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pushrod 10-21-2003 06:30 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
JB, good idea!

However, a buddy (with his XB9S) has trouble with this method... he has trouble trying to keep both tires on the ground!

johnnyb 10-21-2003 06:35 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
Just like a good fighter aircraft, the best motorcycles are inherently unstable, making emergency direction changes that much easier whether planned or not. Are you religious? Sometimes I think a good bike crash is God's way of saying, pull your ass over and think things out, young man. Here, have some pain too. Aids the concentration, don't you think?

pushrod 10-21-2003 06:46 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
As the pilots here who have survived an ejection say, I now have a second birthday!

Yep, the healing process gives one a long time to reflect. As I pointed out in an earlier string, it's what is important to you. Another buddy (with a Speed Triple- I don't know why I hang around these guys!) is actually the preacher for the Christian Sportbike Association (, and one of his favorite lines is, "Nobody gets out of here alive."

So, ya gotta enjoy your life. It's all risk management.

Number one on my list is to never ride on US129 again.

Vlad 10-21-2003 07:04 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
First off, the MSF instructor is patently wrong, since covering the front brake is a good idea for an experienced rider. I always cover mine during intown riding or when confronting a dangerous or unknown situation. However, there is a downside to covering the front brake for the beginning rider (as my MSF instructor told me). The beginning rider may panic and lock up the front brake, so he said that they had been taught in Georgia to encourage beginning riders not to cover the front brake during course exercises.

So for the experienced, yeah, cover it. You will save significant time in braking.


F451 10-21-2003 07:05 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
It is simply a function of the make and model of motorcycle you own or ride. Some of the older rides require much more than two fingers and some of the newer rides, with ABS, change the game.

Moral: Know thy motorcycle and how it stops best or do not ride it because you'll screw up anyway.

naco_traficante 10-21-2003 08:31 AM

Do whatever makes sense at the moment.
I cover momentarily every time I see a T-bone situation ahead ... left-turning cars facing me, cars on left or right streets planning to enter traffic. Otherwise I don't.

mscuddy 10-21-2003 08:35 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
It all depends on where you are, and what you're riding.

I went to Rolf Tibblin's MX School in the early 70's, and he would go absolutley ape if you didn't have two fingers on the clutch, and two on the front brake lever. If you didn't, he would scream at you in Sweedish, and make you run laps in full MX gear.

Sometimes, if the situation warrants (read that Volvos, soccer moms in mini-vans), I have two fingers on the front brake lever, two on the clutch, and my feet poised over the shifter and brake pedal, ready for anything.

Since I make a daily commute that (seemingly) goes through downtown Mogadishu, it would be nice if I could have two hands on the front brake lever, another two hands on the clutch, one free hand to fold down side view mirrors, and yet another hand to "flip the bird", as it were. This would involve genetic engineering, and I'd have to get all my suits re-tailored. So that's out.

On my Cushman, this means keeping my left hand hovering over the shift knob, with my left foot ready, to disengage the clutch. My throttle hand has got two (2) fingers on the front brake lever, and my right foot has taken up the slack, so to speak, on the rear brake.

Now on the BSA, it's all reversed. This means my right foot is at the ready, to shift. My throttle hand's busy, trying to keep the engine from stalling, and, at the same time, clamping down on those horrible steel Lucas blades. Also, it's one-up, three down, so that adds to the fun.

Since the Kawasaki can't stop, I go real slow, and try to keep all my limbs and digits firmly on devices that aid deceleration. I've even used the "Fred Flintstone" method a few times.

Whatever works.

KPaulCook 10-21-2003 09:37 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
When I took the MSF experienced rider class they introduced trail braking using the 2 finger approach. Because I have small hands for my size (6' 200 lbs.), I prefer to keep all fingers off. My throttle control is much better. Everyone says that the all racers do the 2 finger trail braking thing but I heard Troy Corser uses the convential approach, complete all braking before the turn i.e. he never covers the brake. He is also really smooth. I agree with you though veepster. Both methods should be OK for an experienced rider. If my hands were bigger or could adjust my lever more than I can now I would probably use the 2 finger approach and trail brake.

irondad 10-21-2003 09:38 AM

Re: To Cover or Not To Cover?
I know these things can take on a life of their own but I would like to offer one more comment on two finger braking versus four from the viewpoint of an instructor. I ride sport bikes that will brake with one finger. I advocate covering the brake in high risk situations such as busy streets with multiple intersections. However, I also advocate riding with the same habits you will fall back on in stressful situations. If you can absolutely guarantee that you will ALWAYS!!! use two fingers on the brake even when your rear end is clamped tight enough to crack walnuts, more power to you. My experience is that under stress ALL FOUR FINGERS GO FOR THE BRAKE. If you are not used to that then it is a surprise you don't need at that time. Always ride with consistently good habits and they will work to your advantage and not disadvantage in touchy situations.

nokneedragin 10-21-2003 10:47 AM

Re: why I don't cover any more
I have to disagree with the idea of grabbing the brakes with four fingers. The few people I helped get into motorcycles I taught to cover (I'm not an MSF instructor just "helped afew people learn to ride, don't do it any more)

IMO, a newbie rider is more likley to grab too much front brake (by transitioning from throttle to lever), than with the cover method. Which can be dangerous considering the varied road surfaces (wet, oily etc.), and you can add the additional fingers as required by the situation (as fast as grabing with all four), and get the benifit of an earlier brake application.

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