Secret Techniques to Effective Braking

Much of a Pro mountain biker’s control, skill and speed lies in the way they use their brakes and the way they set-up their brake controls on the bars. Modern mountain bikes with hydraulic disc brakes, have brake levers that are specially designed to be used by one finger only in all situations.  Moving your brake levers inward so that you’re only using your pointer fingers will give you better bike control, better feel for what the brakes and tires are doing and greater confidence in all of your riding.

brake-setup2With one finger braking, at least three fingers from each hand are sharing the job of holding the bar– even during gear shifting.

Your hands will feel more secure and balanced on the bar– no more straining your little fingers just to hold on, now you’ll ride with a more relaxed grip.  Less hand and arm tension and stiffness will improve your flow with the bike and gear shifting will become easier.  This will allow you to push your limits, use the brakes less and keep momentum while riding.

Take the leap and switch to one finger braking. That nervous feeling of not having enough steering control at high speed will be a thing of the past.


Richard La China is a Professional Mountain Bike racer, USAC Certified Cycling Coach and a IMBA Certified Mountain Bike Skills Instructor who coaches beginner to pro cyclist. Currently working with mountain bike XC, Endurance and Enduro racers and other competitive and non-competitive mountain bike riders seeking to become their best.

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