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Galfer stainless steel brake lines for the SV650S

what you'll need:
Time needed: 1.5 - 2 hours if you're doing both front and rear lines.

  • Galfer stainless steel brake lines (these are bike-specific, so get the right model!)
  • 8mm open-ended wrench
  • 10mm socket wrench
  • 12mm socket wrench
  • 14mm socket wrench
  • #2 Philips screwdriver
  • Container for the used brake fluid (a funnel is handy, too)
  • Tubing that'll fit tightly over the caliper bleed nipple (probably inner diameter 1/4")
  • A couple of towels to cover the painted sections of your bike
  • New DOT 4 brake fluid [NOTE: your bike might take something different! Check your service manual!]
  • Optional: heavy-duty syringe; I use a Progressive fork oil syringe

Not a whole lot of background to this one, really. My front brakes were starting to feel a little squishy, so I thought I'd cough up some cash and upgrade to stainless steel lines.

front lines pre-procedure.
Bleed the existing fluid out of your brakes. Here's my write-up on that, if'n you need help. Don't put new fluid in; just get the old stuff out. Don't forget to do each side.

The other thing you'll want to do is notice the stock set-up and how it differs from the new set-up. On the stock SV650S, there's one brake line that runs from the master cylinder to a junction just in front of the horn. Two more stock brake lines branch off from there -- one on each side of the junction -- to their respective brake calipers.

With the new Galfer brake lines, you'll have both lines going directly from the master cylinder to the brake calipers -- it'll completely bypass the junction.

front lines procedure.
All righty, step one is to remove the lower stock brake lines. I did the righthand side first, for no real reason other than that it was marginally easier to get to. YMMV. The first thing you'll do is remove the bracket that holds the brake line to the fork (10mm socket). While doing this procedure today I noticed that I somehow managed to break off the reflector that's also normally mounted to this bracket. How I broke off a reflector with no other damage to the bike, I have no idea. [Note: going back and looking through old pictures, it appears that this reflector has been missing for about five months. I am nothing if not utterly clueless.]

Next, you're going to remove the banjo bolt that connects the stock brake line to the brake caliper (12mm socket). Make sure to lay down some rags, since some brake fluid will drip out as the bolt loosens. Once the end of the brake line is free, just stick it in a funnel so it can drip with impunity into the used fluid container.

Undo the banjo bolt at the junction. The one one the righthand side will go through two bolts (the top of the lower right stock line and the bottom of the top right stock line). This'll drip a little, so again, make sure you have some rags handy. Once you undo the bolt at the junction, the lower righthand stock brake line will come right off.

Repeat this entire procedure for the lefthand lower stock brake line.

By now, the top stock brake line will only be connected at the top banjo bolt near the master cylinder. Remove that one and you can remove this last remaining stock brake line.

Now that the stock lines are off, you can start the fun and exciting procedure of putting the stainless steel lines on. If you lay the two Galfer lines next to one another, you'll see that one's longer than the other. You want to put the longer one on the lefthand side since it has a greater reach from the master cylinder to the caliper.

Start with the righthand (shorter) brake line. The first thing you'll want to do is remove the mounting bracket (and its rubber padding) from the stock line. Slide it onto the new righthand stainless steel line. With that in place, you can route the line down from the master cylinder to the righthand caliper. Don't worry about getting it perfect just yet. Go ahead and bolt the mounting bracket into place (10mm socket).

Next, grab one of the shorter new bolts and two of the new washers. Put one washer on each side of the brake line, slide the bolt through, and mount it to the caliper (14mm socket). Torque it to 20 newton-meters.

At this point, leave the top of the line alone and go repeat the installation process for the lefthand stainless steel brake line.

Once both lines are attached at the bottom and loose at the top, it's time to attach the final bolt. Before bolting anything together, turn the handlebars from side to side and make sure that neither line snags or catches on anything. If they need re-routing, do that now. If they're free and clear, let's do that final banjo bolt.

Grab the long new bolt and three washers (yes, you'll have extra washers left over). Slide the bits onto the bolt in this order: washer, lefthand banjo bolt, washer, righthand banjo bolt, washer.

Go ahead and bolt the whole thing into the master cylinder (14mm socket) and torque to 20 newton-meters. Turn the handlebars again and double check that nothing kinks or binds.

Now comes the fun part -- getting brake fluid into your new lines. You have two choices at this point: 1) spend the rest of your natural life bleeding the lines normally or 2) cheat and push fluid up the lines from the bottom. I like to do the latter, because I like cheating.

If you're a cheater too, remove the rubber cap on the righthand bleed nipple, and unscrew the bleed nipple locknut (8mm). Attach the tubing to the brake nipple, just as you would if you were bleeding the brakes normally. Go get your heavy-duty syringe and pull in a small amount of brake fluid.

Attach the syringe to the tubing and slooooooowly push in the plunger (you may want to bribe someone to hold the tubing to the bleed nipple at this point, since the pressure can pop it off if it isn't really tight). Once all the brake fluid is in the line, pull some more into the syringe and repeat. Stop when the fluid bubbles up out of the master cylinder a little bit. Tighten the bleed nipple locknut, remove the tubing, and replace the rubber nipple.

Go do the same thing on the other front line.

Top off the brake fluid in the master cylinder and pump the front brakes a few times. They should stiffen up pretty quickly. If the lever pulls all the way to the handlebar with no resistance, even after a few pumps, you'll need to bleed the lines. Otherwise, try pushing the bike forward a few feet and stopping with the front brake. You want to make sure they're working properly now, as opposed to when you're out playing in traffic.

That's it; you're done with the front lines.

rear line pre-procedure.
Swapping out the rear line is almost exactly the same as doing the front lines, only it requires a little bit more pre-procedure since the rear reservoir is pretty well hidden.

In order to get to the rear reservoir, you'll have to remove the rear seat, the grab rail, and part of the righthand rear fairing. I'm not going to get into how to do this; pretty much, just keep removing bolts until you can pull the fairing away from the reservoir enough to access it.

Go ahead and bleed the rear brake just like you did the front brakes. Heck of a lot easier to reach the rear brake pedal, though.

rear brake procedure.
Take a peek at the connection points for the rear brake line; one's at the caliper, obviously; the other is tucked away behind the foot guard near the righthand footpeg.

Removing the lower brake bolt is easy. It's a 12mm socket, and comes off just like the top ones did. Have some rags handy, since it'll drip a little when you disconnect it.

Getting to the top bolt is tricky. I found it easiest to remove the foot guard (4mm hex) so that I could pivot the entire mechanism a little bit. Again, watch for dripping when you remove the bolt.

One more bolt to look out for -- there's a mounting bracket on the swingarm, just behind the exhaust. Remove it with a 8mm socket.

Again, remove the mounting bracket and rubber padding from the stock line; slip it onto your new stainless steel line.

When you route the new line in, make sure to thread it through the little routing guard on the backside of the swingarm. You really don't want your brake line getting tangled in your wheel.

When doing the top bolt, remember again to put new washers on either side of the banjo bolt. Torque it down as best you can, and don't forget to replace the foot guard once you're done.

Replace the brake line mounting bolt and tighten 'er down (still 8mm socket).

Finally, put the new washers and new bolt on the lower banjo bolt and attach it to the brake caliper. Torque this one to 20 newton-meters as well.

You'll want to do the same eternal brake bleeding or syringe cheating that you did with the front lines. Once there's fluid in the lines, pump the rear brakes a few times and make sure that you feel resistance. Again, if not, you'll need to bleed the brakes.

Put all that rear fairing stuff back together, and you're all set. :)

The SVS looking snazzy with front and rear stainless steel brake lines: