What do the cool kids usde for brakes? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 13 Old 10-18-2014, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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What do the cool kids use for brakes?

After a nearly being killed by a senior backing in front of me today,I have realized that the braking power of my Gen ! is weak to say the least. Thank God i had an "out" because I stopped 30 feet past the van.
Ive seen so many threads on the subject but there must be a system that has a proven record?
What would I need to enhance my braking power?

Ive ordered a Hiviz vest,helmet and underwear.

Last edited by Jeepflambe; 10-18-2014 at 06:31 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-18-2014, 08:52 PM
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Do a Forum search and you'll find things such as stainless steel lines, over sized front rotor and dual piston front caliper. That order is pretty well from cheapest to most expensive too.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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Last edited by klr4evr; 10-19-2014 at 08:26 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-18-2014, 09:36 PM
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I've never ridden a Gen 1, are the brakes really that weak? I can lock either wheel at will on my Gen 2, braking has never been an issue... My sometimes daydreaming demeanor has almost gotten me into trouble a few times though! Lol


Last edited by 650Stew; 10-18-2014 at 09:37 PM. Reason: Spellin!
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-18-2014, 09:56 PM
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Jeepflamba,
Bleeding fresh fluid thru the system can do 'amazing' things.

But yes, upgrades help!!!!!!!!!!!

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-18-2014, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Fluid was fresh from June. Im researching the SV650 caliper upgrades and all the xtras re:disc ,lines ,pads etc .
I cant lock up on gravel right now and I realized today how important proper braking is.
Its not a joke,good brakes will save your ass.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-18-2014, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepflambe View Post
Fluid was fresh from June. Im researching the SV650 caliper upgrades and all the xtras re:disc ,lines ,pads etc .
I cant lock up on gravel right now and I realized today how important proper braking is.
Its not a joke,good brakes will save your ass.
Very true, braking is probably the most important thing on a street ridden motorcycle. Was your bike always like this or did it get worse? Again, I'm not familiar with the Gen 1's. My 08 can lock them up on dry pavement, I've done it a few times.

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post #7 of 13 Old 10-19-2014, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 650Stew View Post
Very true, braking is probably the most important thing on a street ridden motorcycle. Was your bike always like this or did it get worse? Again, I'm not familiar with the Gen 1's. My 08 can lock them up on dry pavement, I've done it a few times.

Well now that Ive calmed down and the adrenalin is gone....
Ive mostly ridden fire roads and chip sealed roads for highway or street Ive got the Concours. So in an emergency situation I assumed the KLR would brake way better than it did.
Complete system with new SV caliper and master cyl and everything in between will cost me $500,not bad considering the benefits.

Oh and that statement about brakes saving your ass,obviously they do but I was still fresh in the mindset of wanting to save my ass with my brakes... Its a rush when you cant.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-19-2014, 08:28 AM
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I have a stock brake system on my Gen 1 and can lock either wheel. The brake system isn't sport bike quality that's for sure. You have to know it's limitations. I make it a habit to do some emergency braking practice on a parking lot at the start of each riding season.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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post #9 of 13 Old 10-19-2014, 10:07 AM
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If you can't lock up on gravel there is something really wrong.

Gen 1 brakes ain't the best, but they are better than that.

I would suspect that there is something stuck in the caliper mounting, inside the caliper, air in the line, or all three.

Remove the caliper from the fork and gently squeeze the lever. The pistons should extend smoothly and with no real effort at the lever. If you want to be completely sure, disassemble and overhaul.

Inspect the pads and the rotor for wear limit and glazing. Replace as necessary. OEM pads provide the best performance for the dollar. I've tried other options, only to have them wear out in half the time of OEM or eat up the rotor, or both.

Remount the caliper, making sure that all sliding surfaces are well lubricated with the proper grease.

If you want to change to braided lines, this is the time to do it. Braided lines do not balloon as much under pressure as stock lines do, so they give a firmer feel. Since they don't balloon they transfer pressure to the caliper faster. That may translate into a shorter stopping distance, but it won't increase the absolute pressure applied.

