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Brake Lever
Check it before you need it

By: James R. Davis

Before you need to use your front brake in an emergency you should insure that it works properly.

Just squeeze the lever as hard as you can. No part of that lever should get within 1/2 inch of your grip. If it gets closer, then in an emergency you can catch a finger (especially if it has a ring on it) beneath the lever and limit your ability to stop. In the extreme, where you can cause the lever to actually touch the grip by squeezing it, you cannot get maximum stopping power from your front brake under any circumstance.

What is likely wrong if the lever travels too far?

Most likely, there is air in your brake fluid. If so, just bleed the system and replace the fluid.

If there is no air in the fluid, then the odds are that the rubber tubing in the brake line is getting weak. Replace it. Better still, replace it with armor clad flexible tubing and you will be amazed with how much more braking power you have.

Though it is rare, there may be a simple adjustment that establishes lever travel. Readjust it for at least 1/2 inch clearance.

Your life depends on being able to stop quickly. Surely it makes sense to check that lever before you need it?

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(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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