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Reverse Bleeding Your Brakes

I recall reading that occasionally, no matter how hard you try, getting all of the air out of your brake system can be pretty tough. Apparently, air can get trapped in the pumping system, up top. I also recalled someone applying vacuum to the top end of the brake system. 

I recently installed some stainless brake lines on my FJR. I bled the brakes in the conventional way but wasn't completely satisfied. So, I made this little plate out of 3/16" aluminum and turned the nipple on my lathe. I drilled a hole in the plate and hot melt glued the nipple in place. If you don't have a lathe, you could just as easily use a piece of round tubing and a piece of plywood. I put a bit of rubber sheet across the bottom of the plate to help seal the plate to the reservoir. The truly anal may want to drill two holes in the plate and screw it down to the reservoir. This will certainly free up a hand.


I applied my vacuum pump to the nipple and slowly pumped the brake lever. In very short order, there was absolutely no pressure on the lever. I removed the pump, and then activated the lever a few times until it regained normal pressure. Be sure that the fluid is below the level of the bottom of the tube. You want to vacuum air, not fluid.

On a recent ride, one of the riders walked around and was checking everyone's front brake lever to see how they compared to his. Out of the dozen or so bikes he checked, my front brake was by far the firmest.

Article By: David J. Morrow

 December 2006

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