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Old 27th August 2010, 22:19   #1
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Default Query on motorcycle braking techniques - 2 fingers on lever or 4?

I have a query on motorcycle braking technique - use 2 or 4 fingers while applying the front brakes? I used 2 fingers on my RX135 but in the MSF rider training we were asked to use all the 4 fingers. I think it should be a personal preferance, but I feel that on sport bikes 2 fingers should suffice even for hard braking. Experts, please elaborate the pros and cons of these techniques.
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Old 27th August 2010, 22:37   #2
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I generally have two fingers on the front disc brake lever.

For hard braking instinct takes over and invariably all my fingers wrap the lever. But in normal riding conditions it is always 2 fingers.

However my bike's disc lever has very little play in it.
It engages fully in less than 1 cm of pull.
This is a bit of a problem and I need to get it inspected soon.

Did the MSF guys say why you need 4 fingers on the lever. I have never had any problem with using 2 fingers.

Last edited by bblost : 27th August 2010 at 22:38.
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Old 27th August 2010, 22:43   #3
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I believe you are talking about the training that you are getting US.

I am sure you would agree that using 4 fingers provides more grip on brake lever than 2, also most of the bikes here are big ones where in you would need to make sure that your grip on brake is as good as possible & hence the instructions.

For you I would say, better to get used to the 4 finger technique, the 2 finger one isnt always reliable especially in case of panic breaking and the reason is the back pressure which the brake lever will put on your fingers.

p.s. do keep in mind that riding mistakes could be much more dangerous here than they are back in India.
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Old 27th August 2010, 23:16   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Did the MSF guys say why you need 4 fingers on the lever. I have never had any problem with using 2 fingers.
I did not ask the instructor, but using 4 fingers while braking was a requirement to pass the test.
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Old 27th August 2010, 23:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
I did not ask the instructor, but using 4 fingers while braking was a requirement to pass the test.
Just pass the test and pick up the following books without any delay...

1. Sport Riding Techniques by Nick Ienatsch

2. Twist of the Wrist - Keith Code (Available on dvd too).

I have both and it has helped me immensely. It has so many techniques and stuff that is explained in detail and in layman terms that every rider (street or track) should refer to. A lot of experienced SBK riders including VLOCT here have highly recommended Nick's book. Must buy !!!

edit -
4 fingers is not advocated as in emergency braking, one would grab the brake lever instead of squeezing it for slowing down. More often than not, the former will cause a massive tankslapper due to a front wheel lock and the rest can be nasty. Do what the test says and then use the index and middle finger for braking.

Last edited by n_aditya : 27th August 2010 at 23:45.
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Old 28th August 2010, 02:55   #6
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When ever we brake, our body tends to lean forward due to the speed. It is difficult to hold the handle with 3 fingers on the throttle and 2 on the brake lever during hard braking conditions. Maybe that is why it is recommended to use 4 fingers.

Well I too use just 2 fingers, but during hard breaking usually all 4 fingers grasp the brake lever unknowingly
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Old 28th August 2010, 06:21   #7
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Originally Posted by Chipz View Post
Well I too use just 2 fingers, but during hard breaking usually all 4 fingers grasp the brake lever unknowingly
Ditto! Even I use 2 fingers on the brake lever to cover the brakes. When it comes to hard stopping, all 4 are on the lever by instinct.

Riding on Indian road conditions with people randomly changing lanes, dogs and kids darting across the road from nowhere, having all 4 fingers on the brake is dangerous. Panic breaking in our road conditions can be disastrous, especially on bikes with brakes that bite. With just 2 fingers on the brake lever, most of the times braking or arresting your speed requires just a gentle pull n release of the brake lever.

If you realize, some of the basic stuff that they teach in the riding books, we already do it when riding. For example, counter steering is a major topic every book covers, but we already do it in our daily riding without even realizing it.
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Old 29th August 2010, 00:28   #8
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Quote:
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For example, counter steering is a major topic every book covers, but we already do it in our daily riding without even realizing it.
Excuse me, but what is counter steering in motorcycles?
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Old 29th August 2010, 01:17   #9
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Originally Posted by KA18 View Post
Excuse me, but what is counter steering in motorcycles?
Push left to go left, push right to go right.
Or pull right to go left, pull left to go right.

For more details. Google is your friend.
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Old 30th August 2010, 14:34   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KA18 View Post
Excuse me, but what is counter steering in motorcycles?
I don't think counter steering is an issue with light bikes and low speeds.
Hence, I don't believe that we utilize it in daily rides.

It only when the bike is heavy and going fast - the momentum (linear as well as angular) is high.
And in order to change direction - you need to play around with both linear and angular momentum.

That requires considerable force.

This force is provided more readily when you "use" counter steering.
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Old 30th August 2010, 23:56   #11
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Counter steering works even in bicycles when riding at a good speed. You just don't realize it when riding. Of course on bangalore and Pune's crowded roads, we don't need to counter steer due to such low speeds. When riding even at 40 to 60 km/hr, notice how you Change lanes and you will be surprised to see that you are actually counter steering.

Anyways, let us not divert from the topic of this thread.
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Old 31st August 2010, 03:25   #12
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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
I don't think counter steering is an issue with light bikes and low speeds.
I used to think the same way. 10 + yrs back when I did my MSF course that made no sense to me. All bikes used in the MSF course are 150cc Honda Unicorn kind of bikes. A lot of stress is provided on - look through the turn, roll the wrist, and push (counter steer). That is the only way you can get any decent lean angles, and safe cornering. I follow the same rules on my 800CC 500lb bike, and 0cc 25lb road bicycle.

Blackpearl, Initially, I questioned the physics of it. Then I tried all the MSF tips, I was amazed that all of them work very well. What matters is the ability to gradually squeeze the brakes. If you can do that with your index & middle fingers, go for it. Personally, I find it easier to squeeze on the brakes using all 4 fingers. I have linked brakes, and I hardly apply the leg brakes on my bike. I must add that in city traffic, I often rest my index finger on the brake lever. During sudden/panic braking it is likely that you are also releasing the throttle, its easier to let the throttle recoil, then gradually squeeze the brake lever. And good decision on the MSF course.

Last edited by prasadee : 31st August 2010 at 03:36.
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Old 31st August 2010, 15:31   #13
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When you are planning to brake, use the engine braking to the best possible extent, i can save the fast wearing of the brake shoes and pads.

Follow the 70 front and 30 back rule.

By the way which bike do you use?
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Old 31st August 2010, 17:33   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
By the way which bike do you use?
If you want to know what bike BlackPearl rides, check this link!

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...a-650r-ex.html

Last edited by Maibaa : 31st August 2010 at 17:35.
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Old 2nd September 2010, 00:21   #15
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Thanks a lot everybody for the tips. I tried to ride about 50 miles using all 4 fingers for the brakes and then another 50 miles with 2 fingers. I think I am more comfortable with 2 fingers even though I don't blip the throttle while downshifting. I tried to blip the throttle while downshifting but the results are not very nice. I could do that on my RX135 quite easily, but with the 650 cc, I am over revving. Hopefully I will get used to it over time. Completed 500 miles this week and my confidence is growing bit by bit .
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