On my last few dirt biking rides last fall, I noticed my front brake was getting pretty soft. So, I figured it was time for new brake pads and change the brake fluid.
For the most part, I have been happy with the stock brake pads, but I read good reviews of carbon fiber pads, so I thought I would try them.
I have also, on occasion, had the dreaded “Brembo soft brake” problem. When the bike has been sitting for several weeks, sometimes when I pull the bike out of the shed, my front brake has gone completely flat. This is a common problem with Brembo brakes, and there are many theories as to why this happens. There are also many remedies that provide temporary relief. The easiest temporary fix is to simply pull the brake lever into the bars and strap it there for a few hours. Somehow this magically makes your brakes work again, but it doesn’t really solve the root problem.
Since I was planning on bleeding the brakes, I thought now would be a good time to replace the Brembo master cylinder assembly with a Nissin assembly. From what I have read on the Internet, this is the only ‘real’ solution. I looked on ebay for a used master cylinder from a Honda CRF, but only found cheap imitations.
I decided to order a new brake assembly. I also ordered a new banjo bolt since the thread depth is different on the Nissin as opposed to the Brembo. In my case, I needed a hydraulic brake switch since I made my bike street legal. The brake assembly part number is 45510-MEN-305.
Installation was really quite easy. I placed a paper towel under the banjo bolt to collect any brake fluid drips, then removed the banjo bolt. I then removed the brake assembly and installed the Nissin in its place.
I added brake fluid to the master cylinder, and then carefully flicked the brake lever. Each time I flicked it, air bubbles came out of the line. I made sure the brake line didn’t have any high points prior the master cylinder so all of the air would rise to the cylinder. I also tapped the line and the master cylinder periodically. I continued to do this until no more air bubbles came out. The brake lever felt firm, so I didn’t even bother to bleed the line.
My installation took longer than normal because my bike is street legal. I had to connect the hydraulic switch and clean up the wiring. I also had to move my RAM Mount ball where my mirror attaches because the mount of the Nissin is 90* rotated from the Brembo. I had to use a different ball mount and move my ignition map switch to make everything fit and clear the throttle cables.
Now I just need to get out riding to break in these new brake pads and make sure everything is solid!