How to hold a throttle?                                 Back to Motorcycle Dynamics                  Contact us

You know there are topics which belong to a category of black-and-white things. They should be done a certain way, or shouldn't be done - there is no discussion. For example, braking hard while leaned is a really bad idea - there is no arguing about it. So is the use of the rear brake for emergency braking. But there are also gray area topics where it's up to the rider to decide. How to hold a throttle is one of them. We will discuss a somewhat less known way of holding a throttle which does work for us. If it works for you, great! Use it. If not, just forget about it.

Please look at Fig. 1 below. The throttle is held with a thumb and the index finger while the other three fingers rest on the brake lever. We ride like this for hours. The hand gets tired somewhat after a few hours, but at this point all parts of your body would show signs of tiredness. We even emailed to Sport Rider magazine about this technique, and it was mentioned in the feedback section some time in 2005 or 2006, however with some skepticism. So, what's so special about our approach? Here are a few important points for you to consider.

1. Holding a throttle with this new technique puts less strain on your fingers than the more known approach shown in Fig. 2. As a result, it's not painful to ride like this for hours, while covering the front brake all the time. You become well prepared for an emergency braking. It's a well known fact that by covering the brake lever you would apply the front brake at least 0.5 sec earlier than without covering the front brake. In emergency braking every foot counts. Depending on your speed, quite a distance could be covered in half a second. 

2. Because your fingers are already on the brake lever, you tend to squeeze the lever less abruptly than if you were holding the throttle only and  then suddenly grabbed the front brake lever. In other words, this technique promotes smooth throttle to brake transition.

3. Utilizing this technique, you places your fingers on the brake lever farther away from the pivot point, thus giving yourself more leverage. The more leverage you have the less effort you have to apply to the brake lever to achieve the same braking power. This in turn enables you to control braking in a more precise way. If you compare this technique to the more traditional one shown in Fig. 2, it is obvious that the pressure on the lever is applied closer to the pivot point, thus requiring more effort and therefore promoting more tiredness of your fingers and leaving you with less control over your braking effort.

4. If this approach works for you, it can become a foundation for another amazing technique described on our main page "Throttle and brake combined into a single control".

5. It is "OK" to use this new technique because the fingers are positioned in the same way when you give someone an "OK" sign - the thumb and the index fingers are touching each other while the rest of the fingers stick out. It is naturally a very relaxed position for you fingers. On the other hand, the generally accepted way of covering the brake puts a strain on your fingers - the little and the ring fingers are almost touching the thumb while the other two fingers are sticking out.

Writer MD

"Any ride which ends safely at home is a good ride"


Fig. 1. Our approach of holding the throttle while covering the front brake.


The thumb and the index finger hold the throttle while the rest of the fingers cover the brake lever. The picture is shown at the moment when the lever is being squeezed. Otherwise, the fingers rest on top of the lever.

Fig 2. The commonly used approach of holding the throttle while covering the front brake.


The brake lever is covered by index and middle finger while the rest of the fingers hold the throttle. The picture is shown at the moment when the lever is being squeezed. Otherwise, the fingers rest on top of the lever.