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Brake setup
Hi All, I have just recently completed a build on my road bike and configured the left hand brake to operate the front and the right to operate the back. I recently took it to halfords to adjust the gears (something that I can never get right) and the person commented that it is the wrong way around and breaks the UK law. I find this hard to believe and researched this and could only find a reference that the bike needs two I dependant braking systems ( ie front and back). Has anyone else heard of this or have I just been given a load of rubbish?

Curious to hear from other :-)
Well, you can put it whatever sides you want...

Here in Canada, sometimes, downhillers put their brakes "moto style", meaning that the invert the rear and front brakes levers...

Just be sure that if you let your bike to a friend, that he/she knows that the brakes aren't as normal...
Thanks bobtravers. Since I'm the only one likely to ride the bike, there is no issue. Just been sold alot of rubbish advice.
there are laws and rules that assemblers/sellers must adhere to when selling new bikes, and mandated by the manufacturer . it is a liability issue for what ever reasons. You were told the truth and not totally filled with rubbish. I have had similar requests over the years and have done it only because they requested it. If it has not been requested it must be done normal. Here is an article safety mandate
scroll through and read you will find out what I mean
second page paragraph B
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
Yeah, works pretty much the same here in Germany. There's a standard setup and there's the correct my way where the sides are swapped Wink Bike shops have to set up bikes in the standard way (a shop owner told me) and change it per customer request (if they don't I don't buy my bike there). Just like bikes (mostly) have to be sold with lights and stuff (in GER).
What is fun is that your way (left hand = front brake) is actually the standard in GER and I obviously use the British way (lh = rear)... which just shows that standards are... actually not that. As with everything bike (see bottom brackets then and now).
Sorry for the rambling.
Thanks painkiller and Joe_W, it makes sense that there is a standard that buiders need to adhere to. The person in the shop mentioned that by law, they need to redo the brake layout to bring it into conformity (reading through the article, I have it setup as per American standards so it must be different here in the UK - much like us driving on the other side of the road :-) ).
On the "we have to redo it so that it is on the wrong side"... I don't know... I'd probably tell them not to since this would involve unwrapping the bar tape, changing the cable housing, etc. and would cost time (= money) and you need to redo it. You could go and find out about the actual rules for this, but I wonder if it's worth the effort (well, probably not).
Slightly different in the UK. Legally, a bike needs a front and rear brake, but there is no rule as to which hand operates which brake. With a fixed wheel bike, that can count as the rear brake and you can have just one lever operated brake on the front.

Traditionally, in the UK it's left hand rear, right hand front. Most people are right handed, so it makes sense that your stronger, more dexterous hand operates the more important brake. This way round is they way motorcycles are set up as well, so it keeps it consistent.

Sheldon says:
The fastest that you can stop any bike of normal wheelbase is to apply the front brake so hard that the rear wheel is just about to lift off the ground. In this situation, the rear wheel cannot contribute to stopping power, since it has no traction.


I have proved this to myself on a motorbike, I had to do an emergency stop and brake really hard, I could feel the rear wheel lifting and when I did come to a stop and looked behind me I could see a line of black rubber dashes along the road, where the rear wheel had locked up and was just skipping along the bumpy surface of the tarmac.
The standard for most countries, is that the front brake is operated by the hand that is next to traffic which is the hand used for signalling. The thought (correct or incorrect) is that it is safer to use the rear brake while signalling and riding one handed than the front brake.

Please NOTE that I am stating the published reason, and that I have not thought thru the why, and am not supporting either choice.

As far as strength goes, my left hand is stronger than my right, but I have far more control with the right. I am right handed.

I set up all my bikes with the left hand operating the front brake, and predominantly use the front brake, only bring the rear brake into operation for hard stops and down long or steep hills.

I agree with Xerxes and Sheldon with regards to normal bikes. On a tandem with two people on board, it is impossible to unload the rear wheel that much before the front starts to skid, so the emergency braking strategy is always both brakes.
Quote:As far as strength goes, my left hand is stronger than my right, but I have far more control with the right. I am right handed.

That's quite unusual, people are generally stronger on their "handed" side, even the right arm and leg are usually stronger if you're right handed and vice versa.

If you can get someone to stand up straight in front of you, you can quite often tell what "handed" they are by looking at their shoulders. If someone is right handed, their right shoulder will be slightly lower than the left.
Now this is an article for discussion Smile. See this a problem for very few people including myself in an emergency like to grab both brakes at the same time. I'm amerdexterous (hope that's spelled correct) which is confusing sometimes. Not sure if that is the problem or mere apples to oranges?
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!

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