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Catapulting Disc Brakes

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Catapulting Disc Brakes

Old 10-01-20, 10:29 AM
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Quite honestly, it has never occurred to me to count the number of fingers I have on the brakes, but to the best of my recollection, it varies between one and four. I never realized it was something to even think about. Seriously, as long as you don't grab a fistful of brake and then *squeeze*, I don't see how road discs could catapult you. ​​​​​There's no honed over the years superhuman amount of fine motor control required... or else I couldn't do it, heh.

They simply work well. For what it's worth, I don't personally know anyone who switched back, although I do live in a rather hilly area with occasional steep descents which does make them attractive.
​​
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Old 10-01-20, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
One finger braking allows you to better modulate the brakes and gives you a better grip on the bar.
I wonder how common this is for road biking (it appears to be something that came from mountainbiking). When riding on the hoods, it's standard to have two fingers on the brakes. With mountain bikes, the strongest finger is at the end of the lever, On the hoods, the strongest finger is near the fulcrum. On the drops, it's the same as with mountain bike brakes (the strongest finger can be placed at the end of the lever).

There's nothing that makes it really "better" for modulation.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-01-20 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 10-01-20, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Branko D
Quite honestly, it has never occurred to me to count the number of fingers I have on the brakes, but to the best of my recollection, it varies between one and four. ​​
It's more important to count the number of fingers you wave with. You might offend someone if you get that wrong.
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Old 10-01-20, 10:44 AM
  #129  
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One use (not mentioned previously) to be able to move your weight back "reflexively" is that, by letting you use less force on the brakes, means your hands get less tired (useful for long downhills).
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Old 10-01-20, 10:44 AM
  #130  
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I was just in a shop looking at road bikes, and after we get through all the must haves (which ensure I am not stepping down), I told the guy I was not willing to buy another rim brake bike, discs only. He got really wide eyed and said, "I think they're too powerful for road bikes"...at which point I pushed my podium hat up and showed him my forehead that looks like hamburger because I used a car door to stop on Friday when my rim brakes wouldn't work in the rain. All jokes aside...I use as many fingers as I need, and I brake using both ends at the same time, with a strong bias to the front.
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Old 10-01-20, 10:54 AM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by gsa103
The thing you're missing about disc brakes is that the braking action is much smoother and more consistent. The extremely high mechanical advantage of hydraulics makes the braking application less prone to surface contamination, and because the disc is steel, it doesn't get pitted. Also, because the disc is separate from the rim it's significantly less prone to damage from curbs and other things that will slightly warp a rim.
All of that means that there's no sudden change in braking force as the wheel rotates. What throws people over the bars is when the brakes suddenly grab. Variation in braking force is a bad thing, always, and rim brakes are much more prone to that variation.

Also, sizing of the brake disc is a good way to change the braking forces. With a standard 160mm disc, it takes a very firm grip to go OTB.
The other thing that he's missing is that the feedback and modulation is much better - while it make take a ride or two to acclimate yourself to the increased stopping power (and this is often mitigated by the bedding-in process on new bikes/pads/rotors), I think that it's much easier and more intuitive to vary braking forces as necessary.
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Old 10-01-20, 11:14 AM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
The fact that you had to try and find some video to assuage your feelings is hilarious. Did you simply ignore all of the video of pros that use one finger braking? Did you only look at road pros?

This gets more and more entertaining with each of your replies.
You see, this is why I made fun of your ridiculously unsupportable statement that there's no reason to, because it's clearly nonsense.
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Old 10-01-20, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
When on the hoods, I ride with one finger on the brakes (well, two, if you count both hands). If photos can be believed, lots of other folks use only one finger as well.

A single finger provides finer input, which allows for better modulation. It also means a better grip on the bar.
Sounds like an opinion.
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Old 10-01-20, 12:41 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
Sounds like an opinion.
My point exactly.
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Old 10-01-20, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
It's simply a fact, based on my experience.

You have finer input with one finger and better grip on the bar (four fingers gripping vs. three fingers gripping = more grip).
If you have two fingers, you have one finger on the brake (the other finger might mostly going for a ride).

So, there might be no practical difference regarding "finer".

Maybe, on the more grip thing.

