Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Newest Update to Petunia

Well, the rebuild went according to plan and she runs like the Hog she was meant to be. She was scary fast. Now scary fast would be subjective because throttle control was all that should be required. So, if I was light on the right hand how could Petunia be scary fast? Because once she began to run she almost refused to slow back down. Putting on new brake pads and bleeding the system didn't gain much. So, it appeared that an update to Brembo 4 piston brakes was in order.

There are plenty of people who are buying brand new motorcycles and replacing perfectly good components because they are black instead of chrome. The secret is to hunt Craig's List and E-bay, while waiting patiently for the right combination to show up.  

First I got a smoking deal on a set of new rotors from Craig's List. Went to pick them up and found the guy was a friend of a friend and left with an additional $50 discount. After about six weeks I secured a set of Brembo Calipers off an '08 Street Glide with the pads from the chrome replacement calipers. Something about the pads he had were better than factory pads. 

Today was the day to tackle the change over.

Going to all this effort I may as well change the wheel bearings also. Now, Petunia is a 2003 and there are some who believe that parts from 2005 up won't work on her, but that just isn't the case. Besides my old rotors being just about past tense at 84,000 miles the Brembos require a 1/4" larger rotor. Everything was a perfect match and fit with no issues at all.

My only worry was Petunia used DOT 5 brake fluid and the Brembo Calipers use DOT 4. These two fluids are not interchangeable and mixing them, it is said, will cause a jelly like substance to form in the caliper, lines, and reservoir. I used an air pump to drain all the old fluid and filled the reservoir with brake cleaner and sucked that through the system. Next, I blew air through the lines until I felt there was nothing left in the lines. Bolted it all together, filled her up with DOT 4, and vacuumed her down until there was no air bubbles on either caliper.  Finally, I vacuumed each caliper down again until I exchanged the fluid from two full reservoirs each. Hopefully this will prevent any chance of making brake jelly.   

The completed new look of Petunia with Brembo brakes. Put everything away and took her for a spin. Damn, these bad boys have some kind of stopping power!!! For the first few lever pulls it felt like nothing was happening, but with every stop they felt better and better. I'm guessing seating the pads into the new rotors will take a few stops, but the first reaction is there is a HUGE difference between these Brembos and the stock 03 brakes. 

I'm not in any hurry to test them under duress, but I feel confident this was the smartest update/accessory that I have added to Petunia.




  1. Awesome! Love my brembos. While tramp is down i need to find replacement discs. Mine have fallen below minimum tolerances. ..pfffft. I'm gonna' start the search for a stock seat here also. Shouldn't be too hard. .. that is usually the first stock part to go. I love the FLHX stock seat. So does my ass. I didn't know about the DOT 4vs5. Good to know. Glad I bled my system with the 4...whew.

  2. Dave what year is your scoot? I may have access to a seat really cheap. Like $0 cheap.

  3. sigh..i'd love to have dual front brembo's! azhd, you make it look easy my friend. bravo!!!

  4. Now you are race ready. Bike can go like stink, but you can stop quick when you need too.

    Good score finding the parts on CL and eBay, it is the way to go.

  5. Paul:

    Glad you solved the problem. Can't go fast if you can't stop.

    Thanks for the info on DOT5 vs DOT4, learned something new

    Riding the Wet Coast

  6. Nice upgrade! You may want to put some sort of note so some helpful mechanic down the road won't use DOT 5 fluid to top off the front reservoir.

    Does it feel more like retirement now that school has started again?

  7. Good upgrade! The single disk on my Dyna is a weak point, but swapping to duals is no simple Craig's list fix unfortunately.

  8. I disagree; the smartest upgrade was the engine. Brakes are just a continuation of the afore mentioned upgrade. Brembos are Bitchin on a Bagger. I put a set, fore & aft, from a 2010 on my ’02 FLHTCUI. Love them damn brakes! The $0 cost was a big selling point also. Did you do the master? I wanted fresh seals for the change from 5 to 4. Which if mixed will form little crapatoids in your brake system. I’ve seen it with my very own somewhat dilated pupils. The first symptom that such maleficence has occurred to the brake system is the brake light sticking on. Has to do with hydraulic proprieties, fluid viscosities and such nonsense that one should not concern one’s self with. Unless you want a bike that goes like hell and stops like your life depends on it. Sounds like you’ve about got that accomplished. There’s no better therapy in the world than wrenching on your own bike. Bet you’re glad now that those thoughts of a “new” bike didn’t last very long. BTY – VD’s is a ’08 FLHX.

  9. Ms M; it was easy.

    Trobairitz; I have a couple of folks tell be a bagger isn't a sport bike, but she likes to drag the floorboards.

    Bob; for 3 months she did go fast without stopping quickly. I'm a lot happier now though.

    Richard; retirement gets better every day!! Good idea on the label.

    Canajun; sad that all bikes don't come with dual brakes.

    Willy D; I didn't rebuild the master. Maybe I'll stop in and get a kit for it and do it just because. Is the rear a straight across change out? I may as well look into that as well. Happy I didn't buy a new one in June, but I have looked at the 2014 water cooled ones already.