoping for), but not: "I use Avid BB5 front and BB7 rear, and use one finger".

  21. #21
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    I've used Avid BB7's, Juicy 7's, Shimano LX, Magura Louise, Marta, Hope M4's and Hope V2's with rotors ranging from 160/160 to 203/203 and terrain ranging from gravel roads to DH tracks and never needed two fingers (after understanding how levers should be positioned).

    Bigger rotors do help, and also ensure your hands ache less after the ride. Going from BB7 to hydralics was more a change in modulation then power. I rode downhill for four hours in NZ with a loaner bike that had Magura Julies and 160/160 rotors. Still one finger was fine even though I lost a lot of power when the brakes started cooking.

    Honestly though, I don't understand how not to get enough power with one finger, I guess I have strong fingers? (doubt it really).

  22. #22
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    To clarify then, I like to ride fast and or rough terrain, I just upgraded to hayes ace's and have 8in rotors. Some brakes do require two fingers for sure, and if you only need one finger on those brakes, your braking too early

  23. #23
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    1 finger all the friggin' way!
    My Bike: http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...3&postcount=49

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    ...but still use two fingers when I want to finesse something such as some of those tricky descents when you're on the verge of having a tire grip vs. break loose.....somehow....the two finger works best for me in these situations.
    I do the same thing. When I need the ultimate amount of braking finesse (such as in really steep technical sections), I find I have more control with two fingers (and may even go 3).
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  25. #25
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    Good discs: 1 finger.
    Properly set up v's: 1 finger
    V's with crap pads or cables: up to 2 fingers.
    Cantis well set up: up to 3 fingers.
    Cheap cantis: 4 fingers and lots of prayer.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  26. #26
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    New question here.

    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    I think some of the problem here is I'm using two fingers on very rocky very steep technical natural trails. Maybe aggressive technical AM/Light FR would describe it. Probably I need Codes/R1s or bigger rotors. Of course many people swearing by one finger braking are really XC/light trail riders, and for that I too use one finger.
    Odd. I use one finger because I watched a video that says it's the right thing to do when free riding. I like the steep, technical stuff, the rocky, brutal stuff, and the high, skinny stuff. But as a newcomer to fat tyres, I know I don't speak with any real authority on the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    I was hoping that someone might say that the terrain they were riding, brakes they were using or rotor size they had had an effect.
    FWIW, last year I was riding a 31 pound shore hardtail with 160mm of travel, 185mm rotors, Avid Juicy 5s. I'm 190 pounds, if that matters. Terrain was Southern Ontario, some DH at Horseshoe, some rocky gnar, lots of wooden stunts, lot sof off-camber and greasy clay. This year I've switched to Formula "The One's" and 160mm rotors on a 120mm travel hard tail. I have the 185mm rotors standing by, I might go 185mm on the front and 160mm on the rear if I have any trouble being controlling my descents with one finger. But I don't know how well things are going to work out until I've had a chance to really try this setup in the field and not just in the indoor bike park. Hope that helps.

  27. #27
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    Brakes are like women, sometimes you can get them working well with one finger, some of them take two.

  28. #28
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    She says that 2 fingers feels better than one...

  29. #29
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    One finger only. Any more and my Magura Marta SL hydros will surely kill me...
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    I think some of the problem here is I'm using two fingers on very rocky very steep technical natural trails. Maybe aggressive technical AM/Light FR would describe it. Probably I need Codes/R1s or bigger rotors. Of course many people swearing by one finger braking are really XC/light trail riders, and for that I too use one finger.
    Actually, I find more aggressive situations (steep, rough, whatever)are the very ones where using one fingers to be more beneficial. More fingers on the bar where they do some good.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by dietz31684
    "Lever needs to be as inside as possible as previously mentioned."
    Yes!

    I chopped off my shift indicators so I could swap the shifter and brake positions.
    Grip-shifter-brake


    1 finger always
    I did this exact same thing yesterday, then went for a 22 mile ride. Night and day difference.Having the end of the lever lined up with your braking finger gives you so much more power and control.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark
    I did this exact same thing yesterday, then went for a 22 mile ride. Night and day difference.Having the end of the lever lined up with your braking finger gives you so much more power and control.
    In their "Freeride Fundamentals" video, just about the first thing the West Coast School of Mountain Biking instructors demonstrate is how to move the brakes inboard for one-finger braking. I can't see one-finger braking making any sense at all unless you move the levers. I've tried riding other people's bikes, and it's scary trying to use brakes that seem set up for using all four fingers... The furthest part of the lever is opposite the pinky finger. Who thought that was a good idea?

    As for two-finger braking, use what works for you. My experience with rock climbing is that the middle finger is the strongest, the index next, the ring finger much weaker than either, and you can forget about the pinky. If you put your two strongest fingers on the brake lever, you're leaving your two weakest fingers on the bar.

    It may be a beginner thing, but I feel safer with my strongest (middle) finger gripping the bar. This is especially true when doing an endo or other pivot on the front wheel. I know Ryan Leech says "Grab a fistful of front brake" in his instructional video, but if I grab a "fistful" of front brake, I'm trying to push my bodyweight over the front wheel with a questionable grip on the left hand.

    Again, maybe the issue is my desire for the illusion of safety provided by a good strong grip on the bars. We'll see if over the years I relax and start braking with more fingers.

  33. #33
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    I think I've finally switched to single finger braking permanently. The reason for this was involuntary too. I rode a hill which had over a mile (1-2km) of rocky decent down about 1200ft (400m) in altitude. The arm pump/hand pain is just much worse using two fingers than one, quickly eliminating that two finger option!

  34. #34
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    Plus, modulating with one finger offers finer touch, than recruiting a second finger to do the job one finger is well-capable of doing. Conserve muscle...use one digit.
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  35. #35
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    I actually have to correct my earlier post (from about a month ago). I thought I had been using 2 fingers on some of the really steep techy decents, but having ridden a few since then and consciously paying attention to what I was doing (since posting to this thread), it turns out I'm only using one finger on both discs and Vs, even on the really steep stuff. So sometimes I guess I don't know what the hell I'm doing until I actually start paying attention.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

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