Brake Lines

Suzuki recommends that the OEM brake lines be replaced every four years. This maintenance can be avoided by replacing the stock lines with braided stainless steel lines. These brake lines also offer substantial improvements in braking power. They can be found in a number of online retailers and typically cost around $50 for each line (one front and one rear). Some users choose not to install rear lines since the rear brake provides so little of the braking power of the bike. They also come in a variety of colors which can be matched or contrasted with the color of the bike.

Brake Line Length, Orientation and Fittings

Custom brake line kits can be purchased pre-made from a several vendors, but if you're looking to save a few bucks, or know a place that can make custom brake lines, below are some specs to get you started. Your best bet is to measure with a string (or even better, some stiffer hose to emulate the brake line). Remember to add length if you plan to add risers. You can always coil extra line away, but you can't make it longer!

This information was gleaned from these links: http://gstwins.com/gsboard/index.php?topic=58970.0, http://gstwins.com/gsboard/index.php?topic=65286.0

Front Brake Line

Length: 27.5-29.5"

The length varies based on year, particularly, the 1989 models had clip-ons that used a shorter line, then the 2004+ models routed the line differently.

Fitting: Master Cylinder Side: 0-45*, Caliper Side: 20*

Parts fiche shows that the MC is straight and that the caliper side has a slight angle, but my 2001 model had a slight angle on both ends. I purchased my lines from eBay from user coastguard1975 with the 15* banjo on both ends.

Hose Twist: 90*

After ordering from eBay, the vendor clarified which way I wanted the fittings to face. I was sent an image and it corresponded to the 270* twist.

Photo Credit: coastguard1975 on ebay F1-04-04-270.jpg

Rear Brake Line

Length: 20" or 29"

For some reason, some kits use a 20" line instead of the longer line shown on the parts fiche. The parts fiche slows the brake line pointing forward on the master cylinder, looping around then going back to the caliper. This might possibly for additional flexibility when adjusting the chain. Both lengths should work, but logic has me believing that the additional loop may hold an air bubble, making bleeding slightly more difficult.

Fitting: Master Cylinder Side: 0-20*, Caliper Side: Straight

I think that a straight fitting on both ends would work too, as confirmed by adidasguy.

Hose Twist: 0*

Photo credit: adidasguy, RIP

Some good places to start looking-

http://www.oldbikebarn.com/motorcycle_parts.php?bike=GS500&subcategory=Brake+Lines+-+Front&DisplayPerPage=10&Start=0 http://www.oldbikebarn.com/motorcycle_parts.php?bike=GS500&subcategory=Brake+Lines+-+Rear&DisplayPerPage=10&Start=0

Stainless Steel Brake Line Install for 2004+ GS500

Upgrading the stock brake lines to stainless steel lines will improve your braking performance. Afterall, what good is making your bike go faster if it does not stop you any better? Quite foolish, actually. Also, unlike stock lines, stainless steel lines do not need to be replaced every 4 years . In fact, these lines (and I am sure the stainless steel lines from other manufactuers) have a lifetime guarantee on them. Since you can get them colored, they can even add some style to your bike.

Materials I Used:

(1 set) Front and rear stainless steel brake lines purchased from Hel Performance USA for $98.00 complete with all hardware and shipping. I got them very quickly too. I chose blue lines, but others colors are also available:

Yes, you can find them cheaper elsewhere and by different companies, like Russell. I went with HEL because..well, thats the kind of guy I am.

(1) un-opened bottle of DOT 4 compliant brake fluid. I chose the Valvoline synthetic.

Wrenches in 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, and 14mm. 12mm and 14mm sockets would also be handy.

(1) Brake bleeder kit or some way to bleed the brakes. The "one man brake bleeder kit" can be purchased at a parts store, like Advanced Auto, for about $6. It provides you with the hose, the bottle, and everything else you need to bleed the brakes except for the fluid and the wrench! If you don't get the kit, you will still need a hose of proper size and a bottle to put the fluid in. In regards to hassle vs. cost, you might as well get the kit.

(1) turkey baster (optional) and an old soda bottle (optional)

(1) Phillips head screwdriver

Rags

Pitcher of water (optional, but required if you are you messy! Quickly dilute and wipe off spills)

To Do...

Get all of your tools together mentioned above. Put your bike up on the centerstand, or on your motorcycle stand if you don't have your centerstand anymore (aftermarket exhaust hackers). You want the bike level for brake fluid reasons. The first thing I did was open up the fluid reservoir for the front brake line and removed much of the excess fluid with a turkey baster (to save a little time from pushing it all through the old line). I left a little in there but just enough to cover the bottom and flush through the lines. I cleaned the diaphragm off (the "rubber thing" inside the reservoir) and set it aside, and loosened the retaining bolt on the brake line at the wheel (see photo below). The idea here is that the fluid in the line will use gravity and come out the loosened bottom end and drain into a an empty soda bottle that I had ready.

Note: You will find Kerry's tutorial on REPLACING BRAKE FLUID / BLEED LINES IN THE GS500 very, very helpful. Be sure to read it and print it out if necessary.

^ I put a green circle around the bolt you want to loosen to remove the front brake line, and a red circle around the bleeder screw.

You will need to bleed the air out of the lines later. After the bottom of the line is removed from the brake caliper, and most of the fluid is out, you will need to remove the bolt that retains the top of the brake line to the fluid reservoir also. Once they are both removed, you can replace the line with the new one. Simple enough right? To reiterate:

a) Drain the fluid

b) Remove the brake line at the caliper. This is so the remianing fluid will flow down and into the soda bottle mentioned earlier. Or alternately, all over your foot or your bike where it can eat away at the aint. Whatever makes you happy.

c) Remove the brake line at the reservoir.

d) Install the new brake line the same way the original was installed.

Very easy modification. The important thing is to keep the brake fluid off the paint and put the new lines on routed the same way you found them and to bleed them once installed.

Once the line is installed, you need to fill the reservoir with the fresh DOT 4 brake fluid and bleed the brakes by using Kerry's guide.

The rear is about the same as the front, but the routing is obviously different. Take notes and photos if necessary to see how the line was routed before taking it off (thats what I do whenever I take something apart).

Here are more pictures:

^ You can see the blue brake line sticking out. Looks cool huh?

^ Same here.

^ New brake line installed at the top

Once the new lines are on and have been bled, take the bike out for a slow speed ride at first. I noticed the increase of braking performance immediately! But I took it really slow around the parking lot, then a side street, then into town - just to be safe. I also practiced a couple of panic stops and was impressed by how much of a difference this actually made.

After the brake line install, wash your bike just to be SURE you got all of the rogue brake fluid off. You don't want that stuff on there. And wash your hands you grease monkey.

This writeup written by Rich Christie, rest in peace

Russel/Cycleflex Braided Stainless Steel front lines

From MAW: R09183S|ss br line fr 90-00gs500e

MAW page: http://www.mawonline.com/MFGNOR.HTM (I believe this online store is no longer open, as far back as July 2011)

Cost shipped to board member AlphaFire X5 (Austin, TX) was $36.08