Riding style: Fingers constantly resting on brake lever?
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Hooked
Joined: 11 Dec 2016
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Location: Kuala Lumpur
Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:17 am quote
There is a deep divide between those who say you should wrap your four fingers and thumb around the throttle and those that suggest one or two fingers should be constantly resting on the brake lever for emergency application.

What is your style?
Hooked
2017 GTS Super 300ie 'Sofia'
Joined: 08 Oct 2013
Posts: 361
Location: Berlin, Germany
Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:37 am quote
Deep divide indeed
I'm more of a relaxed position until I see something which might cause a problem. Then at least two fingers creep up to that brake lever.

My German motorcycle instructor had a big problem with any such activity although he was never able to give me a reason why it should be avoided.
Ossessionato
2016 GTS 300 Super - red, of course.
Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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Location: Hertford, North Carolina
Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:55 am quote
When I was a wee laddie I was on a scooter club run when the girl riding pillion asked me coyly if I could ride with one hand on the handlebars. When I replied in the affirmative she said would I please put one on.

I had both of my hands on her knees at the time.

Seriously folks, (hah, does he know the meaning of the word?) the easy answer is "It depends". When on a long cruise it is important to keep one's body relaxed and comfortable so that one's mind can be alert to the situation around. However, riding in town is different. Here events can happen much more quickly. Here it is important to minimize the response time to an incident.

So on a cruise I lay my fingers on the grips or use one of those throttle lock gizmos to avoid getting cramp in my hands; in town, I tend to cover both brakes wherever possible.

Remember: the world needs more lerts.

Last edited by Raputtak on Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:05 am; edited 1 time in total
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 la Negrita 2015 GTS il pipistrello nero
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Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:58 am quote
Raputtak wrote:
Seriously folks, (hah, does he know the meaning of the word?) the easy answer is "It depends". When on a long cruise it is important to keep one's body relaxed and comfortable so that one's mind can be alert to the situation around. However, riding in town is different. Here events can happen much more quickly. Here it is important to minimize the response time to an incident.

So on a cruise I lay my fingers on the grips; in town, I tend to cover both brakes wherever possible.

^^^^^This
Member
Bajaj
Joined: 24 Apr 2015
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Location: Fl
Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:01 am quote
Finger always on horn button in town. Air horn. Has saved my ass plenty.
Moto Giro Titan
2009 GTS 250 Super Lucrezia Borgia, 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada, Little Big Red
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Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:04 am quote
Raputtak wrote:
I had both of my hands on her knees at the time.

Hahaha! I used to tell a variation of that one when my wife and I were courting in the past century.
Molto Verboso
2006 GT200
Joined: 23 Feb 2016
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Location: Moscow, Idaho
Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:33 am quote
I started a thread on this last spring, which had some useful replies:

Do you cover your brakes? How many digits?

As the season progressed I covered them less, in part because I became more confident and in part because I became more sold on the concept of thinking evasive maneuvering rather than the knee-jerk reaction of always braking (and thus losing my ability to swerve).

Even on the open road, out of town, a couple times I hit a turn too quickly and found myself braking when I should have been counter steering more agressively...there is that gut wrenching moment when you're trying to counter steer but realize the initial braking is making that impossible.
Member
Sportcity 350ie
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Location: Zagreb/Croatia/EU
Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:15 am quote
Pointing fingers are always on levers (scooter, bike, bicycle).
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 27393

Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:23 am quote
About half the time. On windy days i don't but traffic is usually heavy and a'holes are always cutting me off. Horn gets used also.
Ossessionato
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Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:04 am quote
For sure no.

I have a 65 miles one-way commute, mostly on Interstate highway.
I'd cramp up if I extended my fingers that long.

