WHAT IS IT? It’s an aftermarket hydraulic brake line that replaces the worn-out, flexible, nylon OEM hose on your machine.
WHAT’S IT COST? Front?$72.00, Rear?$54.50.
WHAT’S IT DO? The brakes on a motocross bike aren’t only used to slow down, they are an important part of the handling package. Racers often feather the front brake to drop into ruts, lock up the rear brake to pivot around turns and even power brake on the exit of turns. Therefore, not only is maximum braking power important, but so is the ability to modulate the brakes.
The stock brakes on your bike are well designed, but they aren’t optimized. A wise racer makes sure that his brake systems are operating at full efficiency before going to the starting line.
Motocross brakes are actuated by hydraulic fluid. To get the most out of hydraulic brakes, you need brake lines that won’t expand under the pressures exerted by the brake’s hydraulic system. After expanding and contracting thousands of times, the OEM brake lines begin to lose their resistance to flexing, expanding and bulging. New brake lines, when combined with new fluid, insure the best transfer of power from the master cylinder to the caliper.
In our quest for better brake performance, the MXA test crew wanted to see if we could maximize our stock brakes without resorting to an oversize rotor, which led us to test Galfer’s braided stainless steel brake lines, front and rear, on our 2009 Kawasaki KX450F.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Galfer’s braided steel brake lines.
(1) Response. The most noticeable improvement with the Galfer brake lines was better response and a more positive feel throughout the range of use. This is a great attribute, but be aware that many riders like a little bit of play in their brakes before the pads start to grab at the rotor. With the immediate response of the braided steel Galfer brake lines, it was possible to make the brakes too touchy. We fine tuned the feel of our brakes during installation and were happy with the outcome.
(2) Front. The trick to getting the desired feel out of the front brake is to quit bleeding the brakes at the right time during installation. Spin the wheel and drag the brakes while bleeding the brakes to get a feel for how the brakes are working. Unknown to most mechanics is that you can stop bleeding them before the brakes get too firm.
(3) Rear. Our worn-out stock rear brake line required a lot of pedal travel before it started to work. The Galfer rear brake line caused the brakes to actuate much sooner, and we found ourselves accidentally dragging the rear brake. To remedy the problem, we adjusted the pedal lower.
(4) Installation. Installing the Galfer brake lines is simple. It does take a little know-how and some common sense. Be sure to torque the banjo bolts to 12-15 foot-pounds.
(5) Power. With our old brakes we would pull the front brake lever until it hit our knuckles. The bike stopped, but we had to make it stop. With the Galfer line installed, we got the same brake response with less lever travel. The gain in power is modest, but noticeable.
(6) Fit. The Galfer lines were the perfect length for our KX450F.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We only had two issues: (1) There was a minor conflict where the brake line leaves the banjo bolt at a slightly different angle from the stocker. (2) The brakes improved enough that we had to readjust both the front lever and rear pedal to dial in the feel.
This is a no-brainer. Who doesn’t know that braided steel brake lines are better than low-cost nylon tubes? If money weren’t an issue, this is what the factory would have installed before the bike left the assembly line.