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Where is the rear brake pedal on the new Vespas?
December 20, 2013 12:02 PM   Subscribe

The Vespa scooter I rode many years ago had a front wheel brake operated by a hand lever and a rear wheel brake operated by a foot pedal. Motorcycles have the same layout. I see Vespas all over the place, but they don't have the rear brake pedal. How do you actuate the rear brake?
posted by KRS to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The left handgrip lever isn't a clutch anymore, it is now the rear brake. Modern vespas don't use a clutch (unfortunately).
posted by furnace.heart at 12:10 PM on December 20, 2013


Yep. Modern Vespas are automatic. Both brakes are activated with hand brakes.
posted by raisingsand at 12:31 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not the OP, but curious for those in the know - are you saying the LEFT lever is the REAR brake? Because if there's no clutch lever, that frees that hand up for whatever, and it would make sense to make the LEFT the FRONT (taking that away from the right foot control) and keep the right for what it's typically been for both bicycles and motorcycles, the rear.

If they've flip-flopped them for some strange reason, that's a potential booby-trap, since overdoing it on the front brake of any two wheeler can make you high-side, flip, etc.

I've also heard of some motorcycles that have one lever that coordinates both front and rear brakes (more car-like). Unless I'm imagining that...
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:18 PM on December 20, 2013


The right brake lever is rarely used for rear brakes on motorcycles or scooters. The right brake lever actuates the front wheel because that's where most of your braking power comes from, and to actuate if, you must roll off the throttle.

I'm assuming it's done this way so you're not fighting a wide open throttle against powerful braking.


And yes, some scooters use one lever for both brakes, but this isn't common.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:55 PM on December 20, 2013


"and keep the right for what it's typically been for both bicycles and motorcycles, the rear."

Yeah, this is a bicycle thing, not a motorcycle thing.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:57 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


randomkeystrike: On modern motorcycles, the front brake and throttle are activated by the right hand. The right foot controls the rear brake. The left hand is your clutch, and your left foot manages the shifter. So yes, modern Vespas have the front brake on the right hand, consistent with other motorcycles on the market.

Most bicycles are set up with the front brake on the left hand. Most motorcyclists I know who also ride bicycles reverse the controls on their bicycles to match their motorbikes.

Yes, some motorcycles have linked (or "integrated") brakes. There are several types of linked brakes, and if your bike came equipped with linked brakes it is not possible for a mortal to un-link them, so that is a decision you make before you buy the bike.

Most linked-brake bikes (all Hondas with linked brakes, including the VFR800 and many but not all BMWs until 2005-2006) have fully-integrated brakes, meaning that the right hand controls the front brake and one or two pistons in your rear caliper and the brake pedal activates the rear brake and one or two pistons in each of the front calipers. In 2005-2006 BMW introduced partially integrated brakes, where the front lever activates both brakes as described above but the rear pedal activates the rear brake alone, which is useful in many low-speed and off-pavement maneuvers.
posted by workerant at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most bicycles are set up with the front brake on the left hand. Most motorcyclists I know who also ride bicycles reverse the controls on their bicycles to match their motorbikes.

Others have already explained Vespa brakes, but I'll note that I'm one of the many people who do this. I use the right lever for the brake on anything I ride, to keep the muscle memory fresh in an emergency situation.

I have to remind people when they borrow my bicycle, and even with reminders people will sometimes scare themselves when they think they are grabbing a big handful of rear brake.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:58 PM on December 20, 2013


I have a Vespa and a bicycle. As I'm pulling out of my driveway on the Vespa, I always say OUT LOUD to myself "Brake with the left hand."
posted by raisingsand at 3:14 PM on December 20, 2013


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