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Discussion Starter #1
After the 6000mi service on my 2016 GSA, the front brake was totally changed for the worse. The pull distance is now where the lowest adjustable dial settings on the lever cannot be used because the brake lever would hit the grip before applying full brake. I took it in today and the dealer re-inspected the brakes, and mainly noted that the rear brake was not engaging soon enough? I thought, okay, there is definitely some problems going on. Picked up bike and now the back brake is way higher, a little on the touchy side for me, but the front brake lever still has play in it before it engages the brakes. I even noted on several GS bikes how the lever is supposed to feel, and how mine "used" to feel before they did the service. Awaiting call back so I'll update when I hear what the dealer's next step is.

Anyone else have similar issues after a brake flush?
 

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It is normal for the front brake to get a bit softer and have more play over time but normally it does not do so to a great extent, the rear brake is much worse about it.
But in your case where it is bad directly after a brake fluid flush there is a high probability that air was introduced into the system, it doesn't take much to screw things up and it will take some effort and time to remedy.

To fix this you basically have to go through the normal brake bleed drill and collapse and block open both front calipers and bleed carefully so you don't get any more air in the lines but it's probably going to take at least 20 strong squeezes per side, than check and keep bleeding if necessary until the lever feels right, there should not be much free play. Don't be surprised if you use up the better part of a quart of brake fluid.
The other thing is to make certain that DOT 4 Low Viscosity fluid is used, it is what is spec'd by BMW and the lower viscosity fluid (thinner) fluid makes it easier to get any trapped air out, it also provides the proper brake lever feel, You may be surprised how many dealers don't use the correct brake fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do maintenance on pretty much everything but since this was done at the dealer I'm going to let them fix the issue. That is what I thought about the air in the line, but I don't understand the whole brake balance module between front and back, etc.

Maybe they are just avoiding the time it takes to correct their mistake, who knows. I'll update post when I hear from them on this matter.
 

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The BMW part integral ABS brakes are not complicated, in a nutshell when you squeeze the front brake lever the system sends about 10% of the brake pressure to the rear brake, that is all and nothing else.
There is a little misconception with some that the system sends more pressure than that to the rear which is simply not the case, you can check what I mean by riding at a good clip (60+mph) and apply just the front brakes fairly hard and as you are slowing down apply the rear brakes and you can feel the extra stopping force you will get even though the front brakes normally provide most of your total braking force.
Best practice is to ride the GS as if the brakes have no linking between the front and rear, applying both front and rear brakes at every application or at the very least make sure to apply front and rear anytime that you need to slow or stop quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I've been motoring around waiting for the dealer to call and get the bike back in to be corrected, and I've noticed that the rear brake lever is so high and touchy now it's frustrating to even use. Forget about even THINKING about using the flip lever to raise it even higher.

Is there a fix to "unfix" what they "fixed"? This is crazy frustrating. Rear brake was always perfect, dealer service, front brake messed up. Return to fix FRONT BRAKE, returned with front brake still crappy and now back brake is crap. Why do they hate me so much?

Did they screw up the bleed? Did they only bleed the back? Mother of all which is holy :frown2:
 

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I'm curious how or why on the BMW its "normal for the front brake to get a bit softer and have more play over time..."?

Being a former long-time roadracer, I'm super sensitive to any changes in the performance of my brakes, and if I notice my brakes aren't performing the same or as is normal for that bike, I tend to examine my braking system and perform any maintenance (bleed, replace pads, replace lines, rebuild master cylinder, etc) to get that original feeling back. IMO, once you've bedded in brake pads and everything is working as it should, the brake feel should be consistent 99.9% of the time (external factors being the same, weather, road conditions, etc).

So are you talking about an "aging" braking system or old fluid? I've also owned other motorcycles with linked braking systems and didn't notice any degradation of the either front or rear brake performance over time. I tend to change my brake fluid fairly frequently if I notice discoloration so it rarely gets old enough that its a factor in poor performance.

Not being argumentative, just trying to understand if the BMW GSA braking system is different and why. This is my first BMW motorcycle...


