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  1. #1
    Senior Member ScottieDog's Avatar
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    New Bike Delivered. Want to swop brakes over to opposite sides

    Hi,

    Just had my new MTB delivered... Annoyingly the front brake is on the left and the rear brake on the right - Now in my book that ainīt right, I have always had my front brake on the right as per Motorbikes which I rode for many years. Anyway, iīm sure people will say itīs fine on the left, or even that it should be, but not for me...

    So, I need to change over the brakes, to put the front on the right side --- There was me thinking this would be easy to just swop over .... HAHA, as if - Problem is that the bike has got Hydraulic Discs, so itīs not so easy (IMO) - Iīve done it before by just swopping them, of course with the Hydraulic Reservoir on there it literally needs to be dismantled and re-bled (I assume).

    Anywhere with instructions for this ?

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Noob mikezs's Avatar
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    The easiest way to do this (but it's frowned upon, you apparently shouldn't pump anything into the calliper, just suck from it) is to:
    - Suck the fluid from each calliper with a syringe and 4mm internal diameter tubing (you need to extract about 10ml), make sure the reservoir is empty.
    - Unbolt each of the pipes and you'll find a compression olive and a little metal tube in the end of the pipe, no need to remove either of these unless you're shortening the pipes.
    - Fit each pipe on the other lever, making sure you don't drop the pipe below the calliper or the fluid may leak out, and tighten them up.
    - With reservoir visible pump fluid back into calliper until it JUST reaches the reservoir. Then tighten the bleed screw and unhook.
    - Put the rest of the fluid back into the reservoir.

    This method means you don't have to bleed anything and you don't waste any fluid.

  3. #3
    29er Rider MNRon's Avatar
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    I've ridden motorcycles for going on 45 years, including racing, touring etc. I've ridden bicycles for almost the same legth of time, and I wouldn't dream of running my bicycles in "moto mode". My #1 brake on a motorcycle is the front, but on a bicycle it's the rear. Both are on my right hand.

    Of course, this is just an opinion... ;-)
    Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive anyway.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ScottieDog's Avatar
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    Thanks mikezs

    That did the trick. Completed the job in short time and now brakes on the right side.

    CHEERS.

    Quote Originally Posted by mikezs View Post
    The easiest way to do this (but it's frowned upon, you apparently shouldn't pump anything into the calliper, just suck from it) is to:
    - Suck the fluid from each calliper with a syringe and 4mm internal diameter tubing (you need to extract about 10ml), make sure the reservoir is empty.
    - Unbolt each of the pipes and you'll find a compression olive and a little metal tube in the end of the pipe, no need to remove either of these unless you're shortening the pipes.
    - Fit each pipe on the other lever, making sure you don't drop the pipe below the calliper or the fluid may leak out, and tighten them up.
    - With reservoir visible pump fluid back into calliper until it JUST reaches the reservoir. Then tighten the bleed screw and unhook.
    - Put the rest of the fluid back into the reservoir.

    This method means you don't have to bleed anything and you don't waste any fluid.

  5. #5
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    'Swap'.

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    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNRon View Post
    I've ridden motorcycles for going on 45 years, including racing, touring etc. I've ridden bicycles for almost the same legth of time, and I wouldn't dream of running my bicycles in "moto mode". My #1 brake on a motorcycle is the front, but on a bicycle it's the rear. Both are on my right hand.

    Of course, this is just an opinion... ;-)
    I also am a motorcyclist, but I ride with the front brake on the right. In theory, it's better to have your dominant hand (right, for me) on the main brake (the front). It also leaves your left hand more free to signal. You might want to try using the front brake as the main brake--just like on a motorcycle, most of your stopping power is in the front.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

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    Quote Originally Posted by MNRon View Post
    I've ridden motorcycles for going on 45 years, including racing, touring etc. I've ridden bicycles for almost the same legth of time, and I wouldn't dream of running my bicycles in "moto mode". My #1 brake on a motorcycle is the front, but on a bicycle it's the rear. Both are on my right hand.

    Of course, this is just an opinion... ;-)
    The front brake is the main brake on bicycles too. If you are relying primarily on your rear brake then you are not stopping as effectively as you could be.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    I believe the primary reason bicycles have the front brake lever on the left and rear on the right is that the shifters are also front/left and right/rear. Easier to keep things straight that way but there are many that reverse them.

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    Senior Member ScottieDog's Avatar
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    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
    The front brake is the main brake on bicycles too. If you are relying primarily on your rear brake then you are not stopping as effectively as you could be.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    2 situations where Moto brake lever setup is advised, Cyclocross,
    so braking while dismounting is easier, having the rear on the dismount side .
    UK Cross Coach and author, Simon Burney's Idea Not Mine.

    And Loaded Touring , those steep 'get off and push' hills,
    I set the rear brake to catch my breath.
    So having the rear brake lever on that side helped.

