One of the downsides of pilings many miles onto a bike is the number of bigger non-routine items needing maintenance and replacement. This time is was the rear brake disc, whose thickness after 50,000 miles now measured below the service limit. Genuine Yamaha replacement discs are crazy money, so I picked up a Brembo disc from Demon Tweeks for £80. I figured Brembo was a decent brand and cheaper EBC discs seemed to have mixed reviews regarding longevity. I also picked a new set of bolts, thinking I’ll play it safe and be prepared. Little did I know how this would unfold.
Wheel removed and laid flat on some planks to protect the sprocket, I set out to remove the disc. For good measure I hammered the bolts to shock them and sprayed the bolts with some Wurth Rust-Off Ice spray, thinking the cold would help the bolts remove easily. Like shit they were going to come free easily! Totally seized on. More spray, more hitting, more tighten-loosen tweaking, and I managed to remove two. The other four rounded as though made of cheese. Lots of faffing ensues, attacking the bolts heads with mole grips whatever else I had in my toolbox. I tried to drill out one, but then just sheered the bolt head off leaving the remains still firmly seized inside the wheel. At that point I gave up before I trashed the wheel and dropped it off at my local garage – Wheelies in Rainham.
Further research revealed just how common the issue is, with original Yamaha thread lock used seemingly some super strength solution. Unlike the front discs, the rear is not floating, so more heat is transmitted to the bolts and wheel increasing the likelihood of them seizing.
With the removal of the remaining bolts looking like a tricky (and costly) job, I opted to pick up another wheel. eBay was full of FZS600 ( and identical Thundercat) wheels, so I soon blagged one for £32 delivered direct to the garage. Though I made sure I purchased one with the disc already removed! I also opted for a fresh set of bearings too. Those in the replacement wheel were an unknown, my old ones had done 50k and could be damaged during removal. Putting a fresh set in for a tenner odd seemed a no-brainer.
The lesson here is that some jobs are best left to the pro’s with the right tools and expertise.
Wheelies Motorcycles soon sorted out my new wheel, new brake disc, new bearing and swapping over of tyre and sprocket. Labour costs were reasonable and undoubtedly cheaper than spending time extracting the old bolts. The lesson here is that some jobs are best left to the pro’s with the right tools and expertise. Trying to save some cash doing these jobs oneself isn’t always cheaper.