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PoppaNoDoz

Two Fingers On The Brake

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So, this is a pretty quiet forum and I feel like sharing pretty much every single thing I learned at school with you guys. Maybe it'll help you go "aha" too if you are somewhere near my location on the pathway of learning.

 

I have covered my front brake with my first two fingers ever since MSF school. I STILL do it in traffic because people are idiots. Most people can't see you and the ones that can want to hurt you or write you a ticket, so a fast hand on the front brake is always a good thing. Fast, but not hard. I think I can count on less than 2 fingers the times I've had an emergency stop result in the back tire lifting and I have ZERO desire to be a "stuntah." Wheelies, Burnouts and Stoppies are for people who don't mind destroying their bikes to impress chicks - I have to get girls the old fashioned way, by showing them my bank account and resume, if that doesn't work, I take off my pants.

 

 

:lol: Laugh, it's called "a joke."

 

 

 

Regardless.

 

As I've been practicing what I learned at school (safely, I might add, and well within the confines of 'acceptable' street speed) I have forced myself take my two fingers off the brake and grasp just the throttle. Again, I know my turn in speed, my roll on rate and my exit speed on MANY of these roads (as this is Florida and there are 10 roads south of Ocala that are worth riding at all - so you get to know them well). By taking my hand OFF the brake I have AGAIN found that I am smoother with my roll on.

 

I don't know if having two fingers on the brake makes roll on harder or not - I leave that to the experts (and ranting lunatics that seem to spend every moment of their lives on the internet waiting to get into an argument - c'mon, I know you nutjobs are out there, stop surfing for porn, adjust your tinfoil hat and give me an opinion).

 

I have found that having all four fingers on the throttle forces me to concentrate, takes away a false security blanket of "I can slow down if I have to," forces me to focus on the turn not the speed, and surprisingly go through faster.

 

Is there a "keep your hands OFF the brake" drill somewhere I need to look up in the book or one of the classes?

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I sometimes cover the front brake with a finger or two in traffic if conditions demand it, but I have never done it when riding briskly. First of all, I prefer to use a full hand when braking, and riding with four fingers on the lever isn't very comfy. Secondly, I like to have a full grip on both handlebars when I ride, so I will do that as much as possible. It simply feels natural.

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I cover the brake out of habit in traffic when I'm cruising but still take my fingers off the brake when accelerating. I use two fingers to brake, but it's whatever you're more comfortable with.

 

On the track, as soon as I'm done braking, I get my fingers off the brake and on the throttle. If you keep fingers on the brake after braking on the track, you take away from throttle control. There is NO WAY you can get the same quality of throttle control with two fingers on the brake. I'm sure you can still accelerate, but you can get better, more concentrated throttle control with a full hand on the throttle.

 

The No Brake Drill is the "keep your hands OFF the brake" drill.

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Yep no brakes = no fingers on brakes. Sounds like an SR or something like it, which basically translates as potential bad habit.

 

There's a thread here somewhere about "screwing it on", holding the throttle like a screwdriver rather than a ladder rung. Might be one of Jason's. Anyway look it up and have a read, I found this gives more feel for throttle control.

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There's a thread here somewhere about "screwing it on", holding the throttle like a screwdriver rather than a ladder rung. Might be one of Jason's. Anyway look it up and have a read, I found this gives more feel for throttle control.

 

It's worth trying, as you may prefer it. I found it utterly awkward, but I suppose when hanging off around a right hand corner it could feel more natural.

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Somewhat related: http://www.sportride...tion/index.html

 

Would be interesting to hear the comments from the regulars on the article.

 

On the street, I'd take from this that everyone needs to work on transitioning from throttle to brake.

 

For track, though, I'd say this is what you want to take from it:

 

"At the track, reference points are key. It helps here to have a reference point up to which you can hold the throttle open until, rather than a marker at which you pull the brake lever. This will force you to speed up the throttle-off transition as it becomes part of your braking zone, and not let you cheat by closing the throttle and coasting up to your brake marker."

Number of fingers is only as important as where you start your braking. Everyone focuses on one belief about riding at a time. That's actually the wrong view to have. It also helped Alpinestar sell those two fingers sewn together gloves.

If anyone doesn't believe me, you can be the one to tell Valentino Rossi he's wrong for using all 4 fingers to brake. It's WHERE he does, not HOW he does.

Although I'd say that Sportrider does have some fairly good and some really good articles, they left out a very important part to the transitioning process. Placement. Riders personalizing their levers and shifter. It will speed up the comfort and speed with which you can clutch, brake, or shift. How many people have adjusted their shifters or levers? You move the seat and steering wheel in a car, don't you? Why leave everything factory set-up on a bike?

