Video: Tips for Brake Lever Set Up With Remy Metailler

May 6, 2020 at 8:41
by Rémy Métailler  

How should you set up your brake levers? Well, there is no right and wrong, as long as you properly tried and understood what works and does not for you so you can make the best decision.

I run my brake levers pretty flat, and this is why.

Thanks for watching!

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Social media: @remymetailler

How should you set up your brake lever

How should you set up your brake lever

Author Info:
remymetailler avatar

Member since Feb 25, 2009
191 articles

  • 35 0
 Running them flat also pulls on the ball cable making it more comfortable if you have a disability
  • 4 0
 I don’t understand your comment. Please explain.
  • 4 0
Check this video with Yoann Barelli and you will understand lol
  • 1 0
 @mxsled: wtf, that was possibly the funniest mtb related video ever.
That female enduro rider with the handlebars that are too wide probably has some sort of disability as well.
  • 2 0
 @kingbike2: thank you sir. I fully expected to have to explain my comment, but you took care of it.

I do feel bad for Yoann. It's gotta be difficult to live with that.
  • 1 0
 @truenorthsimon: he keeps a straight face, dead pan voice and the drawings with the little pubes on the 3 balls I almost believed it.
  • 8 0
 I feel lots of these setup suggestions are for those without any type of wrist injuries. I tried running my levers higher up, but it ended up hurting my wrists more. At least for me, its more comfortable a little steeper to keep my wrists inline with my arms when I am in the attack position
  • 5 1
 Wrist inline when in the attack position is where you want the levers to be Smile I think there was a recent video with Jordy from Fox that explained this.
  • 4 0
 To be fair, he does mention that, and he points out that the best set up is different for everyone.
  • 5 0
 Yes that is a good point, that being said, on my attack position and my neutral position there is not that much difference in term of my arm position, except that my elbows are out more. I find myself breaking more in the neutral position (slowing down for a rock face, setting up for a drop, line, or just braking for a corner) than I do on the attack position (actually riding features). At all time basically my wrist are bent because on my own experience it provides me more bike control, stability, and I feel safer.
  • 4 0
 Go grab a hand grip exerciser and squeeze it a couple times. Note the position of your hand in relation to your forearm. Now move your hand up and down while squeezing it and note the most comfortable position where you can squeeze. Thats where your hand/wrist position should be while you are descending, and it will probably look exactly like Remy's at the 5 min mark.
  • 3 0
 @nedersotan: and different setup for different bikes/trails.
  • 4 0
 I recently flattened out my brakes. I previously ran around -60 degrees from horizontal and went to about -20. It feels a lot more comfortable when on steep terrain. I have always set my brakes up and left them. I never really thought of changing based on the trail, or that I could benefit from setting up reach and bite point different front to rear. Thanks for the tips, 8’ll have to play around with this.
  • 5 0
 Thanks also - you obviously think in great detail about each element of how you ride the bike, and that's really generous of you to share that.
  • 2 0
 Great information, as you said lever position is a personal choice but your detailed explanations encourages experimentation. My front brake lever is much flatter than my rear brake lever as my focus going down steeps is on the front brake and my body position is back.
  • 2 0
 Thank you Remy, i thought my cockpit was pretty dialed, i run my levers almost flat, but it turns out i have to reach quite a bit with my index fingers to grab the brake lever. gonna test out more for sure.
  • 1 0
 That makes alot of sense but what if both your wrists are fused and you don't have the wrist movement to bent your wrists back or forward. What would be the happy medium as most of us have probably broke or seriously damaged our wrists riding MTB.
  • 4 0
 Unfortunately if you have wrist issues and can not bend them comfortably you will have to have keep the top of you hand in line with your fore arm. (Levers down). In the past when I would injure a little my wrist, that's what I to do.
  • 3 1
 I thought we wanted our brakes at a more downward angle to encourage moving our weight forward for more even weight distribution front to back. Isn't that the point of modern geo with longer reach?
  • 9 0
 With bikes getting longer, I find easier to ride on a cantered position (middle of the bike) and to be stable in any situation. The geometry, especially the reach has an impact on how much you can move on the bike and on your break levers position a little. Having them a bit steeper obviously has some benefits (flat corners for example, trials moves..) but overall it is not where it is crucial for me. Another thing that I did not mention, but when braking hard you usually want your centre of gravity on the back and low, which is why higher break lever suit me. I brake really hard, and I squat low on the back to get maximum forces on the bike, so then my arms are in line with the levers.
  • 3 0
 Do a push up and tell what postion your writs are in. Remy is spot on as usual
  • 1 0
 @remymetailler: Thanks for the feedback! Going to work on adjusting my weight when braking.
  • 6 0
 @doctorfuzzz: what if you are doing one finger push ups?

