The front brake lever on my 1998 Honda VFR is coming back way too close to the grip. This is since it came out of winter storage in April. It's an adjustable lever and I've changed it from 3 or so to the maximum. The brake fluid isn't low and the pads are meaty enough. The brakes feel fine.

Do I just need to bleed it or replace the fluid, or could there be something else going on here?

1 Answer 1


It seems as though the plunger in the master cylinder isn't retracting after use

Occasionally when motorcycles are stored you can run into this problem. Older brake fluid along with a bit of moisture and oxygen can contribute to a buildup of material inside the master cylinder bore where the plunger goes. After pulling the brake once the plunger sticks and doesn't retract.

You can remove the plunger from the master cylinder by removing a circlip that retains the plunger

Remove the plunger and clean the master cylinder. Use water and no petroleum based cleaners. The seals are designed for DOT 4 which will mix with water, petroleum products create a high risk of damage to some of the rubber seals and o-rings. You can use a que tip to get in there a bit more or just a paper towel wrapped around a chopstick. Once you have cleaned everything. Reassemble with a bit of DOT 4 brake fluid as a lubricant for the plunger.

You will obviously need to bleed your breaks upon completion. These little vacuum pumps are cheap and make the job considerably easier rather than sitting and pulling that lever hoping your going to get that initial air out.

Here is a parts explosion of the master cylinder. You didn't indicate 750 or 800 or a particular version so I just used the 750 for this example. They are all the same master cylinder essentially.

  • Hi @DucatiKiller, thanks for the reply. It's an 800. Is it much extra hassle to just replace the brake fluid while I'm in there? I don't know how old the fluid is, but it's a bit green. May 12, 2016 at 14:40
  • It's not that much more work. If it's green, it's time to change it. :-) Cheers and good luck! May 12, 2016 at 16:34

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