Old habits die hard

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Old habits die hard

Postby gossiesgirl2012 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:53 pm

Hi Everyone,

I have been riding for 15 years now (Enduro and Trials) and after a 8 year break from trials I have gotten back into it.

Now I am going to sound like a complete idiot....
Hubby (who has been riding since the moment he could walk) pulled me up on using the wrong fingers on my clutch and brake levers. All this time I have been using my middle fingers on my levers, which affects my grip on the handle bars.
Any tips to correct and retrain 15 years worth of bad habit?
Is it even that much of a big deal?

I tried using my index fingers today and it was like I couldn't ride properly anymore....

Advice greatly appreciated


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Re: Old habits die hard

Postby TerrY » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:25 am

It is all a bit individual. If you are used to using a certain finger combination, then that is right for you. Keep using what you are used to.
I was once the Australian coach for a visiting US Motocross guru who had won a World Round in the 70's - Jim Pomeroy. During his coaching, he explained how HE held onto the handlebars and which fingers he used to operate the levers and why he did it.

He used his thumb and first finger to hold the handlebars and used the other fingers to operate the levers. The reason was that he could lift the front of the bike with the thumb and first finger. He could not do that with his thumb and small fingers. Try it yourself! He thought that was important for controlling his bike in Motocross competition at the highest level.

Now, he also warned everyone to first practice, practice, practice that before using that technique in any competition situation. If riders were using the conventional grip, they should continue using it in competition at the moment otherwise there could be problems. They need for the new grip to be automatic by practice before switching.

That is what you experienced. Consider the above before you decide which way YOU want to ride and then continue on that path.

Bully fanatic
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Re: Old habits die hard

Postby Bully fanatic » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:49 pm

I will also say just use whichever fingers are more comfortable for you. I have always used my middle (long) finger on the clutch and my index finger or the index and the middle on the front brake. I do ride a Bultaco so that may explain why I often need two fingers on the front brake!

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Re: Old habits die hard

Postby Dr Peter » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:57 pm

Not that I have ever competed, but on my old TY 250 I need two fingers on the front brake and clutch to properly control these functions. I'm simply not strong enough to work with a single finger on each lever. I recently spent a couple of hours or so practicing, with lots of downhill. I ended up moving the brake lever in-board so that I had more leverage on my cable operated, front drum brake.

I think being comfortable is your first stop and then, as you move up the grades or graduate to a better machine, you adjust and adapt your technique to suit.

I also noted during my practice that it is possible to shift the weight from your hands to your thighs with a more aggressive 'deeper' stance on the pegs. I think this is called the 'attack position'. Even down knarley and steep single track slope the weight on your hands can be considerably reduced and you don't feel quite as tired in the hands. Which may in turn help with clutch, brake and throttle control.

I say this, Nikki, from a perspective of no experience but I think Bully and Terry are right, be comfortable.


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Re: Old habits die hard

Postby outforfun » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:33 am

A great discussion topic Nikki.

I began riding dirt bikes, then road, and now trials bikes. Although I never competed before trials, the habits do set in with your riding style. I used to use both index and middle finger on each lever and still do on the road. But my mate Craig suggested that I should use only my index finger on each lever.

I try and practice this at home, often seeing that after a while I'm back to 2 fingers... It's been 3 years since I bought the Sherco. I can ride it with index finger only on each lever - hydraulics help. But on my TY175, I tend to go back to the two fingers.

Personally, I think it is what you are comfortable with. There is no rule saying this finger is to be used. As long as you're comfortable with what you are doing, all is well.

Try a suggestion if someone has one, but not in competition. This needs to be muscle memory. You want to be concentrating on the obstacles and body position to clear them. If you start to concentrate on fingers, etc. you're going to get it wrong.

Happy trials riding.

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