Question about brakes on any/ all bicycles with rim or disc brakes

Santa

New Member
Region
USA
I have been riding MCs and Motorscooters for over 55 yrs. The handlebar brake lever on the right side operates the front brake. Just the opposite of bicycles. Why is that ? I have been swapping my bicycle brake cables around so they are the same as my MCs/ Scooters. Thanks for your replies.
 
Its not like that everywhere in the world. In some countries the bike manufacturers have to swap them back, too.

Just do what is good for you, but bear in mind the potential liability if you let someone ride one of your bikes and they clamp down on what they think is the back brake, and it sends them over the handlebars. Its not something you can warn people about, either, since the behavior is learned.
 
Been that way since my first hand brake bike in 1966. An AMF hercules. They were copies of Raleigh & Sherwood products from the UK, that cost 30% more. I hated hand brakes then and still do. Rim brakes are useless in the rain. Disk brakes are better in the rain, but not as good as the Bendix coaster brake.
You will have to ask Triumph & BSA riders what they were doing with the brake in the 60's or earlier. I never rode one. I don't weigh enough to pick one up if it fell. I hate the noise, too.
 
All world countries (except the UK and several of the Commonwealth states such as Australia) place the front bicycle brake lever on the left. It is purely for historical reasons and has nothing to do with the right- or left-hand traffic.

While most of motorcycles have the front brake lever as you described @Santa, some ICE scooters (e.g. in France) have the lever on the left (or I was told so).

As M. Robertson says, reorganizing brake levers the motorcycle way is dangerous for anyone else riding your bike. My brother did it to his bicycle long time in the past. His son mounted that bike and flew Over-The-Bars on the first braking, which ended up with a broken shoulder.
 
All good information. Since I will not let anyone ride my e-bike I’m going to swap when I get it. Makes no since to jeopardize myself in a hot situation ( especially on a trail, in a curve w/ loose sand or gravel) - since I’m use to the RT front, LF rear brakes after 55+ yrs. Going back/ forth isn’t going to cut it for me. However, since I own a small label maker I will make a warning label referring to the brakes. My wife will have her own e bike and she rides a Towne Electra regular bike now. I left hers alone. Since she has ridden small MC many yrs ago, she doesn’t care to change but I will if she wants. I’ve learned a long time ago -letting anyone else using your stuff mechanical or electrical can get you in trouble. I used to build robotics. Followed all the rules and regs. Lots of warning labels too. Still doesn’t stop people ( even if you tell them and they are looking you in the eye) from doing the opposite or wrong thing.
 
All solved if you brake with both wheels. 🙃

And I learned early on... when ever operating any new/different vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, car, etc.. for the first time, perform a brake check at the start.
 
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The US Consumer Product rules say "Unless a customer specifies otherwise, the hand lever that operates the rear brake must be on the right handlebar." That allows the bike shop to move it, but it's going to ship that way.



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Thanks for the replies. I have no problem with how it comes from the factory. I’ll swap hydraulic lines an bleed if needed. Would be easier if thr e-bike I was looking at still had cable operated disc brakes, but reciently up graded to hydraulic.
 
All solved if you brake with both wheels. 🙃
I was used to doing this in my motorcycle years, and just carried over the practice to e-bikes. To me anyway, the stopping action has a more positive and stable "feel", especially on a curve or uneven ground.

It's also a good idea to use both levers in case of a failure in one of the motor cutout switches.
 
All good information. Since I will not let anyone ride my e-bike I’m going to swap when I get it. Makes no since to jeopardize myself in a hot situation ( especially on a trail, in a curve w/ loose sand or gravel) - since I’m use to the RT front, LF rear brakes after 55+ yrs. Going back/ forth isn’t going to cut it for me. However, since I own a small label maker I will make a warning label referring to the brakes. My wife will have her own e bike and she rides a Towne Electra regular bike now. I left hers alone. Since she has ridden small MC many yrs ago, she doesn’t care to change but I will if she wants. I’ve learned a long time ago -letting anyone else using your stuff mechanical or electrical can get you in trouble. I used to build robotics. Followed all the rules and regs. Lots of warning labels too. Still doesn’t stop people ( even if you tell them and they are looking you in the eye) from doing the opposite or wrong thing.
used to think it made no difference i suppose it does ,lacking muscle memory i just watch and see what does what,color codes make more sense to me,one reason i never had much desire to fly. strange to think back about the concussions and head injuries,twice knocked unconcious in the first grade,rock on baby! many rocks up beside my head( my "friends" were monsters)the "split rim" did a number as well,not to mention the baseball bat,face planting on ice,falling off the roofs,2 recent bike wrecks(plowing sand with my nose the last one) perhaps there is little wonder i didnt get in no hurry about riding this year,pushing the grandson over hill and dale my have had something to do with that,i digress,the creator has a plan for each of us,its up to us(freewill) what we make of it.reading all the reports of nde's i am convinced we will either end up in paradise or the "hell" we deserve,life is short cycle on with malice to none.hope you find your "correct" bike.did find out one thing-amazon used to be our friend,till the so called "pandemic"( the great reset slap down) sorry about the speil.
 
