Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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Goofaroo
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Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »



I bought it this afternoon knowing that the front brake was barely working but the pedal for the rear brake worked pretty well. My understanding is that the front brake lever only activates the left side caliper and the rear pedal activates the right front and the rear. Is that correct?

Anyhow, I rode it about 150 miles home in a variety of road conditions and I have a feeling I will really enjoy this bike. It has 42K miles, Marlin Blue, and is a nice survivor. It is almost entirely stock except for driver running boards.

It took me about 2 seconds to figure out that I'm not a running board guy. Using the rear brake was awkward to say the least. I was really wishing the front brake worked. Add to that how much I despised the shifting arrangements and it really put a damper on the fun factor riding home- but I had a great ride and I love the bike.

So before I signed up for this forum I sourced some parts on EBay:
Factory driver foot pegs
Factory brake pedal
New shifter rubber

So with that sorted, I need some input on these brakes. My instinct tells me that I should convert it to where you have normal brakes. I would like to have the lever control both front calipers and the pedal to control the rear. You know, like every other motorcycle I've ever ridden.

Is this a bad idea? If I repair it in this configuration will I be happy with it? Can I get wheel locking power out of the front only using one rotor? I want this thing to stop quickly when I want it to. I would appreciate an education on this linked system and opinions on it when it is in good working order.

Thanx!



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HALBUDD
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by HALBUDD »

Just my 2 cents Get the front brakes fixed and leave them just the way they were designed.If you did have both front brakes on the handle you would probably end up going over the handle bars the first time you laid in to them. Also youll lock up the front tire and end up in a skid.Same goes for the rear you dont want it locking up and the other thing you will find is that doing slow turns and using the foot brake will keep you from dropping the bike where as grabing the front brake will dump you to the ground. hope this help a little-----------------------------------------------Hal
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Rednaxs60
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Rednaxs60 »

You will find the brakes perform quite well as designed. The left front caliper and the rear brake caliper have the same size pistons so the oil and dust seals are the same. The front right brake caliper pistons are smaller. The reason for this is that it is linked to the rear brake. Once you get the brakes sorted out, you probably won't notice any difference between this bike and one with "normal" brakes.

I agree with Hal in that the front brake is not your friend when doing slow speed on these bikes or stopping on these bikes. If you are used to using the front brake as your main brake, rethink this as these bikes will let you know very quickly when you have an issue.

Just a few thoughts.

Good luck.
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

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Goofaroo
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Thanks for the input. While I know that this is not a sport bike I plan to make it as "sporty" as possible. I'm going going to rebuild the forks with new bushings and seals and install some straight wound Sonic Springs. New steering head bearings and wheel bearings. Then I need to take a close look at the rear shock, swingarm bushes, etc.

The bike seems to handle really well and holds a nice line through sweeping turns. There is no headshake at any speed even under deceleration with my hands off of the bars.
I'm really happy with my purchase but it needs good brakes before I will ride it again.

After 22 years my wife suddenly decided she wanted to start riding with me on weekend trips with our friends. I took her on a few rides on my 2004 Concours and she enjoyed it but I know that she wasn't very comfortable so I decided to find a 1200. I have always wanted one anyway so this was a good excuse.

On my Concours I can stop on a dime with my wife on board and all of her crap stuffed into the side bags. I need the same from my 'Wing.

It looks like for now I need to pull the front left caliper and the master cylinder off and see what I have. If there's not any corrosion I'll put new rubber in them, deglaze the rotor, new pads, lube everything, and see what I have. If it works pretty well, I'll probably do the same for the rest of the system and then button it up with some new hoses.

I can't wait to ride this thing with it sorted out.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by WingAdmin »

When it comes to brakes, really the best thing you could do would be to replace the original brake lines with braided stainless steel lines. That was the single best upgrade I made to my GL1100, it absolutely transformed the brakes and made them razor sharp and controllable.

Oh, and if nobody has mentioned it to you yet, if you don't know when the timing belts were last changed, then the time to change them is RIGHT NOW. A failed timing belt can destroy the engine.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Thanks for the input. The guy I bought it from had brought it back to life after it had sat for quite a while- probably due to a stator issue. He put in a new stator, timing belts, and kitted the carbs. It also has new tires. Then he found an 85 Limited with only 21K and decided to sell the Aspencade. I just need to finish putting it back on the road.

