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Home Repair And Restoration

A £39 New Front Brake

Blog Date 15 February 2021

In my previous missive I noted my front brake was, once more, suffering shall we say "a little light corrosion" and the seals were about to go off on an adventure of their own sans brake calliper or indeed motorcycle. While I was merely a tad disappointed some of you dear readers were, frankly, appalled. 

The old piston is corroded and pitted and the seals are pooping out the calliper
Just a little light corrosion and pitting. It'll buff out.

El cheapo seals - £8. Possibly but not definitely good 'uns - £20. With pistons - £40. That would solve the problem but for £39 plus £4 postage Wemoto.com were prepared to send me a whole new calliper. That's pistons, seals, brake casting and brake mount for £43. 

Not for one moment did I believe this would be Original Equipment Nissin quality. This, I expect, will be a far eastern copy of unknown origin. But - having used the brakes on Sharon's Keeway and still being here to tell the tale I think it'll be worth a punt. If nothing else as long as I survive it'll make a good story for this 'ere blog. 

Wish me luck...

My package arrives less than 24 hours later and much sooner than expected. I hurriedly open the box to peer inside.

The new cheap brake is here in Ren's grubby hands
It's HERE! If only my 125 were this fast.

The complete brake comes ready made-up and, AND, get this, AND with a fresh set of pads too! In situ, ready to fit. There's a banjo bolt resplendent with 2 new washers, not copper mind but rubber edged. The only thing not included are the 2 bolts that fix the calliper mount to the fork leg. Well I never.

The new brake calliper comes complete with new pads fitted and ready to go
Pads too! Cor blimey guv, blown away.

It's definitely not OE standard. The moulding is about the same shape but lacks the finesse of a long established brand. The paint is thin on both the casting and the mount. It is a copy, an acceptable copy but not an excellent copy.

The moulding showing the pistons
Thin paint but the machining seems tolerable.
The casting has flaws with rough areas and unnatural edges
The casting has a few errors.
The kit comes with banjo bolt and rubber edged washers to seal the brake line
Banjo bolt and rubber edged washers
The calliper, mount, sliding pins and pistons
It's all there ready to rock n roll.

I pop outside and fit it. Bleeding goes as I'd expect and experienced. It takes a while to get a good lever but then it's done, it's fitted. I gear up and take it for a ride and I can report it is... a brake. No better than before save for the calliper is releasing as any brake should. No better, but no worse either. I suppose if you copy the original design it's likely it'll work about the same as the original design.

What will be the crux of the matter is how it ages. Will the pistons turn to rust at the first sign of road salt? Will the pins corrode into the sliders faster than a 91,000 mile CBF125 downhill with a tailwind? Will I heave on the lever only to find the casting snaps in half and I learn how good my back brake isn't? 

I do these things so you don't have to folks.

If you'd like Ren to test your motorcycle product contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Reader's Comments

Upt'North said :-
Jobs a gud un fathe.
15/02/2021 23:02:18 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Well laddy, we'll avert wet n sea innit.
16/02/2021 09:23:52 UTC
Bogger said :-
If it's poor quality and it deteriorates quickly and looks decidedly shabby. I'm sure normal service will have been resumed and you'll be well happy that it fits in with the rest of the bike in no time at all.

16/02/2021 12:45:22 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Oh ren will your scroogeness never end.

But looks pretty impressive. My 10 year old chainsaw finally gave up the ghost. It had never been serviced. The piston had seized possibly due to the lack of any air filter.
To get it repaired was £ 110.
A whole new engine from China was £ 39. Ready assembled it came with a spark plug and a carburetor. Popped in and started first crank. So I suspect your caliper will be spot on those little folk certainly know how to copy stuff.
17/02/2021 10:48:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Bogger - yes it does look rather out of place on the 125 at the moment, all clean and corrosion free. If we are ever allowed out to play once more I'll do my best to fix that.

Pocketpete - an engine, for £39. It makes my calliper seem stupidly expensive! I doubt a British company could buy the materials for £39 let alone create a working engine. And at that price even if it's not tip-top quality that lasts 10 years you can throw a new one in.
18/02/2021 09:58:26 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Yes the engine was remarkable I could not see any difference between the original stihl one and the replacement
It was simply missing the name on the cylinder head.

Runs a treat and came fully assembled. Even though the picture on ebay shows it as separate components. How do they do it and ship it to the UK. Will it last 10 years I doubt it but by then the rest of the thing will need to go in the bin.
19/02/2021 13:07:51 UTC
Upt'North said :-
It makes you wonder just a little where the original was made?
Or perhaps we already know.
I've been fortunate enough in a previous life to visit Hong Kong, the night markets there are a revelation with "designer items" being sold for a hundredth of the full shop prices. The rumour is they're all made in the same factories. The food in the markets still gives you the squits though.

19/02/2021 13:39:20 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
I had a work conference in Hong Kong and my wife came along and went shopping while I worked. Of the two "designer" handbags she bought for $30 , normal price about $2000, one lasted a year or two of light use and the other disintegrated in its storage bag in the cupboard definitely not any sort of leather like the originals! You get what you pay for. My HJC helmet is made in Vietnam but I didn't think to buy one when I was up there two years ago on holiday gives me an excuse to go back. Interestingly a new front disk for the CBF250 was half the local Honda shop price from the UK so you do have a good access to parts that I dont. Vietnam a great place for a motorcycle holiday the roads are interesting and it is very reasonable. I was on a planes, trains and taxis it was a comfortable tour!
21/02/2021 07:03:57 UTC
Badger said :-
The Chinese and early Japanese products aren't 'copies' ..... they are tributes. :)
I would have sprayed that with the poor biker's friend .... Hammerite.
21/02/2021 14:02:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
KiwiJeff - re the CBF250 front disc. I can only suppose Honda would use the excuse of NZ's remoteness. But, err, Japan is a tad closer to NZ than the UK so go figure. re the handbags - great, fill me with confidence why don't you.

Tributes Badger? I like the cut of your jib, much akin to the local amateur band doing "tributes" to rock legends - sometimes the local band can be excellent, sometimes blooming awful.
21/02/2021 18:16:58 UTC
nab301 said :-
Once they use EPDM seals you should be ok but you'll know soon enough if they don't. Personally I wouldn't use the rubber coated washers on the banjo bolt .
21/02/2021 19:38:18 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Can you use EPDM with hydraulic fluid. At work we only use it for water systems.
21/02/2021 20:49:26 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ok for "normal" brake hydraulics ( not citroen suspension fluids) . Didn't realise you could use epdm with steam and water...
21/02/2021 21:44:43 UTC

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