Do you keep 1 finger on brake levers?- Mtbr.com

Poll: Do you keep 1 or more fingers on your brake levers

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  1. #1
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    Do you keep 1 finger on brake levers?

    Do you guys always keep 1 finger on your brake levers when riding?

    I was doing this today and noticed, dam doing this makes my hands hurt. Anyone else?

  2. #2
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    only going down hill or sometimes techy climbs in case i dab so i don't roll backwards

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighLife420

    I was doing this today and noticed, dam doing this makes my hands hurt. Anyone else?
    That's the opposite for me. By keeping 3 fingers on the grips, I have less strain on my hands/fingers, along with increased control. With 2 finger-braking stress is spread across 2 fingers instead of 3, and the 2 weakest digits at that.

    Maybe a fit issue? Levers are at angled down so that you don't have to stretch your finger up to brake? Until I moved my brakes inboard, my lever position was off as well.

    I assume this poll is specific to hydros.

  4. #4
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    I always keep one finger on both brakes. I've done it for so long on motorcycles that it's just habit.

  5. #5
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    About 60-70% of the time. I actually use my middle and sometimes ring finger(s) to brake.

  6. #6
    SSOD
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    If your hands hurt look at some new grips or gloves IMO. Riding with one finger shouldn't do that. I ride ss and rarely use my brakes so don't normally unless it's a technical section or a downhill switchback.

  7. #7
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    I usually keep two, index and middle finger, though, at times, I use 3.

  8. #8
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    I don't keep any fingers on the brake most of the time. My ability to handle the bike for me is more important than braking. Now if I'm going down a slope where there's rocks or around a bend that I can't see or in a group (or crowded area if doing a trail trail / urban riding), etc then I'll keep a finger on the brake.

    This is on a bike with hydraulic brakes, so I don't need more than a finger usually (though I find myself using two sometimes).

    One key for me was dialing in the brake levers. Once I had the shorter "throw" dialed in it was easier for me to grab a brake so I didn't need to grab at 'em all the time.
    --NC
    2008 Kona Cowan // 2005 Kona Cowan // 2009 Giant Modem // 2009 department store IronHorse // 1970s Schwinn roadie

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighLife420
    Do you guys always keep 1 finger on your brake levers when riding?

    I was doing this today and noticed, dam doing this makes my hands hurt. Anyone else?
    Your discomfort indicates the likelihood of improper placement and positioning of your bike controls.

    Adjust the placement of your bike controls (brake levers and shifters) to match your body and riding style.

    > Riding with one finger covering the brake lever should feel comfortable, natural, and secure.


    After purchasing their new bike, many riders never take the time to adjust these controls; and forever ride with the brake levers too close to their grips and often tilted too high.

    > You'll need to check and adjust the position of your brake levers first, then adjust the position of your shifters.


    Position your brake lever assembly so that when you reach to brake, your index finger naturally grabs the very end of the brake lever. This will give your maximum leverage as pulling at the hooked end of the brake lever is more efficient than grabbing the middle of the brake lever.

    Next, adjust the tilt of your brake levers. Generally, your braking finger, hand, wrist, and forearm should be in line with your riding position; fine tune the tilt to match your body and riding style.

    Also be certain to adjust your "reach" to the brake levers, you'll find the adjustment screw within the brake lever housing (This adjustment controls how the distance between the brake lever and your grip).


    With your brake levers properly positioned, reposition your shifters so that you are afforded full control with minimal hand movement. (As a alignment guide, SRAM recommends that the surface of their smaller shifter be vertical).

    Since many bikes come from the manufacturer set up as: Grip-Brake-Shifter, with the brake and shifter jammed up against the grips - don't be surprised if you find yourself having to relocate the shifters in-between the brakes and the grips - in a new Grips-Shifter-Brake order, with the shifter and brake now moved away from the grips.


    Now if you find that you had to perform all of the adjustments listed above, consider taking the time to recheck and adjust the other touch points between you and your bike (bar angle, seat angle, seat height, seat fore-aft position, etc).

    I hope this helps.

  10. #10
    T.W.O.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighLife420
    Do you guys always keep 1 finger on your brake levers when riding?

    I was doing this today and noticed, dam doing this makes my hands hurt. Anyone else?
    May be you have the brake point too far downward. It may be ok if you are riding on paved road or XC trail not too steep but if it get steeper you'd want to point the lever more forward it would put your hand in a more comfortable and control position.

  11. #11
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    thanks guys, ill check into my controls and see.

  12. #12
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    2 fingers at all times.. comes from being a streetbike/dirtbike rider most of my life..

  13. #13
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    messed around with my controls a bit...matched the angle of my arm with my brake lever, also slid my seat back just a tad and the back portion down. When i fit my bike, i didnt think about me wearing my padded shorts. So dropped the back part down a bit to take the weight off my hands.

  14. #14
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    Unless you have weak rim brakes the proper way is to brake with only your index fingers. Three fingers on the grips will give you twice as much grip as two and therefore much more control. There's a good discussion about it here http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...finger+braking

    Index finger (only) braking and the proper positioning of your brake levers can be one of the single best changes you can make to increase your control and confidence. Balancing on the pedals (little to no pressure on your hands) is the only one I can think of that helped me as much or more.

  15. #15
    I4NI
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    Two fingers unless I know it's gonna get hairy, then three!
    There....Are... Four...Lights!

  16. #16
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    I always do unless im climbing. I also think it comes from my motorbike days, esp having a 2 stroke road bike, always keep the clutch lever covered, lol
    UK MTBer

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