I will definitely install steel brake lines all around and probably rebuild all of the calipers and both master cylinders. I also plan to do some maintenance and upgrades on the suspension.

Once I get the chassis sorted I'll turn my attention to the motor. It runs well and sounds very healthy but I think the carbs could use some final tuning and I want to inspect all the wiring and electrical components.

I have several bikes but this is my first Goldwing and I'm pretty excited about it. I think I found a good one but it needs the usual attention that a 31 year old motorcycle requires.

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SilverDave
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by SilverDave »

If you give them a chance, you might find you can grow to like boards and the heel-toe shifter arrangement .
Mine also " came that way " , and I didn't like it at all., but after a month , I grew to enjoy it.

Its just as fast, if you practise and very restful on long cruises.... There is no moving the foot to top or bottom of the peg type shifter .

....... and it saves wear and tear on the top of ( presumably shiny ) motorcycle boots. LOL

Secondly , the Honda original brake setup : front-rear 60-40 works really well, if all the pads are new and clean , and the hoses are not too old. . . ..... On mine , at least, when the proportional brake is activated , the bike does NOT nose dive, or rear skid ....
it just majestically " sinks " , front and back , with just the right amount of front /rear application .
Want more ? add a touch of front brake and take the nose down just a bit.

The very clever mid 80's Honda design of 60-40 is not as good as ABS, but its a close second , if properly used .

Ditto on the belts, pads , steel lines , etc

Progressive front springs seem to the preference of 1200 owners in my club and on this board. Let us know how the Sonics turn out .

It sounds as if your front brake caliber unit needs a careful re-build .
Most of us recommend Honda OEM seals ( and pistons ) for this critical component .

Its a great cruiser .. You are gonna really enjoy it ..
Oh.. and " Blue" is the fastest 1200 colour ... LOL... include some pics sometime, please .

SilverDave

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Goofaroo
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Let's just say that by the time I got home with this bike I had developed a deep hatred for the running boards and the heel and toe pedals. lol

I have no interest in riding it again without the factory pegs. I will add some highway pegs to give me a change of position and this bike came with a backrest which I can tell would be really nice with some forward pegs.

For me, I just couldn't modulate the rear brake very well while holding my leg in air and the shifter was clunky and hard to find. Maybe mine are just a crappy setup and maybe I could adjust the pedals a bit and get somewhat used to it but I would never like it.

I also just discovered that the air compressor isn't working so I'll need to address that. While I have the forks off for a rebuild and new springs I will probably just block off the air hose inlets to the forks and run a proper spring. On the rear, I'm thinking I may just simplify the air hoses by connecting the shocks together and then mounting a single valve that will allow me to manually set the pressure. Either way, I will still fix the compressor so I have air available while I'm on the road.

As for the springs- Sonic Springs are made here in Oklahoma City by Cannon Racecraft. I've had them custom build springs for me over the years and they do great work. They have three different weights available for the GL1200 and by using their calculator online I am going to buy the 1.2 kilo rate. The straight wound springs give you consistent action throughout the range of travel. On a bike like this that only has 5.5 inches of travel I would think that the front end would blow through the soft section of a progressive spring before you even used any of the stiffer section. Do the progressive springs help at all with front end dive?

Anyway, it will be a while until I get this bike sorted out but I'll report back on the Sonics. So far I have been very pleased with them on my other bikes and I really don't want to be reliant on air in the forks.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by SilverDave »

After you get the brakes in tip top shape ( seals , maybe pistons, pads )

You might try fiddling with the rear /front air levels ,
For cruising one up, I run mine around 60 rear and 15 front .

and then you can tinker with the antidive as well..
Since I also like brisk braking , I usually set mine at 4 ... but its a matter of taste and personal preference.
I want to stop quickly without going thru the windshield ... LOL

The antidive keeps both tires at close to max braking effect , and the bike level and prevents undue loading on front tire ( from a nosedive )

===========================================
Goofaroo said :
<<I just couldn't modulate the rear brake very well while holding my leg in air and the shifter was clunky and hard to find>>

I think you do have a crappy heel toe and brake setup..... certainly unusual ...

Mine has a right heel rest that keeps both feet perfectly at same level ..
Right foot is on rest and the brake pedal .... left on the heel / toe pedals . I never have a "foot in the air "

.... and don't forget , the foot brake is controlling TWO brakes, so " Modulating " it takes a bit of getting used to.

