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  1. #1
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    How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride

    I had my first trail ride on my new fat bike yesterday and went pretty good but am a bit unsure if I'm using the brake levers right. I found I had to be on the brakes a heap but that when I am I'm not able to grip the grips going over the rough stuff as my fingers have to be open resting over the brake levers to use them. Is that just the way it goes or is there a better method to be learnt here?

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    Move the brake clamps inboard(toward the stem) so that the lever can only be physically operated with just your index finger. Your hand will be able to utilize the entire grip while your index finger can rest on the brake lever.
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  3. #3
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    Move the levers in until the end fits well with your index finger. The index finger is all you should need if the brakes are working properly.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  4. #4
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    One finger on brake levers (index finger) is all you need to get the required stopping power with today's hydraulic brakes. Grabbing a fist full of brake is going to cause skidding (or worse). Check setup of levers to ensure they are in optimum position on bars where your index finger is naturally at the best spot on the lever.

    This usually means the levers need to move INWARD leaving a gap between the grips and lever mounts. This will put the levers in the correct position for your index finger to get the best lever pull while having hands naturally on grips. Also check/rotate levers on the bars as needed. Loosen mount and rotate up or down to get best fit for your situation. Most levers also have a small allen screw adjustment where you can extend or reduce the distance from open lever to bar (adjusts gap for small or big hands).
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    Quote Originally Posted by almazing View Post
    Move the brake clamps inboard(toward the stem) so that the lever can only be physically operated with just your index finger. Your hand will be able to utilize the entire grip while your index finger can rest on the brake lever.
    1+ on that. Depending on the shape of lever and type of brake, sometime you'll need two finger. That was the case with my fatbike (avid BB7 mechanical brake). Now that I have Guide RS hydro one finger is enough. Looking at my setup, there's no way you would be able to ride with all your fingers on the lever

    How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride-img_5747.jpg
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    And once you have adjusted the position toward the stem so they're reachable by one (or two) fingers, angle them on the bar so they are about in line with the back of you hand. You shouldn't have to rotate your hand on the grip to get you finger(s) on the lever.

    Bonus tip: once positioned, tighten them down just enough so that they can still be rotated on the bar with moderate force, but not so loose that they move during use. In the event of a crash, they can move, reducing the likelihood of breakage. When that happens, you can just rotate them back into position with your hand.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  7. #7
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    I line up my levers so the line up with my wrist/forarm when I am in an average braking position, which is not my seated pedaling position.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Thanks all, I'm glad there's a solution to that. I have SRAM level hydraulic with 180 front and 160 rear rotor, fat bike is just under 15 kg and will be a bit less than that when I go tubeless. Brakes seemed to work well so the one or two finger method should hopefully work out.

  9. #9
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    Do all bike shops sell their mtbs with levers in that inconvenient position or is there a reason for it?

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    Deleted, too late.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Do all bike shops sell their mtbs with levers in that inconvenient position or is there a reason for it?
    Bike shops just clamp it on there to make it complete. People have different preferences and shapes. So tailor the cockpit to what works for you, or have your LBS do it.
    I no longer like to party. But I like the idea of it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Do all bike shops sell their mtbs with levers in that inconvenient position or is there a reason for it?
    Some shops will spend 10 minutes to quickly inspect and adjust components for you.

    Some shops don't because they either don't care or they are incompetent.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Do all bike shops sell their mtbs with levers in that inconvenient position or is there a reason for it?
    Bike shops don't set the bike up, just assemble it. You wouldn't complain that a car dealer had not put the driver's seat where you wanted it?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Bike shops don't set the bike up, just assemble it. You wouldn't complain that a car dealer had not put the driver's seat where you wanted it?
    I think that depends on the shop. When I got my Heckler, they dialed it in for me on the spot. Same when they build my Kona (2 different shops).

    I know of a shop that didn't do that on my first bike, and their service is overall very poor. That's why I prefer smaller shops, the service is always there, and you don't need to speak with 5 different sales/c.s people.
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  15. #15
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    I've never had a shop set my brake lever position, never asked them to and wouldn't want them to. I don't think it's something you can get right in a shop. you need to ride the bike for a while, see how it feels and move them until you get it dialed.

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    ^^^ well yeah. I know what I want and like and don't need anybody to set it up that way for me, but newbies often don't, so it's helpful for the shop to get them set up with a decent default position. Also, using one finger and keeping it on the brake at all times isn't something that necessarily comes naturally to the white-knuckled beginner. Most hold onto the grips with a full fist and then grab the brakes with all fingers.
    Do the math.

