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Improving My Brakes


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Hi All.

I am interested if anyone has any opinions on the desirability of making the brakes more responsive than currently.  I have read about R1/R6 caliper changes, but nothing conclusive, and feel there is more to be had from the front in particular.

Against this is the originality, there has been nothing changed that cannot be removed in minutes and I would like to keep her that way.

Any thoughts?

Paul

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Posted (edited)

I de-linked my brakes so that both fronts work of the front brake lever and the rear brake is now independent off the foot lever. it improves front wheel braking almost too much and avoids front wheel lock when you use the rear brake only on slippery surfaces. I have actually been toying with the idea of relinking my brakes but with a twist by linking the rear brake to front brakes but in such a fashion as to still allow independent rear braking. I would need a different master on the handlebar though since I do not think the master could handle three calipers.

Edited by saddlebum
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What I found to be the most productive in improving the brakes was replacing all the rubber lines with steel braided hoses. I found on my 89 VR a number of years ago that when I applied the brakes or clutch, I would have my hand wrapped around the line and could fill it expand as pressure was applied. I went ahead and replaced all the lines, rebuilt the master cylinders, calipers, and clutch slave and found that my brakes improved and if I wanted to, I could lock up the front wheel in a panic stop. I have no de-linked my brakes or have I upgraded to the R1/R6 calipers and have no plans to do so at this time. In my opinion, getting the pressure to the calipers is the key in getting a reliable braking system that will stop you when needed. 

There are a number of vendors that offer complete kits for the Ventures to upgrade the lines and I would strongly suggest doing that first along with the rebuild of the other components.

Rick F.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, cimmer said:

What I found to be the most productive in improving the brakes was replacing all the rubber lines with steel braided hoses.  I went ahead and replaced all the lines, rebuilt the master cylinders, calipers, and clutch slave and found that my brakes improved and if I wanted to, I could lock up the front wheel in a panic stop. I have no de-linked my brakes or have I upgraded to the R1/R6 calipers and have no plans to do so at this time. In my opinion, getting the pressure to the calipers is the key in getting a reliable braking system that will stop you when needed. 

There are a number of vendors that offer complete kits for the Ventures to upgrade the lines and I would strongly suggest doing that first along with the rebuild of the other components.

Rick F.

I had replaced my lines with stainless as well at the time I de-linked my brakes. I did not de-link my brakes to increase front braking,  because I could raise my rear wheel off the ground as it was and to me you do not need any more brake than that. My reason was because on a few occasions, on slippery road surfaces, I came close to having the front wheel slide out from under me because it would lock up on me, even even though I only used the rear brakes, no matter how gently I applied them. On one occasion I was coming down a steep hill with sand covered asphalt at the intersection, and after three attempts to get stopped with no luck I knew  I was going to end up either in or through the intersection,  so an a whim and prayer I rolled hard on the throttle and shot the intersection, (with my eyes closed and fingers and toes crossed). I now have better control over my bikes braking and in those situations were I only want rear brake I can have only rear brake.

Skydoc does over a de-link kit with stainless lines or you can take your old lines into a shop that is DOT certified to make brake lines and and have have them copy the lines in stainless. Make sure they are certified for this purpose do not use just any hose making shop.

 

Edited by saddlebum
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I cannot attest to the benefits of linked vs de-linked brakes as I kept my bike’s front brakes linked. But I can tell you that replacing my 30 year old rubber hoses with all stainless steel hoses was a huge improvement!

I also replaced my front springs (with Progressive’s), rebuilt all my calipers, rebuilt both masters, and installed EBC HH pads.

I went from a dangerously low amount of braking power to a more than adequate (even by today’s standards) amount of braking power and control.

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  • 3 months later...
Posted (edited)

+1 for replacing the rubber lines with stainless steel braided lines.  I also looked for more aggressive brake pads.  Years ago I installed Carbone Lorraine Series C685 (p/n 2305A3) brake pads.  They had significantly more bite/roughness/friction than the previous EBC pads that were installed.

Edited by Bob K.
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I de-linked, did the R6 calipers, EBC HH pads and braided lines. Very happy, so much better.  None of the OEM calipers I removed were working correctly.  IMHO, a delink, lines and pads alone would make a notable difference, even on servicable OEM calipers. 

