Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

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Grey Thumper
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Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

#1 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:03 am

Just trying to get a feel for how people do it around here. Is there an absolutely right way to cover your levers, or is it a matter of personal comfort?

At any speed above say, jogging speed, I cover the brake lever with my pointer and middle fingers, and grab the left grip with all five fingers.

At slow speeds (filtering through traffic, U turns, etc.), I cover my clutch with pointer and middle fingers, and don't cover my front brake lever at all; all 5 fingers are wrapped around the throttle.

When I'm going really slowly, I've found it smoother to modulate speed using the clutch and rear brake (got this tip from Captain Crash). Plus I've accidentally grabbed the front brake during a U turn and almost dumped the bike.
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#2 Unread post by Theweapon52 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:22 am

I dont usually "cover" my front brake at all when i am riding at any speed. I personally would find especially in slower moving traffic or in low speed cornering that if a car crossed over or if i hit some gravel, i would grab the front bake and probably dump my bike. My rear brake is my primary source of speed control and stoppage at low speeds, along with feathering the clutch, so i always have all fingers around the throttle i suppose and all around the clutch.

When im at a consistent pace, whatever the speed, i like to keep all 5 fingers, on both hands, on the grips at all times.

When coming to a complete stop either from higher or lower speeds i always rotate my wrist forward to shut the throttle off and then reach for my brake starting with my pinky finger and moving toward my index (just find i stop more smoothly if i do it that way). I use that same method for optimum control braking and as i said just before stopping at any speed.

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#3 Unread post by TEvo » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:29 am

I don't think there is any one right way. I believe this depends on: the situation, the bike, and the rider's personal preference.

If I am riding in urban areas (Chicago Metro area) or SEE is telling me I am in a situation that may require quick reaction time, I almost always cover the clutch and front brake. Sometimes also the rear.
The Monster has a really stiff clutch pull so I cover that with four fingers. The front brakes are ferocious on that bike so at most, two fingers, often just one. In contrast, the rear brake is pretty weak. The CBR has really light clutch pull so might cover with just two. The front brake doesn't quite have the instant on response so I cover with two and conversely, the rear brake is much stronger and more sensitive so I don't cover it at all on this bike. I have even adjusted the lever lower than it's stock position so that I'd have to really mash it down to lock the rear wheel.

During tight/slow speed manuevers, I will be using a lot of clutch modulation so I will cover that and also the rear brake.
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#4 Unread post by IcyHound » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:28 am

I do the two finger thing on both when I'm in heavy traffic. When I'm cruising along I don't cover either.
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Re: Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

#5 Unread post by shane-o » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:41 am

Grey Thumper wrote:Just trying to get a feel for how people do it around here. Is there an absolutely right way to cover your levers, or is it a matter of personal comfort?

At any speed above say, jogging speed, I cover the brake lever with my pointer and middle fingers, and grab the left grip with all five fingers.

At slow speeds (filtering through traffic, U turns, etc.), I cover my clutch with pointer and middle fingers, and don't cover my front brake lever at all; all 5 fingers are wrapped around the throttle.

When I'm going really slowly, I've found it smoother to modulate speed using the clutch and rear brake (got this tip from Captain Crash). Plus I've accidentally grabbed the front brake during a U turn and almost dumped the bike.


I dont go near my levers unless im going to use them, or I suspect I may need to use them.

In fact, Ill go as far to say, its bad practice to cover levers like your suggesting, cause while ya doing that ya dont have total control over ya bars.

Dont forget, its not braking alone that keeps you alive, its anticipation, safety space, and your overall control over ya bike.

Jus my opinion.



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Re: Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

#6 Unread post by Skier » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:38 am

shane-o wrote:
Grey Thumper wrote:Just trying to get a feel for how people do it around here. Is there an absolutely right way to cover your levers, or is it a matter of personal comfort?

At any speed above say, jogging speed, I cover the brake lever with my pointer and middle fingers, and grab the left grip with all five fingers.

At slow speeds (filtering through traffic, U turns, etc.), I cover my clutch with pointer and middle fingers, and don't cover my front brake lever at all; all 5 fingers are wrapped around the throttle.

When I'm going really slowly, I've found it smoother to modulate speed using the clutch and rear brake (got this tip from Captain Crash). Plus I've accidentally grabbed the front brake during a U turn and almost dumped the bike.


I dont go near my levers unless im going to use them, or I suspect I may need to use them.
That. If I'm riding in deer territory, especially at night, I'm apt to cover the front brake. If my Ridey-Sense (think Spidey-Sense) is tripped I'll cover the front brake.
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Re: Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

#7 Unread post by LS1GOAT » Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:24 pm

shane-o wrote:
Grey Thumper wrote:Just trying to get a feel for how people do it around here. Is there an absolutely right way to cover your levers, or is it a matter of personal comfort?

