Author Topic: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???  (Read 1636 times)

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Offline ghostrider990

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Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« on: February 18, 2018, 08:01:33 pm »
As spring approacheth, I noticed that the last bottle of brake fluid I bought was BelRay Super DOT4.  It's literally old enought that I am going to simply toss it.  Does it not make sense that any bottle of this stuff will simply absorb water as it sits on the shelf (unsealed)??
I have two bikes, and they BOTh need clutch and brake fluids swapped, so I'll need some quantity of whatever I buy.

I somehow, just can't bring myself to go to an autoparts store and just buy any old non-brand variant of DOT4, and dump that into my precious bike.  I know, i know....if the value of paying more is "perceived" than it's worth it to the person buying....
I'm starting to favor the addage of oil skimpers, and simply "change it more often" rather than pay for perceived higher quality.  However, my interest in motorcycle maintenance has waned over the years, and I'm not as diligent about all this stuff as I once was.

However - I'd like to hear from the community (of the cheapest bastards i know) whether buying a "high-performance / motorcycle specific" brand of brake fluid is TRULY worth it????
Relevant / scientific data would be AS appreciated as the flurry of personal comments that i'm sure i'll receive!  :) :great:

Let's have it.

gr
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Offline gpd323

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2018, 08:29:46 pm »
I use off the shelf Prestone DOT 4 or 5. I try to stay with a brand name BTW. Just bled the rear brakes and clutch again using DOT 4. As long as you keep it fresh you will never know the difference between all the brands and DOT versions. Although DOT 3 does not stand up to the heat as much as a 4 will. But unless your on a track, I doubt you would even come close to overcooking the brakes with a DOT 3 fluid.

Now in the early days I ran ATE fluid, it came in 2 different colors so you knew when the old was flushed and the new was in there.

YMMV   :beerchug:
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Offline lather

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 09:53:12 pm »
I recently went to Autozone for DOT 4 to flush my rear brake fluid. The Prestone they had was only DOT 3 I bought a quart of DOT 4 in a metal bottle, made in Germany by Pentosin.

Offline Guest

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 10:25:00 pm »
I use off the shelf Prestone DOT 4 or 5.

You should NOT use DOT 5 in the Concours.  DOT 5.1 should be okay, but never just DOT 5.

Manual specs DOT 4, and that's what I run.

Offline JDSCO

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 12:29:28 am »
As long as you keep it fresh you will never know the difference between all the brands and DOT versions.

That's it!
Brake & clutch fluid, hygroscopic fluids are best changed before any long-term storage
I don't find Bel-Ray Super to be that expensive, anyway
I have a couple of bikes and I need hi-temp for my KTM on single-track so I buy Motul
These two cost $24 and will last one year
The trick for me is not to buy too much and have leftover fluid
I never buy bike fluids from 7-Eleven!
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 01:00:02 am by JDSCO »
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Offline TimR

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2018, 01:15:25 am »
As long as you keep it fresh you will never know the difference between all the brands and DOT versions.

That's it!
Brake & clutch fluid, hygroscopic fluids are best changed before any long-term storage
I don't find Bel-Ray Super to be that expensive, anyway
I have a couple of bikes and I need hi-temp for my KTM on single-track so I buy Motul
These two cost $24 and will last one year
The trick for me is not to buy too much and have leftover fluid
I never buy bike fluids from 7-Eleven!


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
This

Since I have a 09 I change brake fluids at the start of each riding season. I hate having a bunch of opened cans/bottles of left over brake fluid.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 01:19:01 am by TimR »
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Offline oldnslo_MO

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 01:48:23 pm »
I use off the shelf Prestone DOT 4 or 5.

You should NOT use DOT 5 in the Concours.  DOT 5.1 should be okay, but never just DOT 5.

Manual specs DOT 4, and that's what I run.
dot 4 and dot 5 are not compatible. dot 5 is silicon based and will trash a dot 4 system.dot 5.1 has a higher boiling point than dot 4, but on a normal street bike don't think it's worth the expense. i use prestone dot 4 and change it every 2 years, never had any issues. :) :)
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Offline gpd323

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 02:44:41 pm »
I 'll stay with DOT 4 as always.
Greg Downing
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Ride while you can.