It is normal for the front brake to get a bit softer and have more play over time but normally it does not do so to a great extent, the rear brake is much worse about it.
But in your case where it is bad directly after a brake fluid flush there is a high probability that air was introduced into the system, it doesn't take much to screw things up and it will take some effort and time to remedy.

To fix this you basically have to go through the normal brake bleed drill and collapse and block open both front calipers and bleed carefully so you don't get any more air in the lines but it's probably going to take at least 20 strong squeezes per side, than check and keep bleeding if necessary until the lever feels right, there should not be much free play. Don't be surprised if you use up the better part of a quart of brake fluid.
The other thing is to make certain that DOT 4 Low Viscosity fluid is used, it is what is spec'd by BMW and the lower viscosity fluid (thinner) fluid makes it easier to get any trapped air out, it also provides the proper brake lever feel, You may be surprised how many dealers don't use the correct brake fluid.
 

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I'm curious how or why on the BMW its "normal for the front brake to get a bit softer and have more play over time..."?

Being a former long-time roadracer, I'm super sensitive to any changes in the performance of my brakes, and if I notice my brakes aren't performing the same or as is normal for that bike, I tend to examine my braking system and perform any maintenance (bleed, replace pads, replace lines, rebuild master cylinder, etc) to get that original feeling back. IMO, once you've bedded in brake pads and everything is working as it should, the brake feel should be consistent 99.9% of the time (external factors being the same, weather, road conditions, etc).

So are you talking about an "aging" braking system or old fluid? I've also owned other motorcycles with linked braking systems and didn't notice any degradation of the either front or rear brake performance over time. I tend to change my brake fluid fairly frequently if I notice discoloration so it rarely gets old enough that its a factor in poor performance.

Not being argumentative, just trying to understand if the BMW GSA braking system is different and why. This is my first BMW motorcycle...

When I say that it is "normal" I am speaking from my own experience and that of the guys that I ride with that also have these bikes, in most cases it is not significant and it's only riders that are very in-tune with their bikes that notice change in brake feel over time.
The reason for it is probably that the partially integrated ABS system is a bear to get every last spec of air out of when bleeding and eventually the tiny bubbles migrate around until reaching a place where there presence can be felt, I say this becasue a good bleed solves the problem if done correctly but sometimes the soft lever returns eventually.
This problem can also be exacerbated by not using low viscosity brake fluid.
 

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2017 R1200GS 14k miles
I ride all winter in Scotland so salt takes its toll. I messed up while cleaning front caliper pistons a few weeks ago. I was hand cramp pushing them in then using brake to pump them out repeatedly to free them all up BUT I didn't open bleed nipple during this operation. I've now lost my nice firm brake (lever travels at least a third before brake applies, previously it was very small amount of travel, which I like and I'm used to) and no amount of bleeding will cure it. I've bled using the traditional pump into a bottle method, open/close nipple on every pump method and even used a Mityvac hand vacpump and in total have used over 1.5 litres of fluid!
My mate reckons because of the forcing of the pistons back in with nowhere for the pressure to go it could have done something to the master cylinder seal. Any opinions on that?
OR any suggestions as to what is going on here? Is it the mystery of the ABS unit?
Another little side that's annoying me- when the lid is off the reservoir during bleeding when I pump the lever there's a little spurt comes up from the fluid, like a little geyser type thing, if lever pulled in quite fast it can spurt enough to go out over edge of reservoir! This is something I've NEVER seen on bikes- is it normal for this system on the LC? certainly didn't occur on the air cooled GS brakes.
Sorry about the rant but I wanted to fully explain my pain.
 

