To Cover or Not To Cover?

Greetings to all in MOland,

A couple of weeks ago, I had a lengthy debate with an MSF instructor whilst taking the Experienced Rider Course.

We debated over "covering" the front brake while riding. The debate started because he kept telling me not to.

I maintained that covering can...

1. Help shorten stopping distance by reducing reaction time. (other factors being equal)

2. Allow better front brake modulation at the initial onset of braking by starting with two fingers, then adding the others if needed.

3. Reaching for the front brake with a 4-finger grab might get you a locked front wheel, especially in a panic scenario.

He maintained that

1. If I'm scanning/percieving/reacting correctly, then I'll have enough reaction time. (textbook answer but okay)

2. The viscosity of my brake fluid changed because of age and now my brakes don't perform the way they used to, therefore I might get my other two fingers caught between the lever and the grip during hard braking. (stretching a bit here methinks)

Sidebar...what he doesn't know is that I always keep my bikes in top mechanical condition, but I didn't want to go down that road with him. Besides, I can squeeze the lever with BOTH hands and it still won't touch the grip.

3. My having to reach for the brake with all 4 fingers will force me to roll the throttle closed, and provide me with a little extra time before braking to get an assessment of the situation. He then asked if I would drive a car with my toes on the gas and heel on the brake. (yes, for heel/toe downshifts)

4. The only time I should be covering the front brake is under certain racetrack situations. (he didn't specify which ones, or even which track)

5. Not covering will teach me better throttle control habits. (I'll agree with this one, I've tried it)

My comments notwithstanding, I believe there is merit to both sides of this issue; however are MSF instructors REQUIRED to recommend the same methods or does individual preference prevail?

Thank You to all who reply

Ride safe...veepster

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George Obradovich
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