In the last few years I've done my Vmax and Venture and I've never removed an OEM caliper that was still servicable.  30+ years on a caliper is considerable, especially knowing how often folks skip the 2-year brake flush maintenance.  Hell, even the R6 calipers I scored off ebay got taken apart when I got them home and I'm glad I did it.  Even though it worked for me to reuse the old seals, there is no technically coherent way to recommend not replacing with new non-Chinese seal kits.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

All I'd say is that if you are getting new stainless steel hoses, it's a good time to consider de-linking the brakes on the basis you could be paying for the hoses again if you decide to de-link later. It's no biggy if you make your own, but obviously a few dollars more if you don't. If you might be removing the proportioning valve, leave another couple of inches loose on the rear pipe so you can be sure it still reaches (I didn't and so the hose on my is pretty tight).

 

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Where did you all get the stainless lines?  @saddlebum how would I search for a shop that makes custom brake lines?  quick google didn't return any clear results in my area.  I would assume to just buy lines the same length with appropriate fittings.  Does anybody know what length the three lines are?  Does @skydoc_17 sell the lines without the delink?

 

thanks, Tom

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Sky doc is where I got my brake lines from. I purchased his de-linking  kit. I purchase my clutch lines from a local shop by me as well as had other lines made up for another venture I was repairing for someone else. Initially I went to a hydraulic hose and fitting place who directed me to a place called Northern Performance here in Burlington Ontario.The reason they sent me there was that although they could make the lines they were not DOT certified for hydraulic Brake line were Northern Performance was. I simply took them the old lines and they duplicated them in stainless.

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Hey Tom,

First off, Thanks very much to Saddlebum for the props! Now to clear up some of the items you mentioned in this topic. I offer the De-Link Kit to separate the left front from the rear caliper because I didn't like my left front engaging in a high bank turn, or in a loose roadway like gravel. Even though the First Gen. is supposed to be a "Touring Motorcycle" , I ride it like it was an FJR or even an R6 on occasion. I offered the De-Link Kit to other riders who share the same passion and ride in a similar style. I have the ability to make ANY line you would like to replace on ANY Motorcycle. I use the same Aircraft Quality Braided S.S. line on every line and I keep the Metric Fittings for the Yamaha in stock. Other types of motorcycles require different size fittings that I don't usually keep in stock, BUT I can order them. I don't offer a replacement STOCK S.S. Line Set because I don't consider that an upgrade, but I am more than happy to make up a line set to replace the stock lines for the brake and clutch. BUT I want to be VERY CLEAR ABOUT THIS ONE POINT! If you put my S.S. Line Set on your bike with 30+ year old un-rebuilt Calipers and Master Cylinders and funky Chinese organic brake pads that are half worn out, and expect to be able to tell the difference or cure the problem of a dragging caliper or a caliper that flat out won't close, then you are going to be sorely disappointed! And not because of the Line Set, but because you didn't maintenance the rest of your braking system! People, Your brakes are what STOP YOU! It's that simple. I seen owners pay over $100.00 for a train horn, but won't by rebuild kits for their calipers! Or even better, they will pay top dollar for an LED Headlight but won't rebuild their Master Cylinders! Well, here's a tip, If you are overdriving your headlight at night, maybe you are going a bit too fast brother!

OK, rant over!  If I can help anyone with stock S.S. brake lines, I'd be happy to. If I gave you "food for thought" about your brakes, that was my intention. If you just bought a train horn for your bike, well "I hope your brakes work!" LOL!!

Earl

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Posted (edited)

Just to be clear @Pasta Burner the only reason I purchase my second set of lines locally Instead of from @skydoc_17had to do with customs. A $265.00 windshield cost me over $400.00 thanks to customs. If I were were living in the USA I would get them through Skydoc. he has always stood behind his stuff and is very forthcoming with advice and knowledge. In the past when I made a purchase from him,  I would order ahead of time and then meet him at one of the Rally's to collect my purchase or have it relayed through another member but since travel is an issue right now I have had to make other choices.

I also de-linked because for the same reasons as Skydoc. I once entered came to an intersection were the pavement had a dusting of sand on it. I applied my rear brake and and the front end slid out on me. Thinking I applied to much foot brake I released then reapplied even gentler but the same thing happened. After the second failure to stop without almost going down it was too late for a third attempt so I laid on the throttle after a quick look both ways and shot through the intersection. 

