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Getting better brakes

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by goof, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. I have an '81 r100rs which has very 'wooden' brakes, stiff, little feel and require a great deal of pressure to get sufficient stopping power out of them. Any suggestions to rectify? E.g. new pads, fluid, discs etc. What should I be looking for first? I like riding the bike but I like being able to stop even more.

  2. How about braided brake lines?
  3. Braided lines will improve braking by 0.0005%?????

    I would change the fluid first up, give the system a good flush and install good quality brake fluid.
    Brake fluid is hygroscopic and over time end up mostly water. Water as brake fluid isnt the best option.
    Clean the calipers as well, they may be gunked up and not moving fluidly.

    I wouldnt worry about the rotors unless they are way under size which means the pads need to move more of a distance before they start to grab.

    Try those 2 options first and see if that helps, if not, then I'm full of it and have no idea on any other solution :grin:
  4. Even working 'properly' a 1981 R100RS will have very wooden feeling brakes with little feel and power compared to modern bikes.

    It wasn't until dual piston calipers that disk brakes started to get a bit of 'feel'.

    Vic's suggestions are on the mark, flush out the system and make sure everything is working correctly. If you are still unhappy with the braking then the next step is a set of aftermarket calipers (brembo's would suit the Beemer well).
  5. Sounds good, I will look into it. I think you may be on the money as I can't imagine the brake fluid having been changed since perhaps the mid '80's.............
  6. Thanks ZX1200R, looks like that is the way I will go in the first instance. Yes I agree, older bikes certainly don't have the feel you get with modern technology but I have ridden and owned a number of other older Beemers which had better feel than this current one. Very disconcerting when slowing on a downhill.
  7. My ZX6R had brakes like that. First time I applied the brakes I almost hit the car in front of me.

    I learnt to adjust to them, although moike will tell you all about Blanket Hill I'm sure :)
  8. If it's an '81 then you should have the Brembo disks, not the ATE's that are on my older bike. Brembo's are repudedly superior, and yet I have managed to get the back wheel off the deck in an emergency stop.

    If you are applying a lot of pressure, and it's not resulting in either a lot lever movement or rapid deceleration, I would suggest that you might have some contamination of the brake pads.

    My front brakes were biting nicely until I decided to take the Adaminaby-Tharwa Rd at what turned out to be a silly speed, and blew both front fork seals. The leaking fluid has contaminated the pads and made them feel quite wooden.

    So tomorrow I am putting in new fork seals and brake pads. But first I need to replace the clutch cable that decided to unravel on the way home tonight. At each use, I had progressively more lever movement, until at the last set of lights I had to pull it to the 'bar to disengage. The cable inner was down to the last two strands.

    I would endorse the other recommendation about getting braided lines. If the rest of the brake system is up to scratch they really do make a difference.

    The other issue is the condition of the brake cylinders. If they are a bit grotty they can partially seize up so that you don't get the full effect.

    How long have you had the bike?
  9. Hello mike, bought the bike about 6 years ago, had it for mebbe 2 years then gave it to a mate who had written his off in a prang. Since I had 3 beemers in the garage at the time, I figured I can't ride them all at once and anyway that was being quite greedy. ANYWAY I got it back off him a couple of weeks ago after he had it for about 4 years 'cos he got another one himself and I had got rid of my other 2. When I rode it away from his place it was beautiful to be back on it except for the brakes which certainly didn't feel as good as they once did. Perhaps 4 years of no maintenance is having an effect.
  10. It does tend to do that. :)

    I'd be inclined to check to see how much meat is on the brake pads, then replace them anyway. If it makes no difference, keep the old ones for spares.
  11. So Mike, this is your contribution to the "Clutchless Gearchanging" thread??? Sounds like the old girl decided to throw in several sponges all at once.....
  12. I must admit, I was pleased to discover it was only a cable. There is a rather nasty thing that can happen to these beasts (involving the failure of a clutch actuating lever) that can have a similar effect.

    And I was pretty happy to have it happen on the way home from work. A couple of weeks ago I did a 2000k round trip to Tarago via Thredbo etc, and next weekend I am taking her up to the Alpine Rally, so now is a pretty good time for it.

    The fork seals blowing was my own stupid fault, and that caused the brake pad contamination, so I guess the old girl really only developed one fault on her own, and that was the sort of consumable you expect on a 27 year old bike.

    In a couple of months I won't need her for commuting duties any more and her reliability should improve a bit.
  13. Thanks, looks like I will be looking at the brake set up situation from top to bottom, after all I think it is worth it. As I said before it is nice to be able to go fast but I do like being able to slow down even better.
  14. Get the softest pads you can.

    They will give you better feel and the money you spend on buying them more often, you will save on rotor machining and replacement.

    If they are the Brembos, I know what you mean.

    There was also brembo gold caliper in these brake models. I don't know whether it was marketing wank or not, but just so you know.

    Also there is an aftermarket replica of all they bits for these old brembos. The calipers look a bit different, but internally they are based on the old brembo blacks.

    I'm not sure of the brand. Lockheed keeps coming to mind, but don't quote me on that. they might help, if you wan't a tolal refresh.
  15. Yep it was marketing hype a little bit

    See attached

    Standard - highest OEM-quality, and the best direct replacement parts for your classic European motorcycle. Master cylinders and calipers come in black-anodized finish, discs of one or two-piece construction in ‘MeehaniteTM’ cast-iron or steel. Standard brake lines are DOT-approved.

    Gold Line - distinguished by their distinctive gold-anodized finish, these components originated in the late 1970's as standard units specially lightened for racing use. This was accomplished by use of aluminum alloy pistons for calipers and master cylinders, extra machining of calipers and discs, and fitment of race-compound pads to calipers. Today, the differences between many 'standard' and 'Gold Line' master cylinders and calipers are primarily cosmetic, as standard units have been fitted with aluminum pistons since the early 1980's, and many ‘Gold Line’ units are now fitted as original equipment. Discs, however, have evolved technologically into the 'Full-Floating' design, using aluminum carriers, special floating bushings and ‘MeehaniteTM’ cast-iron rotors giving the racer or sport rider the best cost / weight / performance ratio available.

    In the old days i would knock up aluminum pistons and get them hard anodizied and spray the calipers gold '

    Look Goldlines for $50 max
  16. I've been doing some investigation about improving the brakes on the R65. Similar conclusions. I've been reliably informed by numerous air-head owners that replacing the brakefluid and the hoses is the place to start. Some people I've talked to have sworn by braided lines others have a similar opinion to Vic. My suspicion is that just replacing the standard hoses probably has 90% of the effect of putting braided ones on (but they look better :wink: )

  17. In my experience any standard rubber sheathed brake line over 10-15 years old should be replaced.

    If its replaced by braded lines, you get the following less pressure being applied at the handle bar ( less swell in the old rubber braided lines ) improved feel and performance

    In stripping my CX500 on the week end to replace the steering head bearings I noticed found 4 splits in the hose between the m/c and splitter. would not have found them if not removing the Instruments / nacelle