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  1. #1
    Slave to the grind
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    how many fingers do you use for braking?

    hey fellow Clydes!

    as i sat upon my ummm throne reading back issues of MBA i saw an article on how you should position your brakes. ideal set up is to use just the index finger on the end of your brake levers

    really?

    i grew up on canti's even before Vbrakes came in. levers were built for 4 finger braking. even then you wished you had more fingers.

    with the arrival of V brakes and later on mechanical discs, levers were then built for two finger squeezing. sadly when doing downhills i still ended up in the bushes during sweeping turns. hehehe.

    aanyway here's my question- since we are stopping more mass and inertia, are your bikes adjusted for 1 finger braking or do you stick with 2?

    personally im perfectly happy with two fingers.
    Let it flow, let yourself go, slow and low, that is the tempo.

  2. #2
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    2 fingers...unless I'm about to blow a turn and then it's 4 lol

  3. #3
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    Unless I have to come to a sudden stop from a high speed, I use 1 finger. 220 lb on rigid with BB7.
    Ghisallo Wheels

    I'm really good looking.

  4. #4
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    Two fingers, Index and middle after all they are the strongest fingers..

    To prevent any mistakes and optimize power and control I always set my levers about 40mm from the grip.


    Sometimes a little less if the bend of the bars does not let me.

  5. #5
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    I started out a 290 now down to 265. I used/use 1 finger for my ElixerCRs, 1 and 2 with the Elixer3s, and finally back to 1 with my SLX M666s.

    I stick with 1 finger other than emergency braking.
    2011 Dawes Deadeye | 2011 Niner EMD9 | 2014 Santa Cruz Tallboy AL| 2016 Raleigh Merit 3

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherrybomber View Post
    hey fellow Clydes!

    as i sat upon my ummm throne reading back issues of MBA i saw an article on how you should position your brakes. ideal set up is to use just the index finger on the end of your brake levers

    really?


    yes, really. I consider disc brakes incorrectly setup if you would ever think you needed more than your index finger.

    True, it wasn't possible to set up cantlivers to work that way, which is one of the big reasons no one uses them anymore. It's probably time to stop comparing modern bikes to the crap we had to live with 20 years ago, except in a "remember how bad things used to suck?" sense.

  7. #7
    No Stranger to danger....
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    Only one finger should ever be used to stop a bike and theres a very good reason that the DH pros n gun riders use one finger.
    If you use two or more(using more than two is ridiculous n dangerous for you) is that if you have less than 4 fingers holding onto your bike its not enough to control the bike safely under load.
    Breaks have come a long way, i use hydros and you only need 1 finger to be enough to throw you over the bar at speed.
    V breaks are basically a stone age breaking system and are compared to the other systems we have, they will be phased out on mountain bikes in the very near future, in fact they have been on middle to high end models as you all ready know.
    Mechanical disk breaks will also be phased out in the near future too, i still have them on a few bikes but they do not rival hydros for stopping power, but still should only need 1 finger.
    If you need more than one finger to stop on a dime its time to think about new breaks.
    Your breaks should be set up so that your wrist is straight in the attack position, this is different for a few people but generally 1/3 of the way towards the ground, i have mine lower than that as i like a small cockpit/top tube on my bikes ..
    Im not a clyde but im not small either, but regardless of size the same rules apply, in fact the bigger you are the more you wanna be using 1 finger due to the fact you have more weight to support and you need all the fingers wrapped tight around those grips you can
    cheers
    They actual lever should be moved toward the stem far enough that you can only put one finger on the end of the lever whilst holding the grip.
    If you break with 2 fingers it only leaves 2 fingers and a thumb to take your weight and control your bike under load if you are doing hard riding or DH.
    thats fine for riding a flat trail or riding round the park but not for any serious or challenging riding.
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  8. #8
    No Stranger to danger....
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    Quote Originally Posted by patineto View Post
    Two fingers, Index and middle after all they are the strongest fingers..

    To prevent any mistakes and optimize power and control I always set my levers about 40mm from the grip.


