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Yoann Barelli's Brake Lever Position

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2/28/2016 3:47 PM

I don't think this lever position is for trail oriented riders. If you are riding steeper DH tracks, and you are riding in good form, being hip hinged, chin down, tucked, knees bent, I find at least that I put more pressure into the back of the bar as opposed to on top of the bar. If my levers are angled down, I have to wrap my hand around the bar more, and it takes more energy to get my finger on the lever, resulting in eventual arm pump. If you ride trail, I think a lever position more tuned for a seated position is more appropriate. I ride my trail bike at about 25 degrees, and my dh bike flat.


2/29/2016 10:19 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/29/2016 10:20 AM

Diedre_Rashid wrote:

Rsi injuries, that's why people don't do this.

Too much backwards pressure on the fingers can cause serious even permanent nerve damage.

I used to ride with my levers raised, caused more aches and pains than computer and cell use combined.
Dropping the angle helped a lot.

AGR97 wrote:

If flat levers were SOOO bad, how come motocross riders don't have any problems? They land harder and go bigger than us with flat levers, is there something I'm missing here?

Faction wrote:

Until you've ridden or raced a moto, you wouldn't understand. The rider input and positioning are different on a moto, as I said earlier. You steer a lot through your rear wheel and that means you are seated a lot of the time. The position is usually quite a bit lower, so if you have lever that point down, you will be reaching for them. Whereas, we are standing most of the time (dh/enduro). MTB is more static, moto is more dynamic.

And of course as someone else mentioned, the relative bar height on a moto is much higher than on a mountain bike.

I raced moto off road and a little bit of track. Off road racing is a little different in that you are standing a lot of the time. When I did that, I would have my levers pointing down slightly, but still at a point where it wouldn't feel uncomfortable while seated. On the track, riders usually are seated more, like through the turns. It makes more sense to run flat levers because of that.

Motocross isn't really a valid comparison to mtb (DH, at least), as Faction mentioned. Motocross is at its core, a drag race from corner to corner. Coming down a straightaway, the riders are typically standing in a extreme forward position with the throttle twisted open. Upon reaching a braking zone, they tuck back on the bike, get on the brakes hard to the apex, then sit down and throttle out. During the transition from braking, they're actually feathering the front brake and throttle at the same time to keep the chassis settled. The tucked-back position on corner entry and the need to use throttle and brake together requires a much flatter brake angle.

For DH, some tucking happens while braking for a corner but the rest of the time the brakes are in use while the rider is in a forward attack position (steep chutes, etc.). Braking in a forward attack position, in my experience, requires a lower brake angle.


Loud hubs save lives.

2/29/2016 10:50 AM

Also, for those experiencing less arm-pump with flat brakes, here's a very illuminating experiment you can do at your computer.

Holding your wrist straight, make a fist and squeeze hard. When I do this, my entire forearm contracts and Olive Oyl starts making googly-eyes in my direction.

Now, bend your wrist at 90 degrees and do the same thing. For me, my upper forearm contracts somewhat (less than with a straight wrist) and my lower forearm barely does anything.

I'd wager that the greatly reduced forearm activation w/ bent wrists is what's curing people's arm pump. Kills my wrists though...


Loud hubs save lives.

3/1/2016 3:54 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/1/2016 3:57 PM

I've always been a believer and preacher of setting up the levers so your wrists are as lined up as possible with the rest of your arm when you are in your attack position. Really for all the same reasons they describe flat is better, mainly that this is the strongest position to hold your wrists.

Guess I'll have to try this out and see what its all about even though its very against my current preference.

Also, the comment above about isolating forearm movement makes a great point. Does it isolate the forearm as the expense of the wrist?