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    Tighten the clamps just enough to keep them in place yet able to rotate on the bar in the event of an unscheduled dismount.
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    I need to know why BobBracket has a negative reputation on mtbr. Is it because of his lack of knowledge around brake levers? Or something else? eBiker? Still rides a 26er? Blatantly leaves skid marks on eco-sensative flora and fauna. Stole someone's chIck? All of the above? What'd you do, BobB?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    I need to know why BobBracket has a negative reputation on mtbr. Is it because of his lack of knowledge around brake levers? Or something else? eBiker? Still rides a 26er? Blatantly leaves skid marks on eco-sensative flora and fauna. Stole someone's chIck? All of the above? What'd you do, BobB?
    Lol I noticed that nice surprise earlier today when I visited the forum so searched around to see how many others also have negative reputations. No-one. My best guess is westernmtb has multiple accounts and is trying to encourage me off the forum through reputation bullying. He took exception to the "dumb" ebike question I recently asked then he visited my account. Shortly after that "BobBracket" is infamous around these parts" even though he's pretty new here and barely knows anyone. The infamous reputation came before the brake lever question and after the ebike question.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    I need to know why BobBracket has a negative reputation on mtbr. Is it because of his lack of knowledge around brake levers? Or something else? eBiker? Still rides a 26er? Blatantly leaves skid marks on eco-sensative flora and fauna. Stole someone's chIck? All of the above? What'd you do, BobB?
    I think one of his posts said he's Australian. Just like the direction the toilet water swirls, reputation points work backwards down there too.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    I think one of his posts said he's Australian. Just like the direction the toilet water swirls, reputation points work backwards down there too.
    No doubt that's it.

  22. #22
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    I flip mine to moto style.....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    My best guess is westernmtb has multiple accounts and is trying to encourage me off the forum through reputation bullying.




    Uhmmm, no. I looked, your negative rep came from several respected members on this board, most likely for calling them "trolls". Full disclosure, you got some from me as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Uhmmm, no. I looked, your negative rep came from several respected members on this board, most likely for calling them "trolls". Full disclosure, you got some from me as well.
    As a sidebar, is rep history publicly visible? Or is it an admin-only function? I know I can see my "latest reputation received" but I was wondering if other people can tell that all my green chicklets came from threads about unicorns and rainbow glitter handlebar streamers?

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    You could check out some youtube footage of some of your favorite DH/enduro riders and try to notice how they do it.

    For me, once the trail points down my index fingers always just find the lever. You could use two fingers if necessary, but I find even the cheapest mechanical disc brakes have enough power to slow me down with just one finger and allows me to keep a good wrap around the bar with my other fingers. As others have said, making sure the cockpit is set for your preferences is key. Just a few adjustments could make a huge difference.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Uhmmm, no. I looked, your negative rep came from several respected members on this board, most likely for calling them "trolls". Full disclosure, you got some from me as well.
    Ummm untouchable friends of yours are they? I called two members trolls not "several". These "respected members" got called out for trolls by this newbie because that's exactly what they were doing, trolling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitsBoy View Post
    As a sidebar, is rep history publicly visible? Or is it an admin-only function? I know I can see my "latest reputation received" but I was wondering if other people can tell that all my green chicklets came from threads about unicorns and rainbow glitter handlebar streamers?



    That feature is only available to Mods and Admin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Ummm untouchable friends of yours are they? I called two members trolls not "several". These "respected members" got called out for trolls by this newbie because that's exactly what they were doing, trolling.



    And you wonder why you have difficulties here.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    And you wonder why you have difficulties here.
    So this is the way it rolls around here. Who moderates the moderator?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    So this is the way it rolls around here. Who moderates the moderator?
    karma

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    So this is the way it rolls around here. Who moderates the moderator?
    Ask for your cost of admission back. Best to just move along.
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    I have about 1.25" of space between the clamp and the grip on the Sram Level T brake. That gets me 2 fingers if needed, one is fine. Most of the time I default back to 2 fingers, that's what my brain has been trained to do for 30 years.

    The 1.25" is adequate for the Sram as their levers are a mile long. I found I had to swap the clamps of the brake and shifter -as delivered the shifter was inward (towards the stem) of the brake clamp. Once I adjusted the brake position, the shifter became just a little too far for comfort.

    I can't remember the spacing on my Shimano setup, but those levers are shorter and I assume the clamp is a tick closer to the grip.

    I've only mentioned the dimension because it could indicate to you that it is important to shift it whatever makes YOU happy. According to my notes, it was delivered with 1/2" gap (obviously I moved it a lot further than as delivered).

    As mentioned above, make sure to rotate them so they are comfortable in your most common riding position. Usually near 45-degrees down, or less. if your riding is mostly standing, you'll need to point them lower than if you were to never stand.

    Note the right side you can see a gap then the Eagle emblem of the shifter with the brake to the left of that.

    How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride-barcontrols.jpg

  33. #33
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    Not everyone uses the index finger. Some of us do one finger braking with the middle finger, which is why the lever is against the grip.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride-img_20190121_155843087.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I have about 1.25" of space between the clamp and the grip on the Sram Level T brake. That gets me 2 fingers if needed, one is fine. Most of the time I default back to 2 fingers, that's what my brain has been trained to do for 30 years.

    The 1.25" is adequate for the Sram as their levers are a mile long. I found I had to swap the clamps of the brake and shifter -as delivered the shifter was inward (towards the stem) of the brake clamp. Once I adjusted the brake position, the shifter became just a little too far for comfort.