    Sometimes a little less if the bend of the bars does not let me.
    On the top pic, im not sure how you use those breaks efficiently with the levers being so far away from the grips??
    But nice bike, love the flat black mate, just how i like em
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    On the top pic, im not sure how you use those breaks efficiently with the levers being so far away from the grips??
    Oh they work awesome, just give them a try, You still have the leverage of a full size handlebar since you hands are at the very end of the grips..

    But nice bike, love the flat black mate, just how i like em
    Oh man that was a lot of work, but yes end up looking pretty nice.

  10. #10
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    I have shimano XT brakes and I use one finger guess which one

  11. #11
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    One

  12. #12
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    Juicy fives, two fingers

  13. #13
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    I do all my bikes the same way because it works.


    I also tend to stick with certain brands (like the Hope brakes) and stay with them because the work really well plus they are really easy to work on..


    But sometimes is fun to try something very different like this "STI" shifters.

  14. #14
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    I brake only with my index fingers. My brakes are set up with the levers mounted inside of the shifters.
    Works great for me.
    So far, every time I set up a bike like this for someone else, they take to it and leave it that way.
    I like turtles

  15. #15
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    1 finger on Elixir CRs. Sometimes go to 2 fingers on Hayes Sole.

  16. #16
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    I would say that I setup my brakes for 1.5 finger braking. 90+% of the time I only use 1 finger but I have it setup so that I can also comfortable get a second finger on for those LONG downhills that require LONG periods of braking. I don't have it setup this way for more power but for fatigue reasons. your rotor size should give you the power you need. If you are putting more than one figure on most properly setup disc brakes you will be over heating the rotors. That is the reason I run a 200mm rotor on the front and a 180mm on the back.

    Just some food for though.

  17. #17
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    All 4 I'm using old fashion levers with V brakes and grip shifts no problems so far even with a touring load. V brakes are stiff springs they could be stiffened more for heavier riders.
    "Dish is illogical." Spoke of Vulcan.

  18. #18
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    1 finger. You really don't have to pull that hard on quality modern hydraulics. And the difference in grip on the bar between 2 finger and 1 finger braking is significant. Try holding onto something with your ring and pinky fingers versus middle, ring and pinky. Yeah, the middle finger is one of the strongest. That's why I want it around the bar.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  19. #19
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    1 finger since I switched to XT's. they're amazing

  20. #20
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    XTR trail brakes, one finger is all I need for them.

    Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2

  21. #21
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    New hope x2 with goodridge hoses gives me all the power I need in one finger...
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  22. #22
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    One

  23. #23
    Ski N Bike Tech
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    I'm 325 and use two fingers with Avid SD7 levers attached to BB7 calipers. I also use compresionless housing with teflon coated cables. Stops my fat ass on a dime.

    Last edited by SkiNBike; 11-19-2012 at 08:29 PM.

  24. #24
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    I just started riding but I use two fingers, it just feels right.

  25. #25
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    Just one. 225 lbs with XT brakes on a RIP9 and Avid Juicy Sevens on SC Nomad.

  26. #26
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    I use all 4, tried using two but got sick of crushing the other two. Maybe i need to make some adjustments hell i don't know.

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  27. #27
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    Juicy 7 - 1 finger
    Juicy 3 - 2 fingers ( really sucky brakes )
    Saint 810 - 1 finger
    BB7 - 1 finger
    Deore m575 - 1 finger
    Hope V2 - hopefully 1 finger

    203 front always. 260lb geared.

  28. #28
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    One finger on mechanical discs (Avid BB7s). Works without a problem. The advantages of index finger braking for me is twofold: 1) those last three fingers on the bar (as opposed to just pinky and ring finger) make a HUGE difference in control and 2) it helps me keep my hands out at the ends of the bars where they should be. With two fingers on the brakes, I tend to slide my hands in a little and that means control loss.

