26 November, 2010

If you cut me, do I not bleed – Day 9

Odo 292

There's been a lot of talk about poor brakes on the Zero S/DS. I couldn't see it myself, they seemed fine. However a few days ago I did a hard stop and then afterwards the front brake was just as described. Long travel with nothing before it took up. Then it got better... Don't you just love machines that “get better”. I promptly forgot all about it.

Yesterday (I forgot to mention it in yesterday's entry) I tried to get it to do a stoppie for the guys at the bike shop. It failed to come up on one wheel, but afterwards the problem returned. I think it's got something to do with the unusual cable routing. The brake line goes up and over the headlight. I've never seen a brakeline do that before. When you put the bike on the stand with the bars turned all the way to the left it does seem to fix the problem. I'll keep an eye on it and let you know how it goes. Still, even when it's not quite right, it's ok. Yes the travel is too long before it takes up but it still works.

Well I wrote that last night, today I went out again for some more static shots. The front brake is now quite unacceptable.

I just rang Phil and he handed the phone to a guy who's name I sadly missed. (edit: Richard Kenton)  Turned out he's the head of technical training and development or some such impressive title. Anyway he's the guy who knows everything. I described the problem and he knew exactly what it was. They'd outsourced their brakes (as all motorcycle companies do) and the supplier had put in sub standard fluid. I'd boiled the brakes, which is a first for me. Anyway the fix is to replace the fluid with Motul 660. All the new machines are being delivered with that fluid but mine was the last of the poor fluids. So change to that and it should be all good. He wants me to let him know how I get on. They were happy for the dealer to do the change but my dealer is 300 km away, I've changed brake fluid many many times and am completely confident about it. It's far cheaper/easier/quicker for me to mend this minor problem myself than take it down to the dealer.

So how's that! Try having an issue with your honda and see if you can speak to the factory's head of service with just one phone call.

Cut to 4 hours later.

I've been to every bike and car shop in town. There are a lot of them. I found one place that could sell me a vacuum brake bleeding kit, for 129 dollars, plus an air compressor to drive it for just another 200. Hmmm, the Mityvac kits on the internet are about 40 dollars and vastly better. I've found the bike shop will order me in the Motul 660. It's the best brake fluid money can buy (ideal for carbon ceramic brake systems under highly stressed racing conditions according to the blurb). $50.00 Oh well I've ordered some anyway. The bike shop also quoted me $20 to bleed the brakes. With the right tools it's a 5 minute job. I think I'll get the tools and do it myself. That way I can do it again as needed.

Of course the brakes have got better by themselves again.

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