By Brian Curry <bmwbrian@voicenet.com>

I hated bleeding brakes. Brake fluid will strip paint very well. And the brake fluid always seemed to go everywhere. I had bled brakes using the pump open and close and repeat (manual), vacuum sucked, pressure pushed, "one man brake bleeder" method, just about every method I knew of. All of them were a PITA. And I got brake fluid lots of places that were no good. :(:(

But, I found a great way to do it: Speedbleeders

Speedbleeders are replacement brake bleeding nipples with check valves built in. You connect a hose and route it to a waste container, open the Speedbleeders, and pump the brakes. Every time you pump the brakes, fluid comes out the Speedbleeder, and as soon as you stop pumping, the check valve closes, preventing air re-entry. The Speedbleeder, has some type of spooge on the threads to keep air from entering along the threads.

I tried them on my K75RTA which has ABS. THEY WORKED GREAT!! I removed the stock nipple from the ABS modulators and installed the Speedbleeder. I put a hose on it and routed it to an empty pickle jar. Then I emptied most of the reservoir, cleaned it, refilled it with new fluid, and pumped until the fluid in the hose indicated it was fresh. Then I removed the stock nipples from the calipers, installed the Speedbleeders, moved the hose and pickle jar, pushed the pistons fully back (Fluid came out of the Speed bleeder while doing this.) and then pumped until I definitely had fresh fluid flowing.

It went amazingly fast. It went amazingly easy. I was one happy camper. BLEEDING BRAKES HAD NEVER BEEN THIS EASY. Plus, it felt like the front brake lever was more solid.

What didn't I like? One, I have heard reports that the thread sealing spooge goes away after a bit, or several uses. Thinking as I went, on the front wheel Speedbleeder threads, I put some Dow Corning Silicone Vacuum grease (Thick stuff). I don't think it will interact with the brake fluid, it is outside the normal brake fluid circuit, and I don't think it will be pushed out of the Speedbleeder threads. Being a silicone grease, I don't think it will interact with either the brake fluid, or the brake component rubber parts. I will put it on the rear Speedbleeders if the problem does occur for me. (I just found that either the spooge, or the idea of applying it to the threads has been patented.) Two, while the Speedbleeder nipple threads are the proper metric size for the modulators and calipers, the nut flats dimensions are not metric. They are close to 10mm, but actually 3/8", A 10mm wrench might work, and it might bugger the flats... I used a 3/8" wrench. IMO, metric Speedbleeders, should be ALL METRIC and not half metric, and half SAE. Three, if the check valve corrodes it will not work well. Hopefully, the spring and ball are both stainless steel, and will not corrode. Also, it is a good reason to use the little nipple cover so road and brake spooge will not get into the nipple innards and corrode or plug them up.

An observation, they are not "sized" for the Brembo calipers, and FAG modulators. They are longer/taller. So they will not look totally factory.

After completing the job, I washed the bike down to get any misplaced brake fluid that might have gotten in a not-good place off, and hopefully wash the brake fluid out of the Speedbleeder outer ends. I waited a day before putting the factory sealing caps back on. (I can visualize a potential for the check valves getting munged up.)

Some observations on the factory bleeders. The modulator bleed nipples, used O-rings to provide an outer thread seal. Also, they appeared to be made of aluminum, and were galling a bit where they sealed to the modulator bleed port seat. The Speedbleeders look like they are steel, and hopefully will not gall, nor hurt the seats.

You can find some more info out on Speedbleeders at http://www.speedbleeder.com

I got mine from Frank Cooper (Mr. Twin Max) of Adventure Motorcycle Gear, Voice or FAX at 703-913-7261.

I recommend them highly.

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Last Update: Sunday, August 16, 1998