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There's a thread here somewhere about "screwing it on", holding the throttle like a screwdriver rather than a ladder rung. Might be one of Jason's. Anyway look it up and have a read, I found this gives more feel for throttle control.

 

It's worth trying, as you may prefer it. I found it utterly awkward, but I suppose when hanging off around a right hand corner it could feel more natural.

 

Body position and how low one gets on the bike is a factor. The guys that get really low on the bike and to the inside, it really helps. But might not have to go to a full screwdriver grip, just adjust.

 

CF

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When in city trafic I adjust my brake lever for full four finger braking. I always have my four on the brake. You have to be ready to pull that lever. While riding I push the lever away leaving distance for one or two fingers and I ride with my finger away from the barke while accelerating. Justa mya 2 cents.

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When in city trafic I adjust my brake lever for full four finger braking. I always have my four on the brake. You have to be ready to pull that lever. While riding I push the lever away leaving distance for one or two fingers and I ride with my finger away from the barke while accelerating. Justa mya 2 cents.

 

Interesting to hear that.

 

How many others use 4 fingers on the brake? It seems that I mostly see 2 fingers, but maybe we can do a little poll here, so:

 

How many use 1? 2? 3? 4 fingers?

 

Best,

CF

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I think we had a topic on the number of fingers a bit back, but personally I vary between all of the possibilities, depending on conditions. When I need to stop in a hurry, however, be that planned or under panic, I will invariably use all four fingers, however.

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There's a thread here somewhere about "screwing it on", holding the throttle like a screwdriver rather than a ladder rung. Might be one of Jason's. Anyway look it up and have a read, I found this gives more feel for throttle control.

 

It's worth trying, as you may prefer it. I found it utterly awkward, but I suppose when hanging off around a right hand corner it could feel more natural.

 

Body position and how low one gets on the bike is a factor. The guys that get really low on the bike and to the inside, it really helps. But might not have to go to a full screwdriver grip, just adjust.

 

CF

 

It's usable on the road but is a little fiddly, I haven't really got the hang of going from screwdriver-grip to braking and back. I think it suits the angle ofclip-ons better than bars or flatter clip-ons.

 

PS 2 fingers mostly, 4 for real stopping, both for feel and for power.

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Generally for street I'm a pointer, one finger on each lever. I'll sometimes clutch with more, but for braking, I rarely need more than one. On track, I'll often ride straight up with one on, brake with one or two. But in either case, I'm a pointing! ;)

 

I remember a while back I was getting my street ticket back and did an MSF one day thing because it was quick and easy. But those people (bless their hearts for their commitment) MADE ME use all four fingers and it drove me NUTS! Besides spending years riding offroad whipping a bike around and pretty much having to have at least two on and two off, in frustration I said to one of the instructors "Okay, I know this doesn't apply here today, but how the heck does a person expect to blip the throttle and brake at the same time like this?" I was allowed to handle the controls the way I desired for the remainder of the day with the understanding I was to keep my mouth shut about it. :P

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When in city trafic I adjust my brake lever for full four finger braking. I always have my four on the brake. You have to be ready to pull that lever. While riding I push the lever away leaving distance for one or two fingers and I ride with my finger away from the barke while accelerating. Justa mya 2 cents.

 

Interesting to hear that.

 

How many others use 4 fingers on the brake? It seems that I mostly see 2 fingers, but maybe we can do a little poll here, so:

 

How many use 1? 2? 3? 4 fingers?

 

Best,

CF

 

 

 

 

one finger situations:

 

 

 

 

 

uphills, traffic speed < 50 KM/H flats

 

 

 

 

two finger situations:

 

 

 

 

downhill , traffic speed > 50KM/H flats

 

 

 

 

I do trial brake alot on downhills thou... but not much on flats and nil on uphills

 

 

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I am a 2 finger braker.

 

I put some nice CNC racing shorties to make it easier for me to use 2 fingers on my multistrada 1200s

 

that way I can roll off the throttle and onto the brake in one smooth movement

 

Cheers

 

OZ

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I'm a two finger braker as well. I started off using 4 fingers, which is probably a good thing for learners but then pretty soon I just found myself unconsciously using 2 fingers. It was around this time I was starting to practice blipping the throttle as well.

