Right hand lever = front brake. Just a kiwi thing?

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MattSoutherden
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by MattSoutherden

It's to do with how you need to control the bike and look at traffic. If you look back over your shoulder and remove your offside hands from the bars to signal, then you don't want to be pulling the front brake with your nearside hand as one-handed front braking is generally harder to control then the rear.
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KB
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by KB

In the 60's when I started I always had the front brake on the left. My reasoning was that you needed you right hand to change gear on the downtube, so braking and trying to change gear in a sprint with the same hand was not such a good idea. Nowadays not so important due to changing at the levers and the equipment being much better nowadays.

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eric
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by eric

If you're braking or changing gear (with a downtube lever) in a sprint you're doing it wrong.

I rode in the downtube shifter days too and that was never a reason for front brake on the left.

In the US the state DMVs tell cyclists to signal turns with their left arm- straight out for a left turn, hand up for a right turn. These days most motorists either never knew that or forgot it, so I signal right turns with my right arm. If you follow the DMV method and beleive that the front brake is not to be touched except in dire emergency (as the DMV is likely to do, not beign cyclists), then the front brake on the left makes sense.

I'm also a long time motorcyclist. But I have no problem using my right hand for the front brake on a moto and left hand for the front brake on a bike. It's automatic. Which is why I've never felt the need to switch the bike brakes. Also I'd have to do it to all my bikes at once.

lippythelion
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by lippythelion

I think Pantani had the right lever for front brake even though Italians generally have the right lever for rear brake. A couple of guys round here who rode in Belgium in their early careers now have the right lever for rear brake because their teams told the that it had to be that way, and they got used to it.

Franklin
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by Franklin

eric wrote:If you're braking or changing gear (with a downtube lever) in a sprint you're doing it wrong.


Eric, take a look at this finale and be amazed how important the brakes are, even in the last KM.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeCRnFq_9Lo

With all the throwing you sometimes will use your brake in a tumultous sprint, just to slow done for a fraction to avoid a spill. Braking really hard in a sprint is of course criminally insane :mrgreen:

Zakalwe
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by Zakalwe

I use Euro left-front braking here in the UK because turn right signals are more critical than left, and I want to have my strongest brake available when my right hand is off the bar.

That my left hand is stronger, and front-front rear-rear shifter cabling makes most sense, is a happy side effect.

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kbbpll
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by kbbpll

I ran right-lever front brake starting early 80s on downtube shifters, but that seemed rare in the US. My reasoning was that physics makes the rear much easier to lock up, so my stronger right hand goes on front brake. Campagnolo was marketing "modulated braking" in the Record line a few years ago, with dual pivot on front and single pivot on rear, for this reason. (Not sure if they're still marketing that). Braking while shifting (approaching intersection, etc) was also easier that way with downtube shifters and I always wondered why more people in the US didn't switch. Today it doesn't matter as much for control because both hands are on the bars while braking and shifting. You do get more braking power from the front so perhaps that still influences individual choices.

KB
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by KB

Zakalwe wrote:I use Euro left-front braking here in the UK because turn right signals are more critical than left, and I want to have my strongest brake available when my right hand is off the bar.

That my left hand is stronger, and front-front rear-rear shifter cabling makes most sense, is a happy side effect.

Agree.

racermech
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by racermech

I use to run left/front, did so forever on road and mtb. Then I borrowed a bike for a few months while I lived away from home. It was setup right/front. Not only did I get use to it but I ended up switching all of my road bikes to it. Found it worked better for racing crits for me. For whatever reason the mtb and tandem stayed left/front. Most aussie/kiwi riders I have worked with ran right/front.

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