Offline smokin

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 11:54:53 pm »
Motul 5.1 brake fluid,made for ABS systems,nitrogen filled bottles to increase life whilst on the shelf.
DOT 5.1 BRAKE FLUID
APPLICATIONBRAKE FLUIDS
QUALITY100% SYNTHETIC
PRODUCT RANGECAR, MOTORCYCLE
OEM APPROVALSFMVSS 116 DOT 5.1 NON SILICONE BASE, DOT 4 ET DOT 3 ; SAE J 1703 ; ISO 4925 (5.1, 4 ET 3)
PACKAGING0,500L CAN, 1L CAN, 5L CAN
ARTICLE NUMBER100950
SAFETY DATA SHEET TECHNICAL DATA SHEET
100% synthetic brake fluid on polyglycol basis for all types of hydraulic actuated brake and clutch systems in accordance with DOT 5.1, DOT 4 and DOT 3 manufacturers’ recommendations. Specially designed for anti-locking brake system (ABS). Dry boiling point 270 °C / 518 °F. Wet boiling point 185 °C / 365 °F. Standards: FMVSS 116 DOT 5.1 NON SILICONE BASE & DOT 4 & DOT 3; SAE J 1703.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 11:58:23 pm by smokin »

Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2018, 12:17:09 pm »
Anybody know what the deal with DOT 3/4 Synthetic Fluid is??

Says this stuff is compatible for both variants, and "designed" for ABS systems?

I tend to favor synthetic lubricants, but unfamiliar with man-made variants of Brake Fluid.

Anybody care to clarify??

gr
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2018, 12:40:43 pm »
Anybody know what the deal with DOT 3/4 Synthetic Fluid is??

Says this stuff is compatible for both variants, and "designed" for ABS systems?

I tend to favor synthetic lubricants, but unfamiliar with man-made variants of Brake Fluid.

Anybody care to clarify??

gr

The DOT4 spec is a SUPERSET of the DOT3 spec.  So, by definition, any fluid that meets DOT4 will therefore also meet (or exceed) all DOT3 requirements.

The biggest difference is in boiling point with the DOT4 being higher than DOT3.  So if you mix them, you'll end up with a boiling point somewhere between the two specs.  That's why you can always use DOT4 in a DOT3 system but should never use DOT3 in a DOT4 system.

If you see DOT3/4 on the label, the fluid is DOT4.
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Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2018, 01:26:11 pm »
Good stuff!  :great:

I surmised as much, but didn't want to presume.

Now, whats the difference between"synthetic" and Non-synthetic Fluids.....or is it ALL the same???

..."I like to keep this handy -- for Close Encounters"...

Offline JimBob

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2018, 01:49:52 pm »
Doesn’t matter what brand or how much it cost - if it’s in a plastic bottle it potentially ALREADY has water in it (depending on how long in the bottle/climate exposed to). Plastic isn’t very good at keeping water out, from what I’ve read, even if it’s still sealed.


IIRC, isn’t DOT 4 silicone, so can NEVER be used in a DOT 3 system?

Offline Guest

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2018, 01:52:22 pm »
IIRC, isn’t DOT 4 silicone, so can NEVER be used in a DOT 3 system?
No, that's DOT 5.  DOT 5 is silicone and should not be used in conventional brake systems.

DOT 4 is backwards compatible with DOT 3...  Just with better specs.

Offline jwh20

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2018, 01:52:33 pm »
IIRC, isn’t DOT 4 silicone, so can NEVER be used in a DOT 3 system?

No, DOT5 is silicone and is NOT compatible with any Kawasaki system.  DOT5.1, however, is OK.  Confusing as all heck isn't it?

Compatible fluids are:

DOT3 -> DOT4 -> DOT5.1  (with these you can use a higher number in a system that calls for a lower number)

INCOMPATIBLE fluid is: DOT5
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Offline Guest

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2018, 01:53:21 pm »
Now, whats the difference between"synthetic" and Non-synthetic Fluids.....or is it ALL the same???

