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CreativeMoniker

Brake lines - SS Braided vs Stock, plus a cautionary tale

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First a question, then a word of caution:

1) Any downsides to replacing the stock brake line with a Moose Racing Stainless Steel Braided line? I'm perfectly satisfied with the way the stock one brakes, but it's damaged so I need to replace it. The stock is significantly more expensive where I am (about 30% more) so I'm thinking of switching to the SS one. Just got nervous when I heard that it's easier to lockup the front wheel with SS lines, especially on dirt (I ride an SM but do dirt sections and trails as well with my street tires).

2) Caution: Check your brake lines! Recently I noticed that the protective cover around my brake line is worn away right where it seems to have been scraped by the brake disc, and the actual hose rubber is beginning to wear away as well. Luckily I caught it in time to avoid losing my brake fluid on the highway. I couldn't figure out what happened - how could the brake disc rub against the hose - until I noticed something. Check out these pics:

From Aug 2 2019:

IMG_20190802_133056.thumb.jpg.ef32c76f11398f8f900265b6e1dd0806.jpg

Aug 30 2019

07-01-30-69803886_1314682955373587_3868276743412383744_o.jpg.0522f1a838fcb74aa1c657c55af85835.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the difference? Sometime during August, the brake line routing changed from the outside of the fork to the inside! Hmm...let me check my records...looks like I brought my bike to the shop for a forks servicing mid-August.

tldr: my mechanic removed the forks and when he put them back the hose ended up on the wrong side. It survived six months and some 8000 km of riding, but little by little I'm losing rubber from my hose.

Not sure what the lesson here is, except: check your brake hoses and keep an eye on things, especially after you pay someone to do work on your bike. And photograph your bike a lot so you'll have evidence when want to know what changed and when 🙂

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Stainless lines don’t necessarily increase brake pressure they just make it more consistent as the steel lines won’t flex / swell like rubber will. Moose is a Parts Unlimited house brand, their brake lines are made by Venhill so they are definitely high quality lines. 

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In reference to your question about SS lines, I’ll start out by saying yes, you should definitely go with SS over stock. Once you’re used to it, they have a much more consistent feel.

Now, as for someone telling you that it’s easier to lock up the front with SS lines, there’s more to it. Technically, since SS lines won’t expand like the stock rubber lines, for a given amount of force that you put on the lever, SS lines transmit more of that force to the caliper. This also is what gives rubber lines their “squishyness.” With rubber lines, some of the force you put on the lever doesn’t go to the caliper, it goes to expanding the line itself. This can mean that if you aren’t used to SS lines and you death grip the lever, you could send more force to the caliper than you intend to.

HOWEVER, once you’re used to SS lines, there’s a much more consistent feel to them. You also know that all the force you’re using is being applied to the caliper, so you have a better feel for how hard you’re braking. With rubber lines, it isn’t as exact since some of the force is expanding the lines and not being used for braking. Therefore, with rubber lines, when you’re braking hard and you go to brake more, you don’t necessarily know how much of the force you add is going to the caliper and how much is going to expanding the lines.

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4 hours ago, Center_Sumo said:

HOWEVER, once you’re used to SS lines, there’s a much more consistent feel to them. You also know that all the force you’re using is being applied to the caliper, so you have a better feel for how hard you’re braking. With rubber lines, it isn’t as exact since some of the force is expanding the lines and not being used for braking. Therefore, with rubber lines, when you’re braking hard and you go to brake more, you don’t necessarily know how much of the force you add is going to the caliper and how much is going to expanding the lines.

Thanks! You've alleviated my fears - if I can't find a cheap stock hose secondhand on local forums I'll order a moose or HEL hose. Do I need new washers as well?

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1 hour ago, bumtarder said:

It should come with banjo bolts and copper crush washers if it is a quality kit. The S line is longer than a SM due to its 17" wheel and shorter fork height.

Cool - so I guess the S will fit the SM (with more slack up above the handlebars) but not the other way around?

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Yes, switch, even if your stock line is perfect. The best vacuum bleeder ever made is right under your nose.

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Posted (edited)

Regarding the routing of your brake line, its SOP on dirt bikes to route the line inside, between the fork leg and wheel.  The thinking being that if outside, its more likely to get snagged  and damaged by some passing brush.

 It may have been that the mechanic was following this rule out of force of habit, but didn't consider securing the line so it couldn't rub on the disk.  

Edited by maicoguy
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21 hours ago, bumtarder said:

No it's not.Use a 60cc syringe and push fluid from the caliper bleed screw up to the master and then top off.No air,no fuss and rock hard lever in minutes.

And the same system for any hydraulic clutch systems.Done in minutes.

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Crap. Better switch my brake line around lol When I switched over to SS lines it didn't take me that long to manually bleed the line. A little tedious, but not really all that time consuming. 

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