And, there's a difference between being on the hoods (where most people ride) and on the drops.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-01-20 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 10-01-20, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
A single finger provides finer input, which allows for better modulation. It also means a better grip on the bar.
I don't care how many fingers anyone uses when they brake. From a mechanical point of view, however, I think you have finer control with more fingers.
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Old 10-01-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
It's simply a fact, based on my experience.

You have finer input with one finger and better grip on the bar (four fingers gripping vs. three fingers gripping = more grip).
How many fingers do you have?!?

The important thing here is 'based on my experience'...which is most definitely not everyone's experience. My experience says it's time for you to give up this battle.







See what I did there?
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Old 10-01-20, 01:39 PM
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I have not had the bar slip out of my hands on a descent. I have had my fingers get crampy from pulling the levers - and yes, I do have good brakes. I also weigh 96kg*, so I need more braking force than most.

Based on our previous interactions, I gather you ride gravel descents a lot, which could be why grip on the bar is of more concern to you than it is to me, since I exclusively ride paved roads. Your opinion, your preferences, and your experience are perfectly valid. But, you know, not universal.

*(96kg just sounds better than 211 lbs, doesn't it?)
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Old 10-01-20, 01:40 PM
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(As an aside, I think I know one person who won't buy those "Live Long And Prosper" winter gloves that pair the first two and last two fingers)
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Old 10-01-20, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench
My experience says it's time for you to give up this battle.
That's a fact.
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Old 10-01-20, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
Five, of course.

We're discussing braking. 1 finger on the brake means the other four are on the bar. 2 fingers on the brake means the other three are on the bar.

HTH
The thumb is a 'digit', but not normally called or referred to as a 'finger'. And that's not just my experience.
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Old 10-01-20, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
Ah yes, I addressed that earlier. "start out by making sure that you're using quality brakes." On long descents with a quality set of discs, you shouldn't expect finger cramps from braking. Unless you are on the brakes the whole way, or need to HTFU.
You'll have to take that up with Tullio and his heirs.


Yes, bar grip is a concern on many roads(thanks to CA's infrastructure issues), but more so off-road, whether ona gravel bike of MTB.
So, you agree that it's LESS of a concern on pavement. Thank you.
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Old 10-01-20, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe
You're not claiming that three fingers yields more grip than four fingers, are you?
No. I don't think it matters as much as you think it does.

I don't think one finger is really any "finer" (which is the thing I was talking about).

==================

I suspect many people use one finger in the drops.

People spend more time on the hoods and two fingers is common there.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-01-20 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 10-01-20, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench
The thumb is a 'digit', but not normally called or referred to as a 'finger'. And that's not just my experience.
This is odd.
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Old 10-01-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
(As an aside, I think I know one person who won't buy those "Live Long And Prosper" winter gloves that pair the first two and last two fingers)
Gold.

(Also the Pogo quotation in your signature line.)
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Old 10-01-20, 04:02 PM
  #146  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
This is odd.
I imagine if we didn't have opposable thumbs, they'd all be just fingers.
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Old 10-01-20, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
I suspect many people use one finger in the drops.
Depends on how much braking force I expect to need. If there are hairpins separated by a lot of drop, I use 2.
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Old 10-01-20, 04:09 PM
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The "finer control" theoretically afforded by one-finger braking is arguably illusory; all of us can brake as gently with two or three fingers as with one finger. Also, relying constantly on one-finger braking means that the rider might be at a disadvantage when a panic stop situation presents itself.

I do a lot of one-finger braking myself, but I'm uncomfortably aware that I generally hesitate briefly before switching to using two fingers for panic stops. And that moment of hesitation happens, of course, exactly when hesitating is that last thing I should be doing.
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Old 10-01-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I imagine if we didn't have opposable thumbs, they'd all be just fingers.
It's common to say that the hand has five fingers. It would be quite odd if you didn't know that or were confused by it.

Originally Posted by genejockey
Depends on how much braking force I expect to need. If there are hairpins separated by a lot of drop, I use 2.
No doubt, some people use two fingers. (I'm not recommending one or the other.)
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Old 10-01-20, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
It's common to say that the hand has five fingers. It would be quite odd if you didn't know that or were confused by it.
(I'm not that guy. I was merely commenting on the fact that it IS common to refer to the thumb differently from the other 4 digits, because it's separated and serves a different purpose)

EDIT: (It was a lighthearted comment, which I had hoped would have been obvious)
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