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Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: benpineapple » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:39 pm

Hello! I'm just curious, in general, if there are ways of improving the braking system on the early XV750?

Main issue I've noticed after the last 5 years of riding mine, is that the rear brake performance starts to diminish pretty quickly, like within 100 miles. To combat this, I will remove the rear tire, clean the pads with brake cleaner, and clean out the entire drum. Seems like brake dust builds up very quickly, with no way of escaping. Any remedies to this? I know ceramic pads/shoes release less dust, but build up higher heat and can warp rotors under heavy strain. I see ceramic front pads for sale (at $30usd/per pad), but nothing for the rear.

I've ordered a new aftermarket master cylinder for the front brake, as well as a caliper rebuild kit and new pads, I'm hoping that helps me get some more stopping power out of the front.

Anyone found solutions for improving the rear brake setup though?
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Re: Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:52 am

First and foremost: Quit cleaning the pads/drums! Every time you clean the pads and brake surface you're actually ruining things. Correct brake pad break-in (bedding) is important to ensure quality braking performance. Another little hint: sometimes this takes "more" than 100mi of use before things are up to snuff. This procedure allows the rubbing surface of the brake pad to be brought to temperature, creating a transfer-film layer of friction material to be applied to the rotor surface. This allows the brake pad material to rub against itself rather than the bare rotor. This increases the stopping performance of the brake pad and can reduce pad and rotor wear. Too much pad cleaning can actually make the pads and/or shoes useless. That..and you're removing any/an all bed-in materials off the surface.
Personally..not a fan of ceramics pads..but that just me. Tried them on the bike (just had to know)...even put them on my truck "once", took them off in less than 500 miles. But, I digress...The only real choice (IMO) is: Organic or sintered pads. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. Because organic pads are softer, they have a smoother or sometimes called a squishy feel, yet are not as abrasive to expensive rotors, but they wear much faster. Sintered (commonly called HH pads or double H) pads are more abrasive, wear rotors faster, and have more aggressive bite..and...are fantastic in wet weather riding. For most riding styles, however, organic and sintered pads will perform on par with each other (except for track/racing use, where sintered pads dominate.) Only real drawback to full sintered pads..you should use "full" stainless rotors. If you stick with the semi stainless that the Virago's use, keep an eye on the rotor thickness.
The middle-ground option is the semi-sintered pad. Just as it sounds, these pads have characteristics of both organic and sintered pads, by adding metallic particles into their organic compound to give them a little more bite. These are a good way to try out a pad with more progressive feel, without jumping all the way over to a full sintered or organic pad.
On my 1000 I run full sintered pads on the front and will put me into the flying "W" with just a two fingered pull (without steel braided lines). Rears are full organic. The 750, the fronts are semi sintered and rears full organic.Never gave it a 2nd thought to lack of performance. JMO..again: kevlar is a joke..but that's "my" opinion.
Your brake system will never build up enough heat (front or rear) to warp the rotors "UNLESS" the front or rear are dragg'n. That's why 'freeplay' was invented. Another one of "just my opinions", if a person finds the rear brakes going away too fast (specially within 100mi)...they are using the rears waaay too much. <--IMHO, though. Coarse, everyone has his/her own riding style within their own comfort zone. Just seen to many people at a riders training coarse, that are fixated, glued or "Live" on the rear brakes.... :bg:
Yes..way long winded, but it's always amazing how many of the small (yet vital) details are taken for granted. Brakes,oil, fuel, air etc etc etc, until a problem pops up.
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Re: Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: chrismalm » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:50 am

:yup:
Make sure your rear drum is still in spec. If not, find another wheel. Use your front disc to do most of your braking (I think 80/20 is a good estimate). I did not like semi-metallic pads as it felt like pliers on my disc.
I prefer organic pads in a clean system with a stainless braided brake line.
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Re: Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:44 pm

chrismalm wrote:Make sure your rear drum is still in spec.


Very good point, glad you caught it..should have mention bout checking being outta round..but figured I babbled enough. :bg:
Yep..it's entirely a personal preferance, for sure. I can't remember when I started using HH pads, but I know if I switched to steel lines, those pads would go. Bet I use my rears 5% or less at any one time. Hmm... never gave it that much thought. I just don't use em. Guess it's just an automatic thing determined by conditions when they come into play, for me.
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Re: Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: mark75 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:51 pm

ditto
nothin' to add to the above except to re-say how important it is to get new front-brake lines, particularly if yours are still the OEM ones.

and as said, the woven steel ones are way better, and worth the little extra $.
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Re: Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: benpineapple » Mon May 13, 2019 10:37 am

Flyingdog wrote:
chrismalm wrote:Make sure your rear drum is still in spec.


Very good point, glad you caught it..should have mention bout checking being outta round..but figured I babbled enough. :bg:
Yep..it's entirely a personal preferance, for sure. I can't remember when I started using HH pads, but I know if I switched to steel lines, those pads would go. Bet I use my rears 5% or less at any one time. Hmm... never gave it that much thought. I just don't use em. Guess it's just an automatic thing determined by conditions when they come into play, for me.


Thanks for the in-depth response as always FlyingDog. I hope I didn't do too much damage to the drum through semi-routinely cleaning them. Will dig up my manual and check the specs on the rear drum to make sure it's good. I have been wanting to convert to the 5-star rear wheel for a while, maybe this is finally a good excuse haha.

Thanks also for the breakdown on differences between pads. I also avoid using ceramics if at all possible, used them once on my old Volvo, will never again; they were always noisy, didn't work any better than organic IMO.

I think I'll start off by replacing the rear shoes, then leave them be to let them get properly bedded.

Thanks! For the write up! Lots I didn't know about brake system efficiency.
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Re: Brake System Improvements

PostAuthor: nanno » Tue May 14, 2019 2:38 am

If you run a single brake-disk in the front on your XV750 the combination of a 1/2" (12mm) master cylinder and braided brake hose will do wonders in terms of brake performance. 12mm brake masters can quite often be found on big scooters (250 and up) or small commuter bikes.

For improving rear brake performance, make sure your lever on the brake drum is set up so it will not go past 90 degree to the actuation rod or the transmitted force will decrease dramatically. (The shaft is splined for a reason!) Also take off the brake-drum's baseplate and clean the shaft and GENTLY lube it with some HIGH TEMP grease. It has to spin in there with zero effort.

Then you can draw black lines on the tarmac by locking up the wheel as the brake has got quite some bite.

Cheers,
Greg
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