This weekends chore was brake maintenance on the FZ6. Having only acquired the bike in the Autumn, it was unclear when the brake fluid was last changed, and being 13 years old, the original rubber brake hose, although visually OK, were likely past their best. The rubber hoses can degrade over many years exposure to the elements, which can lead to slight bulging when pumping the brake lever and thus reducing the final pressure applied to the brake pistons and pads onto the discs. Whereas braided hoses being built around a stainless steel mesh braid are more study, will not bulge or degrade in the same way and have a longer lifespan.
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 it 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.
With the 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 bolt heads with mole grips and 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.
The front brake on Mary’s CBF500 had been feeling a bit spongy since we bought it and just didn’t inspire much confidence. At first, we dismissed the poor stopping power due to a single disc and two pot caliper with some basic organic pads in. But no, it was most definitely spongy with either old fluid, air in the system or duff rubber hose.
Since I was planning to drain the brake fluid, replace and bleed the system, I picked up some Hel braided hose to fit at the same time. With just one line to one caliper, replacement hose would be cheap and didn’t make it worth my while not changing them at the same time. With some forum discount codes floating around, they came delivered directly from Hel for £23 – bargain! Although I was a little boring and just opted for basic black lines with default silver banjos, rather than any of the multitude of other colours they are available in.
The hose fitting was a doddle, all bolts and banjo joints fitted perfectly. Bleeding took a little more effort and some persistence, to finally expel all the air bubbles out of the system. The results were much better though, brakes with a nice solid bite
Hel braided brake lines definitely get my recommendation. I’ve been using them on my Fazer for the last year and now they’ve vastly improved things on Mary’s CBF.
Following the summer, things haven’t been terrible exciting around here. Kids have gone back to school, work has been busy and this month has mostly been spent catching up on essential maintenance chores. The trusty Fazer has done 6000 miles since Feb, so I’ve done the regular oil / filter change, cleaned the K&N air filter, greased, checked everything and gave the bike a good covering of ACF50 ready the winter ahead.
The stock rear brake caliper on the FZS600 is a bit rubbish. It’s an old design and very commonly seizes up, which is exactly what I recently found when getting some new pads fitted. Rather than going down the route of stripping it down and cleaning it on a regular basis, I opted for the popular upgrade of the Fazer 1000 rear brake caliper. This is a ‘blue spot’ caliper, on par with the excellent front brakes I have and the same as the R6.
Getting hold of a Fazer Thou rear brake caliper isn’t easy, they’re as rare as rocking horse pooh second hand
Getting hold of a Fazer Thou rear brake caliper isn’t easy, they’re as rare as rocking horse pooh second hand, but luckily I managed to find one on ebay.de for a good price, which included mounting bracket, pads, hoses, the master cylinder (from Brembo) and reservoir. For this mod, however, only the caliper and pads were used.
Since borrowing Mary’s ZZR400 this last week or so, I noticed a few niggles with it’s running that I’ve been trying to address. Firstly the front brakes were sticking a little and secondly the running has been a bit on the rough, loud and underpowered side, especially at high speed. To tackle these issues I called up on the skills of Tim (‘Scorch’ on LondonBikers.com), who offers a mobile motorcycle repair service.
Tim popped over to went to work on my bike, whilst I was parked up at work myself. Very handy indeed. He quickly set to work on the brakes, found one of the pistons was a bit gunked up and air in the system. In a couple of hours he had the lot stripped down, sorted, new fluid in, bled and working well.