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Just picked up my 2005 RK. front lever has what I think too much travel before they start to take effect. After about 20km went back to dealer and they said that was how all Road kings are because of the twin discs. This awnser just doesnt sit well with me.I need to know if the dealer is feeding me crap or do ROAD KINGS suffer from very excessive free play( like brakes wernt bleed right) Any awnsers would be appriceated

Cheers BIGNUTS!!!!!!!! Australia p.s. Do you serve a purpose or purposley serve?????:dunno:
 
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Rule of thumb. Anytime the dealer says "they all do that" they're full of crap. Have them show you. They'll have other road kings in the shop. Walk over. If all the brake levers feel like yours, the guy's right. But if they feel like you think they should (they will), you're right.

That twin-disc answer - while creative - is nonsense.

Sounds to me like the brakes need to be bled on your bike.

Harris
 

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GottaRideS'more
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Bleeding is really easy to do.

You can buy a little kit that has a hose and a collector bottle for a few bucks, or you can obtain length of surgical tubing and stick one end in a soda bottle to collect the fluid - don't reuse the expelled fluid. Spring for some clean stuff.

Fit a little wrench over the bleeder valve, and fit the plastic tubing on over that.

Generally the technique is to open the bleeder valve, squeeze the brake lever to expell any air and a little fluid, and tighten it back down before letting up on the lever. One or two pulls should usually do it, and shouldn't empty the reservoir, although you should keep an eye on the level so you don't introduce air from that end.

Start with the left side (furthest from the master cylinder) on the front.

Make sure you fill the reservoir back up if you squeeze out a significant amount of fluid - and make sure to use the right fluid! I think the '06s went to DOT4, while the '05s were DOT5. Please check this as I usually get things backwards the first time. Or not. It's 50-50.

You'll feel good about having done this yourself, and you'll definitely notice a difference in brake response.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks harris and klang,
Very simple and easy awnser Harris, will go to dealer tommorow, let you know how I get on.
Thanks for the bleeding tips Klang.

CHEERS BIGNUTS!!!!!!!!!
 

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Hi, when I picked up my (new) '05 Fatboy the front brakes were so feeble, I went straight back, only to get the infamous "they all ......" answer.

I immediately ordered a set of Lyndall pads and asked them to install it for me. As part of the pad installation, they also bled the brakes and guess what happened ? Firm brake lever !

The front brakes are now MUCH, MUCH better. Obviously the pads are a big improvement over stock, but the feel and pressure are very different than before and I'm convinced it is due to the fact that the brake system was bled and now functions as it was suppose to, from the start.
 

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Highly Seasoned Rider!
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The brake lever (and brake pedal for that matter) on a new bike should be very firm and well-defined. Assuming that the brakes were properly bled at the factory, you have new pads, new rotors, and new hoses. That should make the brake levers as hard as a rock. That's the way they are on my 2004 Ultra.

As mentioned above, when dealers start saying that "they are all that way" it's starting to get deep. :)
.
 

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Have the exact same problem on my '03 SG since converting to dual brakes up front. Before conversion the brake engaged with very little pull. Now htere is a lot more travel. Lines are stainless. I've had the brakes bled by the dealer a couple of times. I got the same "it's normal" response. I don't know if I need DOT 5 or 4, but I'm ready to bleed them myself.

Is there some problem with DOT 5? I've bled brakes on ohter bikes that use DOT 4 and they turned out fine.
 

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FXD-Tim said:
Have the exact same problem on my '03 SG since converting to dual brakes up front. Before conversion the brake engaged with very little pull. Now htere is a lot more travel. Lines are stainless. I've had the brakes bled by the dealer a couple of times. I got the same "it's normal" response. I don't know if I need DOT 5 or 4, but I'm ready to bleed them myself.

Is there some problem with DOT 5? I've bled brakes on ohter bikes that use DOT 4 and they turned out fine.

There are only so many possibities. If the pads are full, the lines new and bled correctly and the rotors are in good shape, that leaves the master cylinder. In the process of degrading, it will give the sort of indicators you are expierencing. If you can bleed the breaks you can install a master cylinder. It will stop in a dime then. I have to assume your break cable is not slipping
 

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It's easy to tell if your brakes need bleeding. Does rapidly pumping the lever cause it to firm up? If so, you've got air in the system, and it needs to be bled. If the lever doesn't firm up, there's something else wrong - most likely a caliper that isn't properly centered over the disc. This can cause the caliper piston to bend the disc a little when you squeeze the lever, and when you release, the disc straightens out, pushing the piston back into the caliper. the basic result is the caliper pistons are having to move farther than normal before they get a grip on the disc, which causes excessive travel at the lever.

The easy way to tell if you've got a caliper alignment problem is to watch the disc closely, near the caliper, as you squeeze the lever. If you see the disc move side to side at all, even just a tiny, tiny bit, something's wrong there.

I don't know off hand if that bike uses a floating caliper or a solidly mounted caliper with a floating disc; the remedy varies depending on this.

With a solid mount caliper/floating disc set up, the disc will probably move side to side just a tiny, tiny bit when you squeeze the lever, but it should be such a small movement that you'd need your finger on the disc to feel the motion, it shouldn't be enough that you can really notice it visually.
 

