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I see all sorts of techniques and non-techniques.

How doyou do it,and why? What works for you? How have you changed over the years? Do you do it differently on a V-Strom vs. other bikes?

I do the two-finger, the index and middle. Although I practice "panics", can't say I've had a real-life one, so I really don't know how much it takes to lock the front and whether I can with two fingers. A whole fist, maybe.

One thing I notice is sometimes the other fingers get in the way a tad if still on the throttle. I don't know to what extent they prevent a total lock-up, however.

What do you do?
 

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I like covering the brake lever on bikes that can do a two finger stoppie. I can't do that with stock Stroms so I don't cover. I can get four fingers on the lever faster from all four on the grip than with two on the lever to start.
 

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covering

2 fingers brake
2 fingers clutch

its what I use onthe EX250, I suppose I do the same on the Wee - I don't think about that stuff anymore
 

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I use two fingers on front brakes and three on clutch. On the highway I do not cover the levers. In curves and off road I cover the front brake with 2 fingers. I learned to cover levers while riding MX bikes so that off road I could still hold the grips while either braking or shifting (my original 2-stroke MX bike required a lot more shifting than the Wee). Since the Wee is torquey, has good engine braking, and has long gears I don't shift that much off road so I usually do not cover the clutch.

Laugh at this or not, but I also cover front and rear brakes on my mountain bike with two fingers for the same reason. I also raced BMX as a kid for years and covered the rear brake with 2 fingers so now this technique is automatic. You may notice that nicer mountain bikes, and competition quality BMX bikes, use short levers to encourage proper hand placement and facilitate rider comfort. Adjusting the travel on the lever, and the angle, can further optimize fit even on stock levers.

To assist with nice lever feel I replaced the big OEM levers on the Wee with CRG Roll-A-Click shorty levers which are highly adjustable on the fly. My upgraded brakes (GSXR 750 calipers and Galfer HH sintered pads) make two finger stops a breeze. Shorter levers also fit inside my Acerbis hand guards better.
 

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I use one finger (right pointer) all the time to cover the front brake. The clutch I really don't cover.......never encountered a panic shift. :yikes:

...
 

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A significant portion of my commute is spent whizzing by much slower traffic in the lanes to my immediate right and it is not uncommon for some of them to unexpectedly pop out into my lane, so yes I spend a great deal of my commute covering the brake and clutch. I have largish hands, long fingers and a fairly strong grip so I tend to cover the levers with all four fingers, as I don't like having my ring and pinkie finger squashed between the lever and the grip during a sudden hard stop when needed. My thumb and palm are strong enough to maintain and adjust throttle position as needed for extended periods of time. And yes I have found out through real events that is the best *for me* and is optimum for my riding environment.

If the Wee had really strong sensitive brakes I would re-adjust to a two-fingered grip.

I also practice panic stops and swerves religously and have a gmykhana-type practice routine I go through regularly, at least once every two to four weeks, at the local DMV test range after-hours.
 

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"One thing I notice is sometimes the other fingers get in the way a tad if still on the throttle."

Do you have the lever adjusted all the way out to prevent pinched fingers?
 

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MSF safety classes all teach to cover the brake with 4-fingers. My buddy teaches these classes and we got into a lengthy debate [beer fueled], about it.............I maintained that your two outside fingers [pinkie and adjacent] are very strong grippers [bio mechanically speaking], which offers better handlebar control while braking/maneuvering around and over obstacles [yes - I also mentioned the MX/mtb correlation here]. He agree'd that everything I said was true, but for one simple fact.

The MSF teaches 4-finger braking, to newbies, primarily as a safety issue. The MSF is concerned that unless all fingers are on the brake lever for braking, there is a greatly reduced possibility of a new rider holding the throttle open while braking - which he said happens occasionally in MSF classes. New riders often have difficulty with the 2-finger habit. He said it's just 'easier to teach em that way'. One less thing for the instructors to have to worry about, and the students learn to brake.

I use 2 fingers, mountain bike and moto. I also have my front brake on the right side of my mountain bike [duh!], which is a big no-no in the mtb world! Whole nuther bag o' worms there.
 

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It is a good idea when/if you anticipate trouble.

Going down hill on a bad road
Jerk in front who doesn't keep a constant speed.

You do save a couple of tenths in time which at 60 is like 15 feet.
 

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It is a good idea when/if you anticipate trouble.

Going down hill on a bad road
Jerk in front who doesn't keep a constant speed.

You do save a couple of tenths in time which at 60 is like 15 feet.
or you could not tailgate instead

personally, I think covering the brake is a bad idea just like riding the brake or clutch in a car or using her left foot to brake on an automatic rather than yer right foot



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what is the purpose in "covering the brake"

do you cover the brake when driving a car ?
or you could not tailgate instead

personally, I think covering the brake is a bad idea just like riding the brake or clutch in a car or using her left foot to brake on an automatic rather than yer right foot
Yeahhh....well, you'd have to open your mind up a little bit and imagine that other people encounter scenarios beyond the limited ones that support one narrow viewpoint you present. In other words, this applies to situations other than tailgating (for example I don't tailgate, if that makes it clearer).

