Should I switch my brakes to moto style?


What do you think about setting up your Mtn bike brakes moto style? I started riding a Honda 250 in Dec. and I have been fortunate enough to be able to ride it twice a week. In between the days I ride the moto I’m on the mountain bikes. When I go from the moto to Mtn bike I’m fine, I feel completely comfortable however when jump from the Mtn bike to the Moto it takes me a while to get comfortable with the front brake.

It’s frustrating, I feel like I never really feel comfortable on the moto unless I ride two days in a row. I ride mostly track, Sand Hill & Club Moto and I can’t seem to get my braking done correctly before the turns.

Have you considered setting up your mtn bikes moto style? Or do you know any pros that set the bike up that way?

Thanks for all the years of good info,


Hey Leo,

By moto style, you mean front brake on the right and rear brake on the left, which is opposite the American bicycle standard.

People who drive on the left side of the road — English, Aussies, etc. — run their brakes moto style. On streets in those countries, you signal with your right hand, and your left hand stays on the rear brake. The opposite applies in the United States: signal with your left hand, right hand on the rear brake.

In my opinion, this is not an issue of control. It’s a matter of custom, consistency and habit.

Two opinions

Moto guy – My friend Jason Smith is a skilled MTB rider and a very skilled moto rider. Moto is his main thing, and he competes in trail events at a high level.

Brake style: Moto

Why: “I do run my MTB brakes moto style. I started doing this after having Nathan Rennie staying with my friend for the summer. It feels more natural once you try it.”

Why does it feel more natural? Would you switch if you only rode MTB? “I am right handed and have much more dexterity and sensitivity in my right hand which is crucial for the front brake application. Also growing up my first bike had a coaster brake by pedal and front brake on the right hand grip.”

Bike guy – My friend Brian Lopes, multi-time world MTB champion, is a skilled moto rider who competes at high level and rides with the likes of McGrath and Stewart. Bikes are his living, but moto is his true passion.

Brake style: U.S. MTB

Why: “Because I grew up with my rear brake on the right of my BMX, so that is what I know.”

Do you have problems switching between machines: “Nope.”


– It doesn’t seem to matter how you run your brakes.

– Familiarity is the key factor. Rennie grew up Aussie/moto style. Lopes grew up U.S./MTB style. They both get by.

– Run all of your bikes the same. (Duh.)

– If you ride a lot of moto and only your bikes, you might want to rock it moto style.

– If you ride other people’s bikes, stick with your local custom.

– You’re new to the moto. As much as you get to ride, you’ll eventually get used to the brakes, throttle, clutch, shifter and 200+ pounds of braaap. Realize it’s a different animal, and respect it as such.


— Lee

Also: Running brakes moto style

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