    I can't remember the spacing on my Shimano setup, but those levers are shorter and I assume the clamp is a tick closer to the grip.

    I've only mentioned the dimension because it could indicate to you that it is important to shift it whatever makes YOU happy. According to my notes, it was delivered with 1/2" gap (obviously I moved it a lot further than as delivered).

    As mentioned above, make sure to rotate them so they are comfortable in your most common riding position. Usually near 45-degrees down, or less. if your riding is mostly standing, you'll need to point them lower than if you were to never stand.

    Note the right side you can see a gap then the Eagle emblem of the shifter with the brake to the left of that.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks to everyone for all the detailed advice, it's very much appreciated and everything has been taken on board.

    Forest Rider I have just tried adjusting my brakes and as you said if just using the index finger the shifter levers are too far away. In my trail ride yesterday I think I was using two fingers on the shifter but due to the weight of the bike and lack of suspension I found I needed more fingers gripping to muscle and control the bike more optimally.

    After this adjustment I did find I could use the middle finger and reach the shifters nicely, however I'd prefer to be an index guy, the middle finger doesn't feel so natural. I'll try swapping the brake and shifter clamps around and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.

  35. #35
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    Big levers require big fingers ^^

    Get some Shimano or similar i.e. short lever brakes...

    One finger is all you should need.

    It's hard to slow down a bike if you can't keep your hands on it ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Thanks to everyone for all the detailed advice, it's very much appreciated and everything has been taken on board.

    Forest Rider I have just tried adjusting my brakes and as you said if just using the index finger the shifter levers are too far away. In my trail ride yesterday I think I was using two fingers on the shifter but due to the weight of the bike and lack of suspension I found I needed more fingers gripping to muscle and control the bike more optimally.

    After this adjustment I did find I could use the middle finger and reach the shifters nicely, however I'd prefer to be an index guy, the middle finger doesn't feel so natural. I'll try swapping the brake and shifter clamps around and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.
    Trial and error. Take your multi tool with you on your ride and make trail side adjustments. Best to do so in the natural environment. I think you'll get the 1-finger thing sorted out no problem.

    We all know middle figures have other uses than braking, so safe that for the fools passing you on the trail.

    I don't think I could articulate my middle finger to reach a brake lever. Once you get it dialed you'll know it -it will 'feel right' at that point.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Trial and error. Take your multi tool with you on your ride and make trail side adjustments. Best to do so in the natural environment. I think you'll get the 1-finger thing sorted out no problem.

    We all know middle figures have other uses than braking, so safe that for the fools passing you on the trail.

    I don't think I could articulate my middle finger to reach a brake lever. Once you get it dialed you'll know it -it will 'feel right' at that point.
    Hahaha yeah it's always preferable not to flip off every oncoming rider lol. Anyway I swapped the right brake and shifter clamp around and went for some rides adjusting it. Works a damn treat. The right dropper post clamp on the left side didn't need swapping though as it was already in the right position. Absolutely stocked now mate, brake position is pretty much the same as the picture LewisQC sent.

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    Sweet! Now to get it dialed as you progress your riding skills.

    I saw it mentioned above, but don't forget to tighten the clamps only tight enough. I know, that always sounds so odd to say/hear.

    If you crash, the looser lever can rotate around the bar instead of being more prone to breakage, and you can roll it back into position (with force of course).

    On my dirt bike clamps I dab them with blue loctite so I don't risk vibration backing the bolts out. Not a bad idea to take your wrench to the clamp bolts once in a while, especially after you've made an adjust like this, just to make sure they were in fact tight enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Do all bike shops sell their mtbs with levers in that inconvenient position or is there a reason for it?
    Old habits from V-brakes where it took more than one finger.

    We're not using one finger to brake to show off how awesome our hydro disk brakes are, we're using our index finger to brake so we can have our ring finger gripping the bar. Your index finger is typically the strongest, then the ring finger, then the last two are pretty worthless for grip strength. Two fingers around the bar, not very secure, three fingers around the bar, very secure. Secure=confidence inspiring=confidence=good riding

  40. #40
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    All this talk about brake levers...

    Where's tealy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Old habits from V-brakes where it took more than one finger.

    We're not using one finger to brake to show off how awesome our hydro disk brakes are, we're using our index finger to brake so we can have our ring finger gripping the bar. Your index finger is typically the strongest, then the ring finger, then the last two are pretty worthless for grip strength. Two fingers around the bar, not very secure, three fingers around the bar, very secure. Secure=confidence inspiring=confidence=good riding
    Loctite sounds like a good way to go for that Forest Rider.

    Richde a legacy from past V-brake days, I think you've nailed it. I think the guy who set it up was a road rider too so he might not have known about the new mtb braking method. And you're right, when I was using the last two fingers to grip they were very weak and it almost felt like I had no grip at all. That was causing insecurity to the point I started researching pads when I got home lol.