At any speed above say, jogging speed, I cover the brake lever with my pointer and middle fingers, and grab the left grip with all five fingers.

At slow speeds (filtering through traffic, U turns, etc.), I cover my clutch with pointer and middle fingers, and don't cover my front brake lever at all; all 5 fingers are wrapped around the throttle.

When I'm going really slowly, I've found it smoother to modulate speed using the clutch and rear brake (got this tip from Captain Crash). Plus I've accidentally grabbed the front brake during a U turn and almost dumped the bike.


I dont go near my levers unless im going to use them, or I suspect I may need to use them.

In fact, Ill go as far to say, its bad practice to cover levers like your suggesting, cause while ya doing that ya dont have total control over ya bars.

Dont forget, its not braking alone that keeps you alive, its anticipation, safety space, and your overall control over ya bike.

Jus my opinion.



.
Covering your breaks will shave off probably at least half a second of reaction time for most riders. At 40MPH, half a second is about 30 feet. I'd much rather have that 30 extra feet of insurance over what little control you lose by covering your brake with two fingers.

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Re: Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

#8 Unread post by shane-o » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:52 pm

LS1GOAT wrote:
shane-o wrote:
Grey Thumper wrote:Just trying to get a feel for how people do it around here. Is there an absolutely right way to cover your levers, or is it a matter of personal comfort?

At any speed above say, jogging speed, I cover the brake lever with my pointer and middle fingers, and grab the left grip with all five fingers.

At slow speeds (filtering through traffic, U turns, etc.), I cover my clutch with pointer and middle fingers, and don't cover my front brake lever at all; all 5 fingers are wrapped around the throttle.

When I'm going really slowly, I've found it smoother to modulate speed using the clutch and rear brake (got this tip from Captain Crash). Plus I've accidentally grabbed the front brake during a U turn and almost dumped the bike.


I dont go near my levers unless im going to use them, or I suspect I may need to use them.

In fact, Ill go as far to say, its bad practice to cover levers like your suggesting, cause while ya doing that ya dont have total control over ya bars.

Dont forget, its not braking alone that keeps you alive, its anticipation, safety space, and your overall control over ya bike.

Jus my opinion.



.
Covering your breaks will shave off probably at least half a second of reaction time for most riders. At 40MPH, half a second is about 30 feet. I'd much rather have that 30 extra feet of insurance over what little control you lose by covering your brake with two fingers.


So am I to understand that you ride with 2 fingers over ya front brake at all times ?


If that is what your saying, then good luck to ya, and Ill see you on the other side much later than when you arrive there ;)




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#9 Unread post by NNYrider » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:33 pm

I'll throw my two cents in this ring. (How's that for a mixed metaphor?).

Covering the levers "depends". What is your skill level, what are the conditions/hazards and what bike are your riding?

Skill Level: Are you a novice? If so, don't cover the brake lever. This is one of those habits I have to train out of people. (If you insist on covering the brake, and refuse or are unable to loose the habit, the rider is counselled out of the MSF BRC on the range I work at - Too many panicked, out of control front brake induced dives). Most newbies don't have the familiarity/coordination required to handle the throttle AND the brake at the same time. Covering the brake frequently leads to truly pathetic throttle control. Its four fingers on the throttle or four on the brake. This 'forces' concentration on one task at one time. It works fairly well... Riding at an advanced level? Then by all means do what ya wanna....... Two fingers on the throttle and two on the brake (or something similar) are routine for trail braking...

Conditions: Will I ride covering for extended periods of 'low hazard' riding? Nope. No way. Too tiring. Do I begin to cover when the threat assessment shows increased hazards? you betcha....

Bike: Can you successfully "cover" levers by using a two on-two off finger hold? It depends. If you are riding a decent sportie, with two huge twin calipers up front you can easily bring the bike to a controlled quick stop with two fingers. It's not so easy with an under-braked overwieght cruiser. It's near impossible on a twin drum nighthawk or a mid-80's Harley... Four finger covering? See comments about fatigue and thrreat assessment above...

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#10 Unread post by Penguin » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:05 pm

Me and NNYrider seem to have the same view on this one. If you're experienced and know what you're doing covering your levers then fair enough.

If you're a novice though, don't do it. yes you'll stop quicker in an emergency. But if you go into a corner too quick, the temptation is there to grab the front brake and if you do it you're going to eat tarmac. Plus there's the added problem of faitgue and throttle control, but I wouldn't do it just for this reason. It's so easy to panic brake and dump the bike, whereas if you aren't covering the leavers you need to make a conscious effort to brake.

IMHO of course, and I'm not very experienced so I could well be wrong...that's why I wouldn't do it though.

