Thursday, June 8, 2017

The levers of power.

The other day when I serviced the Sportster, I went over the front brake and you can imagine that I operated the lever quite a lot as I was bleeding the system and testing repeatedly to make sure it was working.

As I did that, I noticed something that had escaped me at first: the brake lever is not an original part. It may look like an OEM part but rest assured, it is not. The first tell is the chrome finish: completely sub-par and not correct for the 1200S anyway. If you look at the clutch lever you'll see that it is polished, not chromed. And this brake lever has a different angle to the top of the "blade" compared to a standard item (I presume this could be seen as being more ergonomic).

I'm trying to make this motorcycle look (and perform) the best that it can, so I'm not going to ignore a detail like this. I was able to find a new matching set of polished levers that while not original, are very close to OEM standards, here's a comparison (left is the new one, right is the annoying one I'm taking off):

I would like to thank a person who shall remain nameless for his or her own protection, for smuggling these parts over to me; much appreciated.

Fitting them was very straightforward (because everything on these motorcycles is very well made), and the ones I took off can be put into the "road kit" as emergency spares. Let's hope I'll never have to use them.

While I was at it, I inspected the clutch cable, cleaned it and applied a generous amount of grease to the end fitting: this is very important because although this cable is much stronger and much longer lasting than what I'm used to on my other bikes, if it does fail (whether the strands break or whether the cast aluminum fitting itself seizes and snaps) there is no real way to fix it by the roadside, and even if you carry a spare cable you still need a fair number of wrenches and tools to replace it.

As to why this was not the original brake lever, I think I know what happened here: one of the previous owners must have dropped the bike and the lever snapped off. This could also explain the repair that was done on the right-hand side footrest:

I have seen this happen on many other Sportsters, and it is known to be a bit of a weak point, so I didn't think much of it when I first saw the bike (the dealer didn't offer an explanation when I asked him about it), so it's possible this all happened at the same time.


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