Luc’s Tips September 2012: Front Brake Lever Position

Luc VaragnatFront brake lever positioning is a concept that probably doesn’t get considered by many riders.  Often times riders just accept where the controls are located and end up adjusting their bodies to accommodate poor control positions.  YIKES!  Poor riding position makes for some uncomfortable riding.

Riders come in all different shapes and sizes.  Motorcycles manufacturers do their best to get the riding position close to usable, but we need to go the extra distance to make sure the bike fits us correctly.  Besides, isn’t some of the fun customizing our motorcycle?

THE BENEFITS TO A WELL POSITIONED FRONT BRAKE LEVER
There are some huge positives to making sure the front brake lever is rotated and adjusted properly:

  • Reduced hand and arm fatigue means longer rides
  • Proper hand position allows quicker access to the brake lever
  • Reduced tension in upper body allows for more enjoyable riding

PROPER RIDING POSITION

Bad Front Brake Lever AdjustmentProper Brake Lever Position

The end goal is to have the lever at a natural, comfortable position when riding.  From our elbows to  the fingers, our body should form a straight line.  The position should be tension free.  Our fingers should have easy access to the lever; we should not be reaching up or down to actuate the lever.  We also want to make sure the last segment of our fingers rest lightly on the lever.

MAKING THE ADJUSTMENTS
A quick check of your motorcycle service manual will tell you what tools you’ll need for a job.  Typically, a ratchet and socket or an Allen wrench is all this is required.

  • Loosen bolts
  • Make adjustment
  • Determine that cables can move freely from every handlebar position (move bars side to side)
  • Tighten bolts to spec (see service manual)
  • Enjoy

Occasionally, you may find that the stock perch doesn’t permit enough rotation of the front brake lever.  Handlebar rotation may be necessary or replacement of lever perch may be necessary.  If a clip-on scenario is present, risers may be a recommended purchase.

Next, make sure the lever is easy to reach by adjusting the lever’s position in relationship to the hand grip.

Some levers do not permit distance adjustment so an aftermarket choice may be advisable, so a visit to your local parts provider may be necessary.

Of course, the next time you’re taking the bike into the dealership for an oil change or a friendly visit, I’m sure they’ll be happy to assist you with getting the front brake lever in the correct position.  They may even have a fitment shop to help you in finding the right levers, perches, or handlebars.

-LUC

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DISCLAIMER:  The views and opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of any manufacturer.  The content provided is merely educational and not intended as a replacement for professional repair.  TEAM Arizona, its staff, and its RiderCoaches are unavailable for private motorcycle repair; we recommend seeing your local dealership or repair shop.