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Braided Steel Brake Lines

I did a search but didn't find a definitive answer. Do the braided steel lines really add performance or are they just pretty? I can't imagine that the stockers are that bad. I am guessing that there are few people who can really benefit from the upgrade, and I would hope that if they were a big advantage, that they ought to find their way onto the flagship sport bikes in the BMW line i.e. the R11 and R12's. Any thoughts?

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Old 04-10-2007, 04:35 PM
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Actual performance is debatable I suppose, but most people prefer the feel of braided steel. Rubber brake lines expand more than stainless when pressurized so they make the brakes feel spongy. They are much cheaper and work well enough which is why most manufactures install them.
Old 04-10-2007, 04:46 PM
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Re: Braided Steel Brake Lines

Quote:
Originally posted by shreddr
I did a search but didn't find a definitive answer. Do the braided steel lines really add performance or are they just pretty? I can't imagine that the stockers are that bad. I am guessing that there are few people who can really benefit from the upgrade, and I would hope that if they were a big advantage, that they ought to find their way onto the flagship sport bikes in the BMW line i.e. the R11 and R12's. Any thoughts?
Braided lines make a difference when you are pushing the bike and the fluids heat up, Brake fade is greatly diminished by then not expanding under pressure and heat.
And the r1200s comes with them so I guess BMW realizes that on a sport oriented bike they make a difference.
Old 04-10-2007, 05:28 PM
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If you just cruise around on your bike then don't worry about it, but if you ride even semi-aggressively then I consider them an important upgrade.
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:32 AM
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braided lines don't add performance, but maintain it.
during a session of constant heavy braking, the fluids in the stock rubber hoses heats up, the hose expands and the brakes get mushy....at exactly the wrong time.
steel braided lines won't expand, so the pressure and braking response/feel remain closer to constant, resulting in much less fading while you're cooking into corners.

could be worse...david coulthard had to retire from last week's F-1 race because his brake pedal was hitting the steering wheel column. Betcha THAT was scary, eh?
and i'm pretty sure they're already using steel braided lines. rumor has it, those Formula 1 guys have a somewhat reasonable budget to buy cool stuff for their cars.......
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:48 AM
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What brand are you guys using?
Old 04-11-2007, 08:38 AM
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Rubber lines do NOT expand. Rubber lines DO age. They do expand when they have aged, which is after 5 years orso depending on how much the bike has been out. Rubber lines are braided too, only on the inside. When they age, the rubber lets go somewhat of the braiding allow the line to flex and expand.

The biggest difference between rubber lines and braided lines is two fold:
1 - All fresh fluid; old(er) fluid contains water when the oil heats up, the water vaporized giving air bubbles in the lines creating mushy feel
2 - line inner diameter; braided lines often have a smaller ID compared to the standard lines which gives a more direct feel and less lever travel.

If you have good rubber lines, you remove them and clean all the fluid out and put them back with fresh fluid, I garantee they feel exactlty the same as braided lines under any circumstance if the ID is the same.

Hose expantion is one of the biggest myths in automotive, but it sure sells.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:48 AM
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then why, when my rubber lines were BRAND NEW, did they constantly and consistently "mush out" when the bike was ridden under heavy braking, despite an oil change at the 500 mile mark?
and why, when the steel braided lines were installed, did that whole situation totally disappear?
the ID of my steel lines is identical to the rubber lines i removed and tossed.

rubber is rubber. it expands more when the fluid gets hot than steel braided lines.
i have never had rubber lines perform as well as steel braided lines, especially when riding in hot california summer weather.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:04 AM
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Because rubber is not rubber. Rubber brake lines like every hydraulic line is braided, only it is on the inside and you don't see it. Try a saw on one and see what you encounter.

Personally I have had several bikes that had ZERO difference in feel or brake power when I replaced the lines for ss braided lines. And I am hard on my brakes. If I have been riding and playing hard, my discs are typically black, so they sure get hot enough.
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Old 04-11-2007, 12:19 PM
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Like a lot of mods, it is often the context of the mod that makes you think there is a difference. The big difference is bleeding. i think you can go through the motions, but a good bleed is partly luck and re-doing it three times. And a tiny bit of air is softer than any rubber.

Prolly hard to tell the difference even if the wee "braid" in the rubber isn't anything like the strong construction of steel lines. Even if rubber hydraulic lines are common, the kind of rock-hard feel that we want on our fingertips in a brake lever is a whole lot more solid than a hydraulic system ever cares about.

