Quick Tip: Ride with 1 finger on the clutch and front brake


A mistake I see many beginner-intermediate riders make is gripping both handlebar grips with all 5 fingers and only grabbing the brake or clutch when needed.

The problem with this is that you loose control of your bike during that transition from grips to clutch/front brake lever, and if you’re doing it while riding through braking bumps, you have a high chance of loosing control of your bike or having your hand slip of the grips.

You need to train yourself to ride with 1 finger on each lever, so that you’re always ready to use them right away while still keeping complete control over your bike.

Which finger you use doesn’t matter, as long as you’re comfortable doing it. I myself always use my index finger on both levers, but many riders prefer to use their middle finger to clutch and brake and keep their index finger on the grip.

I tried it a few times and couldn’t stand it, so it’s really up to you. The image below shows Christophe Pourcel using both his left and right middle finger to grab the clutch and front brake lever:

In this image, you can see Pourcel getting ready for the upcoming turn by positioning both his middle fingers on the levers, and getting ready to brake into the turn.

In this image, you can see Pourcel getting ready for the upcoming turn by positioning both his middle fingers on the levers, and getting ready to brake into the turn.

Let me clarify something: you don’t need to always ride with 1 finger on the clutch or front brake lever.So how do you know when and where to do it or not?

Well for example, a good place not to do it would be going up a hill or going down a fast straight, as you don’t need to be ready to brake or use the clutch since you’re wide open, but you need to make sure you get ready in time for the upcoming corner.

For example, if your going down a long straight wide open, and there’s a tight right hand turn at the end, don’t wait until you’re in the braking zone to grab your front brake lever and clutch! Get ready a few seconds before by moving both fingers in position (you can do this while still being wide open), so that you’ll be ready to act before hitting the braking bumps, not as you ride through them.

Now get off the computer and go practice!

  • Hi Michael,

    As far as re-griping when getting OFF the gas, you should never do it unless you don't need to use the front brake anymore. 90% of the time when you start braking coming in a turn, you still need your front brake until you reach the apex of the turn.

    For example, when you get into a inside rut, you should be coming in fast enough to use your front brake halfway through the rut, and releasing it as soon as you get back on the gas. If you don't need your front brake when coming in a rut, then you're braking too early or not coming in fast enough. 

    Another thing, you don't want to be changing your grip while going through braking bumps, or you might end-up on the ground. I really can't think of a scenario where you would need to regrip when getting OFF the gas…you should be braking the whole time until you get back on the gas again.

    So if you feel comfortable leaving your finger on the brake/clutch until you accelerate again, then stick to that and don't listen to what others tell you.

    Ronron

  • Michael

    Hi Stephane,

    I've just noticed this post. I know it was written a year ago but I'm hoping that you see it.  Your advice has helped me a lot.  Just wondering if I'm practising the right way.  When I'm wide open I hold with my whole hand and as I'm about to shut off I lift my index finger and it slides over the lever and I start braking as I shut off.

     I've read people recommending a regrip when going from acceletating to braking and from braking to accelerating.  Do you recommend this??? If so could you tell me how to regrip when getting OFF the gas.  I'm ok with regripping the throttle getting ON the gas.  Not sure if you let go and let the throttle spring back a little.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Michael

  • Michael

    Hi Stephane,

    I've just noticed this post. I know it was written a year ago but I'm hoping that you see it.  Your advice has helped me a lot.  Just wondering if I'm practising the right way.  When I'm wide open I hold with my whole hand and as I'm about to shut off I lift my index finger and it slides over the lever and I start braking as I shut off.

     I've read people recommending a regrip when going from acceletating to braking and from braking to accelerating.  Do you recommend this??? If so could you tell me how to regrip when getting OFF the gas.  I'm ok with regripping the throttle getting ON the gas.  Not sure if you let go and let the throttle spring back a little.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Michael

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  • Good question Matthew!
    It's a technique you have to work on by using the tip of your fingers to hold the throttle wide open, all while rotating your hand enough to allow your finger to reach the brake. First you want to make sure that you never accelerate with your wrist bent all the way down, because it weakens your grip as well as makes it difficult to position your finger on the brake. So make sure you grab your throttle with your wrist rotated forward so that it's in a comfortable position when you're wide open. This will make it much easier to position your finger on the brake.

  • Hey Stephane,

    How do you position your finger on the brake while still full throttle? Wouldn't you have to release the throttle still to shut it off? Or do you just brake with a massive over grip?

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