Clean those brakes - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Clean those brakes

Edit: Got a bit wordy, here's the short version. Cleaned my brakes (for the first time since getting the bike) last night and now I have significantly more stopping power. The downside is that now my lever is extremely mushy. Has anybody experienced this? Are the stock brakes normally mushy?

Long version:
My brakes started getting a bit squeaky and I knew that with all the nasty winter weather riding it was time to clean them. Last night I finally got around to it and attacked them with the good 'ol toothbrush and soapy water.

Skip to this morning. Backing the bike out of the garage and grab the brakes - lever goes straight to the bars. WTF? Quick inspection for leaks shows nothing. Test them on the incline (steep driveway) and they held strong. Decide that nothing that I did could have made them worse, and that I'd just be super careful.

Hopped on, went down the hill riding the brakes. Came up to the stop sign and went for a 'gentle' stop - and damn near pull a stoppie. It would seem that the resistance that I've had all along was crud on the pistons and not just normal braking feedback. I would guess that I have at least 50% more stopping power.

As a side note, though I seem to have more stopping power, I find the mushy lever extremely unnerving. I guess I'll get used to it, but more feedback so I'd know that I'm even doing something would definitely be appreciated. Has anybody else dealt with this? Did SS lines help?
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post #2 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 11:19 AM
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When is the last time you bled the brakes? I replaced my lines with SS because I got a good deal but in theory the only advantage is that rubber softens up as the fluid heats up and allows for the brakes to fade after a lot of use, it's more applicable to a track bike than how I use mine. Rubber will also dry rot over time but I don't think that is your issue.

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post #3 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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I agree that it seems wrong, and no, they're not cracked at all. Since the lever has been relatively firm since I got it last summer and I haven't done anything with the brakes, I actually haven't bled them. I'll probably get that done tonight to see if it helps.
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post #4 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 12:00 PM
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Likely old fluid. The book says to replace stock lines after around 7 years or so. If you get stainless steel braided lines they don't allow for expansion like the rubber ones. Be careful going from stock to braided lines though, it's going to be very stiff in comparison.
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post #5 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 12:02 PM
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I would bleed your break or just replace the fluid all together. No telling if you may have gotten some water in there or not.

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post #6 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
Be careful going from stock to braided lines though, it's going to be very stiff in comparison.
And you'll likely despise rubber lines afterwards, forcing you to upgrade the rest of your stable.

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post #7 of 30 Old 03-24-2015, 01:06 PM
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I would pull everything apart and clean the calipers:


It's amazing how much better stopping power you'll get.

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post #8 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 08:45 AM
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Just yesterday I split the calipers on the RC51, popped out the pistons, polished them to a mirror finish and put it all back together with fresh Carbone Lorraine C60 race pads


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post #9 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDH View Post
Just yesterday I split the calipers on the RC51, popped out the pistons, polished them to a mirror finish and put it all back together with fresh Carbone Lorraine C60 race pads
What did you use to polish the pistons? (yes yes marylandmike, TWSS)
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post #10 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 08:54 AM
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Purddy!!!

There's something confidence building about doing a complete teardown/rebuild/rebleed of your own calipers. For whatever reason, I trust them a lot more after doing my own work on them, especially when buying a used bike.

LDH, when you polish the pistons, are you just cleaning them really good? or are you actually using some method to smooth the finish more?

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post #11 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 08:58 AM
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Mother's Mag Polish. You can get it at any Auto Parts Store.

I really really really wish I had taken before & after pics. You can literally see yourself in them where before they looked about like a titanium exhaust can in color.

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post #12 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDH View Post
Mother's Mag Polish. You can get it at any Auto Parts Store.

I really really really wish I had taken before & after pics. You can literally see yourself in them where before they looked about like a titanium exhaust can in color.
Thanks, I'll have to give it a shot when I get some free time (). Those look great btw.
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post #13 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:10 AM
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I hated the brakes on my 919 when I first got it. After a simple fluid change they are not ok. Not great but not bad. However much better than before.
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post #14 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffie7 View Post
I hated the brakes on my 919 when I first got it. After a simple fluid change they are not ok. Not great but not bad. However much better than before.
I'm starting to think its just a 919 thing. The lever is mushy now but I have significantly more stopping power, so I'm having a hard time thinking that something is 'wrong' with them. I test rode a friend's 919 before getting mine and I noticed that it had a soft lever; when I asked him about it he just said that that's how it had always been regardless of bleeding, pads, etc.
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post #15 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:25 AM
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I thought the 919 brakes were ok as stock - until I put the GSXR m/c and RC51 calipers on the F3 wheel. WOW!!! What a difference!!! I think that setup was better than my Tuonos brakes for sure.

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post #16 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g00gl3it View Post
I thought the 919 brakes were ok as stock - until I put the GSXR m/c and RC51 calipers on the F3 wheel. WOW!!! What a difference!!! I think that setup was better than my Tuonos brakes for sure.