Whether its the bleeding, new fluid, or fantasy, I really like SS lines. Spiegler makes nice thin lines, alignable terminations, and easy to set up a nice two-line-down system with no tee (or a right-to-left caliper cross-over, if you can figure out how to bleed it). Also a good opportunity to chuck the ugly BMW speed bleeders (ordinary BMW bleeders fit fine - 10-1, I think).

Last edited by Ole Bike; 04-11-2007 at 01:27 PM..
Old 04-11-2007, 01:24 PM
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The braiding on SS lines is much tighter with more and finer strands. The rubber lines have a woven braid that is much looser and somewhat dependent on the rubber for strength, hence the added flex.
Old 04-11-2007, 03:54 PM
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These are great topics - I wish the dealer wrench's would chime in on these and give their opinion - doesn't our own BMW Atlanta wrench N8K's bike? Can we get a shout out on this? I was curious about this same issue ~
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Old 04-11-2007, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sideshow_S
The braiding on SS lines is much tighter with more and finer strands. The rubber lines have a woven braid that is much looser and somewhat dependent on the rubber for strength, hence the added flex.
That's why over time (years) and exposure to UV from the sun will age the rubber and the lines go bad and they do flex. However, good rubber lines are just as good and hard as braided ones.

Sidenote: Honda in its service manuals recommends replacing brake hoses after 5 years.
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by throttlemeister
That's why over time (years) and exposure to UV from the sun will age the rubber and the lines go bad and they do flex. However, good rubber lines are just as good and hard as braided ones.

Advice for anybody with a bike under two years old.

Not quite right to say there's no difference between rubber and stainless lines but rubber ages once your bike gets into the sun.

Last edited by Ole Bike; 04-12-2007 at 04:57 AM..
Old 04-12-2007, 04:18 AM
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It was stated that braided lines are harder and better than normal lines. They are not, or at least things aren't as black and white as it was put down. Just because lines age, does not mean my statements aren't any less true. My old 1997 VFR had lines replaced after 7 years and there was no noticeable difference. Not in feel, not in hardness and not under high load or temps.

How about applying your advice to yourself before opening your mouth?

Idiot.
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Old 04-12-2007, 04:29 AM
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everyone can say what they want but if rubber lines where as good as steel then how come race bikes do not have rubber. I have never seen a bike not have a better consistent feel when switched to steel.
Old 04-12-2007, 08:46 AM
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S/S braided brake hoses

I have an ABS '02 "Mamola" BCR, largely stock. Owned by me from new.

I replaced the stock brake hoses last month ["June '07"] as I was sure brake performance was degrading over time.

The S/S braided hoses (Goodridge) have re-instated that "solid" brake feel. I was told by some "experts" that as it was an ABS equipped bike it would make no difference.

They were wrong.

Just my .02 on the subject.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:47 PM
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I wouldn't want to get involved in the harder / not harder thing here but SS lines (there are other types but I've only ever used SS) feel "better" ... but then again, that might be down to the fact that the fluids get replaced at the same time!

My bike's just come back from a big service with the fluids changed and the brakes certainly feel a little more responsive.

ONE THING, though ... some SS lines have ally bolts/fittings fitted and from what I have read, this might be a problem ... something to do with chemical reactions between SS and ally (+ brake fluid). Can anybody comment on this? I have certainly seen pictures of bolts that have become corroded and are almost uselsss.

I note that many new bikes now have SS lines fitted as standard, even BMWs ...

Nick
Old 07-06-2007, 12:12 AM
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You should never use different metals in the same application. Different metals have different electric charges, and they will react when put together, especially when there are liquids involved. For this reason steel bolts in alu will always have the nasty habit of seizing after a period of time. Of course, it cannot always be avoided. You wouldn't want to use alu bolts to tie down the heads and cylinder into the engine block.

But given the choice, you should always use the same material. So if you have anodized alu brake line connectors, use anodized alu banjo bolts, not steel. If you have steel connectors, use steel banjo bolts.
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:20 AM
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funny...I just had the local race car shop build me a braided SS line for a project bike. I looked at the hose before the ends were installed and the lining this type of hose uses ( a world class shop called Art Morrison Enterprises) is NOT just 'rubber', it's more like a firm teflon. they claim it's the best line made for brakes.

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Old 07-06-2007, 01:06 PM
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