Even in town I don't generally cover. Heavy traffic, road with parked cars near my lane, etc., and I may cover a finger or two. But not generally.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:36 am quote
fledermaus wrote:
Raputtak wrote:
Seriously folks, (hah, does he know the meaning of the word?) the easy answer is "It depends". When on a long cruise it is important to keep one's body relaxed and comfortable so that one's mind can be alert to the situation around. However, riding in town is different. Here events can happen much more quickly. Here it is important to minimize the response time to an incident.

So on a cruise I lay my fingers on the grips; in town, I tend to cover both brakes wherever possible.

^^^^^This
Likewise for me.

I find that covering the brakes with two fingers when needed gives me all the braking power necessary and still gives me good throttle control with my right hand.
Molto Verboso
lx150
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Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:00 pm quote
In the city I tend to cover both brakes more often than not. In the rural area almost never. But as the situation changes I reserve the right to change to save my arse!
Ossessionato
2010 ThunderFly 190, 2008 250 GTS
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Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:29 pm quote
I ride often with two fingers covering the brakes, but not always.
Hooked
piaggio fly50 4t 2v , honda ruckus x 2
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Posts: 249
Location: usa
Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:24 pm quote
usually cover the rear brake with three fingers, and never cover the front. if on a motorcycle I cover the clutch and my foot is always on the brake. I think the main reason instructors say not to cover the brakes is because of the risk of accidently locking up the front in a panic.

really its hard to cover the front and twist the throttle at the same time, for me anyway. when I let off the gas my fingers go to the brake lever. so I guess if I am coasting I do cover the front.

Last edited by jeff84 on Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
Molto Verboso
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Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:42 pm quote
Only when I perceive a hazard ahead. The same way I drive a car. When I drive a car, I don't put my left foot over the brake. If you're not paying 100% attention to the ride, covering your brake is useless.
Enthusiast
2001 ET4 125cc
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:42 am quote
When taking my CBT I was told to ALWAYS 'cover' the brakes. So I did and that's how I rode and often still do (happens without thinking sometimes).

When taking my bike safe course with the MET police they told me NOT to cover the brakes and that I shouldn't have to if I am riding as I 'should' be.

So, I usually end up with my left hand covering and my right hand off lever completely. But then 99% of my riding is city/central London and people do the most idiotic things sometimes (walking out around a bus, not seeing you at all...the list could go on) and that left hand has come in useful more than once.
Molto Verboso
Honda SH 300
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:12 am quote
2 fingers covering the front brake all the time for me ..It's served me well for 53 years so I'll keep doing it....Don't forget that a lot accidents out on the open road are the result of animals running out from wood/hedge just in front of you.
The faster you can get the bike to stop the less the impact, even a couple of split seconds it takes to lift you finger up off the throttle to grab the brake lever will lesson the impact, even if you panic and grab the brake lever most bike/scooter. have ABS so the chances of dropping the bike will be reduced. If you do drop the bike it's much better to slide into the animal than headbutt the 2 ton monster moose.

stay safe
Ossessionato
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:36 am quote
Madison Sully wrote:
For sure no.

I have a 65 miles one-way commute, mostly on Interstate highway.
I'd cramp up if I extended my fingers that long.

Even in town I don't generally cover. Heavy traffic, road with parked cars near my lane, etc., and I may cover a finger or two. But not generally.
^^^^^ This.
Addicted
79' p125x
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Location: greece
Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:19 am quote
I cover my brake with all fingers now, Quite a few years ago had first and second fingers all the time covering the front, went down right hand side with my hand trapped, ouch. ouch and more ouch. nearly lost my pinkie. A good plastic surgeon was on duty that day. that's why you can adjust the throw..... please always use four!!
Ossessionato
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:21 am quote
yes. always have.
Molto Verboso
Kymco Like 200i (Sold)
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:22 am quote
Fingers only cover the brake when necessary.
Addicted
Customized 2006 LX150 Thunderbolt the Wondercolt
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:19 am quote
I recommend dogleg levers (advertised on MV). They make this entire discussion moot.