    Of course newer designs just make one lever/master-cylinder , and you just flip it .
    expansion reservoir ceased to be on top., needing a RH/LH lever to be made.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-30-11 at 02:53 PM.

  11. #11
    imi
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    I prefer front brake on the left as I use my right hand for just about everything else: changing RD gears, ringing bell, drinking from water bottle, playing with computer, waving to other people, wiping snot (sorry, too much information) etc. etc. and still having primary brake in short reach.
    Signalling left and FD are the only exceptions I can think of now

  12. #12
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
    The front brake is the main brake on bicycles too. If you are relying primarily on your rear brake then you are not stopping as effectively as you could be.
    True for road bikes, but not on mtn bikes, which is what the OP has.

  13. #13
    29er Rider MNRon's Avatar
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    Like I said, it's my opinion. I've been doing this a long time and know what's comfortable for me. Oh, and I use my front brakes a lot, my racing days taught me well, grasshopper(s).
    Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive anyway.

  14. #14
    imi
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    Here's Sheldon Brown's take on this:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    True for road bikes, but not on mtn bikes, which is what the OP has.
    No - front brake is main brake on mtb, too. THe trails where I ride I can do almost all of them with front brake only.

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    Rear brakes have no practical uses on the road (besides as a back-up in case the front fails) and have occasional uses on loose surfaces. Oh, and they're useful when descending mountain passes long enough that the front starts fading. Physics says that rear brakes have poor stopping power in all situations.

    I run my road bike left-front, which makes shifting while braking easier, and my mountain bike right-front, in which case I want my dominant hand on my dominant brake.

  17. #17
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Using your rear brake as your main brake on MTB typically translates to skidding all the time. This widens and deepens trails which is poor form in anything but private property/summer resort situations, IMO.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave35 View Post
    Rear brakes have no practical uses on the road (besides as a back-up in case the front fails)
    I find braking with both brakes to be more effective than front-only. One of the few points I disagree with Sheldon on. I typically keep my rear brake detuned a bit compared to the front. Helps me keep from locking up the rear accidentally.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    Here's Sheldon Brown's take on this:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html
    Interesting reading, quite and education about brakes! I guess the right-left choice for the brake levers is ultimately arbitrary (like rules regarding which side of the road to drive on), but it does make some sense to keep things consistent (i.e., if your FD shifter is on the left, your front brake lever should also be on the left, and ditto for brifters); and it's probably safer to have consistency between bikes, to minimize the risk of pulling the front brake when you want to pull the rear, and vice versa. Just think of the havoc we'd have if some cars had their clutch/brake pedals reversed...

    I use BOTH brakes most of the time, especially in wet road conditions; I believe that this allows for quicker and more controlled stopping.

  20. #20
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    After reading Sheldon's article I tried the right-front setup. I'm now a believer, having the dominant hand control the dominant brake. My front braking before going over the bars is more confident and controlled now. Riding a bike setup the "wrong" way takes more mental effort but I don't find it dangerous. Every bike I own gets setup right-front.

    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Using your rear brake as your main brake on MTB typically translates to skidding all the time. This widens and deepens trails which is poor form in anything but private property/summer resort situations, IMO.
    Here in Platteville (where I go to school) we actually have the problem that the trails don't get ridden enough, and get overgrown and covered with leaves, pine needles, etc. Makes for a fun time dragging the rear brake around every corner in an effort to clear the trail.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
    I also am a motorcyclist, but I ride with the front brake on the right.
    Same here - been riding motorcycles much longer than bicycles, and it is hardwired into my brain that STOP means RIGHT HAND. I squared off my rear tire in less than 1000 miles when I started biking, and my front brake pad was nearly pristine! Now that I've switched over it's teh front getting worn down and I definitley have mroe stopping power.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Chop61's Avatar
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    But if you work on your bike...ever...You tune from the drive side, turn the cranks but want to stop the rear wheel, where do you want to have to reach?
    When I was young I prayed to God for a new bike. Then I figured out God didn't work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop61 View Post
    But if you work on your bike...ever...You tune from the drive side, turn the cranks but want to stop the rear wheel, where do you want to have to reach?
    You can reach across and grab the tire.

    Or you can not be so damn short and reach over the bike to the left grip. I have no problem doing it and I am only 6'5" tall! Whatsamatterwithyou?

  24. #24
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chop61 View Post
    But if you work on your bike...ever...You tune from the drive side, turn the cranks but want to stop the rear wheel, where do you want to have to reach?
    Reach over the bike or just touch the tire. Not a big deal. I'm the only one who works on my bikes, and I only use the right/front setup.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  25. #25
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Having the lever right there sure is convenient, though. I only grab tire when I'm working on bikes with no rear brake and when I'm testing out 53x11 or similar gearing it's not exactly grabbing the tire, its more like hitting the tire 'til it slows down enough to grab it.

    One would have to have a pretty good wingspan to reach across to the opposite lever on an 800 mm mountain bike bar.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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