Since you ask, the purpose of covering the brake is to simply save time needed to engage it when needed. Simple concept really, suprised you haven't heard of it.

This is different than "riding" the brake or clutch when in a car in a few ways:

a) You are not moving while keeping either one partially engaged all the time or even frequently, which is the typical interpretation of the term when it is used to "riding" the brake or clutch when in car. When someone is said to be riding the brake in a car, tnat usually means that they are constantly and frequently activating the brake, up to even keepign pressure on the brake pedal at the same time as pressing the accellerator. Not the case here.

b) This is not using the "wrong" foot or hand to activate the control, as is the case in a car (left foot braking) for reasons that really ought to be obvious to you. In this case the controls (levers) are being activated by the very appendage that they are designed and meant to be activated by.

There isn't any misuse or overuse going on here, just quicker use when needed if situations ever warrant it. If you don't typically ride in environments where that may be a handy thing to have in your defensive riding toolbox, more power to you. But for those who do, it can indeed have significant value as those who have been there can attest.
 

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Two fingers on the brake lever most of the time, except occasionaly on the highway. I can actuate the ABS on dry pavement (or not, as I want) with my two fingers, which equates to adequate strength and control. Front brakes are a bit mushy on the Strom, mine anyway, but I have yet to squeeze my other two fingers with the lever, which is adjusted full-out (big hands). I feel much safer with my two finger 'cover'.

When riding with gusto, or in traffic, I two finger the clutch lever also. I do mash my two grip fingers on occasion.

Marc
 

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I only cover in a situation where I anticipate trouble. For instance, if somebody is waiting to turn left in front of me I will cover the brakes with two fingers. (sometimes I even brake a little just to get the weight shift started in case I need to stop in a hurry)

I cover with two fingers because that's how I always brake. I can squeeze plenty hard enough with two fingers.
 

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.

I use 2 fingers, mountain bike and moto. I also have my front brake on the right side of my mountain bike [duh!], which is a big no-no in the mtb world! Whole nuther bag o' worms there.
You too? I always have to warm my non motorcycle riding buddies about the brake swap. They all look at me stupid and ask why. I just tell them that if they took up motorcycle riding then they would understand. Back in my college days, a buddy of mine flipped my Specialized in spectacular fashion when he thought he was grabbing a handful of rear brake. It was quite hilarious at the time as we had a few beers in us when it happened.
 

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what is the purpose in "covering the brake"

do you cover the brake when driving a car ?
Interesting point!

But downhill mountain bikers, off road riders, and track riders do cover the brake ... despite what beginners learn in MSF courses. The BMW off road riding school practices covering the brake, which is a school for big dual sport bikes like the GS class taught by a pro. I'd be interested if Freddy Spencer's sportbike racing school addresses this issue. If I'm not mistaken I think Nick Ienatch's Sport Bike Riding Techniques book promotes covering the brake and he is a head instructor for Freddy Spencer and respected moto-journalist.
 

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In the city four fingers covering, otherwise my R foot hits the brakes first also covering helps me better control the throttle. On a country road no covering - easier to get WOT
 

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Always cover the brake with two fingers and 99% of the time I'm covering the clutch as well (4 fingers).

Compared with my other bike I think it's even more important to cover the brakes on the Strom - the hand guards are another thing that can get in the way when you're in a hurry to grab the picks.
 

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Generally cover the front brake when I perceive a possible threat. So coming up to intersections with opposing traffic, blind corners, car backing out of driveway, etc. Generally with pointer finger only, as I have long fingers, big hand. Easy enough to curl the other fingers up and over. Tend to roll off the throttle a bit as well if there's no following traffic and ease over into the part of the lane that provides the best clearance/longest warning. Not much point in covering the back brake, since on a real panic stop there's very little weight on the back tire, and the tendency is to step too hard and lockup the backup. I HATE cages with dark tinted windows, as it is darn near impossible to see what the driver is doing and where the driver is looking. Big trick is to anticipate what sort of stupidity the cager is about to manifest, and take corrective action before it happens.
 

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As a retired over-the-road truck driver with over 3,000,000 miles driven over a period of 40 years, I attended many defensive driving courses & seminars. One of the first things I learned was about reaction time, and how long it takes to move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal. As well as weight of vehicle, and speed and distance needed to whoa down a 40 ton vehicle. Covering the brake is the best safety defense you have in an emergency or slippery road condition, or just heavy traffic condition as well, plus using your eyes & brain to pay attention to your surroundings.
This training has served me well in my professional, personal and pleasure driving experiences. I practice it every time I'm riding my motorcycles, it will serve you well if you practice it too. It looks like all you guys have already figured that out. I cover my rear brake as well as the front at certain times. Fractions of a second count, and can save you from harm, that is why it should be something you always do, so that it becomes natural.
Roadduster:yesnod:
 
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