    On the small ride I just did the middle finger made a world of difference, I have proper grip now. Can't wait to get back out there, even with my bad grip I was grinning as soon as I hit the trail.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    Not everyone uses the index finger. Some of us do one finger braking with the middle finger, which is why the lever is against the grip.
    I thought I was the only one. Whenever I tell someone that I use my middle finger for one finger braking they look at me like I have 3 heads.

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    Yeah man, is Tealy still around?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Yeah man, is Tealy still around?
    He is hiding, building his next engineering project.

    Carbon awesome strap?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    I flip mine to moto style.....
    Because of the clutch on your bicycle? And do you pull up on your left pedal every time you pull on your left lever to up shift?
    I Pity The Fool That Can't Ride A Bike Without A Dropper!!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    One finger on brake levers (index finger) is all you need to get the required stopping power with today's hydraulic brakes. Grabbing a fist full of brake is going to cause skidding (or worse). Check setup of levers to ensure they are in optimum position on bars where your index finger is naturally at the best spot on the lever.

    This usually means the levers need to move INWARD leaving a gap between the grips and lever mounts. This will put the levers in the correct position for your index finger to get the best lever pull while having hands naturally on grips. Also check/rotate levers on the bars as needed. Loosen mount and rotate up or down to get best fit for your situation. Most levers also have a small allen screw adjustment where you can extend or reduce the distance from open lever to bar (adjusts gap for small or big hands).


    Actually, if he has cheaper stuff like Shimano M335 or Tektros, two fingers may be needed. A large percentage of people on here still have lower-end bikes and brakes, larger than you might imagine. At the Deore/SLX/XT level and above, then yes, one finger, but cheaper stuff is often two fingers. And I'm not even overweight, I'm only 150 lbs and sometimes I need to use two fingers.
    From Ancient Times - Scarlet Skies Burn to Ash

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Thanks all, I'm glad there's a solution to that. I have SRAM level hydraulic with 180 front and 160 rear rotor, fat bike is just under 15 kg and will be a bit less than that when I go tubeless. Brakes seemed to work well so the one or two finger method should hopefully work out.

    SRAM braking system is all he needed to say...
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    So this is the way it rolls around here. Who moderates the moderator?

    Bob, if you have an issue, I would recommend talking to Klurejr before anyone else. Certain moderators can go off the deep end on contentious issues, so just let Klurejr know this, he's probably the most objective one about that kind of stuff. If there is a real problem I'm sure he will talk with them privately.

    And ditch the SRAM brakes, get Shimanos.
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    And I'm not even overweight, I'm only 150 lbs and sometimes I need to use two fingers.
    Yes one, two or three fingers its personal preference. When I ride I always cover both levers with my index finger but when I need to brake hard I quickly move to two fingers.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom tom View Post
    Because of the clutch on your bicycle? And do you pull up on your left pedal every time you pull on your left lever to up shift?

    Not to hijack this thread or anything...

    Amazon is selling Shimano Deore M615 front/back pre-bled, plug and play for only $77 total. Best brake deal of all-time. But they are moto-style. That is the only reason why I have not purchased them yet. I just don't want two bikes with one normal brake setup and one that has the brakes reversed; if both had moto-style, OK I could get used to it, but you don't want to be distracted with remembering that kind of stuff going downhill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom tom View Post
    Yes one, two or three fingers its personal preference. When I ride I always cover both levers with my index finger but when I need to brake hard I quickly move to two fingers.
    I think that is how I ride. I have pictures of me with fingers over the levers quite a bit. I don't even realize I'm doing it. People ask how many fingers I brake with and I don't know how to answer it -I do whatever my brain said. I did see in one of my GoPros that my index finger was over the lever, but it seems like I do reach for 2. That's probably just the old dirt bike/v-brake habits I haven't totally broken yet.

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    with modern disc brakes you should really only need one finger.. if you set the braking system up right / right for you size..

    I'm well into clyde territory standing 6'3" and 265lbs~ I run XT brakes with a 203/180 front /rear RT86 rotors and J02A pads.. for me on even the steepest runs (i am willing to do) I can get plenty of stopping power with 1 finger braking .. adjust levers if needed to be able to comfortably get index finer on lever comfortably.


    for me.. if I can't 1 finger brake on a bike... I'm changing the brake setup so I can..

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Not to hijack this thread or anything...

    Amazon is selling Shimano Deore M615 front/back pre-bled, plug and play for only $77 total. Best brake deal of all-time. But they are moto-style. That is the only reason why I have not purchased them yet. I just don't want two bikes with one normal brake setup and one that has the brakes reversed; if both had moto-style, OK I could get used to it, but you don't want to be distracted with remembering that kind of stuff going downhill.
    I am probably going to change my Sram brakes on the Chameleon to Shimano SLX. My FSR has the M615's. After getting off the Sram bike, I realize how good the M615 is but I still want better braking. I'd like to put XT on the FSR.
    I considered moving the 615 to the Chameleon and going XT on the FSR but not sure I'm up for grafting the 615 to the Chameleon.

    I haven't been able to figure out if the Sram Level T brake is weak, or if the design is just so different that it feels week compared to the Shimano. If I don't ride the FSR for a few rides, I act like a new-to-disc brake user with the jerky braking action.