 

I'm curious - how to people who use 4 fingers for braking blip the throttle? Or do you just not do it at all? Or do you have a fancy bike that automatically blips for you and allows clutch-less downshifts? tongue.gif

 

Gorecki, it's funny that you mentioned about the MSF trainers telling you to use 4 fingers. I experienced a similar thing here in Australia at couple of basic roadcraft/street training courses that I've attended. No matter how fast and controlled you could stop with 2 fingers on the brake, you could do rolling stoppies and they would still insist that 4 fingers is the proper way to do it. Which to me just seems silly. Motorcycle technology has come a long way, bikes don't use disk brakes anymore - so riding technique needs to catch up as well. 2 fingers are plenty for me to lift the rear wheel off the ground, modern braking systems are not short on power. I did an advance riding course with a different provider and he couldn't believe that some people still advocate 4 finger braking as the absolute only 'proper' way to do it. Anyway he stopped himself before he went off on a rant... laugh.gif

 

I had a quick look over that article linked above and I feel the same when they mention about 2 finger braking being better to be able to control steering. I am trying to imagine trail braking with 4 fingers and it just seems really awkward...

 

Just a note on street riding - I don't even cover the front brake lever. I've read a good reason for not doing so - and it is that in an emergency/panic situation the split second that it takes to move your fingers to the lever will give you an extra chance just to asses the situation and avoid making a panic reaction. If you ride with the brakes covered you may be less able or inclined to make a quick steering input etc. (it may be better to avoid the obstacle rather than stopping).

 

About smooth throttle movement, is the 'screwdriver method' where you just twist the throttle without moving your hand/wrist/arm? If so - that really helped me to ride alot smoother when I was learning. I don't consciously think about using the throttle too much, but I guess it's still a technique that I use.

 

Also I think wheelies, stoppies and burnouts are cool. No reason they should 'hurt' your bike if you do it properly.

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bikes don't use disk brakes anymore

 

Really :blink:

 

 

 

:D

 

As to blipping with four fingers on the lever - doesn't feel much different to two fingers and it was something one had to learn when four strong fingers were required to slow down half-decently.

 

Trail braking should not be affected in any way by the number of fingers, I reckon. Stoner use one, Rossi 4, both are decent racers.

 

I can see why MSF, which is about safety, suggest using all four fingers as it eliminates the risk of trapping any spare fingers between lever and grip should the lever for some reason come back too far. Stoner probably wished he used 4 fingers in Japan(?) when a slapper forced his pads away from the disc, requiring a double-take. However, in reality modern brakes are so reliable that it should be up to the rider to decide how many fingers to use. Still, it's probably a policy thing with MSF, something they are set on promoting. Prove to a teacher on a racing class that you can go around a corner just as fast and safe using a different technique than what they teach and see if they will say FINE, DO THAT or DO IT OUR WAY.

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For sure there isn't a one size fits all on the braking, but having ridden big Harleys that did not have top quality brakes, 4 fingers was needed. On modern sport bikes, 2 will do it for sure and most find it easier to blip with 2 fingers on the throttle.

 

CF

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For sure there isn't a one size fits all on the braking, but having ridden big Harleys that did not have top quality brakes, 4 fingers was needed. On modern sport bikes, 2 will do it for sure and most find it easier to blip with 2 fingers on the throttle.

 

CF

 

OK... gotta know... is there more to the story about the big Harleys? Do you have a collection of dusty leather vests in your closet? :)

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For sure there isn't a one size fits all on the braking, but having ridden big Harleys that did not have top quality brakes, 4 fingers was needed. On modern sport bikes, 2 will do it for sure and most find it easier to blip with 2 fingers on the throttle.

 

CF

 

OK... gotta know... is there more to the story about the big Harleys? Do you have a collection of dusty leather vests in your closet? :)

 

Can you see me wandering around in chaps, goatee and bit of belly? I'll leave you alone with that pleasant thought. :D

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I can see why MSF, which is about safety, suggest using all four fingers as it eliminates the risk of trapping any spare fingers between lever and grip should the lever for some reason come back too far.

 

Having taught an MSF-like course for 7 years in Denmark (and much of our curriculum comes from the UK), I can add some arguments to the discussion.

The argument is as quite simple: when you're on the road, and something unexpected happens and you need to make an emergency stop, you will use all four fingers. You simply grab the handful. Believe me, I've done it, even though I had been using 2 fingers consistently on the road and track for more than a decade, when suddenly this happened to me - yup, here we go; all four fingers! Now, the good R1 will do perfect rolling stoppies with two fingers (haven't tried 1 finger), but the good news is that you don't get any appreciably harder braking when using 4 fingers vs 2 fingers.

 

For sure there isn't a one size fits all on the braking, but having ridden big Harleys that did not have top quality brakes, 4 fingers was needed.

At one of our courses, we had a couple of Harley riders and they openly admitted that the standard brakes were ###### and you simply replaced them with 3rd party stuff as soon as you took the bike in possession. :blink:

 

Kai

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This is a question I have wondered about for a while...it's related to braking, but not about how many fingers. For the last two years a bunch of the GP riders are hanging their inside leg off of the bike in parts of the track where I would expect them to be braking hard...how are they gripping the tank with one leg hanging off?

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