Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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garywyoung
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100

Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?

Post by garywyoung » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:16 am



Good morning. As much as it pains me to say, I have rather small hands (or maybe it's shortish fingers?), and reaching for the brake lever (and to a lesser extent, the clutch lever) requires some more hand movement than I prefer. On my smaller bike, I can reach either level without having to swivel my hand to reach, but on my 1982 GL1100, the reach is a bit further and harder to do. Do you fine folks have any suggestions for replacement levers that can accommodate those of us without man hands?

Thanks!



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WingAdmin
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Re: Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:20 am

garywyoung wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:16 am
Good morning. As much as it pains me to say, I have rather small hands (or maybe it's shortish fingers?), and reaching for the brake lever (and to a lesser extent, the clutch lever) requires some more hand movement than I prefer. On my smaller bike, I can reach either level without having to swivel my hand to reach, but on my 1982 GL1100, the reach is a bit further and harder to do. Do you fine folks have any suggestions for replacement levers that can accommodate those of us without man hands?

Thanks!
There is a reason for the size of those levers: and it's called LEVERage. Because it's a big, heavy bike, the clutch springs and brakes are big, and require much more force to operate than, say, a little 250 Honda. In order to make it so that you can operate them using the strength of your hands, they make the levers longer, and the travel greater.

You could find shorter levers that don't travel as far - but you're going to find that they are quite a bit more difficult (i.e. more force required) to pull them in and get the same result.

For brakes you might look at replacing your brake lines with braided stainless steel lines. this makes the brake engagement point much "sharper" because the rubber hoses don't swell. In that case, you could modify the brake lever to make it closer to the grip, or put an aftermarket one on there. You could get away with this because the lever doesn't have to travel as far to get to the full engagement point.

The clutch is not the same, unfortunately.

garywyoung
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:32 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100

Re: Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?

Post by garywyoung » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:57 am

Thank you, sir. I guess I'll begin my search for a decent set of braided brake lines. And, as always, there is a vigorous discussion on this site as to the various advantages and shortcomings of just about every brand. Any personal preference on your part?

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WingAdmin
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1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:10 pm

garywyoung wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:57 am
Thank you, sir. I guess I'll begin my search for a decent set of braided brake lines. And, as always, there is a vigorous discussion on this site as to the various advantages and shortcomings of just about every brand. Any personal preference on your part?
I can speak only to the HEL lines - I put them on my GL1100, GL1500 and PC800, and they have always performed perfectly.

garywyoung
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:32 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100

Re: Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?

Post by garywyoung » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:06 am

Just as a follow-up to this thread, I installed steel braided brake lines this weekend on my GL1100 and as WingAdmin suggested, it solved the problem. I no longer need to try and find brake levers that I can reach, because I no longer need herculean force to pull the lever to begin with. The brakes work perfectly and at the touch of just a few fingertips. Easily the best improvement I could have made to the safety and responsiveness of the bike. If anyone is on the fence about whether installing steel braided brake lines truly makes a difference, then just ask me. I could not afford the HEL brand, but the Galfer lines (found 'em on eBay) fit perfectly and came with all of the necessary parts. Time will tell if they are durable, but otherwise I'm happy with my purchase.

Thanks for the help, WingAdmin!

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WingAdmin
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Posts: 19686
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1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Brake and Clutch Lever Replacements?

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:25 am

garywyoung wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:06 am
Just as a follow-up to this thread, I installed steel braided brake lines this weekend on my GL1100 and as WingAdmin suggested, it solved the problem. I no longer need to try and find brake levers that I can reach, because I no longer need herculean force to pull the lever to begin with. The brakes work perfectly and at the touch of just a few fingertips. Easily the best improvement I could have made to the safety and responsiveness of the bike. If anyone is on the fence about whether installing steel braided brake lines truly makes a difference, then just ask me. I could not afford the HEL brand, but the Galfer lines (found 'em on eBay) fit perfectly and came with all of the necessary parts. Time will tell if they are durable, but otherwise I'm happy with my purchase.

Thanks for the help, WingAdmin!
Quite a few years ago when I put stainless braided brake lines on my 1100, I said exactly the same thing - definitely the best single upgrade I made to that entire bike, and it still holds true today. It completely transforms the squishy, mushy brakes into powerful, sharp ones.



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