The RC51 calipers are still to this day the best production calipers I have ever used on any bike including all the newer radial mount OEM's. That's why I still source and use them on any axial mount forks in my stable like the F4i


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post #17 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:38 AM
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Love the SP2 calipers on my 9er


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post #18 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g00gl3it View Post
I thought the 919 brakes were ok as stock - until I put the GSXR m/c and RC51 calipers on the F3 wheel. WOW!!! What a difference!!! I think that setup was better than my Tuonos brakes for sure.
First day I was on this forum Arshish was selling a full RC51 setup for 190 bucks. I figured that the 919 brakes seemed great (I had just come off an '85 nighthawk), and that it wasn't worth it. I am now kicking myself quite hard for not jumping on it.
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post #19 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 10:03 AM
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Yes you should have


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post #20 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapedLabRat View Post
I'm starting to think its just a 919 thing. The lever is mushy now but I have significantly more stopping power, so I'm having a hard time thinking that something is 'wrong' with them. I test rode a friend's 919 before getting mine and I noticed that it had a soft lever; when I asked him about it he just said that that's how it had always been regardless of bleeding, pads, etc.
I have never experienced a mushy lever on the 919. My guess is that you have air in the system. Get to bleeding!

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post #21 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 10:38 AM
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My front brake lever is stone hard but my rear feels hard and then after some riding feels like mush. This was before and after the SS upgrade. I have bleed the rear three time and there are no bubbles at all. Think I will take them apart and give them a good cleaning.

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post #22 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07919Dave View Post
...my rear feels hard and then after some riding feels like mush...
TWSS

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post #23 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 07:04 PM
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Mine were recently bled and are responsive enough but not firm. Evidently the UK Hornet guy's all install dual brake lines from the master cylinder as air gets jammed in the 1 into 2 line y junction. I've now noticed this done on allot of race bikes. This could be a solution once everything else has been ticked off. LDH what's your opinion on this mod, do you use this on race bikes or the CBR600?

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post #24 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 07:18 PM
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Some of my bikes have 2 lines from the master cylinder (one to each caliper) some of have a 1 into 2 configuration using a T Fitting others have the same config using a block separator. It makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever and I rarely have any problems with trapped air in any type of line or fitting. Air always rises to the top of liquid so you just have to do some manipulation every now and then if air has gotten stuck in a banjo bolt that sits higher on a master cylinder than the bleed screw does etc. Same is true for some of those inverted Ducati rear calipers where the bleed fitting is on the bottom of the caliper lower than the brake line that feeds the caliper (genius design that is...) Either way once you raise the part to let the air escape at the highest point and properly bleed the lines then that is that.

You don't need a fancy bleeding tool either. They are nice to have, but I can do the same job with or without a vacuum tool in mere minutes start to finish every time.

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post #25 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:15 PM
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I just removed one front rotor and caliper. After bleeding it well(and a s/s line) the feel is quite firm. On the other hand my bike primarily has a calculated braking distance. This season's RC front brake conversion (most of it, at least) should give me a little better grab when I need it.

30,000 mile 919 survivor. No plans of stopping the abuse any time soon.
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post #26 of 30 Old 03-26-2015, 09:17 PM
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In case you didn't notice, I mostly drag race my bike. The previous 1/2 919 brakes sucked for town riding. On all aspects.

30,000 mile 919 survivor. No plans of stopping the abuse any time soon.
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post #27 of 30 Old 03-27-2015, 03:32 PM
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yeah with SS lines on my 919 and stock master and calipers the lever is nice and firm.

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post #28 of 30 Old 03-27-2015, 04:05 PM
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+1

easy great mod

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post #29 of 30 Old 03-27-2015, 07:24 PM
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After changing fluid my lever is pretty solid. I had a brake recall on my Suzuki and the first thing I did when I got it home was bleed the brakes. Dealership did a chit job. Front brake was almost not usable. Bleeding correctly goes along way. Sadly a lot of people get it wrong.

Brake lever feel is roughly the same as my GSXR. The main difference between the two is the 919 just doesn't have the braking power the GSXR does. But lever feel wise they are not too far off imo.
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post #30 of 30 Old 03-28-2015, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDH View Post
Some of my bikes have 2 lines from the master cylinder (one to each caliper) some of have a 1 into 2 configuration using a T Fitting others have the same config using a block separator. It makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE whatsoever and I rarely have any problems with trapped air in any type of line or fitting. Air always rises to the top of liquid so you just have to do some manipulation every now and then if air has gotten stuck in a banjo bolt that sits higher on a master cylinder than the bleed screw does etc. Same is true for some of those inverted Ducati rear calipers where the bleed fitting is on the bottom of the caliper lower than the brake line that feeds the caliper (genius design that is...) Either way once you raise the part to let the air escape at the highest point and properly bleed the lines then that is that.

You don't need a fancy bleeding tool either. They are nice to have, but I can do the same job with or without a vacuum tool in mere minutes start to finish every time.
Would tapping the master cylinder with the cover off help to release any trapped fluid at the banjo? I saw a video this done.

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