New Rider: Two-Fingered Braking

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By Evans Brasfield

Many of us are products of MSF rider education courses and are quite familiar with the admonition to use all four fingers on the front brake for maximum control. While I support that rule for beginning riders, it is one that we quickly outgrow once we start logging miles out in the real world. I first began to notice the shortcomings of this rule when I anticipated in traffic that I might need to use the brakes. Covering the brake lever with four fingers makes it quite difficult to control the throttle. Then there were the magazine photos of all my heroes blatantly using two fingers on the front brake. Two-fingered braking appeared to address the problems I was encountering as an urban rider. (It was only later that I learned that it opened up a new world of braking techniques.)

This began my transition to two-fingered braking, and although more than a quarter-century has passed, I can still remember the moment when I first felt all the skills – smoothly rolling the throttle off and back on while my fingers slid over the brake lever during shifts or the act of naturally beginning my application of the front brake as I rolled off the throttle for a stop – synchronize perfectly. In the days leading up to this moment, shifts had been uneven, requiring much more attention than I expected when I began pursuing this skill.

The rider’s hand is positioned on the grip so that, when the throttle is closed and the brake applied, a relatively straight line can be drawn from the fingers to the arm. (If your lever’s not in the right spot, rotate it until it is!)

Some will argue that you should use more than two fingers because you have better control or that you could …read more

Source:: New Rider: Two-Fingered Braking

      

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