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  • Right Left Front Rear Brake setup
  • Premier Icon RAGGATIP
    Free Member

    My MTB is set up with the right h/s lever operating the front brake, left h/s rear brake. However my road bike has always been left h/s lever front brake, right h/s lever rear brake.

    I’m about to install new levers on my road bike and am undecided whether to go with what I have on my MTB or keep them as they were.

    What are the arguments for and against having the brake levers set up either way?

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Full Member

    The rear brake should be on the same side of the bike as the side of the road you ride/drive on.

    This to give you a more controlled stop when indicating across the flow of traffic.

    (And why bikes from different countries have brakes in different orientations)

    Premier Icon Bez
    Full Member

    I converted to Euro-style about 25 years ago, on the basis that on technical stuff the rear brake can be used for control in all sorts of situations, whereas the front is all about reducing speed in a straight line. I have much better control with my right hand so it worked much better for me and I’ve stuck with it ever since, for all bikes (even though I now ride road/gravel/whatever bikes way more than MTBs). Other than that, it’s basically a wash—but I wouldn’t really want to run a mix if the two on different bike because my brain can’t take that sort of heat 😉

    On the minor factors side: most frames are designed for better cable routing Euro-style, and hiring a bike abroad becomes simpler; but on the road it means that when indicating right you’re having to deal with the front brake. None of those factors have ever really bothered me at all, YMMV.

    Premier Icon TheBrick
    Free Member

    Whatever feels better to you.

    Lawnmower are easier for right handed people if that’s import to you.

    Premier Icon sharkattack
    Full Member

    However my road bike has always been left h/s lever front brake, right h/s lever rear brake.

    Probably because they come out of the box like that and whoever built it in the shop couldn’t be bothered to switch them over. It takes a few seconds on an MTB but lots of people don’t like to mess with bar tape.

    Premier Icon RAGGATIP
    Free Member

    Tom’s argument seems good reason to match what I have on my MTB.

    Number of potential wear points on the frame seem to be the same whichever way I have it set up.

    Personally I found it intuitive to adapt with each bike having a different setup. Road bike was originally set up euro fashion despite the shop retailer (based in Belgium) saying he’d set up my bike up UK style especially for me. I never changed it, just adapted. I self built my MTB a while ago and since I’ve ridden motorbikes which have right lever front brake set up I think I used that as justification. Something about the different shape of the bars adapted my brain to the various set ups I guess.

    Lawnmower are easier for right handed people if that’s import to you.

    Not when I’m riding my bike

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    The rear brake should be on the same side of the bike as the side of the road you ride/drive on.

    This to give you a more controlled stop when indicating across the flow of traffic.

    (And why bikes from different countries have brakes in different orientations)

    Historically yes – its a bit of an anachronism with modern bikes/tech though. Mainly it is now kept as a rule for selling new bikes for the BSO buying crowd. Keeping everything the same across whatever bicycle your average non-cycling-enthusiast is going to jump on so they dont try and do a phat skid on their mates bike and do a front flip.

    For modern bikes: road bikes – or really any rigid bike, more power is available from the front.

    On anything with functioning front suspension I agree that one handed operation is preferable with the rear brake. Incicdently – this makes me wary of bikes like the stumpy, new capra and new orbea, which force you to drink with your left hand.

    Any anoraks know when motorbikes agreed to standardise? I seem to recall it was before indicators, so people would be doing arm signals on both RHD and LHD countries.

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    Just stick with whatever you’re used to and run it on all your bikes.

    I’m strongly right-handed, but I have never had a problem modulating rear brakes with the lever on the left. Personally, I think modulating the front brake is more critical because that’s the one that makes the difference in an emergency. I assume that’s why motorbikes have the brake lever on the right, so that righthanded riders can modulate the brakes better.

    Another thing to consider is that your right hand is much busier with gear shifting so dropper post levers are usually run on the left if you run a single front ring. Having the dropper lever and front brake on opposite sides makes sense to me because these are the two critical controls you use on descents. It’s better to have the dropper lever opposite the front shifter on an MTB so you can run it under the bars and operate it with your thumb. Therefore, front brake on the right and dropper lever on the left would be the logical setup for a right-handed rider.

    I’m an exception to this, I’ve run my dropper lever on the right for 15 years and my one attempt at switching led to badly stained underpants. I’m used to RH brake lever being front brake and dropper lever being above the RH shifter so I’m just sticking with that setup. Just find what works for you and stick with it.

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