Whats with Americans with their brakes the WRONG way around?!

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Bigbananabike, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    You're like the only country that does it (and thankfully a lot of you don't) - having the right hand lever cabled to the back brake and the left one to the front. Is it a hang over from driving on the right hand side of the road?

    Watching LA's 2003 infamous near miss as Beloki came off in front of him I could see that his back wheel locked up and he slid and nearly highsided(a motorcyling term) his bike.
    He might have great bike handling skills but he had the brakes as I described and it ends up being too easy to put too much pressure on the back brakes(assuming righthandedness).

    Think motorcycles(of which I have years of fast road riding experience). The front brake is on the right hand side. The brake bias is on the front. It works!
    When I've got in to fast, tight corners I almost never use the rear brake - as many racers don't.
     
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  2. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    The brake control (front/rear) corresponds with the derailleur control (front/rear). Seems like it might be confusing having the right hand control the rear shifting and front braking, but I guess one gets used to whatever they ride most often. Any motorcycles that I've ever ridden have the rear brake control on a foot pedal.

    So, how was Beloki's superior braking setup different than Lance's? ;)
     
  3. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    It's the law, I think. So the question becomes why did some lawmaker think it was a good idea?
     
  4. fleshbroiler

    fleshbroiler New Member

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    So why is it a bad thing and what makes right/rear-left/front wrong? Assuming over excited right handedness, I'd rather lock up my rear wheel than my front.
     
  5. root

    root New Member

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    This is not an American thing. I grew up in Europe and every bike I ever owned was setup exacly the same right hand side is wired to the rear break, and the left to the front.
     
  6. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    Yeah, that bias makes for a lot of head-over-handlebar funny motorcycle crash video watching on Youtube. :) In case of emergency, use both brakes like you're supposed to and there will be no bias. If you have any videos of you using front brakes going into a fast turn on your bicycle send them our way. Hint: 23 mm tires don't stick to the road all that well. ;)

    BTW, who came up with the front brakes on motorcycles being on the right side. Didn't they know that bicycles were already the other way around? :rolleyes:
     
  7. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I was going to say the Japanese messed it up with their motorcycles, but then I remembered that my Shimano bike shifters were right, so that couldn't be it. If they had STI shifters for motorcycles I think it would solve all the problems. They could put clutch/front brake on the left hand, and shifting/rear brake on the right hand, and all would be right with the world. Acceleration would be on the foot pedals of course, where it belongs. :p
     
  8. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    Having roadraced motorcycles prior to racing bikes, I thought it was kinda stupid too. Soo much so that when I got my first mountain bike (prior to my first road bike) I switched it (right front).

    When I got my first road bike, I didn't switch it because you would need to re-tape to do so and was being a bit lazy. After a while, I ended up liking it for road because I drink with my right hand leaving my left hand over the front brake during that situation. It does make switching to my MTB a little funny though.
     
  9. norwegian_moose

    norwegian_moose New Member

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    It's not just an american thing. It's actually more like a "everyone except the british and former british colonies and a few others" type thing.

    blaming locking up the rear brake because the lever is on the right hand side would only be the case for someone who has never learnt to control his bike.

    high siding, as I understand it for both bicycles and motorcycles, tends to happen if you brake in a turn. the solution is to either enter the turn at an appropriate speed, or gently apply your brakes.

    take a look at the road bikes of some of the british pros. from what I've observed they run their rear brakes on the right and front brakes on the left.
    if you don't believe me, check out mark cavendish's bike on www.cyclingnews.com
     
  10. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Which way round provides the tidiest cable routing for Shimano? (I ride campag and have the front brake on the right - same as for when I rode motorcycles).
     
  11. beerco

    beerco New Member

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    Unless you can reverse the brake calipers (which I've never tried), right rear; left front.
     
  12. strader

    strader New Member

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    I switch all my bikes around as soon as I get them. I rode motorcycles for several years before getting my first mountain bike, and tried for weeks to get used to left hand/rear brake. I just couldn't get my brain rewired. After switching them around everything was second nature.
     
  13. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    It's also an Australian thing, for some silly reason. You occasionally see Aussie pros with their front brake on the right lever.

    It makes perfect sense for Shimano to have the front brake attached to the left lever, so you can change gears witht he right while braking heavily with the left/front. Like, going into a tight corner in a race, you can slam the front brake on and gear down for 'exit gear' :)
     
  14. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    you are quite right, the normal set up in Australia is right/front, etc. You will find that alot of the more serious racers will swap to what we call Euro style which is right rear for exactly the reasons that you pointed out.

    Funny thing is that the only time I have ever locked up a wheel while breaking was when I had it in the orginal setting of right/front.
     
  15. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Shimano front brakes expect the cable to come into the left side of the calipers (if you are facing the front of the bike, which would be the right side of the calipers if you were riding the bike), so it's a little easier (and only a little) to run the front brake cable under/across the stem and then down to the calipers. If it were the other way around (the front controlled by the right lever), the cable would come off the bars "earlier" and the tight angle on the housing might affect slightly braking performance. It would be a very slight effect though.
     
  16. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    My friend who insists that right lever/front brake is "correct" (who, BTW, never rode motorcycles) says it's the "Italian way". My anecdotal evidence says that he is correct. Since Italy is part of Europe, you've made a bit of a generality there that doesn't hold up. ;)

    I personally have all my bikes left lever/left brake. I'm used to it, have no problems and I see no reason to change. I get into this discussion with that same friend about our cyclocross bikes. Supposedly, I have mine set up "wrong" for 'cross. (Reinterated by Simon Burney) He says that I should have it left lever/rear brake because it's easier to modulate your speed when approaching a barrier (or other obstacle) in a left-sided dismount. Supposedly, otherwise you would risk locking up the front wheel and going over the bars. The problem with that is that first of all, cantilever brakes for 'cross aren't powerful enough to stop you that well anyway. (Our joke about poor braking power is, "What do you need brakes for anyway? They only slow you down." :)) Second of all, if you are doing a dismount well, you're weight is pretty far back on the bike. You're not going to tip forward. I have no problems with my "wrong" setup.
     
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