I was used to doing this in my motorcycle years, and just carried over the practice to e-bikes. To me anyway, the stopping action has a more positive and stable "feel", especially on a curve or uneven ground.

It's also a good idea to use both levers in case of a failure in one of the motor cutout switches.

I'm to the point that my brain instinctively modulates front to rear as needed.

Also good to brake check if the carried load changes as performance and characteristics can change dramatically with weight variations.

As I leave my house I always pull both levers then pump each individually habitually.
Then I say "rotate" and nail it 🙃
 
I’m in the process of selling my last MC. It has conventional ( no ABS) brakes. I am so used to these (55+ yrs riding), I don’t have to think about how much pressure I use on both front/ rear. My newer motorscooter of course has both brakes operated by handlebar levers ( no foot pedal). Typical. And Motorscooters with auto trans have always been Rt lever/ front brake, Lf lever-rear brake. Going back and forth between it an a new e- bike I’ll be getting soon, I don’t want to grab a handful of front brake in a turn/ curve on gravel or sand and wipe out. So I understand others concern- but it will be my e-bike so it’s going to be changed to match the traditional configuration Rt lever/ front brake.
 
My brother had an italian single cylnder Ducati motorcycle and I had a Suzuki, The rear brake and the shifters on those motorcycles are operated by your foot, and these were on different sides.

Many is the time I would want do a panic stop and be mashing the shifter instead of the brake pedal. Also in times of extreme draught, many is the time we would resort to drinking water out of a hoof prints ... oops ...wrong movie.
 
You stop a bicycle by always pulling both levers with approximately the same force. That's it.
Not quite. Pull the rear a bit early to 'set' the bike. Then the front. Half a second separation, tops. Increases stability during initial deceleration. If its ingrained into muscle memory it will help ensure no front washouts, for instance. And that minimal separation will prevent any rear wheel skids.
 
Not quite. Pull the rear a bit early to 'set' the bike. Then the front. Half a second separation, tops. Increases stability during initial deceleration. If its ingrained into muscle memory it will help ensure no front washouts, for instance. And that minimal separation will prevent any rear wheel skids.
It is so natural that it forms the part of the muscle memory. My point was both brake levers should be used, making the left/right matter irrelevant. Besides, you do not make such considerations on emergency braking...
 
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Not quite. Pull the rear a bit early to 'set' the bike. Then the front. Half a second separation, tops. Increases stability during initial deceleration. If its ingrained into muscle memory it will help ensure no front washouts, for instance. And that minimal separation will prevent any rear wheel skids.
I concur. Or near simultaneous just a little heavier on the rear.
Especially helpful with suspension keeping the front from collapsing
 
Besides, you do not make such considerations on emergency braking...
Well, if you condition yourself over time to automatically do rear-first, its part of your emergency braking, too. Last time I had a genuinely ohshit moment - and for it to have been an extreme, I have to go back a couple years - it worked out that way. YMMV of course but best practice to ingrain it into yourself to give yourself the most opportunity for the least negative outcome.

Interestingly, and on point for this thread, several years ago I had a bike where I had reversed the controls, and I was zooming thru a corner at speed, and found a car oncoming who was across the line and close enough to my corner exit position my instincts jumped to Red Alert. Not quite at the apex I grabbed the brakes, but given the reversal I hit the front a hair early. That reversal caused the front wheel to grab hard and the bike jumped up in the air in what must have looked like a sideways bunny-hop. I was glad I had a fat bike as a commuter as when I came back down again, on both wheels simultaneously, I was able to recover balance and not smash into the car. No way in hell I could have done that on anything but the smooth-tread 26x4.5-ish tires I was on. I was amazed after the fact it had been so stable given the level of upset.
 
Thanks for the replies. I have no problem with how it comes from the factory. I’ll swap hydraulic lines an bleed if needed. Would be easier if thr e-bike I was looking at still had cable operated disc brakes, but reciently up graded to hydraulic.

Before swapping lines, check if your brakes can simply be swapped over - eg some sram models.

PS - I'm in Australia, all our bikes come with the right set up - motor, e, and me bikes. It just makes sense - grab a hand full of clutch and it's just a harmless rear wheel lock up
 
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