Rear Brake Not Engaging Brake Light - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Rear Brake Not Engaging Brake Light

I was sitting at a light in traffic on the way to work, with only my rear brake engaged, when I took a quick glance in my mirror and noticed I could see the reflection of my rear end in the chrome grill of the truck behind me. Specifically, I noticed my brake light seemed really dim. I released and reapplied the rear brake and saw no difference. I applied the front brake, and saw it light up. I released both brakes and then applied only the front brake, and the brake light lit up.

I am not ashamed to admit that electrical things make my brain hurt. I look at bike wiring, and it's all just technicolor spaghetti to me, and anyone explaining wiring tends to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher. I'm a "learn by seeing/doing" kind of gal, so I hit up the interwebz to find out if there's some kind of quickie adjustment I need to make that will fix this issue. Seems like there is. I've seen a couple of YouTube videos that indicate the issue is with the brake light sensor. It seems very simple to adjust, but I'm not exactly sure where the sensor is on my 2017 Versys 650. I did, however, find a video for this adjustment for a 2013-17 Ninja 636.

I have following questions: Are these two bikes similar enough that the brake light sensor is in the same place on my Versys? If not, where is it? Are these two bikes similar enough that the brake light sensor looks/operates the same on the Versys as the Ninja 636?

Thanks for the help. Hopefully, I can make this adjustment in the parking garage before I leave work this afternoon.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:36 PM
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Follow the brake light switch adjustment instructions on page # 128 of the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 Owner’s Manual...Found Here..https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...3&d=1449547406

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:40 PM
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No offense, but most riding coaches will say you should use almost exclusively your front brake. So, problem solved. I never make a stop with only my rear brake, and because I have one of those things (I have the same electric skills as you) that flashes some lights as I start braking, when I sit at stop and somebody comes up behind me, I pull my front brake again so the lights flash as the vehicle approaches me. I am sure the technical folks here will have some solutions for you - but at least you don't have to fool with anything before your trip home - just use your front brake!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cjcintucson View Post
No offense, but most riding coaches will say you should use almost exclusively your front brake. So, problem solved. I never make a stop with only my rear brake, and because I have one of those things (I have the same electric skills as you) that flashes some lights as I start braking, when I sit at stop and somebody comes up behind me, I pull my front brake again so the lights flash as the vehicle approaches me. I am sure the technical folks here will have some solutions for you - but at least you don't have to fool with anything before your trip home - just use your front brake!
No offense taken. I don't usually *make* stops with only my rear brake. My front brake is *almost* always engaged in conjunction with the rear...just like I learned in the MSF 15 years ago. I do, however, sometimes sit at lights with only the rear brake. In addition, in the lovely traffic-clogged situations I ride in during my commute, I feather my rear brake and clutch for low-speed stability and will stop with only the rear brake if I was moving slow enough. I want the brake light working in that situation. What can I say? I'm picky. The brake light is supposed to work properly, so I want it to work properly.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by weljo2001 View Post
Follow the brake light switch adjustment instructions on page # 128 of the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 Owner’s Manual...Found Here..https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...3&d=1449547406
Hear that? It's me kicking myself. I didn't check the manual, because I thought something like this is more service manual related, rather than owner's manual related. Want to know why else I'm kicking myself? I'm a tech writer, and I'm the biggest RTFMer on the planet. Yeesh. <waves hand> Nothing to see here.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:09 PM
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Follow the brake light switch adjustment instructions on page # 128 of the 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 Ownerís Manual...Found Here..https://www.kawasakiversys.com/forum...3&d=1449547406
Even the mechanically challenged should be able to perform this one.
If manuals are not your thing. Then search on YouTube. I performed this early on after picking my bike up.
Especially, if you are adjusting your brake pedal. In my case, I had to raise it up. As the previous owner had snowshoe size feet!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 03:13 PM
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No offense taken. I don't usually *make* stops with only my rear brake. My front brake is *almost* always engaged in conjunction with the rear...just like I learned in the MSF 15 years ago. I do, however, sometimes sit at lights with only the rear brake. In addition, in the lovely traffic-clogged situations I ride in during my commute, I feather my rear brake and clutch for low-speed stability and will stop with only the rear brake if I was moving slow enough. I want the brake light working in that situation. What can I say? I'm picky. The brake light is supposed to work properly, so I want it to work properly.
Wow, kudos to you. I don't have the strength and balance to do one leg stops, much less keep my foot on the brake well stopped. Wish I did, would make starting on hills easier. That is great, and yes, you certainly should have that light working, especially with traffic approaching you from behind in congested traffic. Good luck, keep us posted.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 05:56 PM
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I found with mine, I had to push down farther then I like to activate the brake light. I like it to come on without really applying the rear brake. A warning for the cager behind me. Just put a center stand on, so I adjusted it when I had the peg mount off. There's not much room in there, so pulling the mount is the easiest way to get to it.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, kudos to you. I don't have the strength and balance to do one leg stops, much less keep my foot on the brake well stopped. Wish I did, would make starting on hills easier. That is great, and yes, you certainly should have that light working, especially with traffic approaching you from behind in congested traffic. Good luck, keep us posted.
I'm inseam gifted. With both legs down, I'm on the balls of my feet. In most situations, I can have my left foot down and be OK. Hell, I can even flatfoot my left foot if I lean just slightly to the left. If the road is cambered and I'm in the left lane, *all* I can do is put one foot down. The right foot just dangles. Houston is flat as a pancake, so I have zero natural hills, but on the few occasions I've been on inclines, it's come in handy. I'll likely make the adjustment this weekend. Weather is doing stupid things today and tomorrow, so I won't be on two wheels. I'll keep y'all posted.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 01:22 PM
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Like many others - I stop using BOTH brakes, then at the end of the "stop-process" I release the rear, taking my feet off the 'pegs (then they are acting as outriggers) to steady me as I complete the stop w/ front brakes.

