WHY THE LEFTY LEVER?
Q: I’ve been riding motorcycles for the better part of 47 years, street and dirt. One constant on a motorcycle is the front brake. It’s activated by the rider’s right hand. Since a lot of the skills necessary to ride a motorcycle are transferable to a mountain bike, it amazes me how almost every bike I see from the factory has been assem- bled in such a way that the front brake is activated by the rider’s left hand. This is completely backwards from a motorcycle standpoint. Is there any rhyme or reason for this?
—Mike, who wants it on the right
A: We know plenty of riders and racers who reverse this and run their front brake lever on the right side on their bicycles. It’s called “moto-style” for good reason. It’s especially common in Australia and Great Britain. At some point, cyclists got the idea that it would be better for the front brake to be on the left. Maybe it’s because most people are right-handed, and they thought this would prevent them from pulling a handful of brake and pitching themselves over the bars. Maybe it’s because there’s no clutch to deal with and the cable routing was cleaner. Whatever the reason may be, there’s nothing saying you can’t run your front brake on the right side if that’s what you’re used to.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
Has Mountain Bike Action put together any articles on training for XC mountain biking? Also, what has the MBA crew found in the way of quality nutrition products for pre-during and post-riding and-training?
—Luke, who’s hungry
A: We try to avoid doing too many articles on nutrition, simply because everybody’s stomach is different. What works for one rider may or may not work for another. Whether it’s high-tech nutritional supplements or beef jerky and PB&J sandwiches, we can’t tell you what’s going to taste good and fuel you. That said, our assistant editor John Ker did a very interesting story on the merits of a high-fat and low-carb diet in our May 2016 issue. Check that out. It’s an interesting read.
WHAT SHOULD I SPEND MY HARD-EARNED CASH ON?
Q: I have a 2014 Cannondale Trail 7 that I have been riding for a while now. I have upgraded many components. I’ve added an all-new Shimano Deore 1×11 drivetrain, new wheels and other less significant components, like grips. When I have been riding recently, a recurring problem has been my suspension bottoming out really hard. It is just a spring fork and not really designed for mountain riding, so an upgrade has been on my mind for a while, but 29er forks are extremely expensive, a lot of them starting above $600. My bike was around $700 new, so I was just wondering if it’s a good idea to upgrade, and if so, are there any cheaper options or should I just start saving for a new bike.
—Tomas, who has some cash to burn
A: Given your bike was almost the same cost of the forks you’re looking at, it’s probably best to keep saving for a new bike. Your money will be better spent buying a complete package, because you can take advantage of the bike company’s ability to buy components in bulk. Rather than paying for a single fork, they buy forks by the hundreds or thousands. They then pass the savings on to you by offering better pricing. By buying a complete bike, you will not only get a better deal on components, you will also get the latest technology.
—Jason, who wants some extra voltage
A: The Specialized Levo is an excellent choice and comes in several versions at many price points. The Trek Powerfly is similar in performance and price and also offers several options. Haibike makes a solid bike as well, with more options than you can shake a stick at. That said, though, if you’re looking for the ultimate carbon electric bike, we’d have a hard time saying no to the Pivot Shuttle. It’s not cheap, but boy is it fun to shred.
Have a question for the MBA crew? You can send your brain busters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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