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Same here

2017 R1200GS 14k miles
I ride all winter in Scotland so salt takes its toll. I messed up while cleaning front caliper pistons a few weeks ago. I was hand cramp pushing them in then using brake to pump them out repeatedly to free them all up BUT I didn't open bleed nipple during this operation. I've now lost my nice firm brake (lever travels at least a third before brake applies, previously it was very small amount of travel, which I like and I'm used to) and no amount of bleeding will cure it. I've bled using the traditional pump into a bottle method, open/close nipple on every pump method and even used a Mityvac hand vacpump and in total have used over 1.5 litres of fluid!
My mate reckons because of the forcing of the pistons back in with nowhere for the pressure to go it could have done something to the master cylinder seal. Any opinions on that?
OR any suggestions as to what is going on here? Is it the mystery of the ABS unit?
Another little side that's annoying me- when the lid is off the reservoir during bleeding when I pump the lever there's a little spurt comes up from the fluid, like a little geyser type thing, if lever pulled in quite fast it can spurt enough to go out over edge of reservoir! This is something I've NEVER seen on bikes- is it normal for this system on the LC? certainly didn't occur on the air cooled GS brakes.
Sorry about the rant but I wanted to fully explain my pain.
I bled my brakes yesterday (took 15 minutes) and my front master cylinder geysers too. You might need a 911 to bleed out ABS reservoir or off to a dealer.
 

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2017 R1200GS 14k miles
I ride all winter in Scotland so salt takes its toll. I messed up while cleaning front caliper pistons a few weeks ago. I was hand cramp pushing them in then using brake to pump them out repeatedly to free them all up BUT I didn't open bleed nipple during this operation. I've now lost my nice firm brake (lever travels at least a third before brake applies, previously it was very small amount of travel, which I like and I'm used to) and no amount of bleeding will cure it. I've bled using the traditional pump into a bottle method, open/close nipple on every pump method and even used a Mityvac hand vacpump and in total have used over 1.5 litres of fluid!
My mate reckons because of the forcing of the pistons back in with nowhere for the pressure to go it could have done something to the master cylinder seal. Any opinions on that?
OR any suggestions as to what is going on here? Is it the mystery of the ABS unit?
Another little side that's annoying me- when the lid is off the reservoir during bleeding when I pump the lever there's a little spurt comes up from the fluid, like a little geyser type thing, if lever pulled in quite fast it can spurt enough to go out over edge of reservoir! This is something I've NEVER seen on bikes- is it normal for this system on the LC? certainly didn't occur on the air cooled GS brakes.
Sorry about the rant but I wanted to fully explain my pain.
Second part is normal. All my bikes do that. It is however to be avoided... You can get air entrapped that way. It is best to be gentle and smooth. Also, apparently best not to pull the lever fully, but to stop at 2 thirds or thereabouts. Not sure why, but apart from losing a little a time, I figured it can't do any harm but can prevent some, so I stick with that method.
Not sure about your main issue... My guess would still be air bubbles.
You can zip tie your break lever overnight, on my old honda that really helped to get rid of air bubbles. Or better still, something elastic that maintains some pressure on the lever.
That may not help on the abs unit (no idea TBH) but could help on the rest. Worth a shot ?
Look out for any leaks but I think that is highly unlikely
 

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Second part is normal. All my bikes do that. It is however to be avoided... You can get air entrapped that way. It is best to be gentle and smooth. Also, apparently best not to pull the lever fully, but to stop at 2 thirds or thereabouts. Not sure why, but apart from losing a little a time, I figured it can't do any harm but can prevent some, so I stick with that method.
Not sure about your main issue... My guess would still be air bubbles.
You can zip tie your break lever overnight, on my old honda that really helped to get rid of air bubbles. Or better still, something elastic that maintains some pressure on the lever.
That may not help on the abs unit (no idea TBH) but could help on the rest. Worth a shot ?
Look out for any leaks but I think that is highly unlikely
Thanks, I’m on the zip tie thing (again) and it gives a great brake but usually only for a day max then it’s back to “normal”
My next move is off to the dealer as I’m under warranty but I’m going through this hassle as it’s history repeating itself- yes, I’ve been through exactly the same with a previous LC and the dealer couldn’t/didn’t improve the brake- said it was all bled etc but I noticed no improvement-
dealer said that’s how they are
I said it wasn’t like that for over a year so why can’t it be returned to its former glory
“no that’s how they are”
your new ones in the showroom aren’t, they’re same as mine was before problem
It’s all been checked and there’s no problems at all
and so it went on. and on.....yawn yawn
HENCE I’m trying to solve this on my own. :frown2:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I took my bike to a different dealer, they put it on the bleed machine and bam, my breaks are back to normal. Wondering if the other dealers machine is faulty? Anyway, it wasn’t me, it was them, and finally taking it elsewhere was the fix.
 

