Sunday, October 19, 2014

Inspect Your Harley Davidson Sportster Brakes

Sunday am Public Service Announcement. Last weekend while on a ride up to Big Bear I lost my rear brake. Not really a big deal under normal braking conditions, as I rarely use it. However, if I'm riding hard, and or need to stop quick I use both. For the past couple years I've been finding a dime sized spot under my '95 Sportster after a ride. Seeing how the bike is nearly 20yrs old, I just assumed it was a minor leak via an oil line, or gasket, and if it ever got worse I'd tear into it. After the brake fail I assumed the master cylinder cartridge probably needed to be replaced (see 20yrs old above). The first thing I did was remove the brake master cover only to discover it was empty.

Immediately my mind went to the spot I always see under the bike, it was DOT5 not 20/50. After a quick inspection I found that the brake switch had failed. The top was dry, but the bottom was wet. A Google search turned up an Auto Zone Duralast car brake switch p/n RB401 that people are using on Harleys and supposed to be better than the factory replacement.

That, some Dot5, flushing, de-greasing, test ride and 60 min later I was done. A quick frequent inspection would have exposed the problem before I ventured out and lost braking. I know better...

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