Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Cooked brakes on a Road Star

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Toasty, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Had a long weekend from Australia day where I went over Mount Hotham with a bunch of mates also on cruisers. Some ride their bikes sedately, some ride a little quick, and well some of us ride them a bit hard.

    On the way DOWN from Mount Hotham towards Bright I lost my rear brakes entirely and my front brakes weren't far behind. I was hammering it pretty hard with lots of heavy braking required to slow the half tonne pig down (bike +rider +pillion).

    About 2/3's of the way down hitting constant 25-40kmh corners, I noticed I was having to press harder and harder on the rear brake until it was doing absolutly nothing. Twisted the wick back in and took it easy for the rest of the way till I could pull over in the first town.

    The rear brake rotor was totally glazed off and had a MIRROR shine to it with blue heat streaks right the way round, the dual fronts weren't much better. Took it easy into Bright then stabled the steed for the night. The next day the brakes were fine again although they did start to go off slightly later in the day up in the Snowy's.

    So anyway, my question is, should I replace my brake fluid? As I understand it the temps made the brake fluid go slightly gasseous (or something like that) which is why it felt like I lost pressure. Once it all cooled down it was fine. BTW I had new pads on front and rear before the trip, oh and there is no need for the obligatory, "If you want to ride fast get a sport bike" :p


  2. A friend of mine changes his brake fluid every 6 months. I change mine every 10,000km about 9 months. The reason is fluid absorbs moisture, and moisture (water) boils when hot.
    Yes change the brake fluid, and learn to use the front brakes more aggressively.
    Practice stops with and without the pillion is recommended. Most of us don't practice enough.
  3. Absolutely. Change it is a must after a situation like this.
  4. G'day Ronk,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I do use the front brakes very aggressivly in the twisty stuff but when you are trying to slow down such a big bike you need all the help you can get :LOL:

    A year or so ago I also upgraded my Road Star's front end to heavier fork oil and progressive springs to improve the handling under heavy braking (setup as stock it dives badly).

  5. I had an identical problem on the GTR1000 through the reeften spur (trying to stick 2 up with some mates).

    The rear brake just disappeared until it cooled down.

    I strongly 2nd the 'change the fluid' recommendation :)
  6. I remember a local lad that only ever used his rear brakes (and didn't know what countersteering was) on a HD some years back. Sorry I typecast you. :)
    My ride is 270kg dry it's not a lightweight either, so I appreciate that you've noticed the needs (oil and springs) and done the upgrades. I've put the heaver fork oil in, but not done the springs which I need to do on one the ride here.
    My only advantage is a little more ground clearance, and therefore I can carry a more speed into the corner. :wink:
    Oh I rode Bairnsdale to Hotham in Nov 2004, but snow everywhere at Hotham, near the top. Had to U-turn back to Omeo, then on the "goat track" (well some of it) to Mitta Mitta. The 100km took 2.5 hours. A chookie would do better.
  7. You didn't say if the bike still had that glazed look and the blue heat streaks the next day. If they still do you may find that even if you change the pads and fluid, you may still have braking problems....
  8. Road stars have brakes?

    Heh, you learn something new every day... :p
  9. I upgraded my front brakes from standard two pot to six pot Performance Machine - great improvement. Coming down Thunderderbolts (in NSW) last weekend and started to lose front brakes by initially crushing my two fingers left on the throttle - took them off and the lever hit the handgrip :shock:

    Used back brakes for next dozen turns and started to get some feel back on the front. Rotors also had a blueish tinge as well.

    Changing and upgrading brake fluid this week.

    Lesson learnt - two discs gotta be better than one, otherwise use a bit more back brake
  10. You could also try dropping some different pads in to help your dilemma. I imagine your bike would have some nice soft pads that bite nicely at sedate cruising speeds & are nice & quiet.
    See if you can source some more performance orientated pads. Myself, I'm quite fond of sintered pads. Take a little bit to get warm but once warm its 1 or 2 fingered braking. Next preferance would be Kevlar pads. Don't seem to require warmup time but not the outright power either. Just a thought. Works for me :grin:
  11. Thanks for the replies everybody.
    Can highly recomend the folks at Proven in Aubury/Wodonga.
    After a few experimental brakes I checked em out and they were already scuffing up nicely. Braked fine for the rest of the day until late in the afternoon trying to play catchup in the mountains, but even then not as bad as the day before.
    One of the days I will get my act together and drop some R1/R6 floating rotors on the front and upgrade the calipers. Too many chrome things to buy first though :wink:
    Certainly something I have thought about, but less than 5% of the bike's road use would be tearing through tight twisties, so couldn't justify the lesser braking performance I would get round town. And in Canberra I need it!!!

  12. Sorry missed the part about fork oil....

    I'm another who can recommend "Progressive Springs"- the bike handles much better than stock and not that much $$$ :cool:
  13. sounds like those with the cruisers are just using them too hard and/or they are not designed for that level of use. (do HD even put front brakes on any of their bikes?)

    Never had any problems at all on either a blackbird or k1200rs, both two up with full hard luggage and tank bags on 35 degree days through oxley/thunderbolts or even running the bird at 250kg+ and 1:50's at EC on 35deg days.

    People in cars used to be taught about the problems of going too hard on mountain passes - perhaps those who used to have sports bikes and moved to cruisers have got too used to outstanding modern brake technology
  14. Brake fluid? That sounds a bit complex.

    Oh wait i read it wrong, I thought you were riding a Malvern Star, not the Road Star :p :p :p
  15. Guilty on both counts! :p
  16. that's good to know on many counts - ride it like ya stole it :)