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geoffreyt said:
There are only so many possibities. If the pads are full, the lines new and bled correctly and the rotors are in good shape, that leaves the master cylinder. In the process of degrading, it will give the sort of indicators you are expierencing. If you can bleed the breaks you can install a master cylinder. It will stop in a dime then. I have to assume your break cable is not slipping
Typically, a worn/bad master cylinder will feel firm when you initially pull on the lever, but will slowly bleed down if you keep pressure on it. Basically you give the lever a firm pull and hold it - if you feel the lever continue to slowly move until the lever is bottomed out, that indicates that the piston in the master cylinder is allowing pressure to slip by.
 

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I have found the twin dics on my RK and 1200s to have more travel at the lever, and that it increases about the time pads are needed.
Something else, instead of bleeding, unbolt the caliper{s} {one at a time} and press the pistons back into their bores {I twist a large screw driver between the pads}. This pushes fluid/bubbles up towards the reservoir {air does rise}. Place the caliper over the disc, tap on the line{s} to help move bubbles along towards the reservoir, then slowly pump the brake lever to pressurize the system. Repeat as needed. Its a reverse bleed, with no mess {unless there has been fluid added when the pads were worn}.
 

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Another thing you may want to try!!!

I had the same proble...and received the same answer from the dealership...and here are my results...whether it helps or not for your particular case...I bled the brakes until I was blue in the face...I tried the rubber band on the brake lever with the lid off to allow them to bleed that way....I tried the old fashioned way...and I've got the vaccum bleeder as well..all same results...spongy lever...BUT I could pump them four or five times..and bingo...right where they are supposed to be...here's the deal that helped me...I pulled the calipers off...and added about 20#'s of are to pop out the pistons...I only saw one out of four move....bumped it up to 40# and got two to move and two just sat there...at 60#'s three moved...but as soon as the air was taken off the third one for some reason sucked right back into the caliper...took the darn thing apart...cleaned and put back together with a thin film of grease on the pistons....repeated test and everything worked as designed...bled them with the vaccum bleader...and perfect!!!! at least for a while ..over the course of the next few months...slowly it started again...so now I'm wondering if the pistons are bad?? the caliper in which they fit...the O-rings ...BUT going to bite the bullet and try the rebuilt kit for both calipers...and see how long that lasts...
Good Luck..
JDB
 

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Math HD
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This seems to be a common problem with touring bikes. My brakes have developed the same excess lever travel over the past year. I havent addressed the problem on my bike yet, but if you search the forum for "soft brakes" you will learn a lot. I may go with an after-market caliper (Precision Machine) rather than fooling around with my stockers to try and fix the problem... Let us know your outcome.
 

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FXD-Tim said:
Have the exact same problem on my '03 SG since converting to dual brakes up front. Before conversion the brake engaged with very little pull. Now htere is a lot more travel. Lines are stainless. I've had the brakes bled by the dealer a couple of times. I got the same "it's normal" response. I don't know if I need DOT 5 or 4, but I'm ready to bleed them myself.

Is there some problem with DOT 5? I've bled brakes on ohter bikes that use DOT 4 and they turned out fine.
Did you change to a different size master cylinder up front when you added a rotor?

Dot 5 will bleed properly. I use a Mity Vac unit to draw the fluid through. I like Dot 5 (not 5.1) since it doesn't eat your paint if you spill it.
 

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Properly bled, your front brake level should feel rock solid. Brakes, as with tires, are parts you don't want to be satisfied with just "their OK".
 

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i posted a response on here a few months ago. do a search on "clean pistons brake" or something to that effect. I'm a tech, seen the twin caliper bikes do this. The outside of the piston gets gunked up, doesn't want to go in/out past the o-ring well.

Briefly, take caliper off of bike, squeeze lever to pads meet, spray brake cleaner on outside of pistons and use small brush to clean. you might even see one piston not come out well... that's the problem. put thin scraper between pads and gently pry apart. repeat a few times.

works wonders
 

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My 03 Road King did the same thing, it was very firm from the start but started getting mushy. dealer told me it was the aftermarket levers I put on. Funny thing, they worked fine for the year they were on prior. I'm going to have the system cleaned this spring, new pads, and fluid should be like new again. (I hope)
 

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ChopperDude said:
i posted a response on here a few months ago. do a search on "clean pistons brake" or something to that effect. I'm a tech, seen the twin caliper bikes do this. The outside of the piston gets gunked up, doesn't want to go in/out past the o-ring well.

Briefly, take caliper off of bike, squeeze lever to pads meet, spray brake cleaner on outside of pistons and use small brush to clean. you might even see one piston not come out well... that's the problem. put thin scraper between pads and gently pry apart. repeat a few times.

works wonders

Thanks for the tip ChopperDude, I suspect that's just what mine needs.
 

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Another awesome, highly informative thread here at VTF. Thanks for posting gents.

I am starting to have the same problem with my FLHPI. I suspect the outside of the pistons need cleaning like chopperdude says.

All good info. All technically on the money. No Horse Hockey. Cheers
 

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ChopperDude said:
i posted a response on here a few months ago. do a search on "clean pistons brake" or something to that effect. I'm a tech, seen the twin caliper bikes do this. The outside of the piston gets gunked up, doesn't want to go in/out past the o-ring well.

Briefly, take caliper off of bike, squeeze lever to pads meet, spray brake cleaner on outside of pistons and use small brush to clean. you might even see one piston not come out well... that's the problem. put thin scraper between pads and gently pry apart. repeat a few times.

works wonders
Very cool!

My 03 FLTRI does the same thing, and I've bled them half a dozen times with very little improvment...

Now I have a project this weekend!

Thanks for the info!!!!:thumbsup:
 
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