Middle Finger Braking

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  • Middle Finger Braking
  • snowjunkie

    Years a go I am sure I read somewhere that it was better (or just different) to grip the bars with the thumb and index finger and brake with the middle finger instead of using the index finger. meant to be better control etc etc

    I have been riding like this for ages but don’t tend to notice anyone else doing it.

    I don’t plan on changing to index finger braking but just wondered if anyone else uses the middle finger instead of the index finger for braking that is!

    And discuss……….. 🙂

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    My grip is WAY stronger with little, ring, middle on the bar and forefinger on the brake than forefinger, ring, little on the bar and middle outstretched on the brake.

    The advantage of using the middle finger on the brake is that you’ve got more leverage on the, erm, lever, but given that you can move the lever inboard to put your index in the same place on the lever, that’s not really much of an advantage


    Your middle and ring finger share a tendon, so by stretching out your middle finger onto the brake, you compromise on the grip strength that your ring finger is providing on the bars.

    The index finger has its own tendon, so the best way to ride is with that finger doing all of the braking, and with levers moved in to maximise leverage.

    Premier Icon johnhe

    I use my middle finger for braking because that means I can simultaneously brake and change gear. I have never seen anyone else riding like that, but in my mind it’s the best arrangement.

    Also, I might be misguided, but my grip in the bars also feels much, much more secure with my index finger, ring and little finger gripping. But that’s not why I adopted middle finger braking.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez

    Weird. I can’t imagine middle finger braking.


    I’m a middle finger braker. But only because I’ve never known otherwise.

    Premier Icon shortcut

    I always used to use my middle finger, no problems etc. Then I jumped on the Ct brake bandwagon and switched to index finger for the bike with XT’s. Still using the middle finger for the Hopes though.

    Premier Icon tmb467

    Always used to brake with my middle finger but was never able to get the grip to jump or pump with my middle finger covering the brake

    Whereas I can do it when I brake with my index finger

    Just move brakes inboard of the shifters


    I use either / or. It feels a bit odd to start with but just a bit of flexibility in how I ride. A bit like switching feet forward stance to me.


    Used to middle finger, hangover from emulating Mike Aitken when i was a young BMXer. Could never actually hop or anything like this, so always rode death grip until i needed to use the brake.

    FFWD about 10 years, see mtbers all using index finger, gave it a go, got used to it, its been a revelation, full control, less arm pump whilst having finger on the lever.


    I think the reason why i changed was for decending. If my thumb and index finger touch and create an O then the bar can move around in the O so keeping control without having a death grip. In the end it is what we get used to i suppose as i could easily revert back to index finger and create an O that way.


    Used to for years. Then started using the index finger. No idea when or why I did, just noticed it on a ride and it stuck.


    Your saturday night finger is your strongest by far. Personally I want it holding me to the bike rather than grabbing a handful of OTB action when things get hairy.

    Isn’t it related to throttle use on MotoX bikes? When I ride our 50cc scooter I middle finger brake on that but never on the MTB.

    Premier Icon njee20

    Emily Batty does it:

    Really I just wanted an excuse to Google pics of her.

    MTB Rob

    YES there is OTHERS!
    I sure I read it in a motor cross book somewhere to use the middle finger, back when I had a motor cross bike, (as someone mention above)

    I have tried using index but always got back to middle, feels a lot better.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I have the most control with the forefinger, it’s the most dextrous and the strength isn’t really that important IME unless you’re gimped… But whichever method feels and works best for you is right.


    Use my middle finger on my bike! It would feel like infidelity


    I brake with my middle fingers. Always have, always will. Grip on the bars doesn’t feel as solid if I try any other way.

    Why does everyone have to grip the bars so hard; you’ll get arm pump. Relax and steer with your feet.

    Always used middle finger myself. I find I have better control but I think this stems from using the middle finger when Motocrossing and roadracing where throttle application whilst braking is very important

    Premier Icon DoctorRad

    I am and will probably always remain a two-finger braker #oldschool

    This means I’m old skool too! 😀


    Only ever seen it work well for lighter riders, your middle finger lol be less powerful than your index even if you’re a strumming addict.

    I’m braking with index-middle finger together. A habit I have carried with me since the 90’s when brake levers where longer and harder… Can’t get rid of it… Grip is still pretty good!!!


    when I used to run thumbies I used my middle finger for braking, now I use gripshift the brake levers are a little too far away so I use my index finger.

    Premier Icon unknown

    I am and will probably always remain a two-finger braker

    Very much this for me too. Never felt like a disadvantage either.


    Never really thought about it until looking at some pics from a recent race, I seem to change!
    Some pics on my blog, http://www.andrewhowett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/i-need-other-rear-wheel-and-piece-of.html
    First can’t tell
    Second pic L index R index
    third L middle R index
    fourth L middle R index
    Fifth I’m not in it
    Sixth L none, R index
    Seventh can’t tell
    Eigth I’m not in it
    Ninth None
    Tenth L middle R none
    Eleveth L middle R index
    It seems to be predominately L middle and R index for me, with a change to L index occasionally, as in the second pic, (there are more showing variety but just not up on the site). And it seems to vary when I’m only covering one, pic 6 and 10. Don’t know why, it’s not a conscious thing, it just feels right at the time. 6 and 7 are on a different bike but they both have the same brakes and shifters.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey

    The only time I’ve done it was during the Megavalanche due to arm / hand pump. Similarly I switch from right to left foot forward to switch things up for my thighs. I’m fitter now so don’t find the need arises generally, my grip feels much stronger with index finger braking and the short levers on the newer shimano brakes make the position on the bar easy to get right.


    I’d have thought the lever would make contact with the forefinger doing this, no? Never tried so I’m just pondering. I was getting cramp in both of my little fingers downhilling on Sunday, any cure for that? 😉

    Me I use middle a lot

    And for a bit more power on the front brake like this, its like an automatic brake splitter.


    Braking is for whoosies! 😉

    No finger braking is where it is at!

    Premier Icon MrGreedy

    johnhe – Member

    I use my middle finger for braking because that means I can simultaneously brake and change gear.

    Surely a moot point with two-way release shifters?

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