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 Soft Brakes?

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mboni
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PostSubject: Soft Brakes?   Sun 10 Jun 2012, 15:30

Folks,

I've got 2006 SWing with 40k miles on it. I think I'm slowly developing an issue with my brakes: it seems like there's lots of travel in the brake levers before the brakes start to grab hard.

I didn't really notice anything was wrong until I started riding another scooter, and the brakes start to grab much earlier on it. And this issue didn't just suddenly appear, I think it's been a very gradual change.

It's not the brake pads, those have been replaced moderately recently. And it's not the brake fluid, I had that replaced when I did my last major maintenance. I don't think it's air in the brake lines, since professionals did the brake fluid, and both front and rear seem equally affected.

The service guy at the shop thought it might just be age affecting the brake lines: they are expanding slightly under pressure, so it takes a little extra before they start to push the brakes hard. Does that seem likely to you folks? Has anyone else needed to replace brake lines after ~6 years?

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micbusathens
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Sun 10 Jun 2012, 16:12

For heavy scooters like SW sometimes spongy brakes help you to avoid some difficult situations.Heavy vehicles tend to block brakes under panic conditions.This doesn't mean SW has the better brakes.If I where you I would start with different brake pad brands.IMO 6 year period is young for honda brake lines.You compared your brakes with another SW or just "another"scooter?Personal opinions though .
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tinman
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Sun 10 Jun 2012, 16:53

The front break has a softer feeling on its own.The left break in slow parking lot driving can put you off the very fast if you press to hart.At HWay it gives a spongy feeling because of the ABS system.You don't feel the ABS working
{pulsating like on a car} and it gives a softer feeling and you cant lockup the breaks. Looks to me like they work just fin. My 2 cents worth.
motorcycle
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model28a
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Sun 10 Jun 2012, 17:40

mboni, welcome to the forum. Glad you could join us.
It is possible the lines could need replaced but six years is not that old. Hard to say without more info. if you are the one who has put the 40k on it you have more knowledge on what is normal for your scooter. I've always felt the handles on my Wing had a little more travel before they engage than my other scooters, but they have always worked fine at stopping me. Hopefully someone else will be able to be of some help.
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Sun 10 Jun 2012, 22:09

mboni wrote:
I've got 2006 SWing with 40k miles on it. I think I'm slowly developing an issue with my brakes: it seems like there's lots of travel in the brake levers before the brakes start to grab hard.

When was the last time you replaced the brake fluid??
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Dimond
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Mon 11 Jun 2012, 13:22

I have a 2003 SWing (non ABS) with 32000 miles and have new pads, fresh brake fluid, no air, and original brake lines - and my brakes are soft; however, I have gone to the dealer and tried the brakes on a brand new SWing and they feel the same 'soft feel' as mine. So I am happy with my brakes and consider the 'soft feel' normal for a SWing. They seem to stop me. My key criteria is that when I pull on the brake lever harder and harder that the pressure on the pads continues (or seems to) rides AND the levers do not contact the grips. Some have suggested braided SS braided lines as replacements for the original lines but I am not planning to go to the trouble nor expense at this point in time.
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robert
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Mon 11 Jun 2012, 13:40

mboni, welcome, any relation to boney moroney? Ride Safe.
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mboni
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Wed 25 Jul 2012, 21:16

I figure I should give an update: it was the brake fluid.

On a hunch, I had a different shop flush the brake fluid, and the brakes are a good bit stiffer now.

Annoyingly, I had taken the bike to my dealer for 40k service, and a brake fluid change was one of the things they were supposed to have done. Either they skipped it, or managed to put in bad fluid.

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surlybiker58
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Wed 25 Jul 2012, 22:01

They probably just didn't bleed your brake system properly
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Fri 27 Jul 2012, 13:14

One thing that has been overlooked I feel.

If the brake lever, especially the left was hard to pull in then the starting system would suffer. As we know the left brake lever has to be applied, (pulled), until the second micro switch has made, thereby enabling the starting system.

So as a result, applying the brakes appears soft but in effect are working as they should. Try doing an emergency halt from say 30 mph and I bet the bike stops as it should.
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mboni
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Fri 27 Jul 2012, 13:47

Guys, please don't try to tell me I didn't have a problem.

I compared against another silverwing, and my brakes were much softer than the other bike. And when the shop changed my brake fluid, they ran it through a fluid tester, and it showed as 'bad' on the right and 'very bad' on the left. And now that the fluid has been changed, the brakes are noticeably stiffer. There's absolutely no chance that they were correct before. There's a difference between 'generally softer than other bikes' and 'much softer than they were designed to be'.

Yes, the starting interlock on the left brake is designed for a certain level of softness. But if the brakes are much softer than they should be, then you can start the bike without applying enough braking force, and run the risk of sudden acceleration.
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Waspie
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Fri 27 Jul 2012, 14:35

And of course sat behind a computer screen we could know that!

You supplied us with sketchy details and we responded accordingly. You were wise to take it to a mechanic to have it checked but please don't blame us for our poor diagnostics. Smile We can only advise on information received based on our own experience.
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john grinsel
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PostSubject: Re: Soft Brakes?   Fri 27 Jul 2012, 15:20

Bike is 6 years old.
Check Honda schedule for replacing brake lines.
Take each wheel cylinder apart, clean, check for function. same on master cylinders.
Replace brake fluid, bleed brakes. In US we have no strict safety standards to keep bike on road. That would be my approach.
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