Archive for the ‘Motorcycles’ Category

2005 Suzuki GSXR 1000 – I have brakes!!!

I’m back from 3 days at the track (Thunderhill) and I’m happy to report that I have brakes. The Yamaha calipers worked great and on my third lap I did a 2:05 which matches my previous best lap time.

I had forgotten how much earlier I was braking with the Suzuki brakes because I was never sure that they would be there for me. Now I can go deep and brake with impudence like I used to on the Aprilia.

I am so relieved that this problem is finally solved and I hope that I have been able to help others who might have encountered this same problem.

Now I’m able to focus on subtle things like suspension settings and general improvements in my lines and gear choices.

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2005 Suzuki GSXR 1000 Brake fade problem.

First a little background. I have worked for a track day promoter for the last 5 years and have had the opportunity to do about 20,000 miles on various tracks.

My previous bike was a 2001 Aprilia Mille R which has Ohlins suspension components and OEM Brembo 4 piston/4 pad brakes. Those brakes were awsome! Until I bought the Aprilia, I didn’t know how good I could be on the brakes.

August 2006 I decided that the Aprilia was getting a little long in the tooth and the new GSRX 1000 reviews indicated that this bike was particularly well suited to a person of short stature. So 30 more horsepower than the Aprilia, 50 pounds lighter and I can reach the ground easily… sign me up.

Of course there are some fundamental things I do to any new motorcycle that I own. I dial the suspension in and I only use the stickiest DOT approved rubber. The Gixxer is notorious for not having much rebound damping control on the forks so I took them to Phil Douglas at Aftershocks and had him do the revalve. The other thing I did was buy a Penske shock for the rear and that decision has saved me a lot of money in tires because I don’t tear up rears the way many Gixxer owners do.

Now on to the brake problem. This problem does not manifest itself on the street, it happens after a few hard laps on the track. The brake lever starts to get closer and closer to the handle bar eventually trapping my fingers since I generally only use two fingers to brake. (That’s all the Aprilia required)

Here are the things I tried in an effort to solve the problem.

  • Braided steel brake lines.
  • Brembo radial pump master cylinder (19×18).
  • Brembo radial pump master cylinder from a friend (19×20)
  • EBC HH brake pads.
  • Another set of stock brake rotors.
  • Motul RBF 600 brake fluid. (High boiling point)
  • Vesrah SRJL brake pads.
    • Worked good but didn’t solve the problem and didn’t last very long.
  • Super Blue brake fluid.
  • EBC Pro lite rotors and a fresh set of HH pads.
  • Borrowed stock master cylinder for another ’05 Gixxer 1000.

As you can see I changed everything but the calipers. I tried three brake fluids, the stock stuff, Motul and Super Blue. I tried three types of brake pads, stock, EBC and Vesrah. With the Vesrahs I was able to brake a little later but they wore out too fast and are too expensive for my taste.

I even bought a brake rotor hone from K&L Supply and took the glaze off my stock rotors to no avail.

When I put the EBC Pro Lite rotors on there was an improvement that I believe is due to the fact that they float better than the stock rotors thereby causing less drag and generating less heat. In my opinion these rotors are a good value.

I have a power brake bleeder but I also tried the type that has a one way valve that lets fluid out but prevents air for coming in. I tried bleeding from the top down, from the bottom up, left to right and right to left. After all this I still have lever fade.

Keep in mind that the brakes work fine, it is just that after 4 laps the lever is at the handle bar then I chicken out. Also, I never had this issue with the Brembos on the Aprilia.

My latest attempt at fixing this problem involves another set of calipers. I just can’t justify three grand for Brembos so I started looking around on Ebay and I ended up getting a set of monoblocks with a brembo radial pump master cylinder for $67 + $20 shipping. They are stock 2006 Yamaha R6 brakes and they bolted right up to my Gixxer. I used my aftermarket Brembo master cylinder because I didn’t get a brake lever for the Yamaha one in time. Also, I went back to Motul RBF 600 brake fluid because I had so many open containers that needed to be used soon.

So far the brakes feel great on the street and I’ll be trying them out at the track this weekend.