http://www.oopsclunkthud.com
Molto Verboso
GT200 & GTS250 & NC750X
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:49 am quote
I use two fingers, all the time and on both brakes. If you're riding in a city and don't have both brakes covered then you're going to be reacting later than you need to be for a hazard. 1/2 a second at 30mph is about 3 car lengths. That in turn means you're more likely to ram the brakes on as hard as possible which means you're more likely to skid (and fall). I think the last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is changing your grip. If you can guarantee that there won't be a possible emergency then ride how you please.
Ossessionato
MP3 500, MP3 250, GTS 250
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:27 pm quote
robinm wrote:
I use two fingers, all the time and on both brakes. If you're riding in a city and don't have both brakes covered then you're going to be reacting later than you need to be for a hazard. 1/2 a second at 30mph is about 3 car lengths. That in turn means you're more likely to ram the brakes on as hard as possible which means you're more likely to skid (and fall). I think the last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is changing your grip. If you can guarantee that there won't be a possible emergency then ride how you please.
You driving a smart ForTwo?
0.5 seconds at 30 MPH is about 22 feet.
30 MPH = 158,400 feet per hour = 44 feet per second.
Ossessionato
Vespa GTS 'Ruby Roo'
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:05 pm quote
Madison Sully wrote:
You driving a smart ForTwo?
0.5 seconds at 30 MPH is about 22 feet.
30 MPH = 158,400 feet per hour = 44 feet per second.
I think 0.5 seconds is quite a long time to cover your brakes......I guess most of us do it much quicker. Personally I only cover the brakes when I am in hazard mode, just like I cover the brake pedal in a car as breaknwind does.
YRMV
Hooked
piaggio fly50 4t 2v , honda ruckus x 2
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:17 pm quote
terryvanman wrote:
2 fingers covering the front brake all the time for me ..It's served me well for 53 years so I'll keep doing it....Don't forget that a lot accidents out on the open road are the result of animals running out from wood/hedge just in front of you.
The faster you can get the bike to stop the less the impact, even a couple of split seconds it takes to lift you finger up off the throttle to grab the brake lever will lesson the impact, even if you panic and grab the brake lever most bike/scooter. have ABS so the chances of dropping the bike will be reduced. If you do drop the bike it's much better to slide into the animal than headbutt the 2 ton monster moose.

