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Thread: Brake Lever position

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    135

    Brake Lever position

    When I first acquired my 42 EL the brake handle was on the right bar. I immediately moved it to the left bar as I figured that is stock. I have seen it different on some of the photos on the site.

    What has me wondering is, would there have been times when the factory or dealer would have moved the lever to the right bar?
    Also what are your opinions, did you leave your brake lever in the 'correct' position?
    Last edited by NiteOwl; 04-18-2012 at 02:12 PM.
    Bob Beatty
    1940 Chief w sidecar
    1942 EL

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Winter Garden, Fla.
    Posts
    6,638

    Re: Brake Lever position

    I've had it on both sides. When I first hand-shifted I was a little leery of moving it from where I was familiar with it being on the footshifters I'd grown to know. That was also with the 1941 & later aluminum brake lever.

    Eventually, I got a 1928-style "S" curved lever, and that has a "top" and a "bottom," so I decided to take the plunge. I found that it was the easiest transition I'd ever made, to LH front brake, so I left it there ever since.

    So, it could have been a personal preference of a PO, or did the bike ever have a ratchet lid and footshift kit on it? The only reason they moved the brake over, in my opinion, is so that they could put the clutch lever on the left. It would be pretty impractical to use the clutch and throttle at the same time with the right hand, is all I can figure. But with a hand shift, the brake works on either side.
    Sarge, Gerry Lyons, Fla.
    F.O.G. member: http://flatheadownersgroup.com/
    www.37UL.com
    "It's a 1937, and the downside is, it's out of warranty"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Western Washington
    Posts
    221

    Re: Brake Lever position

    I think alot are put on the right side by owners that are a little afraid they may make a mistake. Like Sarge said - pretty easy to get used to. I happen to like it on the left, right where god intended it to be.

  4. #4

    Re: Brake Lever position

    It belongs on the left with good reason. If you're stopped on a fairly steep hill, you'll need to put your right foot on the ground while engaging the clutch with your left foot. It's awkward to operate the throttle and hold the front brake at the same time with your right hand.
    '57 FL
    '59 FL
    assorted other stuff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Puget Sound, America
    Posts
    11,072

    Re: Brake Lever position

    Quote Originally Posted by islander View Post
    It belongs on the left with good reason. If you're stopped on a fairly steep hill, you'll need to put your right foot on the ground while engaging the clutch with your left foot. It's awkward to operate the throttle and hold the front brake at the same time with your right hand.
    That's the best explanation yet.
    Done that plenty of times on my 'modern' motorcycle--- it's kind of an 'all-in-one' motion....
    52 HydraGlide
    59 Pan/Knuck Chopper
    77 Stroker Shovel FLH
    94 Evo Secret Components

  6. #6

    Re: Brake Lever position

    Quote Originally Posted by islander View Post
    It belongs on the left with good reason. If you're stopped on a fairly steep hill, you'll need to put your right foot on the ground while engaging the clutch with your left foot. It's awkward to operate the throttle and hold the front brake at the same time with your right hand.
    I may be moving my brake lever now. But I'm in the habit of downshifting (left hand) while braking w/right hand. There will be muscle memory modification. But you, islander, are making a lot of sense. I've been there many times on that steep hill.

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