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If you had damaged the seals you would be leaking hydraulic fluid somewhere. Make sure everything is clean and dry. You have re-blead the brakes and there was no air in the system. So you probably don't have air in the system. Something else is wrong. Even if you did have a little air still in there, I don't think it would change the distance of travel on the handle. It would just make the brake feel spongy. You said earlier in the thread that you changed the brake calipers and the hoses. Are the brake calipers identical to the old ones? Are the braided hoses the same diameter as the old ones? It sounds to me like you have less hydraulic pressure than you had before, but you don't have a leak or the pressure wouldn't hold and you said the handle isn't going right down to the handle bar.
 

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Even if you did have a little air still in there, I don't think it would change the distance of travel on the handle. It would just make the brake feel spongy.
That’s where the spongy feel comes from. The lever moving a bit more than normal without the corresponding amount of ‘bite’. This is usually measured in Millimeters, though. Not as extreme as his seems to be.
 

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I believe you said you filled with a pump? I have only filled new parts (lines, mc, calipers etc.) with a syringe, reverse method, pushing fluid in slowly from the calipers up to the mc reservoir. This has always worked for me.
I also have never messed with speedbleeders besides removing them and replacing with standard ones.
Dumb question here, but you don't have a habit of shaking your brake fluid before you pour it in, do you? ;)
 

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I also feel my SV has too much lever travel and have wondered if I have a deviant pocket of air trapped in there. I've got the four pot calipers which do have better stopping power than the two's but the amount of lever travel still bugs me and I'm sure it wasnt that bad when the bike was new (before I fitted the dual braided lines for racing). It's especially noticeable after riding the Aprilia with Brembos. I fill the system from the bottom bleeder upwards using the syringe method and I also have the double size banjo bolt with bleeder. So I'm following this thread with interest!
 

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Talking about the long travel of the front brake lever on the SV, I too had this since the beginning (even with braided lines, 4 pot calipers and right after bleeding the brake) and didn't quite like it.
Besides that, somewhere around the 35K Km mark, the lever started to have a disappointing behaviour: upon picking up the bike after it had sat for some hours, the first stroke of the lever had it travelling all the way back to the grip with a feeble braking action. After that first stroke the brake was back to normal (but rather long travel) business, to the point I had developed the habit of pulling the brake lever a couple of times before starting the engine.
I carefully inspected the master cyclinder, the braided lines and the calipers, but no leaking was discovered.
Had the brake bled a couple of times over a month, but the annoying behaviour still kept coming up.
At that point, with the only option to service and rebuild the master cylinder, I had enough of that Nissin MC and went for a Brembo RCS 19 master cylinder. Never regretted the move.
 
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Yes, the RCS 19 is a radial MC (as opposed to the OEM axial Nissin), but the difference in performance is HUGE.
Lever travel is now about half it used to be, braking is definitely more powerful and it's much more ... dosable? Is this a word?
Honestly, the difference between the OEM MC and the Brembo MCS 19 is like night and day.

I use it set with 18mm offset, which is optimal for street use. If you set the offset to 20mm it's more race oriented: lever pull gets noticeably shorter and stiffer.
 

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it's much more ... dosable? Is this a word?
All I could think after doing the Brembo upgrade was "progressive". I think dosable is closer to the point though ;)

This isn't even the big Brembo you guys are talking about, just the little R6/R1 Brembo Yamaha was using back a few years. I would like to check out a new RCS 19.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Thank you for all of your tips and advice guys. I'm back from vacation, tanned and relaxed (the Florida Panhandle is beautiful this time of year).

Recall, I've narrowed the issue down to the right side because, when hooked up individually, the left side has the prefect lever travel, while the right lever travel is excessive. I've always been a two-finger front braker. But, with the left side hooked up (and when I have both of them hooked up), the lever squishes my two fingers holding the throttle.

His problem will probably be poor technique.
Could be. But I've tried a few different techniques/methods with the same results.

You said earlier in the thread that you changed the brake calipers and the hoses. Are the brake calipers identical to the old ones? Are the braided hoses the same diameter as the old ones?
I rebuilt both calipers with new seals and hardware. The calipers were not changed. I don't know the diameter of the new steel lines. They are Galfers.

I believe you said you filled with a pump?
I filled the system by pumping. The old fashioned way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
This weekend I will rebuilt the right caliper again to see if I buggered a seal during the last go-round. Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
you said the handle isn't going right down to the handle bar
When I hooked up the right side, individually, using a single MC banjo, the lever went almost to the throttle. Swapping it out to the left, travel and feel were perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Dumb question here, but you don't have a habit of shaking your brake fluid before you pour it in, do you?
Not a dumb question at all Drew. But, no. I read somewhere that shaking the bottle can aerate the fluid, so it's a big no no.
 
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I can’t remember, but when you test the calipers individually, what are you doing with the hose that interconnects them? I think you’d mentioned it before, but I just really noticed it on my bike when washing it the other day. My Shadow just has a single line that T’s off to both calipers…
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
I can’t remember, but when you test the calipers individually, what are you doing with the hose that interconnects them? I think you’d mentioned it before, but I just really noticed it on my bike when washing it the other day. My Shadow just has a single line that T’s off to both calipers…
I have two separate lines, one going to each caliper, and joined at the master cylinder by a double banjo. Upon Tee's suggestion, I used a single banjo at the MC for testing them individually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Okay, I'm reaching the end of my rope. Here's what I did this weekend, and I still have the same problem of too much front brake lever travel.

My setup is stock, rebuilt front calipers. Stock, rebuilt master cylinder. New EBC brake pads. New Galfer steel brake lines, two independent hoses with no crossover, using a double banjo at the master cylinder. My problem began after I replaced/rebuilt this stuff. I threw the stock brake lines away, so I can't use it to test.

Here's what I did this weekend:
  1. I rebuilt the right front caliper again with new seals and hardware. Filled it with fluid, bled it with traditional pump and open method, no change.
  2. Thought I may be going crazy, so I again removed the double banjo at the master and installed the lines individually to see if maybe I was imagining the difference from left to right. Once again, solid lever with perfect travel on the left, too much lever travel on the right.
  3. Thinking it may be a stubborn bubble in the right brake line, I picked up a cow syringe and reverse-bleed. Put it back together, no change.
  4. Replaced the speed bleeders with standard bleeders, no change.
  5. Thoroughly pissed, I decide to rebuild an extra caliper I bought from Mad8v for the pistons. Luckily, I had an extra rebuild kit. This makes the third time rebuilding the right caliper. Zipped it back together. Same problem.

My thoughts: the only thing left is possibly a faulty right brake hose. It's a brand new Galfer steel-braided hose, but it represents the only thing in the brake system I have not changed since the problem began. Some have suggested a bad master cylinder, but if that was the case, would it not affect the left and right brakes equally? Could it be the double banjo is faulty?

Once again, I appreciate your input, and am hoping for some more ideas.
-Geo
 
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No I dont have any ideas for you but the left vs right thing is interesting. After a race wkd of too much lever travel I was going to try the 'raise the calipers above the master cylinder when you bleed them' trick. Have you tried that one yet? Ive seen guys doing it at the track. I'm sure Ive got some air trapped in my system somewhere too. I share your pain!
 
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