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#11 Unread post by XB08 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:25 pm

I keep two fingers on my brake most of the time. I only need two to stop her .

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#12 Unread post by Wolfey » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:19 pm

My rear brake is very touchy. Twice I've locked it up without meaning to, luckily both times I came through it okay. But it wasn't fun at all. I can't reach the front brake with any less than all four fingers extended. And the clutch lever is hard to pull, so that requires all four as well.

So now, I use engine braking the most, because sometimes I have to scrub some speed quickly. At such times I feather the front brake with all four fingers to warm it up while down-shifting quickly, and use the front brake together with the engine braking. I've been trying to work out how to integrate the rear brake without locking it up, because it's important to use it too. I want to learn to have the best overall control possible with my bike. It's very hard to feel that rear brake though. I'm going to try using it more at lower speeds to get a better feel for it.

I'm riding an 1100cc cruiser, and I've only had it a month and a half, which is about how long I've been riding (as passenger, excluded).

I always cover the clutch and front brake if things look like they're gonna get a sphincter-factor. I talk myself through the temptation to use them in a panicky manner. So far, so good.
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Re: Which, how, and when do you cover your levers?

#13 Unread post by matthew5656 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:58 am

LS1GOAT wrote:
shane-o wrote:
Grey Thumper wrote:Just trying to get a feel for how people do it around here. Is there an absolutely right way to cover your levers, or is it a matter of personal comfort?

At any speed above say, jogging speed, I cover the brake lever with my pointer and middle fingers, and grab the left grip with all five fingers.

At slow speeds (filtering through traffic, U turns, etc.), I cover my clutch with pointer and middle fingers, and don't cover my front brake lever at all; all 5 fingers are wrapped around the throttle.

When I'm going really slowly, I've found it smoother to modulate speed using the clutch and rear brake (got this tip from Captain Crash). Plus I've accidentally grabbed the front brake during a U turn and almost dumped the bike.


I dont go near my levers unless im going to use them, or I suspect I may need to use them.

In fact, Ill go as far to say, its bad practice to cover levers like your suggesting, cause while ya doing that ya dont have total control over ya bars.

Dont forget, its not braking alone that keeps you alive, its anticipation, safety space, and your overall control over ya bike.

Jus my opinion.



.
Covering your breaks will shave off probably at least half a second of reaction time for most riders. At 40MPH, half a second is about 30 feet. I'd much rather have that 30 extra feet of insurance over what little control you lose by covering your brake with two fingers.
umm, cover your brakes when you ANTICIPATE a hazardous situation. if you cover the brake at all times, your throttle control may well be crap or sketchy at best, and more often you will brake whenever confronted with a sticky situation. you will slam the front brake causing your tire to lock up, and likely a crash, or you will stop too fast causing the cager following too close behind you the inability to avoid pancaking you, likely resulting in an ambulance ride. this would not happen if you kept off the brake, and considered power throttling your way to a safe recovery.

u think that's stupid? i have accelerated my "O Ring" out of far more dangerous situations with cagers than i have ever braked or slowed down for. your bike has superior control and stability if you learn to twist the throttle, instead of repeatedly gripping the brake. or maybe our riding style is different.

but i cover the clutch almost one hundred percent of the time. downshifting will protect you too.

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#14 Unread post by CaptCrashIdaho » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:55 am

Personally, if I'm in slower rolling traffic I'll do the "cover 2" when I"m in heavy traffic that moving fast (busy highway) I do the "cover 4".

Vid with practice tips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQpJDux_M-w

The idea on covering is to shave response time so I tend to cover in situations where time is brutally important...like driving through the nieghborhood at 3:30pm when the kids are running around playing...
I meant to do that.

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#15 Unread post by TexasPhotographer » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:26 pm

There is absolutely no consensus on this. I will not offer an opinion as everyone has their mind already made up.
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#16 Unread post by TEvo » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:24 pm

Indeed. A Texan by the name of Colin Edwards once said, "There is no one way, just ride the $#!% out of it."

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#17 Unread post by CaptCrashIdaho » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:33 pm

TexasPhotographer wrote:There is absolutely no consensus on this. I will not offer an opinion as everyone has their mind already made up.
Might I offer that an opinion would be a good thing? We all do things differently for different reasons. While you may cover all the time and I only cover around other users or when hustling fast--both those are reasonable reasons for reasonable actions.

And the mind you change--might never even post.
I meant to do that.

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#18 Unread post by Wolfey » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:14 pm

TexasPhotographer wrote:There is absolutely no consensus on this. I will not offer an opinion as everyone has their mind already made up.
Aw, c'mon. Just cuz everybody has a preference doesn't mean that your opinion doesn't count! I'm curious.
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