    In general the brakes do in fact slow me down but I am used to slowing down more quickly without hesitation. Perhaps the 2.8 tires contribute to slower braking because of the surface contact area.

    I don't think I require additional force (extra finger), I think it's just their weaker/modulated action that my brain has yet to adapt to.

    I am unable to find the Amazon brake identified as reverse (moto) for $77. I've seen a good price on a "front" or a "rear" but not identified as "left rear".

    And not as a "pair" if that is what you meant by saying $77 total.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Big levers require big fingers ^^

    Get some Shimano or similar i.e. short lever brakes...

    One finger is all you should need.

    It's hard to slow down a bike if you can't keep your hands on it ;-)

    'Born to ride!'
    Alteks are a huge step up from Shimano for V levers, and like I posted, I use one finger, just the middle instead of the pointer finger. Those levers with Avid Black Ops Vs and ceramic rims are top shelf.
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    richj8890 thanks for all suggestions. The vast majority of forum members are nothing but helpful and positive, they greatly outnumber the occasional sh-tstirrer having a bad day. And as long as I'm allowed to give as good as I get regardless of pecking order I'm happy

    I've also heard criticisms of the SRAM brake oil which apparently has poor longevity. Power-wise they seem excellent to me but I'm not exactly riding balls-to-the walls yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Not to hijack this thread or anything...

    Amazon is selling Shimano Deore M615 front/back pre-bled, plug and play for only $77 total. Best brake deal of all-time. But they are moto-style. That is the only reason why I have not purchased them yet. I just don't want two bikes with one normal brake setup and one that has the brakes reversed; if both had moto-style, OK I could get used to it, but you don't want to be distracted with remembering that kind of stuff going downhill.
    You can swap them. At least one will probably need shortening anyway and if you're careful, you don't have to bleed them.

    I'd ride the Srams until there there's an issue with them, then buy Shimanos; that's what I did.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom tom View Post
    Because of the clutch on your bicycle? And do you pull up on your left pedal every time you pull on your left lever to up shift?
    I swapped to right front a long time ago mainly because I'm right handed and it made so much sense. Much better to have the dominant hand on the front lever IMO.

    Mike T convinced me to do it. https://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/e...ght-51378.html

    Mike T 2004

    "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."
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Right front is also more popular.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/b...can-38801.html
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I swapped to right front a long time ago mainly because I'm right handed and it made so much sense. Much better to have the dominant hand on the front lever IMO.

    Mike T convinced me to do it. https://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/e...ght-51378.html

    Mike T 2004

    "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."

    I'm right handed and I do some of the things Mike T mentions with my left, possibly unconsciously for that reason. Usually I'm not waving or drinking if I'm in any sort of sketchy situation though.

    Anyway, I think whatever you're used to is all that matters, left front brake has never caused any issues for this right hander.
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    My braking improved after a nervous transition period. Never crashed during that time, but I had to talk to myself out loud.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom tom View Post
    Because of the clutch on your bicycle? And do you pull up on your left pedal every time you pull on your left lever to up shift?
    Uh no...I'm just use to grabbing the front brake with my right hand from years of riding moto....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    I swapped to right front a long time ago mainly because I'm right handed and it made so much sense. Much better to have the dominant hand on the front lever IMO.

    Mike T convinced me to do it. https://forums.mtbr.com/brake-time/e...ght-51378.html

    Mike T 2004

    "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."
    It also makes more sense to do everything non-bike related with your left hand in order to be able to shift while you're fumbling with a wrapper or whatever. But I'm not going to swap my levers on multiple bikes because when it comes down to it, I'm going to drop whatever I'm doing to panic stop and the rear brake does a fine job in any situation where I'd be riding one handed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Do all bike shops sell their mtbs with levers in that inconvenient position or is there a reason for it?
    When I built bikes at my last shop, we spaced lever clamps 25mm from the end of the grip on most bikes, 15mm on woman-specific bikes. All handlebars were rotated so the grip area is level and the levers are pointed down at a 45 degree angle using an angle finder. That part of the bike build took an extra 60 seconds, if that, and was worth it to give the customer a consistent experience. That way, people got decent braking and could test ride several bikes with a similar experience.

    Bike shops that slam levers in any which direction are doing their customers, and therefore their business, a disservice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    When I built bikes at my last shop, we spaced lever clamps 25mm from the end if the grip on most bikes, 15mm on woman-specific bikes. All handlebars were rotated so the grip area is level and the levers are pointed down at a 45 degree angle using an angle finder. That part of the bike build tool an extra 60 seconds, if that, and was worth it to give the customer a consistent experience. That way, people got decent braking and could test ride several bikes with a similar experience.

    Bike shops that slam levers in any which direction are doing their customers, and therefore their business, a disservice.
    That is where my levers are, with my hands positioned toward the end of the grip, that IS the one finger braking position we're talking about. If I choke up on the grips, I can use two fingers, but at the outside of the grips, it's one finger only.

