Rear brake on the handlebars possible?

16 replies to this topic
  • CyPrice

Posted May 23, 2002 - 04:57 PM


My right foot was amputated at the ankle when i was a child due to a birth defect. Hence i have no ankle motion. I have been riding since i was 10 and have always just taken my foot off the peg and operated the rear brake with the heal of my foot. This has always worked well enough to have alot of fun on my bike, but lately I have started racing GP, Desert and a little MX and there are many situations where you want to apply a little rear break but removing my foot from the peg would get me a mouthful of dirt. Anybody seen or heard of a way to operate the rear brake from the handle bars while still keeping a functional foot pedal? You probably havent had this question before.

  • Boit

Posted May 23, 2002 - 06:21 PM


It's an interesting proposition. To operate another brake from the handlebars, there needs to be another lever. Since the right hand already operates the front brake and throttle and the left hand operates the clutch, it would appear to me that you would need to use the left side. I don't see why you couldn't get a custom hydraulic line fabricated with the extra length needed to reach the rear caliper. If you can get the correct length of hydraulic line, all you would really need to do is adapt something like a hydraulic clutch from a KTM to use as the slave cylinder on the left side.

Try Goodridge at (email) and (internet site) for info. Fastline also makes hydraulic lines. White Brothers might also be a source for advice and guidance. Let us know how this plays out for you.

  • Boit

Posted May 23, 2002 - 06:26 PM


It just occurred to me that what might work well for you is that new clutch device that would allow you to get rid of the typical manual clutch system and then replace it with the rear brake operated on the left handlebar. Are you familiar with the new clutch invention? It was featured in one of the magazines recently. It pretty much makes the clutch an optional automatic. You can use it as a regular clutch or as an automatic.

  • MANIAC998

Posted May 24, 2002 - 01:22 AM


Also, you can do some research on roadracers. At one time, that was all the rage. Instead of pulling in another lever, this was thumb operated with a push, on the clutch side of course. They were doing it for more feel. You can't really feel the rear brakes well thru your boots. Check out Good luck, Maniac

  • Thumpty_Dumpty

Posted May 24, 2002 - 02:15 AM


CyPrice - you shouldn't have too much trouble fnding the parts. Like Maniac says - a lot of road racers use a thumb-operated rear brake, mainly 'cos using the right foot effectively can be a problem at extreme cornering angles...

In the best of English tradition: 'I take my hat off to you'...!

  • CyPrice

Posted May 24, 2002 - 04:17 AM


Thumb operated sounds exactly like what i want. I have looked at some of the clutch perches with a integrated hotstart or c-release lever and thought about rigging up a cable to pull down on the brake lever. I will check out that link and see what i can find. Thanks

  • sirthumpalot

Posted May 24, 2002 - 04:27 AM


Re the road racers doing it, look up Mic Doohan (spelling??), one of the best GP road racers of all time. If I remember correctly he damaged his foot in a wreck and could no longer work the rear brake. And if I remember correctly because of this injury he was one of the first with the thumb operated rear brake. Someone with more road race knowledge than I have can correct me here, but I believe that he continued on to win more championships with this configuration. :)

  • CyPrice

Posted May 24, 2002 - 04:27 AM


I found this:
Thumb Brake
I think i will give them a call and see what they can rig up.

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  • BigDesto

Posted May 24, 2002 - 05:16 AM


A old-time ex-pro Kenny Zhart is a friend of mine,
and he had a rear brake that was mounted directly
under the the clutch lever and slightly in alittle
bit.He modified his yz400 with this set-up, when he lost movement in his ankle(broken).You need a hydrolic lever and reroute a line the correct length.

  • JTW74

Posted May 24, 2002 - 06:23 AM


go to

Here is a question answered in the FAQ section. Maybe they can help you out.

Question; Is the lever actuated rear brake available for my bike?

Answer; At this time we do not have any production versions of the lever actuated rear brake available. We have done prototype testing and it is definitely a product we will offer, just not at this time. As this product becomes available we will update the website with model availability.

  • John_Lorenz

Posted May 24, 2002 - 06:30 AM


I remember a pro-am mx'r in the seventies he rode with one arm.

He had a weighted set of handle bars and all the clutch brake and trhottle were on one side. Man I wish I had the article, I think it ws Cycle World not sure.

Anyway with that, I am sure something or someone here can set this up, I would assume one would use another front brack hydro system and just lenghten the feed from the rear disk to the front, should be pretty straight forward.

Have you asked places like Pro Circut or FMF if the could build it for you.......?

  • Shawn_Mc

Posted May 24, 2002 - 08:28 AM


i clicked on that thumb brake links above, that thing is trick. They probably dont make one for a motocross application, but thats where Id start. The master cylinder they make would work, just the valving required, youd need a check valve of some sort to prevent back filling the foot cylinder or thumb cylinder while operating the opposite.

  • Shawn_Mc

Posted May 24, 2002 - 08:31 AM


I just pictured what your bars would look like on the left side! A clutch, a decompression lever, a brake, an altimeter, a rudder, a tachometer, a cash register, a sink, an ATM, and last but not least a buritto! It would definitley be busy over there for sure :)

  • keith

Posted May 25, 2002 - 02:31 AM


hey desto, how about a phone # for Zharts shop?i was going to recommend him, i remember his bike setup. i had some work done by him back in 1999. i lived in valencia at the time. thanks

  • 426_Pilot

Posted May 25, 2002 - 03:06 AM


I just saw the article for the automatic clutch device in Cycle World (it is the issue with the shootout between YZ250, YZ250F, and CRF450). I seem to recall them specifically mentioning that this device would allow you to mount a brake lever on the left side, just like a PW50.

When I read it, I thought "who in the world would want to do that?" This is the first post I've read since returning from the vacation I was on when I read the article. Go figure. Best of luck and I commend you for not allowing this to set you back; awesome!

  • CyPrice

Posted May 25, 2002 - 03:30 AM


Thanks for your replies. I will have time to look all this up now. I was supposed to be in Price, UT racing the 3rd round of the WORCS series today, however, durring practice I overjumped a double and bottomed violently in a hole. Since I dont have an ankle to help absorb the shock I slammed the end of my stump into my prosthesis. I am off the bike now for about 3 weeks. Man this stinks! Ah well, round 2 of the nationals is supposed to be on tv sometime today.

  • John_Lorenz

Posted May 25, 2002 - 03:52 AM


That really sucks, man I do see a little humer there,

I overjumped a double and bottomed violently in a hole. Since I dont have an ankle to help absorb the shock I slammed the end of my stump into my prosthesis. I am off the bike now for about 3 weeks.

I was gonna add well at least ya did not break your foot :)
But from the sounds of it, you got the same results if ya had one
three weeks off, Man That does stink :D

I mentioned this person before so I thought I would do it again. Carol is a friend of mine and my daughters, she races scca in the GTS class a Farrari. She is fast, she is also a parapalegic. Here is her web site

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