Brake hose replacement every 4 years? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Brake hose replacement every 4 years?

The Kawi manual indicates brake lines should be replaced every 4 years along with rebuilding the calipers etc.. I have a 2011 versys with original brake lines 9K miles on the bike. I replaced the fluid when I purchased the bike last spring at 3K miles. The brakes are functioning properly and I have no issues with them.

My current plan is to replace them at the end of 2018. I do about 6K miles a year so that will put me at 15K miles time for valve check, new tires, chain sprocket, brakes etc..

Not a big job to replace brake lines so I could do it sooner if need be.

My guess is the 4 year replacement is just a conservative recommendation by kawi. However if brake line replacement is a critical safety issue with potential of sudden brake failure I would like to know.

Also I am going to replace with made in USA stainless steel brake lines. Will these also need to be replaced in 4 years or are SS lines good for the life of the bike?

Last edited by Jack of Heats JoH; 12-14-2017 at 11:37 AM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 10:40 AM
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Geeez .. I'd say 9k is really conservative on OEM rubber brake lines. That said, I'd agree going to braided SS lines. They'll be good the life of your bike...
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 11:16 AM
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4 years sound extremely conservative if the hoses look and feel OK (i.e. not swelling a lot under pressure). Yeah, switch to SS lines, at least for the front. It won't make your brakes more powerful, but it makes a noticeable difference in feel, at least it has on my prior bikes that I switched to SS.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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4 years sound extremely conservative if the hoses look and feel OK (i.e. not swelling a lot under pressure). Yeah, switch to SS lines, at least for the front. It won't make your brakes more powerful, but it makes a noticeable difference in feel, at least it has on my prior bikes that I switched to SS.
Doug,

That was my thought just want to be sure. The bike is stored indoors so not a lot of UV exposure, my riding is mostly back roads with little traffic so my brakes don't get excessive use. There are no wear marks or cracks I can see on the lines and the brakes are solid not spongy.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 12:17 PM
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I had an 07 FJR that i traded in in 2016 it still had the original brake lines on it. but i did change the fluid every 2 years...

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack of Heats JoH View Post
The Kawi manual indicates brake lines should be replaced every 4 years along with rebuilding the calipers etc.. I have a 2011 versys with original brake lines 9K miles on the bike. I replaced the fluid when I purchased the bike last spring at 3K miles. The brakes are functioning properly and I have no issues with them.

My current plan is to replace them at the end of 2018. I do about 6K miles a year so that will put me at 15K miles time for valve check, new tires, chain sprocket, brakes etc..

Not a big job to replace brake lines so I could do it sooner if need be.

My guess is the 4 year replacement is just a conservative recommendation by kawi. However if brake line replacement is a critical safety issue with potential of sudden brake failure I would like to know.

Also I am going to replace with made in USA stainless steel brake lines. Will these also need to be replaced in 4 years or are SS lines good for the life of the bike?
The only thing that really causes rubber hoses to deteriorate is UV light and perhaps time. If you don't park your bike outdoors without a cover for long periods of time the lines should last at least 10 years and probably much longer. That said if you do replace use braided SS lines, they greatly improve brake feel because they don't expand with pressure, just make sure you do a really good bleed job as even microscopic amounts of air left in the system will negate any benefit from them.

I had to top up the front brake reservoir 6 or 7 times to get all the air out. Watch for tiny bubbles coming out of clear plastic hose connected to collector bottle. They continue to come out for a while after the bulk of the air is expelled from the system. You can pour what you collect back in the reservoir. Given my experience I would expect most vacuum pumps used for this remove most but not all of the air. A collector bottle is really the only way to be 100% sure all the air is out of the system.

1) start with caliper furthest from brake handle and switch back and forth between calipers every so often. It takes a while to get all the air out.
2) to start fluid flowing out of the bleeder valve you will first need to expel the bulk of the air from the system. Fill the reservoir with fresh fluid. Opening the bleeder valve 1/2 turn and using your thumb as a valve on the bleeder valve hole, block the hole before releasing the brake lever so as not to suck air back into the system. Unblock the hole when squeezing the lever to let air out. Once a steady stream of fluid is coming out of the bleeder valve close it and connect the collection bottle and go to step 2.
3) connect collection bottle to bleeder valve with clear plastic hose it comes with, a brake bleed collector bottle with hose will only cost ~$5
4) open bleeder valve ~1/2 turn and squeeze lever but do not release until bleeder valve is closed
5) repeat ~50 times or until no tiny bubbles in collector hose. Do not let reservoir run dry or you will need to start again. Keep reservoir topped up as fluid is exiting from bleeder valve.

The result of doing this however is a rock hard brake lever where you can feel pads suddenly contact the rotor with your right hand and there is no softness or vagueness in the system. You'll be able to brake a lot harder, with practice, because you will be better able to better sense imminent front wheel lock up with your right hand. If you can move or squeeze the brake lever once you feel the the initial resistance of the pads contacting the brake disks it is a sign that something is giving, either air in the system is compressing or the brake lines are expanding. The benefit of SS brake lines vs rubber lines is they do not expand with brake pressure.

Last edited by twowheels; 12-14-2017 at 02:22 PM.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 03:13 PM
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id just inspect them and if they are not cracking or rotted there fine, my 1982 gs cafe still had its factory rubber brake lines
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 08:49 PM
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Brake fluid spewing all over the paint and plastics. Not pretty.

Fuel lines leaking fuel under pressure onto hot exhaust. Won't have to worry about paint and plastics anymore.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 10:01 AM
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Brakes are life. Could be your life. Could be someone else's. Asking for advice on the Internet is like playing Russian Roulette. How lucky do you feel?

There is a lot of (probably well meaning) bad advice out there. When it comes to brakes, any advice that includes recycling or other money saving ideas should be disregarded. Unless your life is worth less than the amount to be saved.

When it comes to brakes, I always suggest the following scenario: the person performing the work should offer their life as a guarantee to the quality of the work being done. Once they complete the work, a third party will inspect and if ANY fault is found...

Sure, it is not a real scenario, but the concept is valid. How confident are you when there is a gun to your head? Are you sure that recycling the fluid is the correct action? That the bolts have been tightened correctly? That every part has been inspected for flaws or damage and is serviceable?

I've had the brakes fail on a car, and it was very scary. I was fortunate that I had enough time to react and avoided a collision. I wouldn't want to have the front brakes fail on my bike. Ever. Before every ride, I grab the front brake and squeeze it as hard as I can. If something is going to fail, I want it to happen before I start moving.

Brakes are not a trivial matter.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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16VGTIDave,

Yes this forum is on the internet, but for the most part it is a group of riders with the same machine supporting each other. Due to some bad experiences with dealership service I prefer to do my own service and check my work 2 or 3 times. Good idea to check brakes, lights and other things before every ride.

All that said I also know that manufacturers can be extremely conservative to protect themselves. The example is replacing brake lines every 4 years. There could be a huge difference form one bike to the next. I.e. one bike is a commuter left out in the sun every day with brakes used a lot in stop and go traffic and 25k miles a year of use. The next bike may be a garage queen, same model and year but only has a few thousand miles after 4 years.

I could not find any good reason to replace the brake lines immediately at 4 years especially with limited milage, no outdoor storage, and no visible signs of degradation like cracks, and no spongy feel to the brakes, and knowing that the bike been maintained.

Many times forum members provide excellent fact based advice.

JoH
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