    Shallower angle, but not the point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    When I built bikes at my last shop, we spaced lever clamps 25mm from the end if the grip on most bikes, 15mm on woman-specific bikes. All handlebars were rotated so the grip area is level and the levers are pointed down at a 45 degree angle using an angle finder. That part of the bike build tool an extra 60 seconds, if that, and was worth it to give the customer a consistent experience. That way, people got decent braking and could test ride several bikes with a similar experience.

    Bike shops that slam levers in any which direction are doing their customers, and therefore their business, a disservice.
    I've seen it done both ways in shops. Some shops make those little setup details a priority, and others don't GAF. When I built bikes in shops, it was for shops that prioritized those details. So I always checked the little cockpit setup details. It grates on me when I walk into a shop and see the brake levers all over the damn place, saddles not level, and that sort of stuff.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I've seen it done both ways in shops. Some shops make those little setup details a priority, and others don't GAF.
    That's the difference between a shop that makes money and a shop that goes under.

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    Are the controls on the bars from the factory, then a shop will take time to adjust them or does the shop install the controls?

    I've only purchased one new bike.
    I'm a familiar face in the shop I purchased the bike from. But each of the 3 I visit know me. I have not been into a shop that doesn't go above and beyond. The guy who assembled the bike went over a few things with me but also knew I am capable of making my own personal feeling tweaks. I feel confident in saying they would help set up a customer if they are new to riding a bike.

    I purchased my first bike used and went in to ask a question about something. I don't even remember now.

    Shop dude had it on the stand and went over the bike with minimal effort. I hadn't been on a bike since I was a teen (many years prior).
    One of the shifters were lazy, he lubricated both of them. Checked shifting and made slight adjustments. All the stuff I consider "standard" from my experiences of my local shops. I think my initial question was for the blown out fork and what my options were to fixing them.

    Each time I've wheeled my bike to the shop for random stuff they always find something they would routinely update. Once I had a guy about to adjust my derailleur and I asked not to. I had it dialed for shifting well on the ride, but it didn't shift as well on the stand. Not bad, attempting to check/make adjustments when the bike wasn't in for that.


    Anyway -I wonder what it would be like to swap brake levers. I've ridden dirt bike for 25+ years and don't feel like I have ever got confused about bicycle brakes. My bike friends asked me when I first got a MTB if I would switch? I looked at them with a confused look on my face to ask why in the world I'd do that. Even from the beginning I never noticed an awkward feeling.
    I'm not going to swap for testing purposes but I do wonder what it would be like. Especially since I like my front brake to engage sooner than the rear brake.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    Thanks to everyone for all the detailed advice, it's very much appreciated and everything has been taken on board.

    Forest Rider I have just tried adjusting my brakes and as you said if just using the index finger the shifter levers are too far away. In my trail ride yesterday I think I was using two fingers on the shifter but due to the weight of the bike and lack of suspension I found I needed more fingers gripping to muscle and control the bike more optimally.

    After this adjustment I did find I could use the middle finger and reach the shifters nicely, however I'd prefer to be an index guy, the middle finger doesn't feel so natural. I'll try swapping the brake and shifter clamps around and see what happens. Thanks for the advice.
    I am going to pop in here and also say that as this is a new bike (I think that is what I figured out) it will take some time for the brakes to bed in. They will develop more power over a few rides. So you might also just be suffering from green brakes. Once they bed they should have more grip and more modulation. Otherwise brake set up is fairly specific. I like to run my brakes also perpendicular on the bike but others ride with them at a 45° angle to the ground or somewhere in between those. Your fingers should rest naturally on the brake lever, you shouldn't be reaching up or having to roll your hand to grab the lever. I would fiddle around with the shifter location and the brake lever to see if there is a sweet spot for your hands. I also have a tendency to have right and left hand discrepancies as well to account for my preferred braking style (I also ride rigid only so my style is a little different than a suspended bike).
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    So this is the way it rolls around here. Who moderates the moderator?
    I do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    When I built bikes at my last shop, we spaced lever clamps 25mm from the end of the grip on most bikes, 15mm on woman-specific bikes. All handlebars were rotated so the grip area is level and the levers are pointed down at a 45 degree angle using an angle finder. That part of the bike build took an extra 60 seconds, if that, and was worth it to give the customer a consistent experience. That way, people got decent braking and could test ride several bikes with a similar experience.

    Bike shops that slam levers in any which direction are doing their customers, and therefore their business, a disservice.
    Yup. Any competent mechanic would set the brake in that general position as a start.

    A good bike shop will take a few minutes of a sale and help dial a bike in for their customer also.

    Same with a good auto dealership. The place my wife has bought her least two vehicles spends a good chunk of time going over how to operate and adjust everything, right down to linking her phone and downloading contacts, music and apps to the car system, making sure she knows how to operate the handsfree stuff, etc etc. Of course, it's a Caddy dealership, not the local econobox lot, so they operate on a pretty high level.
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  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Move the levers in until the end fits well with your index finger. The index finger [in combination with middle finger, for some] is all you should need if the brakes are working properly.
    Common sense goes a long ways in every aspect of life. Either way, good advice for those going through life confused.

