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Old Jul 25th 2017, 02:34 PM   #1
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Soft front brake

Starting a few months ago, I realized that my front brake lever is very soft and mushy. Much softer than I'm used to seeing a front brake lever. On previous bikes, the front brake lever never felt this soft.

Naturally, my first instinct was to bleed the front brake. During the first bleed, I did see a few air bubbles. I bled the brakes one more time to make absolutely sure that there is no air in the line. And yet, it still feels too soft and mushy.

Without pulling on it THAT hard, I can get the lever down to my knuckles/fingers.

My local Ducati tech tells me that this is just how ABS brakes feel on Ducatis. But I could swear that the front brake lever was tighter/stiffer in the past.

My tech also suggested that maybe the master cylinder needs to be rebuilt.

I thought I'd turn to the forum for more input. Any thoughts/suggestions?
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 02:53 PM   #2
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You know your bike more than anybody.,. if you are saying it was tighter in the past then something is going on. Period.
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 06:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Akshuneer View Post
Starting a few months ago, I realized that my front brake lever is very soft and mushy. Much softer than I'm used to seeing a front brake lever. On previous bikes, the front brake lever never felt this soft.

Naturally, my first instinct was to bleed the front brake. During the first bleed, I did see a few air bubbles. I bled the brakes one more time to make absolutely sure that there is no air in the line. And yet, it still feels too soft and mushy.

Without pulling on it THAT hard, I can get the lever down to my knuckles/fingers.

My local Ducati tech tells me that this is just how ABS brakes feel on Ducatis. But I could swear that the front brake lever was tighter/stiffer in the past.

My tech also suggested that maybe the master cylinder needs to be rebuilt.

I thought I'd turn to the forum for more input. Any thoughts/suggestions?
I can reliably say that your tech is talking bollocks. Your lever should not feel mushy whether you have ABS fitted or not. Makes little if any difference until the wheel actually starts to lock up in which case you may or may not feel a slight pulsing through the lever. You either have air still in the line, your pads are shot or you have a defective master cylinder. Ive never ridden an ABS equipped bike where the sort of characteristics you describe are "normal" regardless of the brand. You might want to consider another mechanic. One last thing. If you pump the brake lever, does it firm up? If so you might have a pressure loss in the system or your fluid is defective. How old is your brake fluid? Being hygroscopic in nature your fluid will absorb moisture over time and will become compressible. If its over 2 years old, it's well past its sell by date. You should flush it through with clean fluid as part of any decent maintenance program.
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 06:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Akshuneer View Post
Starting a few months ago, I realized that my front brake lever is very soft and mushy. Much softer than I'm used to seeing a front brake lever. On previous bikes, the front brake lever never felt this soft.

Naturally, my first instinct was to bleed the front brake. During the first bleed, I did see a few air bubbles. I bled the brakes one more time to make absolutely sure that there is no air in the line. And yet, it still feels too soft and mushy.

Without pulling on it THAT hard, I can get the lever down to my knuckles/fingers.

My local Ducati tech tells me that this is just how ABS brakes feel on Ducatis. But I could swear that the front brake lever was tighter/stiffer in the past.

My tech also suggested that maybe the master cylinder needs to be rebuilt.

I thought I'd turn to the forum for more input. Any thoughts/suggestions?
If you have had your fluid for two years or more, try bleeding them again. I assume bled the master first before you did the lines?

Either way, your lever should not go down to your knuckles as you describe.
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 06:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by AmpForE View Post
If you have had your fluid for two years or more, try bleeding them again. I assume bled the master first before you did the lines?

Either way, your lever should not go down to your knuckles as you describe.
If his fluid is that old, he should be changing it. Brake fluid absorbs moisture at a rate of 2-3% of total volume per year. May not sound much, but it doesnt take a lot to deplete your braking efficiency. Fluid is cheap, crashing is not.
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 06:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by topolino View Post
If his fluid is that old, he should be changing it. Brake fluid absorbs moisture at a rate of 2-3% of total volume per year. May not sound much, but it doesnt take a lot to deplete your braking efficiency. Fluid is cheap, crashing is not.
Yes, I learned that the hard way. I bought a year old bike and the lever was a little soft but brakes were still strong. By the second year my lever was very soft. After a proper bleed, I was amazed at the feel, stronger than ever. A year later and the mushy has already started again. LOL
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 07:32 PM   #7
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A bad front brake master cylinder was a common warranty item for the Panigale. Get it checked out!
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 07:35 PM   #8
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I've been changing both brake and clutch fluid every 4 track days or so. It's so easy with air compressor and pump. Can get it all done in 15 mins.
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Old Jul 25th 2017, 08:18 PM   #9
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Bleed the lever. 11mm. Tubing. Watch the bubbles flow.

I got so good at bleeding when I had my 1199.


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Old Jul 25th 2017, 09:08 PM   #10
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I believe the brake fluid is still in good condition. The brakes were completely flushed and fresh brake fluid was put into the system roughly 1 year ago. The fluid itself is still very clear (very little discoloration) and appears to be in good condition.

If bleeding the line isn't fixing the issue, do I move onto the master cylinder? That is beyond my technical know-how. I'll have to have somebody have a look at it.

Any additional thoughts / suggestions?
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