VERY seldom do I have only one foot down while the other holds the rear brakes ON.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 02:04 PM
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Like many others - I stop using BOTH brakes, then at the end of the "stop-process" I release the rear, taking my feet off the 'pegs (then they are acting as outriggers) to steady me as I complete the stop w/ front brakes.

VERY seldom do I have only one foot down while the other holds the rear brakes ON.
Ditto for me. That is probably because you and I are old farts and she is probably young and still has some sense of balance and strength.

Forty years away from 2 wheel fun. Sure is great to be back smelling the roses!!!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 08:26 AM
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Like many others - I stop using BOTH brakes, then at the end of the "stop-process" I release the rear, taking my feet off the 'pegs (then they are acting as outriggers) to steady me as I complete the stop w/ front brakes.



VERY seldom do I have only one foot down while the other holds the rear brakes ON.


While I always use both brakes to slow, Iím the exact opposite when braking at slow speeds, when maneuvering at slow speeds, when coming to a complete stop, and when stopped. I come to a complete stop using the rear brake only. Then, once fully stopped (with NO fork rebound!), I extend my left for support. Hard stops, threshold braking, or outright panic stops, are obviously a different story.

The rear brake is my friend. So much so that I tend to wear the sole of my left boot more than the right. My right boot rarely touches the ground when Iím on the bike, because it is on the brake, which also leaves my right hand free to operate the throttle unrestricted.

I have also been known to drag the rear brake and slip the clutch, with the engine rpm around 2000 or so, to keep the bike balanced while moving at a walking pace and slower.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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While I always use both brakes to slow, I’m the exact opposite when braking at slow speeds, when maneuvering at slow speeds, when coming to a complete stop, and when stopped. I come to a complete stop using the rear brake only. Then, once fully stopped (with NO fork rebound!), I extend my left for support. Hard stops, threshold braking, or outright panic stops, are obviously a different story.

The rear brake is my friend. So much so that I tend to wear the sole of my left boot more than the right. My right boot rarely touches the ground when I’m on the bike, because it is on the brake, which also leaves my right hand free to operate the throttle unrestricted.

I have also been known to drag the rear brake and slip the clutch, with the engine rpm around 2000 or so, to keep the bike balanced while moving at a walking pace and slower.
Yep, this is, pretty much, me when I'm in traffic.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Just to close out the thread:

Easiest. Fix. Ever.

Thanks all!
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