But Blue is still the fastest colour for a Wing !!!

SilverDave

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oldishwinger
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by oldishwinger »

you may already know this, thought I'd mention it because you thinking of changing the springs, there is system on the front wheel called TRAC you can use it to alter the amount of compression, in the front forks. it works under braking, and also alters the type of ride, from hard to soft.

four settings, and both sides of the wheel have to have the same setting.

congratulations on your new ride,

happy riding

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by WingAdmin »

The first thing I did to my GL1500 was rip off the foot boards and the heel/toe shifter and replace them with OEM stock. Much improved. :)

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by harvey01 »

Goofaroo, congratulations on the new ride. Coming from a Concours is like entering a new world of riding especially on such an old Wing. My first suggestion to you would be do everything you can to make it look really good and then either ride it this year and save as much as possible and sell it next spring and with the money saved buy a 2001-2010 Wing. It is far more performance oriented. It still has linked brakes but they are really good.

If you choose to upgrade that 86, remember it can only be made so much better and will never be a sport bike.

As far as the brakes, the 83-93 Yamaha Ventures were a great bike but the brakes were linked just as you mentioned. Delinking them so the front brakes were operated by the hand and the foot brake operated the rear brake made for a much better stopping motorcycle. One other thing that worked really well was putting R6 brakes on the front. I suspect that somewhere in Honda's sportbikes there is a set of calibers that will fit on the 86 Wing. You seem familiar with how to brake a sport/sport Tourer so delinking the brakes will probably just give you a lot more braking and put you in your comfort zone.

I do agree with rebuilding all components and switching to stainless steel lines. You might also consider switching to DOT 5 Silicone brake fluid if you do clean and replace all parts, especially all seals. This is done by many Vintage owners and eliminates draining and replacing fluid annually as this silicone fluid does not absorb water. Do some study and see if this meets your needs as it in no way reduces braking ability. I am sure many here will rise up in their chairs and disagree with this so I urge you to research it on the web and elsewhere for yourself.

Good luck, happy wrenching, and happy riding!
harvey
Ride Safe and Ride Often

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

I'm familiar with the TRAC system on the forks. I had a 86 VF1000R that had the same system. The system on my 'Wing seems almost as useless as it was on my 1000 but in all fairness I have no idea if these forks even have fluid in them. For all I know at this point the fluid has never been changed. The fix on my 1000 was new springs and a bit heavier fluid.

I'm not trying to make a sport bike out of this scooter but I want it to be all that it can be. Especially when it's loaded with my wife and our luggage. I'm impressed already with how planted this bike feels but it just needs a bit of maintenance and setup.

Cosmetically it looks really good. It has obviously been stored inside and cared for. I specifically sought out a 1200. I've ridden a 1500 and liked it but if I was going to buy a later model bike I probably would have bought a BMW K1200LT. I actually almost bought one instead of my 'Wing but I've always wanted to try a 1200. I really wanted an Interstate but they seem harder to find so I picked up this unmolested (except for the running boards) Aspencade.

CAN'T WAIT TO RIDE THIS BIKE (but with brakes and footpegs this time!) lol

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by oldishwinger »

Goofaroo wrote:I'm familiar with the TRAC system on the forks. I had a 86 VF1000R that had the same system. The system on my 'Wing seems almost as useless as it was on my 1000 but in all fairness I have no idea if these forks even have fluid in them. For all I know at this point the fluid has never been changed. The fix on my 1000 was new springs and a bit heavier fluid.

I'm not trying to make a sport bike out of this scooter but I want it to be all that it can be. Especially when it's loaded with my wife and our luggage. I'm impressed already with how planted this bike feels but it just needs a bit of maintenance and setup.

Cosmetically it looks really good. It has obviously been stored inside and cared for. I specifically sought out a 1200. I've ridden a 1500 and liked it but if I was going to buy a later model bike I probably would have bought a BMW K1200LT. I actually almost bought one instead of my 'Wing but I've always wanted to try a 1200. I really wanted an Interstate but they seem harder to find so I picked up this unmolested (except for the running boards) Aspencade.

