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Discussion Starter #1
Lost my rear brake after a long hot downhill a few weeks ago.

Replaced the fluid and now much improved.

Didn't do front at that time as the hose I had attached to the rear nipple was wrong size and had old fluid leaking over everything.

So got the correct hose and ready to bleed the fronts, but have noticed this problem with the fronts on the last few rides.

When I pull the front brake lever, I get some braking, but doesn't seem to increase with greater lever pressure, then "something" gives and the brakes engage hard.

Is this something that bleeding will improve or is something else going on?

I replaced the brake pads 6 weeks ago - EBC.

Bike is a low mileage (11K) 08 - I've put 1200 miles on her since I got her in late July.
 

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id check / lube your plunger on the master cylinder, could also be gunk or scarring on the piston in the caliper itsself (had that problem on my VW years ago)
 

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Lost my rear brake after a long hot downhill a few weeks ago.
This indicates incorrect braking technique to me. Sounds like you are riding the rear brake instead of using the front.

Replaced the fluid and now much improved.

Didn't do front at that time as the hose I had attached to the rear nipple was wrong size and had old fluid leaking over everything.

So got the correct hose and ready to bleed the fronts, but have noticed this problem with the fronts on the last few rides.

When I pull the front brake lever, I get some braking, but doesn't seem to increase with greater lever pressure, then "something" gives and the brakes engage hard.

Is this something that bleeding will improve or is something else going on?

I replaced the brake pads 6 weeks ago - EBC.

Bike is a low mileage (11K) 08 - I've put 1200 miles on her since I got her in late July.
As silviefox said check out the master cylinder and replace fluid and see if that fixes the problem. Did the unusual behavior start after you replaced the brake pads? Perhaps the pistons in the caliper are sticking?

http://www.motorcyclenews.com/new-rider/choosing-kit/2006/november/jan26-05-how-to-service-brake-calipers/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys,

It does sound/feel like it could be the plunger and come to think of it, this problem has manifested itself after the bike was out in a deluge - she is normally dry weather only).

Will lube plunger as best I can without disassembly and bleed brakes,, hopefully this will cure.

Re riding rear brakes, I try not to, I'm a cyclist so understand the power of the front brake.

Thanks again
 

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IMO the brakes on my 2012 are spongy, even after power bleeding them. Going to replace the lines with stainless as soon as the boss let's me have some money.
MavericAus is correct, braking should be around the 70 front 30 rear range
 

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Downhill braking tip: Downshift to increase the amount of engine braking which will minimize the need for actual brakes. Sorry if that is an obvious statement...

With regards to the front brake feel, did this just start? have you bleed the front brakes yet?

- This is a common symptom of air in the brake fluid. Basically brake fluid by itself does not compress and provides a solid brake feeling. Air however can be compressed, and if there is air in the brake fluid it will cause a spongy or soft brake feeling.

You said that the hose you used on the rear didn't fit the front and it caused fluid to leak over everything; if you opened the front brake nipple and fluid came out, there is a large possibility that air might have also gotten in.

keep us posted
 

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try lifting or pushing down on your handle a bit as you pull it in to see it its the handle not the plunger (mine binds a bit when lifted and pulling)
 

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If bleeding doesnt help, check your caliper pistons. As silviefox suggested, could be scoring or corrosion on the pistons.

When you change pads, you push the pistons back. Since new pads are thicker, less piston sticks out past the seals. If you had corrosion on the portionnof the pistons that were sticking out past the seals with the old (thinner) pads, now that corrosion could be running across the seals and hanging up. You may be feeling it binding, then releasing as it pushes out past the seals.

Im probably doing a bad job explaining this, but if all else fails its worth taking a look at the pistons to see if they are nice and smooth or scored up. If they have slight corrosion you can often clean them up. If they look good, see if the seals are seated well also. You can get corrosion in the groove that the seals sit in which will push the seal out causing the piston to bind up. That usually results in a dragging brake symptom though.

Ive done nothing to the brakes on my Versys thus far, so i technically have zero experience working on these brakes, but Ive had these issues on another bikes with twin piston Tokico calipers like the ones on the V
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Perfectly described, will check, plan on doing the piston lub3 and bleeding on Sat - will also checked suspension travel as per other thread I have read on here.

Thanks all.

If bleeding doesnt help, check your caliper pistons. As silviefox suggested, could be scoring or corrosion on the pistons.

When you change pads, you push the pistons back. Since new pads are thicker, less piston sticks out past the seals. If you had corrosion on the portionnof the pistons that were sticking out past the seals with the old (thinner) pads, now that corrosion could be running across the seals and hanging up. You may be feeling it binding, then releasing as it pushes out past the seals.

Im probably doing a bad job explaining this, but if all else fails its worth taking a look at the pistons to see if they are nice and smooth or scored up. If they have slight corrosion you can often clean them up. If they look good, see if the seals are seated well also. You can get corrosion in the groove that the seals sit in which will push the seal out causing the piston to bind up. That usually results in a dragging brake symptom though.

Ive done nothing to the brakes on my Versys thus far, so i technically have zero experience working on these brakes, but Ive had these issues on another bikes with twin piston Tokico calipers like the ones on the V
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK, liberally lubed front brake master cylinder piston with 3 in 1 oil, then depressed about 300 times (3 pumps then pull and hold) as I bleed the front left, then right calipers.

Original fluid was an amber colour (not sure if this was original colour or due to age) anyways bleed till I got new clear liquid all around. Some really nasty looking black stuff came out of the right caliper at first!

Anyways, brake feel is smooth and consistent - I could do "fronties" if that's what they are called?

Thanks all
 

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I learned to bleed the brakes of old fluid yearly. The fluid absorbs moisture from the air and that causes corrosion in the system PLUS it will boil and that cause brake fade. Not good things.

If you keep the master cylinder topped up with fresh fluid as you pump the brakes while opening the bleeder you shouldn't get any air in the system and it only takes about 1/2 hours to do front and rear. I just use a short piece of the right size clear plastic tube and a old pop bottle Make sure to buy the right kind of brake fluid DOT3 or DOT4 NOT DOT5, it will trash your brake system unless it's made for DOT5.

BTW I never keep a opened bottle of fluid around certainly not a plastic bottle as I was told they will pick up moisture just toss it and buy a new one as needed.
 

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You can also use DOT 5.1 as it is compatible with DOT3 and DOT4. It has better characteristics but less viscosity so keep your banjo bolts and bleeding valves tightly closed.

PS. changing brake pads for sintered ones really helps as do installing radial 19 master cylinder. SS lines less so but if you have an opportunity and some cash you may go for it when changing MC

If you keep the master cylinder topped up with fresh fluid as you pump the brakes while opening the bleeder you shouldn't get any air in the system and it only takes about 1/2 hours to do front and rear. I just use a short piece of the right size clear plastic tube and a old pop bottle Make sure to buy the right kind of brake fluid DOT3 or DOT4 NOT DOT5, it will trash your brake system unless it's made for DOT5.
 

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When I ride up here in the Jemez Mountains, I find that I get about 95%+ of my downhill braking from engine braking. I am not an aggressive rider by any stretch of the imagination, but given the amount of sand/gravel on the roads and the lunatics coming the other way, I do not like going too fast though the curves. I cannot imagine using a rear brake - of all things - to the point of it fading. Perhaps I would over-use the front brake, but I have not so far. And I am having plenty of fun in my opinion.
 
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