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Had a stationary drop, now brake feels stuck

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by tbbm, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    I literally just started riding - I have an older ('96) CB250 and the other day I had a stationary drop (lost balance when trying a hill start). Because the handlebar twisted as it fell the front brake lever snapped. I've ordered a replacement lever but in the meantime (immediately after the drop) the bike has felt REALLY heavy to move - like I'm getting resistance.

    I can only say it feels similar to if you've left your handbrake on in your car.

    What could this be? It seems more noticeable when I try to push the bike backwards, to the point where the front suspension lifts quite high before the bike even budges backwards.

    Any ideas what I could've done? Since it's worse in reverse and the front is raising I gathered it might be the back brake...and the drop was on the side of the back break pedal so I suppose it could've had a hard knock in the fall.

    Any advice on what to check would be great.

  2. Sounds like the back wheel to me, put it up on it's centre stand and when its in neutral you should be able to try spin the wheel and see if the pads are grabbing...
  3. Centre stand, figure out which wheel is sticking.

    My hunch would be the front. When it snapped the brake lever it did some kind of damage to the master cylinder assembly. Or, you've been given and fitted the wrong replacement lever. If you haven't changed the broken lever yet, then that's your problem. The lever is bent / twisted / distorted, and it's sticking on the pivot and not properly releasing.

    First, get a new brake lever. Note that the pivot pin may be difficult to get out, because of the bent/ distorted lever. It might be a good idea to ask if they have one of those as well, because you may have to tap it out gently with a small hammer, or a hammer and a drift. If you have to do that, there's a pretty good chance you'll never get the retaining nut back on it because you've distorted the end of the pin, where the thread is, by hitting it.

    It should all go back together fine once you get the new lever.

    After you have a new lever in there (not before - you don't want to push the master cylinder plunger out) grab the front brake calliper with your hands and give it a good hard wriggle, side to side. I'm presuming it's a single piston / sliding pin type, like most cars and old bikes. By sliding it a bit, we can push the piston back a bit, and see if our problem has gone.

    If you're not too short of cash, but are a bit short on experience, may I tactfully suggest that mechanics get paid to do stuff like this, and do it right. If the front brake doesn't come on when it should, or comes on when it shouldn't, that can cause an accident. If you're not confident that you know what's going on, or what you should be doing, then a mechanic may be a better option.
  4. Thanks guys, I put it up on the centre stand and it's definitely the front brake. I'm waiting on the new lever to arrive so once it does I'll fit it and see if it fixes the problem. The bike is waiting for a general service anyway so as soon as I get the brake working enough to get it to the bike shop I'll have them check it over properly.

    Appreciate the help, hopefully I stay upright for the foreseeable future!
  5. Okay, so I've got the new lever on the brake, but it is still siezed up nice and tight. Even though it fell on the opposite side to the front brake so I know there was no impact on the brake assembly itself, it seems to have done some damage.

    If I give the callipers a bit of a knock, it releases the wheel enough to spin. But as soon as I apply the front brake, it's stuck solid again.

    It's going to the mechanic a few blocks away at the end of next week but I wouldn't mind having a look at this myself before then - so then he can check over everything I've done (good learning experience).

    Any advice on to diagnosing the issue? Do I just bleed the brakes out, take the brake assembly off and start checking for a gunked up piston? Or are there some other things I should try first?

    Apologies for all the questions but I figure this is a great chance to get familiar with the bike.
  6. Since it was near the master cylinder that seemed to take a hit, thats where I'd be looking first. Try checking that nothing got bent, and everything moves smoothly.
    This might sound silly, but was it you or a mechanic that installed the new brake lever? If you did, just double check you did it correctly.

    If everything seems to be fine around the MC, maybe the problem is down around the caliper. Its hard to tell with the info youve given us, but if you double check everything and dont just assume that anything works you'll get to the bottom of it.
    And as always with brakes, if you're not mechanically inclined just get a mechanic to fix it for you. Brakes are the most important part of your bike, your life may depend on them.