Covering the brakes

  • This topic has 11 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Dale_I.
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    Chris Demetriou

      Hey y’all.

      Getting into riding, covering the brakes is something I am struggling with. 1. My brake lever is too far to do this comfortably, but I understand i need to invest in the adjustable lever. I’ve seen the difference that can make.

      But, 2, I feel like the positioning of two fingers over the lever and then the other two necessarily under the lever will impede my ability to fully come to a stop. This is likely in my head, right? Do you keep your hands like that if you are coming to a full stop, or do you switch quickly to all fingers on top of the brake lever.

      I appreciate your thoughts,

      Alex Hatfield

        Hi Chris!

        (1) While adjustable brake levers are amazing, even resting a fingertip or two on top of the brake lever will be helpful here. As we roll off the throttle, our hand rolls forward and gives us a little more finger length on the lever, but even then we really want to think about braking with our fingertips. This way, we are using fine motor control to smoothly load that first 5 points and then smoothly unload that last 5 points.

        (2) We never want to use all four fingers. Modern brake systems are incredibly powerful, and four fingers activates way more muscle than we need. If we’re loading the front tire before we really ask it to work under braking force, a single finger can easily be enough pressure on the lever to come to an emergency stop. Watching MotoGP, WSBK, MotoAmerica, and the like, we see many riders use one or two fingers and have enough force to lift their rear tire off the ground into a stoppie!

        Chris Demetriou

          Thank you! Got it.

          Kevin Rants

            Chris – in that vain, are shorty levers worthwhile since they promote that approach to braking?

            Alex Hatfield

              Really depends on your finger length and comfort. I have long fingers (XXL gloves) and still feel much more comfortable with full-length, adjustable levers, especially when it comes to corners.
              For the life of me, I have the hardest time getting into a proper “screwdriver” grip with shorty levers – making it difficult to precisely manipulate the lever.

              Scott King

                “… I have the hardest time getting into a proper “screwdriver” grip with shorty levers …”

                What’s a screwdriver grip? I’m just getting started with the ChampU course, so maybe this is covered later!

                Gray Olson

                  Usually we’d grab the throttle tube as though we’re holding onto a monkey-bar or pullup bar or insert other thing here by just wrapping our fingers around it directly. Screwdriver grip is holding the throttle tube as though it is the handle of a screwdriver… i.e. at an angle one way or the other. This helps free up your upper body to move more easily/with less tension when exercising proper body position.

                  Descours Olivier

                    One thing that can help to understand is to hold the grip with the bar end in your palm. You will then rotate the throttle laterally not vertically as when you hold the throttle with à straight wrist.


                      @Alex Hatfield
                      Just so I understand the screwdriver grip… are you saying instead of holding the throttle tube like a barbell, bending your wrist up and down, I would hold it from the end and twist my wrist rotationally?

                      Alex Hatfield


                        Wrist position is discussed at length in the Body Position sections of the course 🙂 That’ll do a much better job of explaining than I can via text.


                          @Alex Hatfield,

                          I had re-set my course and going through a second time. Body position video 3, about the 4:05 mark is I think where you are talking about. I see how Mark releases the the two fingers and moves his hand out, as an extension of the bars. What I didn’t see is how he twists the grip from that point.

                          When Mark shows the “locked out” incorrect position, it appears he would be bending his wrist to accelerate. In the correct position, it looks like you would rotate your wrist to apply throttle.

                          Do you change from end/rotate back to neutral/bend as you complete the turn as a response to changing your body position to neutral as well?


                            So… practice, practice, practice…

                            After trying, I just want to make sure I’m NOT developing any additional bad habits. The bad ones I currently have are more than enough.

                            Looking at the corner, I brake with some pressure on my hands until my decision point (street rider) for tip in. At tip in I’m repositioning weight inside the center-line and reposition my hands in that motion to facilitate better control, changing from “bend wrist” throttle activation to “screwdriver rotation”. Trail brake front end until happy with speed and direction. Move to maintenance throttle while still covering front brake. See exit and trade off lean angle for acceleration, which moves my body back to neutral centerline and hands back to “bend wrist” throttle from “screwdriver” throttle.

                            Let me know… (and thank you!)

                            • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Dale_I.
                            • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Dale_I.
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