    BTW-I added in and bolded what I thought you missed. Once again great advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
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    Brakes are overrated.
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    Any competent bike mechanic would test ride a new bike and bed in the pads before putting it on the sales floor. Just saying.

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    Travis Bickle here in Australia at least all road, hybrid, and mtbs seem to have front brake on the right. SlapHeadMofo lol well played.

    Talking of good and bad bike shop setups, think I need to shorten the cable housing for the dropper post: How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride-dropper-cable-2.jpg

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    That's the difference between a shop that makes money and a shop that goes under.

    It seems like they are all going under one by one.

    I have to drive 30 min now, used to drive 10 min. Both of those closer shops closed.

    I don't think it's the quality of the repairs, you guys probably go to the LBS only rarely, and I now can do all the basic stuff, maybe go to the LBS three times a year for various installations.

    It's the cost of the bikes they sell that is killing them. I get that people don't buy Chinese, parts because it either directly or indirectly helps American/Western bike manufacturers but the price difference is huge. The shops that are staying open in my area often tend to be repair only and have a really low overhead. I looked at the Performance Bike 25-40% closeout sales, and not one bike came even close to being worth buying, even at that discount. I looked at my bike that I half-assed built up for under $1000, and most parts are the same as on their $2500 bikes, and a lifetime warranty on that $2500 bike means nothing if the shop closes. If I would have done 1x11 for a couple hundred more I'd have almost the same exact bike they are selling for 1/2 the price. Too big of a price difference for them to survive long.
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    A bike shop can set anything up any way they want. The entire bike comes apart and gets put back together by ME before it gets ridden seriously.

    Learning how to hold the bars and levers is totally dependant on your own feel and preference. I am very picky on my lever feel, rotation, and inboard clearnaces. Back in my moto days, I was the same way. Brake/clutch/throttle, very picky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    A bike shop can set anything up any way they want. The entire bike comes apart and gets put back together by ME before it gets ridden seriously.

    Learning how to hold the bars and levers is totally dependant on your own feel and preference. I am very picky on my lever feel, rotation, and inboard clearnaces. Back in my moto days, I was the same way. Brake/clutch/throttle, very picky.
    Why do you fully disassemble?
    Please answer something better than "because I know it was put together properly"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Common sense goes a long ways in every aspect of life. Either way, good advice for those going through life confused.

    BTW-I added in and bolded what I thought you missed. Once again great advice.
    No, he's right when it comes to hydro brakes. If that is insufficient, fix your brakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    No, he's right when it comes to hydro brakes. If that is insufficient, fix your brakes.
    I didn’t say he was wrong. I meant some like the two finger technique over the one finger. Both should be sufficient with good hydros. I grew up riding dirt bikes and always used the two finger technique, it transferred over to mountain biking due to what I was used to. I’ve also used the one finger technique which worked fine but I’m more comfortable with the two finger technique.

    Another thing is how you set up the brake lever position rotation on the bars. I prefer the levers to be slightly pointing down. Way more comfortable in the stand up “attack position”, which is critical when you are going Mach I through the tech. In the sitting down spin position that lever position is not as critical.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

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    *waits for ninjichor's professional engineering response*
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    Why it's more advantageous to use one finger has been covered several times.

    If you're not comfortable with one finger, as you noted, that is your problem. The reality is that one finger is enough.

    After discovering the shifter and rear brake aren't controlled by your feet, I decided to toss out worrying where motorcycle controls were and how they worked and figure out how to best utilize bicycle controls. YMMV

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    Only on MTBR would people fight over how many fingers to use on a brake lever, dragging in "engineer" credentials to make the point. Get over yourselves.

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Only on MTBR would people fight over how many fingers to use on a brake lever, dragging in "engineer" credentials to make the point. Get over yourselves.
    I didn’t realize I was in an argument until I saw Riches last response.
    Why the hell are people so uptight on here? Pretty sure I only confirmed in my last response that one finger was enough but I prefer two. Just a preference is all, jeez.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

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    2 finger's on the rear brake and 1 on the front. All the best bike shops set up the levers for that method.
    I brake for stinkbugs

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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Not to hijack this thread or anything...

    Amazon is selling Shimano Deore M615 front/back pre-bled, plug and play for only $77 total. Best brake deal of all-time. But they are moto-style. That is the only reason why I have not purchased them yet. I just don't want two bikes with one normal brake setup and one that has the brakes reversed; if both had moto-style, OK I could get used to it, but you don't want to be distracted with remembering that kind of stuff going downhill.
    Remove the brake hose from both levers and switch them to bicycle style.......
    I Pity The Fool That Can't Ride A Bike Without A Dropper!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I think that is how I ride. I have pictures of me with fingers over the levers quite a bit. I don't even realize I'm doing it. People ask how many fingers I brake with and I don't know how to answer it -I do whatever my brain said. I did see in one of my GoPros that my index finger was over the lever, but it seems like I do reach for 2. That's probably just the old dirt bike/v-brake habits I haven't totally broken yet.
    I Pity The Fool That Can't Ride A Bike Without A Dropper!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    And ditch the SRAM brakes, get Shimanos.
    I ditched my Shimano XT's for SRAM Code R brakes.
    Trek Emonda | Transition Sentinel | Transition Scout

