Saturday, July 30, 2011

Calipers swap (part 2)

As you might have guessed by now, the R1100S had its calipers swapped for Brembos and that did the trick to solve the brake issue I was complaining about for months now. I'm going to test ride the bike tomorrow, but first impressions are good.

Ordered from eBay UK, the pads made their way home in a incredibly fast manner

The pins system that retains the pads are slightly different between the Tokicos and  Brembos
Let's hope I can now switch to another upgrade !

Brake issue solved (let's hope so)

Fact : among the 300+ entries published on this blog, the one that draws the more attention and gets the more hits is a post where I describe how to get rid of the I-ABS system on a BMW. My way to do it seems to have been reported and linked on a few forums (like the R1150R forum, for instance). The truth is - and you won't be surprised if you are a frequent reader of this place - I have been struggling with brake issues since the day I put the brake system parts together back on the bike.

Since I (think I) have solved this brake issue today, it's important everyone reading the famous "how to remove your integral ABS system on my beloved BMW" blog entry is also aware of the potential problems that could be met after completing the described procedure. I still don't know (and probably never know) which part to blame yet, but the feeling pulling the brake lever was awfully spongy.

I remember the first thing I did when I decided to remove the ABS unit was to start with cleaned and verified parts, so I had the calipers rebuilt by an official BMW dealer (that I won't recommend by the way ... let's name them so you don't waste your time there : Boxer Evasion in Lille, France). After 3 weeks waiting, they called to say the calipers were ready and complain about having been forced to order 3 different join sets to find out which one fit the calipers. Like I'm supposed to know better which join set to order ... Now who's the professional ? Anyway ...

To solve the spongy brake issue, every single part of the brake system has either been rebuilt or swapped since. But still, the problem remained unchanged. Well this was until I swapped the Tokico calipers for Brembos which are for the same bike, but without the ABS system. So, if you ever experience the "spongy lever" syndrome after discarding the ABS unit the way I described it in the most-read-post-ever on this blog, then you might have to swap your Tokicos for Brembos ... 

The reason for this ? Well, don't forget that you've just junked the I-ABS unit which not only controlled what pressure is to be put through the brake lines, but also uses a  noisy electrical pump to add extra pressure in the lines whenever you pull the bake lever (which is why you have a huge battery by the way). The question is : can these Tokico calipers work properly without the assistance of the pump embedded in the I-ABS unit ? Well I don't know, because there are still chances that the initial caliper rebuild had been f****d up by a BMW dealer that doesn't know which join set to order ...

Ok then, what's to remember of my experience throwing the I-ABS unit away : 
- do it, it's really worth as it's really heavy and can't really compare with the brake feeling you can experience with a simpler system
- if you dumped the I-ABS unit and experience a spongy feeling, then try with straight braided lines
- if you still feel it could be better and haven't asked an inept dealer to rebuild your Tokicos, then you should look for a pair of Brembos

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Calipers swap (part 1)

I'm still struggling with the BMW's brakes. It feels spongy and almost every single parts of the brake system has either been changed or rebuilded now. In a desperate last attempt at trying to fix this issue I had ordered calipers which at the time of buying were looking like the ones I needed. 

They arrived several weeks ago, but couldn't give them a try before last Sunday due to lack of time not working and space in the new house we recently moved in. So they stayed in the closed box they arrived in since. Sunday the box's been opened and I immediately noticed some (at first) minor differences between the received calipers and the one currently on the R1100S. And then, the more I looked at them, the more differences could be spotted but at the same time they were all looking very similar in shape.

What I had in my hands were 2 brake calipers designed for the non-ABS version of the bike. What difference does it make ? They are made by Brembo (not Tokico), the pistons are a bit smaller and their outer surface is plain (as opposed to hollow for the Tokico's). The similarity in shape means they fit the fork lowers and that's some good news. But the pads path in the back is narrower which means the current pads won't fit these calipers.

New pads ordered tonight. I'll have to wait until these arrive to see what these new calipers have to offer ...

Monday, July 25, 2011

The eye

Rossi's helmet at the Mugello.

Is that a way to say "keep an eye on me even if I'm not trusting the podium" ?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Integral ABS closed circuit

There are numerous questions about BMW's Integral ABS brake system around the web. Mainly to know how to get rid of it. Designed more than 10 years ago now, it's a rather advanced system but when it fails it's really expensive to fix. There's only two cheap cures when this happens : remove it or have it removed.

One other question that comes relatively often is why simple parts from previous generations of ABS systems - such as the ABS-1 - or non-ABS versions of the same motorcycle are not compatible with I-ABS. Well, let's say you've spotted a nice master cylinder for your R1100S on ebay, if you blind buy this part there are a bit more than 50% chances you get one that fit on your I-ABS equipped BMW. And this is the reason why : 

Brake switch when lever relased

Brake switch with lever pulled

The brake loom works as a closed circuit. That is, instead of requiring to be closed, the brake light won't light up if the circuit is not opened. So the brake lever closes the circuit when it's completely released and opens it when at full grab.

This topic has been discussed hundreds times on different forums, but pics are worth thousands lines of explanation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nice way to sell chains

Spotted on eBay. Probably the coolest way to sell chains.

At first, the thumbnail was too little to see what it was ...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Custom Ducati (part 2)

Minimalist 900SS design by Old School Garage. Comes with a pair of tasty Supertrapp exhausts, updated forks, wheels and swingarm from later models plus a tricky wooden seat.

Master cylinder rebuild

The BMW still sits with its braking issue. Since the last brake lines swap (from Goodridge 1 into 2 to Goodridge 2 into 2), it had several fluid bleeds and it didn't change anything. The brake lever feels harder for a couple of days after a bleed and then the bike sits still for another 2 days and the lever ends up feeling completely soft, hitting the right clipon.

I had bought a master cylinder rebuild kit from BMW several weeks ago just in case the lines weren't the issue. With the last result being a spongy lever, the brand new master cylinder piston has had a go.

"The master cylinder rebuild kit" consisting of a piston and a spring ...
The whole hand brake assembly has been removed, inspected and cleaned. Comparing the old and new pistons, I had reasons to be hopeful.

Old and new master cylinder pistons

I could put the master cylinder together with its new piston rather easily. Unfortunately, the brake lever feeling is still as spongy as ever. Now, the brake lines have been swapped twice with new complete kits, the master cylinder has been refreshed and the whole assembly has seen more fresh brake fluid than the pan contains oil. Next in sight are the calipers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Extreme lean angle

Casey Stoner seems rather at ease on the Honda this year.

Next step ? Scratch the helmet.

We've moved

June's been a rather busy month. Lot of work (the one that pays the bills), hence not enough time for personal projects, but above anything we have moved house. At first I didn't realize this would take us that much time, but all in all things went pretty well and straightforward. Thanks to anyone who contributed.