If you’re looking to make improvements to your standard brake system, then braided brake lines should be one of your first ports of call when looking at brake system upgrades. In fact they should be one of the first aftermarket bike accessories you consider bolting onto you bike.
Braided lines consist of an inner hose wrapped in stainless steel braiding and coated with PVC which keeps the lines safe from the elements. They have been designed to remedy the performance issues found with stock rubber brake lines by pretty much eliminating the swelling characteristic of rubber hoses.
But what does this mean in real life?
Don’t swell under pressure – Over time and extensive hard use, rubber brake lines will often expand under the pressure created when you apply the brakes. This continuous expansion will – over an extended period of time – stretch the rubber hoses to the point they are no longer able to provide the necessary performance needed.
Steel braided lines do not suffer this swelling characteristic and as such give more consistent performance when riding, but also from a longevity point of view they will far out last stock hoses.
Helps to eradicate brake fade – Brake fade is a feeling you get when your brakes endure hard use for extended periods of time. The feeling is quite simply a gradual drop off in braking performance that makes you feel like your brakes aren’t slowing you down as quick as they should; the lever will then start to come further and further back to your handlebar.
There are a variety of reasons as to why you might experience brake fade and among rubber hose expansion there is overheating pads, old/tired brake fluid and worn out master cylinder internals.
More consistent feel – Because braided lines don’t suffer swelling during hard use and as such help stave off brake fade, you can expect the feeling you get from your brake lever to stay consistent provided the other components in your brake system are up to the task. This means that you are less likely to experience the feeling of the brake lever going soft and spongy during and after use.
More Robust – Because the way motorcycle braided brake lines are designed, you can expect them to last a lot longer and would not need to be changed as frequently as standard hoses.
They look good – Do I have to say any more than that? Braided lines look so much better than rubber lines. Fact.
Goodridge – Goodridge’s whole business is performance fluid transfer systems, so to say they know a thing of two about controlling brake fluid is an understatement. With over 40 years in the business and their reputation staked on the quality of their product you can be sure Goodridge braided brake lines are going to be as good as they come. It is for this reason that I have Goodridge lines on my bike.
Where to buy – You will find quite a few sites online that sell Goodridge lines, but as ever, eBay offers some of the best prices on the market.
HEL – Again, another company whose reputation rests on how well their product performs. Fluid hoses and fittings are all HEL Performance produce, meaning they have a wealth of experience when it comes to creating quality brake lines. As with Goodridge, HEL brake brake lines will be some of the best on the market.
Special note – You will find cheaper brake lines on the market, some of which will be unbranded, but please ask yourself whether you would like to take the risk with something of this nature.
Better to buy from a company who only exists because of the quality of their product. It is their reputation on the line, so you know they’ll always produce the best for us.
If you want to take a step forward in improving your brake system, then braided brake lines are what you should be looking at as one of your first options. They won’t necessarily improve your stopping power a tremendous amount, but they will give you more consistence performance over standard brake lines, meaning greater confidence in the braking performance of your bike.
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