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Only on MTBR would people fight over how many fingers to use on a brake lever, dragging in "engineer" credentials to make the point. Get over yourselves.
    I Pity The Fool That Can't Ride A Bike Without A Dropper!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Any competent bike mechanic would test ride a new bike and bed in the pads before putting it on the sales floor. Just saying.
    That's what we do. Every new bike and every repair gets a spin around the large parking lot and down a flight of ten stairs to check shifting, braking and suspension. Every bike sold is fit to the rider and givin an invite to ride.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  90. #90
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    Here's one finger braking with V brakes using the middle fingers during a race. (2nd place single speed open)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride-img_20181221_205705564_hdr.jpg  

    Last edited by Vader; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:57 PM.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  91. #91
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    Dude, you’re ripped! You expect average joes to pull that off?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    Here's one finger braking using the middle fingers during a race. (2nd place single speed open)
    You are a machine riding a machine. How many inches is that front tyre, 3.5?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobBracket View Post
    You are a machine riding a machine. How many inches is that front tyre, 3.5?
    2.4
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    Two finger braking went out with v-brakes.

    How To Hold Brake Levers On Trail Ride-bs5103.jpg
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  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by langster831 View Post
    Dude, you’re ripped! You expect average joes to pull that off?
    The kid that beat me was 18 and I'm 48. He was on a 29er; me on a 26 with a hangover in 100* heat. Not too bad.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Two finger braking went out with v-brakes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    More machines!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Only on MTBR would people fight over how many fingers to use on a brake lever, dragging in "engineer" credentials to make the point. Get over yourselves.
    It is kinda funny, since that's exactly what you did here:

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    When I built bikes at my last shop, we spaced lever clamps 25mm from the end of the grip on most bikes, 15mm on woman-specific bikes. All handlebars were rotated so the grip area is level and the levers are pointed down at a 45 degree angle using an angle finder. That part of the bike build took an extra 60 seconds, if that, and was worth it to give the customer a consistent experience. That way, people got decent braking and could test ride several bikes with a similar experience.

    Bike shops that slam levers in any which direction are doing their customers, and therefore their business, a disservice.
    "When I built bikes at my last shop" nice appeal to authority. But putting bikes together does not mean you have mastery in their use, so basically....who cares. Just like when you mentioned ""engineer" credentials."

    The funniest bit is that you obviously read the thread and without even checking anything, you made a gross assumption about "slamming" levers this or that way. When you mentioned 25mm from the grips, instead of instantly jumping to attack with ignorance (like some people), I calmly walked over to my bike and discovered that my brake lever was 24mm away from the clamp of my ODI grip, which puts the Shimano lever in my preferred position for one-fingered braking. If I choke up on the grip I can put two fingers on it, but I don't ride like that.

    So what you ended up doing is to attack people and then basically agree with them. Nice. What really does a shop disservice is to hold onto dogma SO hard that if an "out" group says something, they reflexively disagree, if only to ultimately agree without even knowing it. That's the kind of shop that people mention as "those guys are idiots."

    Here, in this thread, you're the kind of poster that argues that someone is wrong, by arguing FOR what they said, and then complains about people arguing after it's been pointed out. Do a little research next time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Two finger braking went out with v-brakes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is an issue I had, riding two bikes regularly, one with V's the other just went from V's to XT disc, I found the Discs horrible (hadn't had an issue running juicy 5's a few years before), they were grabby and just sucked... then one day i discovered when you only use one finger ... oooohhh.
    I'll still switch to 2 fingers, but only if I'm riding something harder, have some fad or I'm just knackered, but it doesn't feel good on the grip, but i'm hanging on for all I can at that point.
    All the gear and no idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mik_git View Post
    This is an issue I had, riding two bikes regularly, one with V's the other just went from V's to XT disc, I found the Discs horrible (hadn't had an issue running juicy 5's a few years before), they were grabby and just sucked... then one day i discovered when you only use one finger ... oooohhh.
    I'll still switch to 2 fingers, but only if I'm riding something harder, have some fad or I'm just knackered, but it doesn't feel good on the grip, but i'm hanging on for all I can at that point.
    Might be the reach adjustment, move the lever in, so a solid effort (not as hard as you can squeeze, but as hard as you squeeze while riding) leaves the lever parallel to the bars.

    My last two sets of XTs weren't grabby, and neither are my Saints, and they are SIGNIFICANTLY stronger than XTs.

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Might be the reach adjustment, move the lever in, so a solid effort (not as hard as you can squeeze, but as hard as you squeeze while riding) leaves the lever parallel to the bars.

    My last two sets of XTs weren't grabby, and neither are my Saints, and they are SIGNIFICANTLY stronger than XTs.
    No it was because I was 2 finger mashing them like I would my v-brakes, i switch to 1 finger and it was perfect.
    All the gear and no idea.

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