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'Grabby' front brakes on my GSXF

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by Bravus, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. Enjoying the new (old) GSXF 400 I bought a week or so ago. It has enough extra get-up-and-go over the Spada that it puts a smile on my face, and the full fairing and extra physical size make pillioning the Mrs a pleasure.

    Three minor maintenance/repair issues I want to attend to (not bad on a bike this age):

    1. The noise I mentioned in this forum before. I'm fairly sure it's vibration of the bottom of the radiator, so when I get a little time I might try sliding some cut bits of garden hose or other rubber between the relevant pieces of metal to see whether I can cure it (I'll try to post pics of the problem and solution in this thread).

    2. The clutch lever seems as though it's been bent downward (the bike had been dropped on that side and repaired so it's not so surprising). It feels awkward, and rotating the whole lever and holder assembly upward on the clipon doesn't help much. The problem is that the pull on the clutch lever is not toward the handlebar but toward a point below it. This makes holding it in for any time at lights tough on the fingers. I'm hoping it's just a matter of replacing the lever, rather than something bent in what it bolts to.

    3. The front brakes feel 'grabby'. I'm not completely sure whether this is due to brake or suspension issues or to a combination of both. Light pressure will yield some braking, but giving it a little more makes the lever 'leap' in toward the bars and the front dive. It feels a little as though the lever itself is catching, but that's not what's going on. Pads look good, but I do wonder whether a complete drain of brake fluid, replacement and bleed might fix it. Does this sound like how old brake fluid would behave?
  2. Hmm, doing some more reading on the forum last night on bleeding the brakes, and clearly 'complete drain of brake fluid' is the dramatically wrong way to do it or talk about it. The bleed-and-replace method will be pursued soonish...
  3. Get a long bit of pipe onto the lever to bend it straight again. Just go slowly and it should straighten up fine.
  4. I would also be draining and replacing the fork oil in the front forks with fresh fork oil.

    That should help get front end dive a bit more under control.

    The front fork springs are probably sagged out at that age and some progressive fork springs would almost certainly be a large improvement.

    After that new rear shocks would be next.

    Depends upon how much you want to spend really...
  5. Thanks guys. And yeah, ZX12, there's the rub: I paid two and a half grand for the bike and probably won't get that much more back for it. I don't want to 'over-capitalise' an old bike by doing too much, but at the same time it's my daily transport and I need it to be safe. I'll sort the brakes and see how that goes, then think about doing the fork oil. It does have preload adjustment on the forks and the former owner was a smaller and lighter guy than me, so I'll play with that too and see if it can be improved.
  6. I had that done on my GXSF250 along with some spacers and it help a lot with dive under brakes. How do you find the suspension?
  7. It feels hard but assured on the back, perhaps a little soft on the front. I think once I get a little less busy I'll work through the 'suspension tuning' sticky on here and see what I can do with adjustment. Someone said, though, that it's not that expensive to change the fork oil and even springs, so that might be something worth doing.
  8. Bravus, don't bother with adjusting the forks until you've changed the fluid.

    Most of the grey import bikes were designed for 60kg Japanese riders, and age will have taken a toll on the springs.

    A fork fluid change should hopefully improve things, failing that you could increase the weight of the oil. This should be near the top of your list when buying a second hand bike. You'll need a manual preferably to do this, or at least the air/fluid volumes required.

    Definitely do a brake fluid change also.

    Neither of these cost a lot, just a bit of time.