Fingers on the brake lever - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Fingers on the brake lever

On my 1200km trip last week to Java I was conscious of the fact that on longer unimpeded stretches on the highway I would tend to simply grip the throttle and not have a couple of fingers on the brake lever especially when accelerating. I would put my fingers back on the brake lever when I rolled off.
Curiously, my clutch hand was always at the ready with at least two fingers on the lever all the time.

How about you, what percent of the time do you actually have your finger/fingers on the brake lever?

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 07:32 PM
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I rarely have fingers on brake or clutch levers unless consciously using them... Or covering them once I determine I might have to used them due to what I've seen ahead.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 07:50 PM
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On tree lined roads, in town or places where things can jump out in front of me I will keep one finger on the clutch and two on the brake. On interstates and areas where I can see something coming a long ways away I am more relaxed about it. I do find myself griping onto the heated grips more when its cold.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 07:59 PM
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I've thought about the whole "keep your front brake covered" philosophy while riding and kind of wondered about it. If the point is keeping it covered 100% of the time, I don't get that. Trying to keep it covered (especially while accelerating) would negatively affect my (and I would think everyone's) throttle control, i.e. control of the bike. I can't really see the advantages of 100% coverage. I understand about reaction time vs. speed and all that, but having firm control and feeling comfortable on the bike count for something too.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 08:27 PM
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My riding style generally has clutch and brake with two finger 90 % of time even on long straight roads with nothing in sight, just a habit now. Mostly use front brakes but in town use back brakes to give the front a rest at times.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by neviander View Post
I've thought about the whole "keep your front brake covered" philosophy while riding and kind of wondered about it. If the point is keeping it covered 100% of the time, I don't get that. Trying to keep it covered (especially while accelerating) would negatively affect my (and I would think everyone's) throttle control, i.e. control of the bike. I can't really see the advantages of 100% coverage. I understand about reaction time vs. speed and all that, but having firm control and feeling comfortable on the bike count for something too.
Personally I find it difficult when accelerating to keep my fingers on the brake. I tend to bring it up to where I want it then slip my grip around so my wrist isn't down, then get the fingers back on the brake lever. This actually doesn't take as long as it sounds, especially as most of the time on the versys I am not going gung ho full on acceleration like you would if you were riding a full on sports bike. Rather it's shorter bursts up to around 5000 rpm then change up. That's not to say that Versys can't be blasted up the rpms and the mph quick smart.

But if you were barreling along at say 100km/h and you had to brake suddenly there is no question that having your fingers already on the brake is gonna save your ass. I think in meters, and i guesstimate that the reaction time saved would probably amount to 20 meters less distance traveled before coming to halt or very manageable speed.

Also I have ABS, which has already saved me a couple of times in the 8000 km I have used this bike for, every once in a while my foot beats my hand to the brake and as my hand pulls in the brake I can feel the back brake abs already racheting me down. In Indonesia things can jump out on the road pretty suddenly. On my last trip I almost got run off the road twice by buses coming the other way, overtaking trucks in blind corners. And you might be whizzing along a set of twisties only to come upon a partially hidden patch of gravel at the apex of a corner. My only offs in the last few years have been on non-ABS. I'm sold.

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Last edited by tropicalbikey; 11-07-2013 at 09:28 PM.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 10:04 PM
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But if you were barreling along at say 100km/h and you had to brake suddenly there is no question that having your fingers already on the brake is gonna save your ass.
Perhaps. I got my first bike around 3 years ago and from the start translated my stick shift car driving skills, with my mucho years of mountain bike riding (as a kid and as an adult) and it's served me well, thus far. As with driving a car, I'll actually rest my hand (foot with the car) on the clutch if I see something MIGHT be awry up ahead and leave the brake alone. If something looks even remotely dicey, throttle goes off and hand is fully ready on the brake...same with the car. The only wreck I've ever been in (while driving) is when I didn't double check at an intersection, when I had a green, and an 18 wheeler blew through a solid red and totaled out the 3/4 ton pickup I was driving.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-07-2013, 10:55 PM
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I practice using my middle and ring finger on the brakes when in traffic or in city roads. If I'm on a straight long road like a highway with nothing in sight then I'll take my fingers off the lever.

The weird stuff is, the driving school here doesn't allow fingers to rest on te brake lever and they'll Demerit u under wrong posture.. How idiotic is that...


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 12:40 AM
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The weird stuff is, the driving school here doesn't allow fingers to rest on te brake lever and they'll Demerit u under wrong posture..
True here as well - I was stearnly warned to NOT ride with hand on clutch or brake. In practice, if I'm going through deer country or the some parts of the 'jungle' of L.A. (especially when lane-splitting) - I will ride with one or two fingers on clutch and brake.


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 04:05 AM
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cover my levers all my concious riding time. the only time i do not cover the levers are when it slipped my mind off for a while.

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by genehil View Post
I rarely have fingers on brake or clutch levers unless consciously using them... Or covering them once I determine I might have to used them due to what I've seen ahead.
+1


Rarely covering them but am always scanning and cover when something looks like it could go south.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by genehil View Post
I rarely have fingers on brake or clutch levers unless consciously using them... Or covering them once I determine I might have to used them due to what I've seen ahead.
+1
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 08:11 AM
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Always have my middle finger on the brake. A split second can be all the difference in the world.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 08:54 AM
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Always have my middle finger on the brake. A split second can be all the difference in the world.
On a bike, first reflex should be try to avoid
This being said, if you have to brake in an emergency, cutting throttle first transfer weight to the front wheel AND THEN you can apply the front brake hard, otherwise, you might loose the front wheel and not stop at all

This is what I was taught in safety course and to me, it makes perfect sense

My 2 cents

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by tropicalbikey View Post
...How about you, what percent of the time do you actually have your finger/fingers on the brake lever?
Pretty close to 100%. I took an advanced riding course (Ron Ariell, here in PHX area), and that, as well as riding w/ the balls of your feet on the 'pegs was emphasized. At first I had to REMEMBER but now it's instinctive....

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by genehil View Post
I rarely have fingers on brake or clutch levers unless consciously using them... Or covering them once I determine I might have to used them due to what I've seen ahead.
Without reading the rest of the answers I'd say Gene just about "covers" it!!
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 11:17 AM
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For street riding, I cover both with two fingers nearly all of the time.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 11:58 AM
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I try to do something like that in places where obstacles, people and animals might jump up from nowhere. But not with 2 fingers applied on the brake, its more like being extra ready to brake with all 4. Also tries to adapt speed and position on road to get better sight through corners and behind obstacles near road...it also makes it easier for others to spot you earlier.

Last edited by hjortronet; 11-09-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 01:54 PM
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Two fingers (index/middle) on clutch and front brake lever all the time...by pure habit--it's just how I ride. Pretty sure that comes from my motocross background.

What I don't cover all the time but do in "danger situations" (and what isn't while riding a bike? lol) is the rear brake pedal....

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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 03:47 PM
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...What I don't cover all the time but do in "danger situations" (and what isn't while riding a bike? lol) is the rear brake pedal....
Me TOO, as I find holding my foot just above the lever is uncomfortable.

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