Let me start by saying I have been riding for close to fifty years, and in all that time have never taken a bike in to have it worked on as I do ALL my own work. I am pretty good at it too, but stumped on these brakes.
When I first got a WR back in '99 I was amazed at how good the brakes were. I put myself over the bars the first time I rode it!
Over the years they have gotten worse and worse (on multiple bikes) and now I am at a loss to explain why.
I have had all sorts of dirt, street, and dual sport bikes over the years, still have quite a few as well, and can say without a doubt the WR front brakes are the biggest pieces of crap I have ever encountered! I even think some drum brakes would be better off over the long haul! I have never had a bikes brakes get progressively worse over the years like this. And especially not been able to bring them back.
I still have the '99, as well as an '03, and both are about the same. They do work but man do I ever have to pull hard on the levers. NOT at all what disc brakes are supposed to be like. I also have a stock KLR and I WISH the WR's had brakes as good as the KLR's!! AND the KLR brakes are only single puck brakes!
Last Summer I worked on the '03 for weeks and finally gave up. It stops, pretty well, but I am totally unimpressed.
I put in caliper seals, master cylinder kit, stainless lines, new pad pins, broke the glaze on both pads and discs, bled em from the bottom, gravity bled em, bled banjo bolts, used my mighty vac, a power bleeder, you name it, and I am STILL not satisfied with them. The levers are nice and firm, no mushiness to them, I am sure they are bled good as you cannot get anywhere close to the bars with the levers on either bike, but they absolutely WILL NOT lock up the wheel, even on dirt.
They both have stock discs but that should be plenty good, especially on dirt.
Today I put a master cylinder off a Honda TRX450R on it and there is STILL no noticeable improvement. It IS easier/faster to bleed it though so I guess THAT is an improvement!
I do not really care if the wheel can be locked up but I sure do wish I did not have to clamp down with three fingers every time I use them. I actually can stop with two or even one but not if on any kind of grade. I would use four fingers at times but have shorty levers on them and cannot get my pinky on there.
I check them each time I try something else by going up my dirt alley and clamping down as hard as I can from about 10-15 MPH using THREE fingers. It will stand it up on it's nose pretty good and stop pretty fast but with all the force I am putting into it, it should lock up and slide.
I have searched this and other sites for ideas (THAT is where I got the one for the TRX m/cyl) but other than people not getting their brakes bled good, I have found no clues as to why I can have such a firm lever and such poor brake results.
Anyone else run into this problem or am I doomed to go over to an orange colored scooter in order to get one that stops good/easily?
I rode a buddies '08 thrashed out KTM530 last weekend and with one finger on his lever you can slide the front end!