At the time the bike was fairly new to me and I had no idea the front brake was linked to the rear. Later I got home and started investigating my bike and found the the left front functioned with the rear. Started thinking up ways of changing this when I came across Skydocs de-linking kit. Now my brakes work independently they way I want them to and no more front wheel lock up on loose gravel or silt

Edited by saddlebum
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54 minutes ago, skydoc_17 said:

Hey Tom,

First off, Thanks very much to Saddlebum for the props! Now to clear up some of the items you mentioned in this topic. I offer the De-Link Kit to separate the left front from the rear caliper because I didn't like my left front engaging in a high bank turn, or in a loose roadway like gravel. Even though the First Gen. is supposed to be a "Touring Motorcycle" , I ride it like it was an FJR or even an R6 on occasion. I offered the De-Link Kit to other riders who share the same passion and ride in a similar style. I have the ability to make ANY line you would like to replace on ANY Motorcycle. I use the same Aircraft Quality Braided S.S. line on every line and I keep the Metric Fittings for the Yamaha in stock. Other types of motorcycles require different size fittings that I don't usually keep in stock, BUT I can order them. I don't offer a replacement STOCK S.S. Line Set because I don't consider that an upgrade, but I am more than happy to make up a line set to replace the stock lines for the brake and clutch. BUT I want to be VERY CLEAR ABOUT THIS ONE POINT! If you put my S.S. Line Set on your bike with 30+ year old un-rebuilt Calipers and Master Cylinders and funky Chinese organic brake pads that are half worn out, and expect to be able to tell the difference or cure the problem of a dragging caliper or a caliper that flat out won't close, then you are going to be sorely disappointed! And not because of the Line Set, but because you didn't maintenance the rest of your braking system! People, Your brakes are what STOP YOU! It's that simple. I seen owners pay over $100.00 for a train horn, but won't by rebuild kits for their calipers! Or even better, they will pay top dollar for an LED Headlight but won't rebuild their Master Cylinders! Well, here's a tip, If you are overdriving your headlight at night, maybe you are going a bit too fast brother!

OK, rant over!  If I can help anyone with stock S.S. brake lines, I'd be happy to. If I gave you "food for thought" about your brakes, that was my intention. If you just bought a train horn for your bike, well "I hope your brakes work!" LOL!!

Earl

That was/is soooo well put @skydoc_17!! THANK YOU BROTHER!! IMHO, many many times, whether be upgrading brakes or even starters to 4 brush the maintenance of/to the original set up to see if it can be restored to full OEM new functionality is often overlooked and when it comes to stopping power this is critical,, also IMHO...  @Idrys, I would, at a minimum, clean the caliper pistons as shown in the video below to make sure they are moving with unobstructed ease before going forward with upgrading. Also lubing all brake pivot point on the levers including foot brake. Another often overlooked issue is the little back orvice in the masters,, even a tiny amount of blockage there will cause major grief. The one in the rear brake master is xtra special cause when it fails it can cause braking issues both front and back being linked.  I have gone both ways, linked and unlinked and have never experienced issues with linked that cause me pause. Set up right, and fully maintained I actually like OEM linked system on my MK1,s. Our current MK1 does have stainless lines on it that a previous owner installed and I do "feel" a difference in those lines under hard braking BUT I am not so sure I would swap out fully functional OEM's for stainless. On the other hand though,, if the lines were showing signs of dry rot or compression loss due to loss of integrity I would DEFINITELY get ahold of Earl and do the stainless routine...  

I do this when ever I swap on new tires,, sometimes 4 or 5 times a year, might be worth a try:

and here is another Venture braking video of mine you may find of interest:

 

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@cowpuc @skydoc_17 @saddlebum  I don’t know yet if I have a desire to delink, does doing the delink also mess with the anti dive?  I don’t know if it’s the linked brakes or the anti dive or both that gives the sensation of “grounding” / “squatting” when firm to hard braking with the pedal.  Don’t know what to call it but it feels like the center of the bike is being pulled to the road to stop and I like it.  The reason I bring up the braided lines lies on the front brake, last year when I got the bike the right front needed new pads and only one side of the caliper was functioning.  Also the entire rotor was slathered with what appeared to be lithium grease.  I took it apart and rebuilt it albeit with the same gaskets caused I was doing this on the fly.  Cleaned everything up, new fluid flush and rode it all summer with no issues.  A month or so ago after it had been sitting all winter I moved it to my other bay to install the progressive springs, no work was performed just moved it 50’ to the left.  The next day I noticed a drop of fluid on the floor and traced it to the banjo on the front right caliper.  Thinking it odd as it hadn’t been an issue I wiped it clean and gave the banjo an extra little tightening.  No more drip.   Put the new springs in and oil and some gas leak and other issues if you remember from some of my recent posts and am out and about riding.  But my hand brake just feels week, not enough to keep me from riding or even feeling scared it just feels slow to stop.  So I sprayed it all down and wiped it clean with no improvement, today I bled it and still it feels very firm on the lever but slow braking.  I for the life of me can’t say if it’s any different than last year, but I feel like there should be more stopping power.  This is at neighborhood speeds 2nd gear 40mph tops.

thoughts?