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Thanks, I’m on the zip tie thing (again) and it gives a great brake but usually only for a day max then it’s back to “normal”
My next move is off to the dealer as I’m under warranty but I’m going through this hassle as it’s history repeating itself- yes, I’ve been through exactly the same with a previous LC and the dealer couldn’t/didn’t improve the brake- said it was all bled etc but I noticed no improvement-
dealer said that’s how they are
I said it wasn’t like that for over a year so why can’t it be returned to its former glory
“no that’s how they are”
your new ones in the showroom aren’t, they’re same as mine was before problem
It’s all been checked and there’s no problems at all
and so it went on. and on.....yawn yawn
HENCE I’m trying to solve this on my own. :frown2:
Hmmm ok. Sounds like a tough one. All out of ideas for the moment unfortunately.
 

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Bleeding of the ABS system has to performed via gs911 or the dealers interface. There's a service function that cycles the pump valves for 5 seconds in which time the brake levers need to be pumped a few times to shift the fluid in the pump's passages and valves. I always run that a couple of times followed by another bleed via the nipples. My brakes are fantastic.
 

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I have a 2017 GSA with very spongy front brake that the dealer has been working on . There's a bulletin on it. It states that the brakes have to be bled a number of times, 1 of those time the bike has to be left at dealership overnight to bleed. Before they start replacing parts.

I was told by dealership that the newer brake system needs to be bled via BMW system because of trapped air bubbles hard to get out (not fully buying it since have read some riders doing their own ABS bleeding)

I am at the replacing parts stage as of yesterday 8/16/18. Waiting for word from motherland to go ahead on replacing parts. Very frustrating, going from we have never heard of such an issue with BMW GSA front brakes to ohh yeah there's a bulletin on it to we need to wait for apporval to replace parts. Initial issue raised 6-8 months ago. Now the bike has 6K miles issue persist.

**not affecting the stopping power, just concerning when the lever almost touches bar at second to closest setting*** ( I have small hands LOL)
 

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Just about the only part that can cause this is the master cylinder at the front brake lever and on a newer bike it far more probable that there is a little air in the system and in this case it is probably trapped down in a caliper.
If it were my bike I would bleed the front brake system out myself and I would do it as thoroughly as I could.
I'd start by removing the old fluid in the reservoir with a clean syringe and in this case I would remove both calipers and push the pistons in all the way and block them and remove fluid as needed from the reservoir since doing this will fill it back up and possibly over. Than refill with fresh Pentosin DOT4 LV and bleed each side at least 20 strokes apiece being very careful to snug the bleeder down before relaxing any pressure from the lever, in fact I like to snug the bleeder just before the lever bottoms out, when complete put the pads back in and If you have a GS911 go ahead and exercise the ABS module otherwise take it for a ride and activate the ABS a couple of times and then repeat the whole process one more time.

I can appreciate that the bike is under warranty and you would probably just as soon the dealer change parts but I wouldn't want to go through the hassle to fix something so simple.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Had the same problem. Concord BMW refused to bleed my brakes again. Took it to Livermore BMW, they bled the brakes ONE time (Concord failed THREE) and Wah Lah, my brakes were back to regular. Moral of the story, some shops can’t find their dick with both hands.
 

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Had the same problem. Concord BMW refused to bleed my brakes again. Took it to Livermore BMW, they bled the brakes ONE time (Concord failed THREE) and Wah Lah, my brakes were back to regular. Moral of the story, some shops can’t find their dick with both hands.

2 weeks now after I let them know the 4th brake bleed failed to resolve the spongy brake feel. Reply I got was, we are waiting for BMW to reply. WTF, I said that the research I have done on line and BMW forum points to master cylinder. He agreed and smile. Am I too nice? The bike hit 1 year mark this month issue since week #1.


I am in Chico originally from Bay Area. I might have to schedule in Livermore to see what they can do since I am not getting the sense of urgency with my dealership here.

Ever take your GS to Mines/Del Puerto/Mt Hamilton? I like to piss off sportbikes when I am there on my big ole adventure bike.
 
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