stay safe
I am glad white tail deer is the biggest critter I have to worry about. still don't want to head butt one though
Hooked
BV350 2015
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:26 pm quote
I got into the habit of hanging fingers over the clutch lever in the old days of expecting fast 2 cycle bikes to seize at any moment. It naturally spilled over to the brake lever. Now, I am more relaxed, and only in town do I have them at the ready. I hear the Oregon learn-to-ride instructors frown on it.
Hooked
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:34 pm quote
I only cover the brakes when I anticipate the likelihood of using them. I do the same on a scooter, on a motorcycle, in a car. It keeps me from getting too vehicle-specific in my reactions.
If a second or less is the difference between a hit or a miss, I'm not paying enough attention and/or looking far enough ahead.
Molto Verboso
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:57 pm quote
Madison Sully wrote:
robinm wrote:
1/2 a second at 30mph is about 3 car lengths.
You driving a smart ForTwo?
0.5 seconds at 30 MPH is about 22 feet.
30 MPH = 158,400 feet per hour = 44 feet per second.
This is our government official figures for stopping distance. You also have to take the time it takes you to realise there's an emergency and then the time it takes you to react ie release the grip with both hands, apply the brakes steadily so you don't skid the front wheel etc. I suspect I could stop in under a car length in good conditions but then I've been riding for 30 years, have my fingers on the brakes and expect people to do stupid things all the time. If the conditions are wet or someone's not expecting an issue or just not that experienced or their brakes need servicing then it takes them longer to stop. Those figures are for a car but the reaction & response times would be similar.
ashbrook wrote:
I think 0.5 seconds is quite a long time to cover your brakes......I guess most of us do it much quicker. Personally I only cover the brakes when I am in hazard mode, just like I cover the brake pedal in a car as breaknwind does.
YRMV
0.5 seconds ain't long. If you're not expecting a hazard then your reaction speed will obviously be slower still. It's probably not the hazards we're expecting that take us out, it's the hazards we don't expect. At the end of the day though, people ride how they want, it's a free world. If holding two fingers on the brakes shaves only 10 feet off your braking distance then I can easily imagine situations where that might be useful.
Cheshire wrote:
If a second or less is the difference between a hit or a miss, I'm not paying enough attention and/or looking far enough ahead.
Totally agree here.
Ossessionato
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:44 pm quote
robinm wrote:
Madison Sully wrote:
robinm wrote:
1/2 a second at 30mph is about 3 car lengths.
You driving a smart ForTwo?
0.5 seconds at 30 MPH is about 22 feet.
30 MPH = 158,400 feet per hour = 44 feet per second.
This is our government official figures for stopping distance. You also have to take the time it takes you to realise there's an emergency and then the time it takes you to react ie release the grip with both hands, apply the brakes steadily so you don't skid the front wheel etc. I suspect I could stop in under a car length in good conditions but then I've been riding for 30 years, have my fingers on the brakes and expect people to do stupid things all the time. If the conditions are wet or someone's not expecting an issue or just not that experienced or their brakes need servicing then it takes them longer to stop. Those figures are for a car but the reaction & response times would be similar.
ashbrook wrote:
I think 0.5 seconds is quite a long time to cover your brakes......I guess most of us do it much quicker. Personally I only cover the brakes when I am in hazard mode, just like I cover the brake pedal in a car as breaknwind does.
YRMV
0.5 seconds ain't long. If you're not expecting a hazard then your reaction speed will obviously be slower still. It's probably not the hazards we're expecting that take us out, it's the hazards we don't expect. At the end of the day though, people ride how they want, it's a free world. If holding two fingers on the brakes shaves only 10 feet off your braking distance then I can easily imagine situations where that might be useful.
Cheshire wrote:
If a second or less is the difference between a hit or a miss, I'm not paying enough attention and/or looking far enough ahead.
Totally agree here.
May be splitting hairs here, so all I will say is my math is correct, but TOTAL STOPPING DISTANCE from 30MPH to dead stop may well be three car lengths, including reaction time and deceleration.
Addicted
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Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:23 pm quote
Cover the rear brake constantly. At first my hand hurt a bit but it loosened up and is no problem now. I cover both brakes when sport riding. It's a challenge to operate the throttle smoothly at first but it really works great when riding curves rapidly.
Ossessionato
Vespa GTS 'Ruby Roo'
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Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:15 pm quote
robinm wrote:
Madison Sully wrote:
robinm wrote:
1/2 a second at 30mph is about 3 car lengths.
You driving a smart ForTwo?
0.5 seconds at 30 MPH is about 22 feet.
30 MPH = 158,400 feet per hour = 44 feet per second.
This is our government official figures for stopping distance. You also have to take the time it takes you to realise there's an emergency and then the time it takes you to react ie release the grip with both hands, apply the brakes steadily so you don't skid the front wheel etc. I suspect I could stop in under a car length in good conditions but then I've been riding for 30 years, have my fingers on the brakes and expect people to do stupid things all the time. If the conditions are wet or someone's not expecting an issue or just not that experienced or their brakes need servicing then it takes them longer to stop. Those figures are for a car but the reaction & response times would be similar.
ashbrook wrote:
I think 0.5 seconds is quite a long time to cover your brakes......I guess most of us do it much quicker. Personally I only cover the brakes when I am in hazard mode, just like I cover the brake pedal in a car as breaknwind does.
YRMV
0.5 seconds ain't long. If you're not expecting a hazard then your reaction speed will obviously be slower still. It's probably not the hazards we're expecting that take us out, it's the hazards we don't expect. At the end of the day though, people ride how they want, it's a free world. If holding two fingers on the brakes shaves only 10 feet off your braking distance then I can easily imagine situations where that might be useful.
Cheshire wrote:
If a second or less is the difference between a hit or a miss, I'm not paying enough attention and/or looking far enough ahead.
Totally agree here.
We were discussing the time taken to get to the brake levers from the handlebars not total (brain) reaction speed as they would be the same in both cases. I think I am more comfortable riding in anticipatory mode and going to hazard mode when necessary. Keeps me sharper.
Molto Verboso
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Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:31 pm quote
ashbrook wrote:
We were discussing the time taken to get to the brake levers from the handlebars not total (brain) reaction speed as they would be the same in both cases.
We were discussing the pro's and con's of riding with fingers resting on the brake lever. It just takes less time to go from seeing a reason to brake to actually braking if your fingers are already on the brake levers. I don't think there's much science involved. If you feel happier riding in a different way then that's your choice.
Ossessionato
Vespa GTS 'Ruby Roo'
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:06 am quote
ashbrook
robinm wrote:
ashbrook wrote:
We were discussing the time taken to get to the brake levers from the handlebars not total (brain) reaction speed as they would be the same in both cases.
We were discussing the pro's and con's of riding with fingers resting on the brake lever. It just takes less time to go from seeing a reason to brake to actually braking if your fingers are already on the brake levers. I don't think there's much science involved. If you feel happier riding in a different way then that's your choice.
A deep divide indeed
Ossessionato
Bikeless for now
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:54 am quote
Only when in heavy, slow moving traffic or pedestrian and school zones.

