Author Topic: Poor front brake performance?  (Read 7419 times)

gitsum

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Poor front brake performance?
« on: March 03, 2012, 12:31:52 PM »
The front disc brake felt very weak, a death grip on the brake handle gave poor braking performance, no where near a lock up, even at parking lot speeds.

I bled the brakes, there was some air and then topped off the brake fluid.  Much better, but the rear brake still slows the scooter down faster than the front except perhaps using the death grip technique.  It was downright dangerous before, I won't even go into the dealer taking 5 days to supposedly "prep" the scooter after it arrived (that's an unbelievable story in itself, including various stripped bolts, screws, and fasteners).

I feel/hear a very rapid slight pulsation when using the front brake.  I took the caliper off and checked the brake pads, they looked fine.  I lightly sanded the pads and the rotor while I was at it, absolutely no leaks from the brake line, calliper or reservoir.  I checked everything thoroughly knowing the same moron put the front wheel on and wanted to make sure he didn't screw anything up.  I see no damaged or faulty parts ???

It works well enough to ride now, but still doesn't feel as effective as the rear brake.  I really do not want to do the warranty thing and let that jackass touch my scooter again.

Perhaps Sym just engineered the front brake to make sure you couldn't lock up the front wheel, hence it requires much more effort than the rear to produce decent braking performance?

« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 11:22:15 PM by gitsum »

motomataya

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 02:32:54 PM »
The braking performance should get a little better after the pads seat in. You may hear some pulsing noise from the holes in the disc but you shouldn't feel any pulsing at the lever. Hope your experience with your great new bike improves.

gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 02:48:04 PM »
The braking performance should get a little better after the pads seat in. You may hear some pulsing noise from the holes in the disc but you shouldn't feel any pulsing at the lever. Hope your experience with your great new bike improves.

Thanks, I think you're right.  I hear the pulsing noise, but don't feel anything in the lever.  Since I'm still breaking the engine in, I am constantly speeding up and then slowing down, giving me a chance to use the front brake often and try to seat the pads.  It's already getting a little better.

Just that pulsing noise sounds like a rattle or buzz at higher speeds, the frequency slows down as wheel speed drops.  If it is noise from the pads going over the holes in the disk, I wonder why the rear doesn't make that noise?   Hopefully as the pads start to seat, the noise will lessen or go away?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 02:52:49 PM by gitsum »

gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 02:14:33 AM »
Here is a brake performance evaluation taken from a review of the Citcom 300i:

The brakes, however, are firmly rear wheel-biased, as they are on almost all scooters; the front 260mm disc has a twin-piston calliper and the rear only a single, but the rear brake is a lot sharper than the front, and will lock quite easily if mishandled.

The front brake, which needs real bite on this scooter more than most, has very little, and it takes a big squeeze to haul the Citycom down. If you're carrying a passenger, using both is a pre-requisite for safe stopping distances.


This is exactly how I find the brakes working on the HD200.  Upon closer examination I found both the front and rear brake rotors to be approximately 9 inches in diameter.  However, the front has a single-piston calliper while the rear has a twin-piston calliper with the actual calliper as well as the brake pads both being larger than the front.  So obviously the front brake is never going to be as effective as the rear.  I'm used to grabbing the front brake of the Sym Wolf with one finger for all the stopping power you need.

I guess I'll get used to it, but I might try lowering the brake fluid level a wee bit in the rear reservoir so that it requires more pressure to operate.  I might also try and find some better brake pads for the front.  Hopefully these two tweaks will change the brake balance to be less biased towards the rear.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 09:06:59 AM by gitsum »

ootscoot

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2012, 09:48:21 AM »
yea, the front brake pads on the 200 do make a buzz...they do get better, but I did replace mine @7000 mi with pads from Perfect Brakes - shoulda done that  sooner as they work much better. The Wolf has such a large rotor - same calipers as the 300i, and they are much grabier than the 200.
The 300i has smaller calipers, pads and rotors than the 200 and needs to stop more weight...I replaced mine right away with Prima pads and they work better/longer.
5 days to PDI??? it takes us two hours...front wheel is already on...after our first 50 HD 200's we found that the torque values were always good, some times some air in the front brake master, change the oil, gear oil, air up the tires, set up the battery and good to go...
Ooty's Scooters - Santa Barbara, CA.
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gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 10:29:55 AM »
Man, I wish you were located near me.  I'm gonna start a thread under "general discussion" about my last experiences with the dealer/mechanic when I purchased the HD200.
I will try to state the facts with a little bit of supposition, no attitude or complaining.  I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record in regards to that topic, I'd like to see what other people think.