I have made a video demonstration.
  • 2 1
 Remy, you specified using your index finger to brake. I have been using my middle fingers for years ????????. I find that I have better grip on the bars with my index finger. The only drawback is that shorter levers (Shimano etc.) can be a bit of a fit issue. Anyone else?
  • 1 0
 Is that a joke or you are really using your middle finger to brake? I saw people using both index and middle finger but I'ver never seen a person using only the middle one. That's very weird man.
  • 1 0
 @maxgod: Saw a pro tip video on Internet from a huge youtube channel, where the presenter say that index is better but some people use the middle finger and that's fine too. Blows my mind...
  • 1 0
 @bikulture: ha, nice! Met her in Snowshoe last summer. Super nice.
  • 1 0
 @maxgod: Emily batty middle finger brakes im pretty sure! I also do it on the moto for better throttle control but mtb levers always run into my index finger.
  • 2 0
 @AverageAdventurer: Oh no way. Yes on the Moto I have seen pros. I assume because the clutch is harder to pull than a brake lever of a Mountain Bike.
  • 1 0
 @remymetailler: There are dozens of us!... Dozens! Middle finger braking is pretty rad but it seems on mtb the ergos just don't quite check out for me. I always saw the benefit of light hands, and excellent throttle control but I'm definitely not a pro. I am squarely in your camp as far as mtb setups go but as soon as I wind up with a brake that won't crush my index I'll jump ship.
  • 1 0
 I tried and loved the high brake position for everything apart from pulling the front wheel up on jumps/drops.

When the level is lower the hand rotates further round and there is more of your finger to pull up from. With flat levers there's very little of your finger under the bar to pull up from. I got myself in to some scary situations because I couldn't get the wheel up high enough for slow speed drops. Any suggestions?
  • 1 0
 You do have less stench to pull your front wheel. But how hard do you need to pull your front wheel on drops? Unless you backflip drop? Normally it's more a weight transfer towards the rear axle and very little efforts on the bars.
  • 1 0
 Late to the show, as I got a tips for checking out this video on a different forum. Never thought about this, have been running my levers in a very steep position, always. But on a bike I bought last year, I got the problem of the levers hitting the top tube when the bars rotated too much in a crash etc.

Coming from XC many years ago, I guess my setup was for sitting down and pedalling, but @remymetailler - of course I need to set up my levers for braking, not pedalling Smile

Thanks, looking forward to trying it out!
  • 2 0
 Thx Remy. Looking forward to experimenting with raising my levers and seeing how it feels
  • 2 0
 Compartment syndrome in both arms!? Dang dude, stoked that you can still charge your bike better than most!
  • 2 0
 Never thought about the fact if forces elbows
  • 1 2
 It doesn't
  • 1 3
 You run Hayes brakes. Your opinions on brakes are questionable.
  • 5 0
 You still live in 2005? Have you seen or tried their new products? Anyone that has tried them has nothing but amazing stuff to say.
  • 1 3
Trying them is different than paying for them, keeping them running, and to have them still functioning properly years down the road.
  • 2 0
 @jflb: Been having pairs for two years of intense use. Not a single issue.
  • 2 5
 @remymetailler: If you were a guy who had 1 bike, maintained questionably, crashed regularly, didn’t make much money, was busy raising a family, and paid money for these brakes and needed his bike to help him stay sane during these tough times.
I’d trust you more.
  • 3 0
 @jflb: Why do you need to be so negative and can't accept it is a great product. Previous Hayes model were not great and it has hurt the company, but now they came up with a great product that people love. Why do you need to be like that?
  • 1 5
flag jflb (May 10, 2020 at 22:47) (Below Threshold)
 @remymetailler: I know you don’t get it. You’ve been sucking the pro mountain bike industry farts for too long.
You think it’s negative because they pay you but If I can convince a few people to not buy some crappy b grade bike parts I’ll call it a positive.
  • 1 4
 What did he said?
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