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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks!
I've been owning my V2K for a couple of weeks now, riding almost every day. Yesterday I finally sold off my old Suzuki Volusia, saying farewell to the bike I rode for 7 years and close to 50'000 km.

Now; the front brakes on my V2K behaves very differently from my old bike in low speeds, and I would appreciate your input.

At walking speed, in U-turns, when stopping etc, it's almost as if the front brake only have two modes: On & Off, basically locking the front wheel. Note that this doesn't happen in high/normal speeds, only when being close to a full stop.

I has a close call the other day when making a tight U-turn at a gas station and unconsciously (but very gently) touching the front brake. This was fine to do on my old, single-disc brake bike, as it would only slow it down just as much as I wanted. But on the V2K it jerked, making me lose balance and come VERY close to dropping it completely. I managed to get my foot down in time and pulling it up from just above touching the ground with just my right leg (the left was in the air), arms and a healthy dose of adrenaline. While I DID feel very manly after managing to pull the bike up, I would not like to repeat this event.

Anyway; Is this locking/biting front brake behavior considered normal on this bike? Aside from re-training myself on proper brake techniques, is there anything I can do? Would replacing the brake pads help or is a full caliper breakdown (brake-down?) needed?

Cheers from Sweden!
 

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Definitely not normal and it could eventually creep in at higher speeds, which could be catastrophic. It sounds like you may have a sticking piston, but it could a lot of other things: warped rotor, scored rotor, damaged pads, etc... .

I would do a full brake job including rim and rotor runout, rotor thickness, and deglazing the rotor. One problem might have created others, such as a sticking piston causing overheating and warping of the rotor.

I recently developed a squealing in my front brakes at slow speeds. I did a full brake job and found that I had a sticking piston in each front caliper. Of course, it was a perfect time to change the brake fluid, too. I even changed the pads though the old ones looked good. It stops smoothly and quietly now.
 

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Definitely not normal and it could eventually creep in at higher speeds, which could be catastrophic. It sounds like you may have a sticking piston, but it could a lot of other things: warped rotor, scored rotor, damaged pads, etc... .

I would do a full brake job including rim and rotor runout, rotor thickness, and deglazing the rotor. One problem might have created others, such as a sticking piston causing overheating and warping of the rotor.

I recently developed a squealing in my front brakes at slow speeds. I did a full brake job and found that I had a sticking piston in each front caliper. Of course, it was a perfect time to change the brake fluid, too. I even changed the pads though the old ones looked good. It stops smoothly and quietly now.
I fully agree with this comment. The front brake at my 2000 works smooth like silk at slow speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the answers!

I think I fixed it, at least temporarily.
I went out to a large parking lot with no cars today, then at slow speeds pulled the front brakes hard (locking the wheel) to a full stop repeatedly, with the idea to shake/shock whatever the problem is loose. I did this a bunch of times on all brake lever adjustment steps - which I had completely missed before. Initially it was set to 1 (most aggressive) and after I was done I left it at 3 (medium). I'm not sure what made the biggest (or any) difference - shocking the pistons or adjusting the lever - but the brakes feel completely different now. Much smoother, but still grippy when I want them. The on-off feeling is gone, and the parking lot have a bunch of new skid marks. :)

The previous owner had hardly ridden the bike the last 2 years, perhaps this caused something to seize up?

Anyway, I'll be wary of the brake behavior from now on and will do a full teardown of the calipers if the problem comes back.
 

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Thanks for the answers!

I think I fixed it, at least temporarily.
I went out to a large parking lot with no cars today, then at slow speeds pulled the front brakes hard (locking the wheel) to a full stop repeatedly, with the idea to shake/shock whatever the problem is loose. I did this a bunch of times on all brake lever adjustment steps - which I had completely missed before. Initially it was set to 1 (most aggressive) and after I was done I left it at 3 (medium). I'm not sure what made the biggest (or any) difference - shocking the pistons or adjusting the lever - but the brakes feel completely different now. Much smoother, but still grippy when I want them. The on-off feeling is gone, and the parking lot have a bunch of new skid marks. :)

The previous owner had hardly ridden the bike the last 2 years, perhaps this caused something to seize up?

Anyway, I'll be wary of the brake behavior from now on and will do a full teardown of the calipers if the problem comes back.
At the very least, keep an eye on the reservoir level, and look for any leaks coming from the pistons. If there was something causing a piston to stick, it could very well damage a seal once the piston started moving. My opinion - brake problems are not something to fool around with. If you have a brake problem that disappears and you ignore it, it could come back with a vengeance.
 

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I agree with SabreT, at the very least it deserves a detail inspection, both of the lines and the calipers, and if it stood for 2 years with minimal use a change of all the brake fluid,who knows how much moisture could have gotten in there and if it did any damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. I've inspected the reservoir, hoses, calipers, rotors and pads, all seems to be in good condition. Since last time I've ridden perhaps 500 km with no signs of the previous problems, but it's still in the back of my head. In any case I plan on having it serviced by a qualified Kawasaki dealer soon and will ask them to replace brake fluid, hoses and pads, as well as inspect and if needed replace the pistons and seals. Better safe than sorry.
 
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