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Front brake on left. Motorbike has it on right - bad idea???(7 posts)

Front brake on left. Motorbike has it on right - bad idea???Synchronicity
Jul 28, 2003 10:52 PM
Hello all,

[I posted a very similar topic on a motorcycle forum to get their opinions]

About ten years ago I swapped the brakes on my bicycles so that the front brake was on the left and the rear brake was on the right. I know in Australia they are usually the other way 'round so as to be more similar to motorcycles/scooters, which ALL have the front brake on the right. In the USA, are the brakes on bicycles the opposite way around to Australian bicycles? (here, the front brake is always on the right side of a bicycle)

I did it for a reason: on the bicycle, front gears are on the left side of handlebar, and rear gears are on the right. It was just easier to learn it that way (all front controls on left; everything rear on right). Kind of like how motorcycles' gear+clutch on leftside of bike & both brakes on right side. That was the main reason. PLUS I thought there was less chance of grabbing a heap of front brake with my fast-reflex right hand [in an emergency] and doing an endo (I think it's easier to accomplish on a bicycle because the centre of gravity is much higher, and the front brakes are not as well-modulated).
PLUS the rear brake requires more modulation on a bicycle, which is also easier to accomplish when you're right-handed! I almost always use both brakes anyway, but I use the rear brake to fine-tune the braking action. PLUS when my right wrist fractured, I could just use my left hand all the time with the more-powerful front brake!

At the time I thought the switch was a good idea, because I knew I wasn't getting a motorbike any time soon. Now in the last 4 months I've been preoccupied with this new motorbike (CBR250RR) & done countless rides, hardly done any bicycle rides - alas only 3 rides this winter as I've broken two wrists in eighteen months :-(
Now on the motorcycle, I've already got used to using the front brake with right hand. What happens when I go back to riding both bikes all the time in the summer, now that the old wrists are okay?

BTW I had to do a full on emergency stop the other day on my motorcycle when I saw some pedestrians in black [night-time] at the last second. If I had to hesitate even for a split second about which brake was front I would have surely whacked them.

Should I change the bicycle so it is the other way around, or what? Remember I've been used to it that way for ten years (30,000+km)!! Thanks. My, that was a long post.
re: Front brake on left. Motorbike has it on right - bad idea???CallMeClyde
Jul 29, 2003 12:08 AM
I have been riding bicycles for at least 30 years and motorcycles more than 20. Regardless of the fact that they both have handlebars and a seat, they are totally different vehicles with different dynamics, different seating positions, and different controls for everything - not just the front brakes.

Just as when you sit in a car you know that you dont use your right hand for the front brake, you will automatically know your controls on a bicycle vs a motorcycle when you get used to the vehicles.
could'nt 've said it better. nm.Steve_0
Jul 29, 2003 3:53 AM
Amen and then some!hycobob
Jul 29, 2003 4:32 AM
How well would it work to try a foot rear brake on a bicycle pedel? I can't get over the image of the cable wrapping around the crank and locking up before you get a single revolution. Then you have the delema of which side...most ricers are right brake, but my '65 sportster was left brake. And just think of the confusion when riders try to shift gears!!!
re: Front brake on left. Motorbike has it on right - bad idea???rwbadley
Jul 29, 2003 6:50 AM
Having ridden MC for many years, I found I was so used to modulating the front brake with my right hand, that it just made sense to front brake bike with right also.

I don't like to worry that in an emergency there will be any confusion.
never really thought about itmoschika
Jul 29, 2003 8:38 AM
until i read this post.

i suppose your reasoning makes sense but it's really been a non-issue for me. i've never been confused by which lever to pull whether on my bicycle or Vespa in the past 12 years, even when i've gotten off one to get on the other in the same day/hour.

i get more confused when i go from a stick to an automatic. nothing like putting your foot down on the clutch only to realize there isn't one.
Cyclocross bikes use front brake on right (nm)geeker
Jul 29, 2003 10:21 AM