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View Full Version : Tech: Get your brake lever travel back!



tobiism
12-11-2010, 1:15 PM
If your brakes are a few thousand miles old this little trick will really make your brakes feel better.
I noticed on my 1200S that had 10000 miles on it that the front brake lever had to travel really far before the brakes bit onto the rotor. My pads looked fine, they did not need to be replaced. Turns out that overtime the piston seals tend to pull the pistons further back into their bore than they should be. You need to break that seal to get the pistons where they need to be, riding the disc.
To do this:
1. Remove the master cover and wrap a rag around it to prevent brake fluid from spurting all over everything
2. Remove the brake caliper
3. Actuate the brake lever to push the pistons all they way out, until the pads are fully clamped against each other.
4. Pry the pads apart just enough so that they'll slip onto the rotor. Watch the fluid reservoir to make sure the rag catches any brake fluid that may squirt out
5. Put the caliper back onto the fork leg
6. Repeat for the second caliper if you have twin discs.
7. Enjoy having a solid lever again!

steffan
12-11-2010, 1:40 PM
good to know. ill have to try it. ive been running it all this time and just stopped noticing it. :cheersmate:

jamesgs4
12-12-2010, 5:49 AM
Sounds like you removed air bubbles in a creative way. If you would have bled them normally, you would have got the same result, with less mess.

tobiism
12-12-2010, 9:02 AM
Sounds like you removed air bubbles in a creative way. If you would have bled them normally, you would have got the same result, with less mess.

Negative, not the same thing. And honestly there was no mess, its just a precaution. Pistons getting pulled away from the pad by the seals is fairly common, a lot of people just don't know that they can do something to put the pistons back where they need to be.

rustrocket84
12-12-2010, 1:17 PM
I did this a couple years ago and it works great. I recently changed some stuff on the brakes and did it again after I bled the brakes. It is a very common problem on some of the newer, ie 2000 and up HD's. I also did a friends Ultra that didn't stop for shit and a huge difference. He almost dropped a bunch of money and bought new master cylinder because of the problem.

mjasen10
12-12-2010, 9:02 PM
it works fantastic. +1 on what rustrocket said about the hd calipers.

wickedblockhead
12-12-2010, 9:09 PM
how do you get rid of chatter when youre not on the brakes? :killerjob:

tobiism
12-12-2010, 9:26 PM
how do you get rid of chatter when youre not on the brakes? :killerjob:

There is no chatter. There is no force being applied to the pistons when you're not braking. They just don't have to travel to get to the rotor, they're already right there.

wickedblockhead
12-12-2010, 11:13 PM
well ive got a clicking noise that i cant get rid of when the wheel is rolling. ive taken the brake of an reset the pads, i dont see anyting wrong with them. whatever the noise is its in time with my wheel rotor. my rotor doesnt look warped and doesnt feel wobbly when im on the brakes... didnt mean to steal your thread

rustrocket84
12-12-2010, 11:56 PM
What bike is it on? My 96 with the single piston caliper had a spring clip that if you didn't get in just right would let the pad rattle.

tobiism
12-13-2010, 12:15 AM
What bike is it on? My 96 with the single piston caliper had a spring clip that if you didn't get in just right would let the pad rattle.

Thats probably it, it looks like he has a '98 Dyna, so that would have the same caliper as your '96