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Hey Tom,

It is my belief that at least two pistons on the right front caliper are "frozen" and are no longer pushing the pads against the rotor. The 2 pistons are usually on the side opposite the Banjo Bolt. The right front brake lever ONLY controls the right front caliper! If you want to have BOTH front calipers engage, you must use the foot pedal as well. The intent of the De-Link Kit is to allow you to use BOTH front brake calipers when you use the right front brake lever, and engage the rear brake when you use the foot pedal. The De-Link Kit IN NO WAY effects the Anti-Dive Valves on the MKII Ventures. (1986 to 1993)  Plus on the MKI Ventures, (1983 to 1985) the De-Link Kit comes with all new S.S. replacement Anti-Dive Lines! I am not sure if you are aware of this or not, but when you installed the Progressive Fork Springs on your bike, you nullified the action of the Electric Anti-Dives anyway. The original design of the Electric Anti-Dives was to redirect the fluid flow during a "panic stop" situation by slowing the flow of fluid from the bottom of the fork tubes to the top of the fork tubes by activating a valve which is connected to the front brake lever. The Progressive Fork Springs do the same thing Mechanically. As the Progressives compress, the spring rate becomes stiffer and slows the compression of the fork tubes. (This is the same thing the Anti-Dives do!) My suggestion would be to rebuild your 34 year old right front caliper, at a minimum! But even if you rebuilt ALL three calipers and Master Cylinders, you would STILL have 1980's VINTAGE brakes on an 800 pound Motorcycle! 

Here are the results of the testing I did before I offered the De-Link Kit to the members of this forum. I took my 1987 Venture Royale with excellent STOCK brakes on it and ran the bike up to 60 MPH and stopped the bike as quickly as I could without crashing. I did this MANY times, measured the results, and came up with an average stopping distance. I then installed the De-Link Kit and a set of R1 Front Brake Calipers, which now allowed BOTH front calipers to be controlled by the brake lever, and did the same procedure all over again. The De-Link/R1 brake set up stopped 16 FEET SHORTER, and it was much easier to control because I had equal braking force of BOTH Sides of the front wheel. Even if you are an expert rider with linked brakes, THE FACT REMAINS that the left front brake caliper has smaller pistons than the right front. This is a FACT, period. You would need to have a superhero amount of "brake feel" to engage the right front brake caliper with the brake lever, and match that braking force with a caliper of a different size with the foot pedal in a panic stop situation and keep the bike stopping in a straight line.  

Now there are a very small group of riders that have absolutely NO reason to worry about upgrading their braking system. These "riders" chug around in 5th gear at 40 MPH, don't lean their bikes over at all, EVER, and most likely have a non-functional left front caliper and a dragging rear caliper that has turned the rear rotor blue. Their brake fluid looks like Coke-a-Cola, and they have NEVER looked into their rear master cylinder, ever. They paid $100.00 for their bikes, and this is the most money they have ever spent on it during the entire time they have owned it. I'm sorry, but these people are not RIDERS, they just own equipment. 

Even if you don't buy the kit I offer, invest some time (and money) in your braking system! Ebay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace are ALL excellent sources for good quality used parts to make your braking system better and SAFER. And Safety, my friends is the KEY word here. 

If you have questions, please feel free to ask!

Earl 

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@skydoc_17 thanks so much Earl for that detailed reply.  I didn’t know the Progressive springs in effect did the same as the anti dive, I replaced them because the old ones kept bottoming out. I’ve read last year about the R1 upgrade but I needed to get a little more saddle time with it before I made any decisions.  Also I wasn’t sure if it’s the nature of the beast to have slow braking or my bias or just basic physics considering my comparison is my 400lb bike with dual Brembo up front.

Do you have a website to purchase and browse your stuff?  How much is the delink kit?
 

What years R1 caliper fit or what is the PN I should be looking for?

leave the stock rear caliper? Or is there an upgrade too?

the stock master cylinders are still used?  Mine appear to be in great shape.

 

thanks again!

Tom

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  • 3 weeks later...

Did another bleed with the Miti vac the other day with no improvement.  Had the kid come help me do a manual bleed today with better lever feel but no improvement in braking effect.  Going to have the rotor turned to see if that helps, it’s pretty groved.

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