Never when on the open road or doing aggressive riding, twisties, etc.
I don't want to hit the brakes mistakenly while counter steering.
That could be a fatal mistake.

Actually, it seems to be instinctive to me as does counter steering. I guess after 60 some odd years of PTWs, certain riding habits become ingrained.
I hope all those habits have been good ones.
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Black 2015 GTS
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:02 am quote
When I took the MSF course (on a scooter) I was covering the levers and the instructors told me to stop. They assumed (correctly) that I'd learned that from cycling.

It has been a long time since I was in that course, but I think their logic was that braking isn't always the best option for avoiding a crash or a drop. We all have an instinct to brake when faced with trouble, so riding with hands on the bars and not covering the brakes introduces the need for a little extra brain activity before committing to slam on the brakes.

Of course, when I see/anticipate an issue I cover the brakes, but more often than not I'm throttling down or off at the same time.

Happy scootering.
-Raj
Ossessionato
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:11 am quote
Kinda the same thing. On CBR 2016 I kept the clutch covered most of the time on a 67 GT running 6K to 7K rpm...you know...just in case my shit blew up under me!

Good times!
Ossessionato
MP3 500, MP3 250, GTS 250
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:17 am quote
Jeeves wrote:
When I took the MSF course (on a scooter) I was covering the levers and the instructors told me to stop. They assumed (correctly) that I'd learned that from cycling.

It has been a long time since I was in that course, but I think their logic was that braking isn't always the best option for avoiding a crash or a drop. We all have an instinct to brake when faced with trouble, so riding with hands on the bars and not covering the brakes introduces the need for a little extra brain activity before committing to slam on the brakes.

Of course, when I see/anticipate an issue I cover the brakes, but more often than not I'm throttling down or off at the same time.

Happy scootering.
-Raj
Good point about another potential drawback of covering the brakes while throttle is engaged. You may be stuck jamming the front brakes while you have throttle still giving power to the rear. There may not be time or brain activity that says "OK, first I let go of the throttle, THEN I squeeze".
Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:18 am quote
Covering the brake levers also keeps my middle finger pre-extended for non-verbal communications....
Ossessionato
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:27 am quote
fledermaus wrote:
Covering the brake levers also keeps my middle finger pre-extended for non-verbal communications....
AND other things.
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