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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I was going down the freeway today and I could smell what smelled to be like hot brakes.

When I got home I looked at my front fender and found this, see picture below.

Since I’m mainly doing Freeway driving and I’m thinking that maybe my front calipers are sticking?

I saw this on my front fender and cleaned this off two days ago. Now it’s back.

Also it’s only on the drivers right side of the fender and not on the left.

Has anyone else had this issue? If so is it something that I can adjust myself or do I need to take it to the dealer?




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I haven’t had this issue, but I‘d start with the easiest fix first...a brake cleaning. Take the caliper off the mount, remove the pads, and clean everything with brake cleaner and a brush. Work the pistons back and forth and clean them too. You should be able to easily push the pistons back in the caliper. If you’ve never done this, don’t pump the brake lever too much to force the piston outward...you can push it completely out of the caliper. While you’re at it, you can deglaze the rotor and pads with a red or green scotchbrite pad and clean with brake cleaner. Also, if your brake fluid is over two yrs. old, change it.
 

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I think you mean brake clean, not brake fluid? Hopefully..

I haven’t had this issue, but I‘d start with the easiest fix first...a brake cleaning. Take the caliper off the mount, remove the pads, and clean everything with brake fluid and a brush. Work the pistons back and forth and clean them too. You should be able to easily push the pistons back in the caliper. If you’ve never done this, don’t pump the brake lever too much to force the piston outward...you can push it completely out of the caliper. While you’re at it, you can deglaze the rotor and pads with a red or green scotchbrite pad and clean with brake fluid. Also, if your brake fluid is over two yrs. old, change it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I haven’t had this issue, but I‘d start with the easiest fix first...a brake cleaning. Take the caliper off the mount, remove the pads, and clean everything with brake cleaner and a brush. Work the pistons back and forth and clean them too. You should be able to easily push the pistons back in the caliper. If you’ve never done this, don’t pump the brake lever too much to force the piston outward...you can push it completely out of the caliper. While you’re at it, you can deglaze the rotor and pads with a red or green scotchbrite pad and clean with brake fluid. Also, if your brake fluid is over two yrs. old, change it.
I bought the bike 3 weeks ago. It only had 7 miles on it now it has a little over 800 miles. Should things need cleaning when it is this new? I probably should have put the in the first post.


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My 2020 RM throws out the dust on the right side. It's especially noticeable as the lowers are cream white. I'm not getting a burnt smell from them. Comes back pretty quick after a cleaning. Mine is more of a dusty pattern. I don't think I'm showing dots. Check the rotors for any discoloration and run it by the dealer.
 

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My 2020 RM throws out the dust on the right side. It's especially noticeable as the lowers are cream white. I'm not getting a burnt smell from them. Comes back pretty quick after a cleaning. Mine is more of a dusty pattern. I don't think I'm showing dots. Check the rotors for any discoloration and run it by the dealer.
Same with the cream color on the lower part of the fenders of my '15 Vintage. Very fine dust after just a few hundred miles. I do not get the clusters/dots as seen in the photos.

Probably/hopefully nothing to be concerned about but seeing that @Gearset807 has a brand new skoot, might wanna drop by the dealer and see what they think. Or just put the bike on the lift and spin the front wheel and do a few hard pulls on the front brake handle, then spin again to see if there's any drag.
 
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I bought the bike 3 weeks ago. It only had 7 miles on it now it has a little over 800 miles. Should things need cleaning when it is this new? I probably should have put the in the first post.


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No, it shouldn’t need the brakes serviced this soon. If you think the pistons are sticking, I’d schedule an appt with the dealer.
 

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Year of the bike, how much mileage it has on it and/or brand or model of the machine are all irrelevant when it comes to brake issues. In fact, other than normal wear at the friction surfaces, a bike (or car) that's been sitting unused for a long time is more likely to have brake issues than one that's used regularly. And brake fluid should be changed at least every couple of years on vehicles that get regular use - more frequently on those that sit for long periods. If the caliper is not releasing the discs enough to allow them to cool, it can build enough heat to bake the neighboring paint and potentially cause a crash.

Is the brake fluid cloudy? You should be able to see through it. If not, flush the system and bleed it with fresh Dot 4 from a sealed container.

Raise the bike so you can spin the front wheel. [Yeah... we all know that the Thunder Stroke models are a pain to do this] Does the wheel spin easily? You should hear a light sound of the pads barely contacting the discs, but it should take little to no effort to spin the wheel. Now grab a good fist of front brake and hold it for a couple of seconds. Then release the lever. Th e wheel should return to an easy spin by hand. If it does not spin easily, the front brake system should be fully cleaned out and freshened. Th e calipers in particular may need to be removed, disassembled and cleaned out. With the exception of needing new copper seals at the banjo fittings, the rubber components in the system can probably be cleaned and reused, but they must be carefully inspected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Year of the bike, how much mileage it has on it and/or brand or model of the machine are all irrelevant when it comes to brake issues. In fact, other than normal wear at the friction surfaces, a bike (or car) that's been sitting unused for a long time is more likely to have brake issues than one that's used regularly. And brake fluid should be changed at least every couple of years on vehicles that get regular use - more frequently on those that sit for long periods. If the caliper is not releasing the discs enough to allow them to cool, it can build enough heat to bake the neighboring paint and potentially cause a crash.