AFAIK, it's all the same.  All brake fluid is some form of polyethylene glycol.  I believe the "synthetic" labels are marketing.

Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2018, 02:12:29 pm »
Now, whats the difference between"synthetic" and Non-synthetic Fluids.....or is it ALL the same???

AFAIK, it's all the same.  All brake fluid is some form of polyethylene glycol.  I believe the "synthetic" labels are marketing.

I just did some non-scientific research on the BITOG Forums, and that seems to be the concensus.
Also, seems to be a concensus that most all Grades of Brake Fluid are created equal, until you get into the higher boiling points of
5.1 fluids, vs. DOT 4 / 3.

Looks like I'm on board with the "flush it more often with cheaper fluids" camp. 

The frugalness of this group is rubbing off on me!!!  >:(

gr
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 03:16:40 pm »
I like to flush mine every time I change the oil.  It takes only a couple $$ worth of fluid and it cheap insurance against ABS issues that have been shown to happen due to crud build-up in the lines.  Flush the fluid while you're waiting for the engine oil to drain out.  Do the final drive fluid at the same time also.
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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2018, 03:24:35 pm »
I like to flush mine every time I change the oil.  It takes only a couple $$ worth of fluid and it cheap insurance against ABS issues that have been shown to happen due to crud build-up in the lines.  Flush the fluid while you're waiting for the engine oil to drain out.  Do the final drive fluid at the same time also.
as usual, JWH20 is on the ball... agree with him on this, super cheap insurance.
Best,

JD

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Offline ghostrider990

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2018, 04:51:10 pm »
Youre right. 
I already do the final drive with every OCI, it really shouldn't be that much harder to flush the brakes and clutch.

Admittedly, I have a Phoenix V12 bleeder system as well.

I have no excuses.  :truce:

gr
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Offline Just Cliff

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2018, 12:13:09 pm »
I like to flush mine every time I change the oil.  It takes only a couple $$ worth of fluid and it cheap insurance against ABS issues that have been shown to happen due to crud build-up in the lines.  Flush the fluid while you're waiting for the engine oil to drain out.  Do the final drive fluid at the same time also.
as usual, JWH20 is on the ball... agree with him on this, super cheap insurance.

I would be bleeding brakes on average of every 3 months based on 5,000 mile oil change. That's a little to much for me.

Cliff   :beerchug:
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Offline jwh20

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2018, 04:53:08 pm »
I like to flush mine every time I change the oil.  It takes only a couple $$ worth of fluid and it cheap insurance against ABS issues that have been shown to happen due to crud build-up in the lines.  Flush the fluid while you're waiting for the engine oil to drain out.  Do the final drive fluid at the same time also.
as usual, JWH20 is on the ball... agree with him on this, super cheap insurance.

I would be bleeding brakes on average of every 3 months based on 5,000 mile oil change. That's a little to much for me.

Cliff   :beerchug:

My question to you would be, "How many months or miles does it take for the brake fluid to start collecting crud, absorbing water, or breaking down?"
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Offline Jerdurr

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2018, 05:13:08 pm »
I would assume your question would depend on riding style JWH20... It would seem from a brake fluid perspective that it is not the same to ride it as if you were in the track, than to ride it like a grandpa (cough cough -Ted - cough cough  :)) ), would depend on how much and how someone is on the brakes, thus elevating the temperature of the fluid, or not, etc etc.

Maybe I'm totally wrong here, but that is just my humble opinion.

PS: U know i'm just pulling your leg Ted!  :beerchug:
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 07:24:55 pm by Jerdurr, Reason: addressed to wrong name »
Best,

JD

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Offline seagiant1

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2018, 06:26:09 pm »
Hi,
      NO! ;D
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Offline RWulf

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Re: Brake Fluid: Motorcycle Specific Brand Worth It???
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2018, 03:59:27 pm »
I have seen dirt bikes that are regularly run Thur water.
I have seen road bikes that have many miles and years and never changed.
Then I have also seen some bikes a few years old and the fluid is changing color.
What seem to be most important is the quality of the seals and how clean
the forks are keep.