CAN'T WAIT TO RIDE THIS BIKE (but with brakes and footpegs this time!) lol
Had my aspy for 11 years now, spent a bit of time getting the balance right, by that I mean tires, brakes, suspension etc. she has carried me everywhere, and is a real pleasure to ride. They may be getting on a bit in years, and require a a bit of tlc now and again,but by golly they can hold their own no problems.

a very solid platform in all weather, she may not be the quickest thing on two wheels, but boy, what she does she does real well.

enjoy the ride

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Thanks for the reply. I'm sure I'll really bond with this bike eventually.

I forgot to ask- My left mirror won't hold position. Can I adjust the tension on the ball joint or is it shot?

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Rednaxs60 »

This are great bikes. Have an 1800 and 1200 LTD. Suspension is something that just wears out over time, just like a car. Upgrading/renewing the suspension will pay dividends. I did the suspension on both bikes. I prefer the 1200 over the 1800 and it takes me and my significant other wherever we want to go and the ride is extremely smooth. She actually prefers the 1200 over the 1800. Once you get it where you want it you will appreciate the old girl.

Good luck.
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by oldishwinger »

Goofaroo wrote:Thanks for the reply. I'm sure I'll really bond with this bike eventually.

I forgot to ask- My left mirror won't hold position. Can I adjust the tension on the ball joint or is it shot?
Ho boy the biggest bain on my girl too! LOL yes you can tighten the nut that hold the ball, but it just seems to come loose again I've heard of folks using glue and drilling and other screws, but I think at the end of the day, its easier to get a new one.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Then I might as well take it off and have look at it. The right one is actually too tight. I'm afraid I'm going to break something when I try to adjust it but I finally got it where I wanted it. I could hit a pedestrian with it and not lose the position so I'll just leave it for now and do something about the left one.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

By the way- Does anyone know what the keyed "switch?" on the clock/stereo is for? My key fits but nothing happens. Is it supposed to release the stereo so that I can pull it out?

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by oldishwinger »

Goofaroo wrote:Then I might as well take it off and have look at it. The right one is actually too tight. I'm afraid I'm going to break something when I try to adjust it but I finally got it where I wanted it. I could hit a pedestrian with it and not lose the position so I'll just leave it for now and do something about the left one.
your question prompted me to go looking for mirrors as mine have been getting worse lately too, they are pretty easy to find, e bay, saber cycle, and there is a pair at cyclemax for around $88 they are not OEM but should do the job. no affiliation on my part. I put you wrong too I'm sorry it was some time ago, that I took one apart to see if the ball could be tightened and I remember now I couldnt find any way of doing it, and ended up buying. my apologies for any inconvenience.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by WingAdmin »

oldishwinger wrote:
Goofaroo wrote:Then I might as well take it off and have look at it. The right one is actually too tight. I'm afraid I'm going to break something when I try to adjust it but I finally got it where I wanted it. I could hit a pedestrian with it and not lose the position so I'll just leave it for now and do something about the left one.
your question prompted me to go looking for mirrors as mine have been getting worse lately too, they are pretty easy to find, e bay, saber cycle, and there is a pair at cyclemax for around $88 they are not OEM but should do the job. no affiliation on my part. I put you wrong too I'm sorry it was some time ago, that I took one apart to see if the ball could be tightened and I remember now I couldnt find any way of doing it, and ended up buying. my apologies for any inconvenience.
Cyclemax is great...I would not advice my worst enemy to buy anything from Saber Cycle, and if you need to know why, read through the stories here: /Vendors/Saber-Cycle_880

As for the ball joint on the mirror, I fixed one by taking it apart, putting a small piece of nitrile glove (latex balloon would probably work as well) jammed in between the ball and the housing, and putting it back together. The idea is to give it a bit of friction, so it stays in place.

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Goofaroo
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Thanks for the tip. I'm going to take it off today and see what I can do to tighten it.

Also, I'm on several bike forums (I have way too many bikes) and I know how much you guys like pics. I'll take some today but for now I'm going to test my ability to put a pic from my phone on this forum. I'm going to try to post a pic of my BMW.
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Goofaroo
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Success! I'll post some Wing pics today.

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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

Some pics. It's dirty from riding it home in the rain but here it is in all its glory.
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Re: Brake system questions about my 86 Aspencade I bought a few hours ago.

Post by Goofaroo »

I pulled the left mirror off and found that housing for the ball was cracked. I tried rotating the ball and it gave it more purchase on the housing but it will just get sloppy again. I guess I can add a new mirror to the list. I don't see any way to properly repair this.
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