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You also should practice using the front brake to hold the bike while starting. It only takes a couple of fingers to hold the bike stopped, and with a few reps you'll find yourself rolling the throttle in smoothly while holding the bike still on a hill.

I'm not really fond of the rear brake. Because of the weight shift to the front end on braking, the overwhelming bulk of your deacceleration should come from the front binder. Get used to depending on it.

I also don't disagree with the "left foot down, bike in gear" mantra. DoubleR, have you tried going out to the end of the lever? The effort is much less there. By the way, love your avatar (assuming it's you), and you stay safe on that 600!

Luke
 
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