Are these the brake pads that work much better?

http://www.perfectbrakes.com/products.asp?cat=7762

gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 11:00:37 PM »
I completely flushed the front brake and found something.   The rubber boot attached to the brake reservoir lid was pushed out of shape and protruding down into the brake fluid.

This displaced some of the fluid while still showing full in the little window, but the system fluid level was not all the way full.  Pushed the boot back into shape and topped of the brake fluid and went for a test ride.  The front brake now has some decent stopping power ;D   I lowered the rear brake fluid level to half way down the little window and the balance feels much more natural now.  You can still lock up the rear, but it requires a little bit of effort now.  

It works good the way it is now, but it doesn't quite have the front braking performance of the Wolf.  I'm going to try some upgraded front pads as Ootscoot suggested and leave the rear pads stock, and I think it will be even better.

When I first got the scooter home from the dealer, my wife said she noticed some clear oily fluid on the right hand grip.  I'm beginning to suspect it was actually brake fluid.
If this is true, then that means whoever originally put the reservoir lid on with the rubber boot protruding squished fluid out but failed to notice, because the window would still show full.  They must have wiped off the excess brake fluid the overflowed from the reservoir though, I didn't see anything wet there.

I can't say it was the dealer for sure.  But I know if I had to wipe a bunch of brake fluid off of some components, I would definitely need to do a road check on the integrity of the brakes.  Because the front was more or less useless on the ride home from the dealer, it really makes me wonder...

« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 11:04:14 PM by gitsum »

ootscoot

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2012, 09:32:30 AM »
Yep, those are the pads, they don't have the rear ones yet. The front brake in perfect order still is not as grippy as the Wolf. We have never seen any leaking brake fluid on first inspection, but the front reservior sometimes is a bit low. Highly recommend any brake fluid on panels and plastic be washed off immediately with water.
Ooty's Scooters - Santa Barbara, CA.
SYM Dealer, SYM rider, SYM owner - got them all!

gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 01:49:18 PM »
Thanks ootscoot, gonna order the brake pads right now.   I thoroughly clean any brake fluid mess immediately with mild soap and water, it can damage the paint if left on there for more than a short period of time.

InAFog

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 06:21:48 PM »
Amazing that I see this post just as I was about to start one. The front brake on the SYM HD200 is a joke! Believe it or not the dual-pot front brake on my Chinese CF-Moto ECharm 150 performs MUCH better. I'm going to ask Ooty if he can get a rear 2-pot caliper and how much he needs for it. I've got enough buds that we can fabricate a mount for the rear caliper and try that. I am surprised SYM would put such garbage brakes on their export model. Makes me wonder what they think of their "western" scooter riders.

gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 07:54:24 PM »
Try bleeding the front brake just in case there is any air.  That made a big difference for me.  Fixing the rubber boot so that the brake fluid level was topped off also helped.  Now the front brake feels "normal", though I certainly wouldn't describe it as powerful.

InAFog

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 02:20:06 AM »
I bled the brake, the fluid is correct. SYM brakes are just bad, almost every review says the same thing. I've got an '06 Genuine Blur 150 that has disc's front and rear, dual-pot, and that thing stops as hard as any bike I've ever owned (lots). Ooty, if you're following this post can you get a late model rear caliper...and how much?

gitsum

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 09:29:34 AM »
Not all Syms.  The Wolf will lock the front tire with two fingers if you're not respectful of it.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 11:51:17 AM by gitsum »

InAFog

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 11:47:02 AM »
Hmmm...so they can make decent brakes, too bad they don't put that brake on their scoots.

ootscoot

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Re: Poor front brake performance?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 11:52:53 AM »
The SYM Wolf, the Fiddle ll, the Cali Classic, and the Citycom 300i all use the same front caliper (and on the rear of the Citycom as well) - they all have different stopping characteristics - most likely due to different rotors and masters. The Wolf is the grabbiest, followed by the Citycom, Fiddle ll and then the Cali.
The HD 200 uses a different, single piston front caliper - it's good, but not good enough for the weight of the bike. When used with the EBC kevlar/organic pads, they work better. I am used to the stopping capacity of my HD200, and compare it to my Citycom...when riding the Wolf, I have to re-adjust the squeeze factor.  the Symba with it's drums take a lotta getting used to...
The rear pads for the HD200 should be available from Alliance - I haven't needed to order any yet
Ooty's Scooters - Santa Barbara, CA.
SYM Dealer, SYM rider, SYM owner - got them all!