Is the brake fluid cloudy? You should be able to see through it. If not, flush the system and bleed it with fresh Dot 4 from a sealed container.

Raise the bike so you can spin the front wheel. [Yeah... we all know that the Thunder Stroke models are a pain to do this] Does the wheel spin easily? You should hear a light sound of the pads barely contacting the discs, but it should take little to no effort to spin the wheel. Now grab a good fist of front brake and hold it for a couple of seconds. Then release the lever. Th e wheel should return to an easy spin by hand. If it does not spin easily, the front brake system should be fully cleaned out and freshened. Th e calipers in particular may need to be removed, disassembled and cleaned out. With the exception of needing new copper seals at the banjo fittings, the rubber components in the system can probably be cleaned and reused, but they must be carefully inspected.
I don’t have a motorcycle jack. Is there a semi-easy way for one guy to get the front wheel off the ground and have the ability to spin it?

I bought it with 7 miles on it three weeks ago but it is a 2019 model.


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I don’t have a motorcycle jack. Is there a semi-easy way for one guy to get the front wheel off the ground and have the ability to spin it?

I bought it with 7 miles on it three weeks ago but it is a 2019 model.


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You might be able to get the front wheel off the ground with a scissor jack...be careful of the brake lines that run underneath.
 

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Another thing to check: Sorry, I should have suggested this first. It could be a simple fix.
Place the bike and handlebar position so the resevoir is level. Put some blankets or some such covering on any painted surfaces that are below the RH grip, so any drips of brake fluid won't get on the paint. Carefully open the front brake reservoir and check the level. If it's TOTALLY full, remove some fluid. The brake resevoirs need some space to allow for expansion of the fluid when it heats up.
 

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I don’t have a motorcycle jack. Is there a semi-easy way for one guy to get the front wheel off the ground and have the ability to spin it?

I bought it with 7 miles on it three weeks ago but it is a 2019 model.


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Getting a lift would be a good thing. They make tinkering/maintenance and cleaning much easier. That, and I store my Vintage on a lift during the off season. Pump it up 'till the tires are a couple of inches off the garage floor and cover it up.
 
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I don’t have a motorcycle jack. Is there a semi-easy way for one guy to get the front wheel off the ground and have the ability to spin it?
A semi-easy way to lift the front wheel is with a friend. Leave the bike on the kickstand and have the friend stand on that side and pull the handlebars in that direction so the front wheel lifts a little bit with the weight shared between the kickstand and the friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another thing to check: Sorry, I should have suggested this first. It could be a simple fix.
Place the bike and handlebar position so the resevoir is level. Put some blankets or some such covering on any painted surfaces that are below the RH grip, so any drips of brake fluid won't get on the paint. Carefully open the front brake reservoir and check the level. If it's TOTALLY full, remove some fluid. The brake resevoirs need some space to allow for expansion of the fluid when it heats up.
That is a good point. I noticed in the sight glass on the front brake reservoir it was filled to the top. Should the fluid in the sight glass be all the way to the top or should there be a gap at the top?


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Turn the bars to the left so the reservoir is level. The fluid should be about half way up the glass. A bit over or under isn't an issue as long as you can see the level. It will look different with the bars centered - different bars have different curves so there is no standard look.

The easiest way to take some out is to cover the surrounds with a cloth first, remove the top plate, there's a rubber gasket underneath it, remove it carefully as it's a firm fit and might splash as it releases. Use a clean old tee shirt or something to soak up some fluid if you don't have a clean syringe. Take it down to a good level and replace the gasket and lid.

There is a little round mark on the plastic window - it looks a bit like a bubble and confuses some people. It's only a part of the plastic and it can be in any position around the circle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Turn the bars to the left so the reservoir is level. The fluid should be about half way up the glass. A bit over or under isn't an issue as long as you can see the level. It will look different with the bars centered - different bars have different curves so there is no standard look.

The easiest way to take some out is to cover the surrounds with a cloth first, remove the top plate, there's a rubber gasket underneath it, remove it carefully as it's a firm fit and might splash as it releases. Use a clean old tee shirt or something to soak up some fluid if you don't have a clean syringe. Take it down to a good level and replace the gasket and lid.

There is a little round mark on the plastic window - it looks a bit like a bubble and confuses some people. It's only a part of the plastic and it can be in any position around the circle.
I have the reduced reach bars on my Chieftain. Do you think that would affect how the fluid reads in the site glass?


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