Straightening bent brake/clutch levers - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Straightening bent brake/clutch levers

I am re-posting this here (originally answering a question from a new member).

I just got the April issue of Motorcycle Mojo, and interestingly there is an article on straightening alloy brake and clutch levers.

It is quite long, so I will attempt to condense it. First, inspect for cracks, if any are found don't bother going any further.

Put in soft jaw vice, heat with propane torch, NOT acetylene, it's too hot.
Use a bar of soap to monitor temperature; as you heat the lever, rub some soap on heated area. Once the soap melts and begins to look like black shiny resin, you can begin to straighten. Slip a steel tube over the lever and pull GENTLY on it, you will feel it give. Make sure inside edge of steel tube is chamfered to avoid damage.

Start to straighten at thickest part of the bend. Use tiny increments and reapply heat while monitoring temperature with the soap. Let it cool on it's own. Do not immerse in water or oil.Then reapply heat and straighten the sharper bends (if compound bends are present), gently and tiny increments. Trace a good lever to get proper shape. When close to original shape you can straighten a broader area by heating whole lever, place over a two- by- four and lightly tap with a rubber mallet.

When straightened, inspect with a magnifier and if you see any cracks that may have developed, chuck it out. If ok, file or sand scratches or scrapes. There is more on the cosmetics but I won't go into that here.

He does state that levers are fairly cheap, but this is useful for OEM levers that can't be found. Also useful if you need one now and want to ride while waiting for replacement.

Hope this helps, I think it's useful info.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 07:27 PM
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Seems like a lot of work for a ten dollar part. Not sure I would risk it.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 07:05 AM
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I don't get what the soap is for, is it just for a temperature gauge? If so, why not just use... a temperature gauge? Also, wouldn't different soaps all have different colors/melting points?

Also, I don't like the thought of doing that to a device I use to control the bike. I would think anything like that would just weaken the medal. Then again, I'm no student of metallurgy.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
Seems like a lot of work for a ten dollar part. Not sure I would risk it.
Like the article says: useful for when the OEM part is not available, or when you have to wait for a lever and you need to ride now.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 07:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squirrelnut1416 View Post
I don't get what the soap is for, is it just for a temperature gauge? If so, why not just use... a temperature gauge? Also, wouldn't different soaps all have different colors/melting points?

Also, I don't like the thought of doing that to a device I use to control the bike. I would think anything like that would just weaken the medal. Then again, I'm no student of metallurgy.
The soap IS a temperature gauge to let you know the part is hot enough to bend, or not hot enough. Also to make certain that you don't over heat it.

If you follow the advice and carefully check for cracks with a magnifier after the straightening is complete, the lever is safe to use. The article was written by a writer who was a mechanic and who also races bikes.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 11:00 PM
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I haven't heard of Motorcycle Mojo, that's cool. Thanks for posting.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Baron650 View Post
I haven't heard of Motorcycle Mojo, that's cool. Thanks for posting.
MM is a fairly decent Canadian mag. It started out as a Harley type "biker" mag, but changed focus to mainstream. There is usually a custom bike in each issue, sometimes chopper style but also cafe bikes.

The writing is not as good as Cycle Canada which is still my favourite. They have a different focus than most motorcycle mags, and the writing is top notch.

Costa Mouzoris, who wrote the straightening lever piece, is a Cycle Canada former writer. He has a mechanical column in each issue of MM, writes race reports and tests the sport bikes.
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