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View Poll Results: Do you cover your front brakes when you ride?
1) Yes, I cover the front brakes. I think it's safer this way. 56 57.73%
2) No, I do not cover the front brakes. I think it's safer this way. 41 42.27%
Voters: 97. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-06-2007, 08:32 PM   #1
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Debate (& Poll): Covering the Front Brakes

These books on Motorcycle Riding Technique recommend covering the front brakes when you ride, all authored by respected experts in the field:
Proficient Motorcycling (Hough)
More Proficient Motorcycling (Hough)
Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques (Parks)
Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track (Ienatsch)
Twist of the Wrist II (Code)

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recommends to NOT cover the front brakes. Reason being that it presents the rider the opportunity to grab too much brake.

What do you think, and why? Let the Debate begin...
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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it depends on the sit. lotsa traffic cover it, if not don't.

also new riders tend to overbrake the ft brakes. i tell them in class cover the clutch, squeeze that first, if need be then apply ft brake. if they already have the ft brake covered, and the rider in ft touches their bike, becuase of their newness tend to overreact and GRAB ft brake.......and down they go. a quick squeeze of the clutch will usually slow them down enough.

in the end, there is no "RIGHT" answer.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:37 PM   #3
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I usually ride with my middle finger over the front brake, i dunno y i do it......but ive done it as long as i can remember.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:39 PM   #4
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What racerx said, I dont cover it unless in traffic. or better yet, unless your racing or zooming thru traffic no point in covering it.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:39 PM   #5
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I cover the clutch and the brake when in traffic, one or two fingers.. old habit from MX days but it does save reaction time in an emergency.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER X View Post
it depends on the sit. lotsa traffic cover it, if not don't.

in the end, there is no "RIGHT" answer.
Is this your opinion as an MSF Instructor, or your own personal opinion on the matter? What does the MSF specifically direct their Instructors to teach their students?
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:47 PM   #7
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i teach what i wrote. there are no absolute's. there is no perfect answer.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:48 PM   #8
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BTW, I always cover the clutch. I cover the front brakes with one or two fingers when in traffic, on roads with many driveways or hidden streets, or other conditions that raise my alertness level.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
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i teach what i wrote. there are no absolute's. there is no perfect answer.
I understand what you wrote, therefore I understand what you teach. What about my 2 questions?
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:54 PM   #10
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there is no absolute's written in the MSF program. the range cards (riding ex.) say to cover the clutch the first couple exercise. i think the vid. says "it;s a good idea to cover the ft brake in traffic" yada yada yada.

msf is about letting you make your own decisions.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:04 PM   #11
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Then why do some Instructors insist on not covering the brakes. One Instructor responded that that is what the MSF directs them to teach.

While we're on the topic of braking, they also insist using all 4 fingers to stop (another debatable issue), when on some bikes you can easily lock the front with 2 fingers? Heck, I can only get 2 fingers on my Pazzos.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:07 PM   #12
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I cover the clutch too but just with my first 2 fingers... if im not in traffic then I dont...
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:11 PM   #13
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BTW, that Instructor did also add that there are other reputable opinions on the matter. So I'm not questioning whether you're right or wrong, but just why the MSF guidelines suggest that the front brakes not be covered (and furthermore, that 4 fingers be used).

Personally, I agree with you Racer X.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:16 PM   #14
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How exactly will "a qiuck squeeze of the clutch" do anything to slow you down,by pulling the clutch in you take away from the engine's ability to slow the bike(which is quite effecient). Without that you simply add time to the fact that the bike is coasting with little rolling resistance. Seems to me the better way would be to say"get off the gas,brake,then pull the clutch" except in emergency stopping when the last thing you should be worried about is coming to a stop in the wrong gear or stalling the bike.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob919 View Post
Then why do some Instructors insist on not covering the brakes. One Instructor responded that that is what the MSF directs them to teach.

While we're on the topic of braking, they also insist using all 4 fingers to stop (another debatable issue), when on some bikes you can easily lock the front with 2 fingers? Heck, I can only get 2 fingers on my Pazzos.
in the first few ex. the range book says not to cover the ft brake (becuase of what i wrote IMO). from there, there is no mention of what brakes to cover.

as for 2-4 fingers i recommend 4 all the time, think of those hand squeeze machines, you can do it w/ 2 but you have more control and strength w/ 4.

2 fingers is prolly fine for MOST stopping conditions, but in an emergancy you want max. strength and control. and you can't get that w/ 2 fingers. and if you don't practice w/ 4 and your in an emergancy, you'll overpower the ft brakes.

and yeah yeah it offers enough power, i have pics of Rossi and the likes using all 4 fingers, if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. and they're scrubbing off speed, not emergancy stopping.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1badzx12r View Post
How exactly will "a qiuck squeeze of the clutch" do anything to slow you down,by pulling the clutch in you take away from the engine's ability to slow the bike(which is quite effecient). Without that you simply add time to the fact that the bike is coasting with little rolling resistance. Seems to me the better way would be to say"get off the gas,brake,then pull the clutch" except in emergency stopping when the last thing you should be worried about is coming to a stop in the wrong gear or stalling the bike.
becuase new riders over-react, my saying, is that the ft brake is your best friend and your worst enemy. squeezing the clutch lets you get a second of thought vs ACK BRAKE! also you have more control of the bike stopping when the clutch is disengaged. engine braking is hard to balance into braking when in an emergancy.

i like to teach this sequence, when braking all the time clutch....ft brake.....rear brake.......down shift.........left foot dn.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:31 PM   #17
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I agree that new riders may overreact but i still think that grabbing the clutch first is a waste of reaction time,seems like more emphasis should be put on brake balance and control(if you use the front,use the back just the same) and for new riders they should adjust the brake lever for more travel that would also give them a second of thought imo
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:33 PM   #18
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they overreact and grab too much ft brake.the extra travel would be overcome in milleseconds not seconds. also w/ clutch engaged they can concentrate on 100% braking vs 90% and 10% engine braking.

also braking is not even, 70-80% ft and the rest rear. overpowering the rear brake is also anothe common problem.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:36 PM   #19
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i cover somtimes and not even no im doing it.
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Old 10-06-2007, 09:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER X View Post
it depends on the sit. lotsa traffic cover it, if not don't.

also new riders tend to overbrake the ft brakes. i tell them in class cover the clutch, squeeze that first, if need be then apply ft brake. if they already have the ft brake covered, and the rider in ft touches their bike, becuase of their newness tend to overreact and GRAB ft brake.......and down they go. a quick squeeze of the clutch will usually slow them down enough.

in the end, there is no "RIGHT" answer.
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