    Iíve only started one finger braking in the last few months, so I still need to be conscious of it. But for such a small thing, itís made a big improvement in my riding.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougalicious View Post
    I use all 4, tried using two but got sick of crushing the other two. Maybe i need to make some adjustments hell i don't know.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I717 using Tapatalk 2
    I tend to do the same thing! I am trying to go back to keeping all 4 over the grips and the brake lever but find it is a much more secure feeling to keep all 4 on the grips, especially on a bumpy downhill. But then how to brake?

    I stopped keeping all 4 fingers, and braking with all 4 on my last mountain bike with hydraulic brakes...grip thebrakes hard with all 4 and over the bars you go!

    So I got into the practice of braking with 2 fingers. On my trance there was room enough to stop the bike and not mash my fingers. On my mechanical brakes with this bike I find myself still braking with 2 fingers and mashing the other 2. Which also limits braking ability. Not a good thing in 2 ways!
    Remember when we were kids and our Mom's said we could not play in the mud? I'm making up for it now!!

  30. #30
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    On my disc brake bike I only use one finger, but on my cable brake bike I use two fingers.

    When I'm nervous and I'm about to crash I use every finger I can.
    Meat Patty on a Bike

  31. #31
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    330 lbs, BB7's with 203 rotors front and back. 1 finger. Helps A LOT to keep them adjusted correctly.

  32. #32
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    Position the levers toward the center and place your index finger at the end of the lever: you'll have much more leverage and the power of just the index finger will suffice, if your brakes are any good.

    When you give one-finger braking a try, it's important to actually move the levers, because if you do it with the finger in the mid-part of the lever, it'll take a lot more effort to pull the lever.

    If it doesn't work for you, move the levers a bit towards the handlebar ends and use two fingers.

    Another benefit of proper placement of the lever is that the other fingers won't be in the way (crushed) even if the brakes are set to engage with the lever close to the bar.
    Last edited by Saul Lumikko; 11-30-2012 at 02:21 AM. Reason: Edited to make different points more clear.

  33. #33
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    I've always been a 2 finger braker, even in the old cantilever days.
    I guess after riding for around 18 years it's become habit haha

  34. #34
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    Xt v brakes and only need 1 finger. 240#. Xo hydros and only need 1, a lot easier than the v's but both only need 1 finger.

  35. #35
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    Magura MT 2's. I only use my middle fingers. Does anyone else do this?

  36. #36
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    Not exactly, I use 2 but it's the middle finger doing the work. I have way more range of motion using middle+index together than just index, very uncomfortable using just index. In 27+ years mtbing, can't recall ever losing control of the bar from lack of grip with the other 2 plus thumb, even on Ergon grips which some whine about "death grip" issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli rob View Post
    Magura MT 2's. I only use my middle fingers. Does anyone else do this?

  37. #37
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    BR-M666 SLX and only one finger in use...

  38. #38
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    1 finger on Zee brakes on my DHR with 203/203

    1 finger on XTR Race levers / SLX calipers on my Nomadc with 203/180

    Go!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails how many fingers do you use for braking?-image.jpg  


  39. #39
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    Mostly 2 fingers, sometimes 1.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4nbstd View Post
    Unless I have to come to a sudden stop from a high speed, I use 1 finger. 220 lb on rigid with BB7.
    Same exact scenario for me as well

    -E

  41. #41
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    The less figners you have on the lever the more grip and control you have on the bars, adjust your break levers over and adjust the throw in and try and get used to 2 fingers. Then get down to one if you can, hydro brakes makes it easy to single finger brake. Even most high end mechanical brakes feel good with one finger, but start with two then build your confidence up.

    230lbs on avid elixer 5's
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  42. #42
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    Hope X2's - 1 finger is plenty. And as Saul Lamikko said, adjust the brakes toward the center so you're pulling on the end of the lever. For those of you that say you smash your other fingers when braking, this is the solution for you as well...also adjusting them properly so you don't bottom them out on hard braking.

  43. #43
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    I use to brake with middle and ring finger. I have moved my levers and now use index and middle finger. but it has always been 2 fingers no matter the brake.

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