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GL1200A Mushy Front Hand Brake

This is a discussion on GL1200A Mushy Front Hand Brake within the Goldwing forums, part of the Honda category; I've got a 1984 GL1200A with 63K miles on it. I've had the front (hand brake side) brake fluid bled ...


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Old 07-16-2010   #1
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Default GL1200A Mushy Front Hand Brake

I've got a 1984 GL1200A with 63K miles on it. I've had the front (hand brake side) brake fluid bled twice trying to get the brake a little more responsive. Its very mushy and I have to squeeze the ba-jeezus out of it to get any response. I have been told (by 2 different repair shops) that this is a characteristic of the early Gold Wings.
Is this true?
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Old 07-16-2010   #2
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Default GL1200A Mushy Front Hand Brake

I've been told this is common with these bikes. I've had the front right brake bled twice and I still have to squeeze the ba-jeezus on the hand brake to get any kind of braking. It's more like a coasting brake only. I do use my foot brake mostly (I have too) but with my front right brake only working at about 25%, it seems dangerous to me.
The brakes have been thoroughly checked out by two different repair shops. The bike only has 63K miles on it. I've only owned it 8 months and 5 of those months it was stored (winter).
Is this mushy brake really a common problem with these bikes as I have been told by 2 different bike mechanics?
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Old 07-16-2010   #3
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Default GL1200 front brake response

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGENOUGHAL View Post
I've got a 1984 GL1200A with 63K miles on it. I've had the front (hand brake side) brake fluid bled twice trying to get the brake a little more responsive. Its very mushy and I have to squeeze the ba-jeezus out of it to get any response. I have been told (by 2 different repair shops) that this is a characteristic of the early Gold Wings. Is this true?
The first thing I did when I bought a used 1980 Goldwing was to get front calipers refurbished becaused they were jamming. Once this was completed, I never noticed brake problems on that Goldwing Interstate GL1100 1980. In fact, it was just the opposite. Compared to about ANY motorcycle of a similar weight or power and despite the fact I had full fairing, and rigid cases and lots of chrome adding weight, my Goldwing did stop on a dime.

I took advanced driving courses and I could see the dual piston dual disks on front doing better than any cruiser that was on the same class of 20. Only lighter sport bikes did better on emergency braking exercises. The worst of the lot were early Harley Davidsons with only a single piston single disk on the front.

The GL1200 is very similar to GL1100. I simply don't beleive the statement that early Goldwings had poor brakes. I would rather suspect your calipers are jamming and need to be refurbished, Thruth is that front calipers are expensive to refurbish and consequently, lots of owners probably neglected maintenance. Jamming calipers will eventually kill the disks and will considerably increase the effort needed to brake. Worn out disks running below thickness manufacturer's recommendation will produce poor brakes. I no longer have Service Manuals, so I can only tell you from my personnal experience. So, I suggest you get your fron calipers checked in a hurry and your disk thickness controlled to make sure it is still over minimal recommended specs.

If your hydraulic hoses appear to be original, I would also suggest you consider upgrading to flexible stainless steel version, which are much more responsive than worn out OEMs. I would also suggest a master cylinder rebuid kit, which is a negligible cost compared to caliper rebuild and SS hydraulic upgrade. Front brakes are responsible for 80% of braking effort on a motorcycle... you can't cheat on that. You just won't beleive the difference !!!
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Last edited by lamimartin; 07-16-2010 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 07-16-2010   #4
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This is 100% not true. Squishy brakes on a GL can most often be traced to old rubber break line deterioration. What occurs is with time the lines soften and develop a weakness to pressure and swell slightly when the brakes are applied. The best solution to this is to replace all the brake lines and rebuild the master cylinder and wheel calipers.

That's pretty much the solution. One thing, although you can go to braided stainless steel lines the brakes, although effective, will have a rock-hard feel and may be hard to modulate precisely.

- John
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Old 07-16-2010   #5
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Thanks for the reply. I have a manual and have checked the front disc, its within specs but neither mechanic suggested to me about getting the caliper refurbished. I need to find a third repair shop for another opinion.
Thanks again!
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Old 07-16-2010   #6
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John has far more mechanical knowledge than I have and we both have the same opinion in your case.

I purchased my used Goldwing from a Honda Dealer. The initial repair was not cheap, but at least, I got the truth and good brakes. Think about it... most senior mechanics who were working on Goldwings in the 80's are now retired. The few younger mechanics who dare to say "early Goldwings had poor brakes" have no idea what they are talking about because they were in their crib back then.
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Last edited by lamimartin; 07-18-2010 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Merged thread on this topic
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