“I just bled the brakes on both of my bikes, so I took some pictures and decided to write it up. Feel free to add your tricks/tips.
Cliff’s notes for all you kwick kids:
Hold brake in
Let brake out
1. Obtain a clear piece of hose that will fit tightly over the bleeder. I actually bought this kit at Pep Boys. The whole kit was only $2 more than just buying the hose. Clear hose is key so you can see the fluid color and if there’s any air bubbles coming out.
2. Obtain brake fluid from any auto store. The small bottle is usually plenty for just a bleeding job. Always use DOT 4 or higher on motorcycles. (DOT 5.1 if you have a Husky). DOT 3 has a lower boiling point and is not recommended for motorcycle use. “They” recommend you always use a new, unopened bottle to make sure you’re not adding any contamination in the system from a dirty bottle.
3. Locate the bleeders on the calipers. Clean them off well with a rag and figure out what size wrench fits on them.
4. Remove farings if you’re anal and really care about your plastics. Brake fluid is nasty shit and it will hurt the finish on your bike. Otherwise I just covered everything with a towel ‘cause I’m lazy and my bike isn’t that nice.
5. Set the bike so that the top of the reservoir is level to the earth. On the old school bikes I have that means turning the bars all the way to the left. If you don’t do this, when you take the cover off the brake fluid will leak off and get all over the place, which is bad because it wrecks the finish of shiny parts.
6. Fit the hose you acquired in step 1 over the bleeder farthest from the reservoir. If you get the happy kit like I did, assemble it and attach it via included magnet to something higher than the elevation of the bleeder. This keeps air bubbles going up and away from your lines.
7. Remove the cover of the brake reservoir. Make sure there is ample fluid in the reservoir.
8. The directions on the bleeder kit recommend you put the reservoir cap back on to do the bleeding. I don’t like to do that. I like to keep a really close watch on the fluid level. I’m just really careful not to pump the brake really fast and have the fluid squirt out.
9. Pump the brake ~3 times. While holding the brake in, crack open the bleeder until the brake lever bottoms out. Tighten the bleeder, then let the brake lever out. This order is very important. If you let the brake lever out before you close the bleeder you risk sucking air into the lines.
10. The first few squirts that come out might be very dark or you might get air bubbles. This is why your brakes are spongy. Repeat step 9 until the fluid that is coming out is clear and there are no air bubbles. Check the reservoir often to make sure there is ample fluid. You DO NOT want to suck air into the master cylinder because you will have to start all over and move that air through the entire system.
Top off reservoir with fresh, clean fluid:
11. Once the fluid is coming out clear and bubble free, re-tighten the bleeder and remove the hose.
12. Repeat on the other side front caliper. When the second line has fresh fluid, tighten the bleeder, and remove the hose.
13. Bleed the master cylinder last. Then top off the reservoir to the fill line and replace the cap.
14. Repeat in the rear. There is a separate reservoir for the back, usually under the seat.”