Bleed the line to insure there is no air in the line.

Tom

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 10-19-2014 at 10:14 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-19-2014, 01:45 PM
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First question:
Can you pull the front brake lever all the way back into the grip rubber?

If you can pull the lever back such that it compresses the rubber of the handle grip then you are achieving all the braking power available from the system as is. If you cannot pull the lever all the way to compress the grip rubber, you are not able to apply sufficient clamping power to the lever to utilize the available braking. It can be most helpful for you to consider this issue.

If you can pull back to the grip, see the following. If you cannot, see the part lower down. I'm typing this off the top of my head, as usual, so may be less well expressed than would be ideal. Apologies.

Assuming that you can pull the lever back into the grip:

First thing is to insure that there is no trapped air or other faults which yield to pressure and so increase the lever stroke. Best to start with the basics and then work on as adding improved components which a more basic problem exists is an expensive way to address. Tom has outlined some of the checks but I strongly recommend that you diagnose the problem before throwing solutions. I also recommend cleaning and lubricating the lever pivot as outlined below in the can't pull to the grip section. Do this every year, IMO.

Changing fluid solves many problems and heads off others. I strongly recommend changing brake fluid and brake fluid in hydraulic clutch systems each year. This can be done quite easily.

See Note *2 below for what may seem to be a counter-intuitive possibility with regards master cylinder swap and also deals with tuning of the master cylinder to increase stroke.

If you can pull the lever back to the grip, braided or other hoses which are less prone to ballooning will reduce the displaced fluid lost to hose expansion which will allow you to achieve higher pressure when the lever does contact the grip or may allow higher pressure/sufficient pressure.

Changing to a larger diameter rotor or caliper offering a larger center radius of pad contact will help in either can or can't scenario.

If you cannot pull the lever back to the grip, installing braided hoses is unlikely to help the problem because you already have more displaced volume than you are using.


If you cannot pull the lever all the way into the grip, there are some things which can help:

Remove the brake lever and clean the end of the lever and the end of the Master Cylinder Piston (I usually use Scotch Brite or similar). Clean the pivot bolt and the bolt hole in the lever, then wipe in a generous coating of good quality waterproof wheel bearing or chassis grease onto the pivot bolt, into the bore and onto the lever tip and end of the Master Cylinder Piston.

FWIW, don't buy some "magic" off the shelf grease from a bike shop because this will be over priced and often unknown quality. Got to an automotive parts store (a real one where the shops buy their parts) and get a tube of general purpose NLGI #2 or similar.

The idea is to "butter" the grease into the pores and irregularities of the metal.

Regardless of whether you can pull to the grip or not, this improves the brakes.

Take care not to break the Brake Light Switch. Gen1 aren't bad but Gen2 and many Suzuki switches are really easy to damage so usually best to remove the switch first and reinstall last.

If you cannot pull back to the grip, try moving you lever position and hand position so that your little finger is onto the center of the lever end "ball" or even off the end of the lever. Doing this is often difficult because we like familiar things so just crossing your arms is easy but crossing with the other arm on top feels "wrong" and is hard to do.

If moving your hand increases braking, then you may have to re-learn how you apply the brake but most people won't like that, IME.

If you cannot pull all the way back, braking can be improved by using brake pads which offer a higher friction so that's a possible. Changing to a larger diameter rotor such as the 320 mm EBC and other brands will offer more braking from the same hydraulic pressure. Problems are: cost and more exposed rotor. You will need to decide.

Note *2: An option which I found to be satisfactory is to install a smaller bore master cylinder with attention to maximizing the stroke. A smaller bore master increases hydraulic apply pressure at the same lever effort but obviously loses volume so attention is required. In the case of the 250 Ninja master I've used, the better lever and some tuning provides more apply pressure with a similar lever arc of movement. I can still pull all the way to the grip but now have greater braking.

Likely have forgotten to add some things but likely few have read this far so will move onto other things.
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