Brake Lever Positioning

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When people hop on any bike I ride, I always get the same question: Why are your brake levers setup at a downward angle? This setup is even more pronounced now that I have the Ergon grips installed on my X-Caliber. My buddy Jake, who hopped on it this morning, found the positioning a little unusual which I agree it is.

But I have a very good reason for having it this way. I developed it after reading an article online about brake lever placement (can’t seem to find the article anymore). The idea behind it is that the levers should be placed in a way as to not break the plane created by your arm and the back of your hand. You basically want to keep your wrist from breaking.

The reasoning behind this is you lose a lot of finger power when your wrist plane is broken. If you can keep your wrists from not breaking you can increase your power to your brakes. This is especially helpful if you use one or two finger braking, which I do.

With one finger braking, normally my index finger, I found that I could not get the same amount of power to the levers if the levers were parallel to the ground (as they usually are for most riders). When I rotate them down about 45 degrees to keep the plane I am able to get plenty of power to the levers and am able to stop more quickly than before.

But of course, if you change your brake levers you will also have to change how your trigger shifters are mounted as well. This is one of the myriad of reasons as to why I love Sram triggers, I can shift them with just my thumb. I can always keep my index finger on the brake lever and never have to pull it down to change gears. Oops sorry, off topic.

Of course everyone has their own preferred setup. If you fiddle around with your own brake lever/shifter setup long enough you’ll come to find your preferred way. Let me know yours and I’ll try it out to see how it works for me.

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