I ordered a new helmet to replace my 5-year old HJC CL-14. I really like the CL-14, but it’s getting old and it’s recommended that you buy a new helmet every 3-5 years because the materials degenerate. Not sure how much of that is true but it’s a good excuse to get some new goodies. For the new helmet, I wanted to get a modular. This kind has a chinbar that flips up. It’s kind of convenient in that you can flip it up to talk to people or go into the gas station without having to take the whole helmet off (and reveal your helmet-hair). I’ve had my eye on the Shoei Multitec but they are pretty expensive. I tried on the Schuberth C3 which and it was so nice — super comfortable and slim-looking. The only problem is that it goes for $699.

So I decided to keep with HJC, which is a decent brand and fits my head well. The CL-MAX came down in price (60% off!) so I decided it was time. I went with a silver color to match my bike. I know white is safer but really liked the look of the silver one. The noise level compared to my old CL-14 is less on the whole, but the main difference is that I don’t hear as much low sound from wind turbulence. Most of the noise is higher-pitched which probably comes from the extra seams in the helmet for the flip-up chinbar. This shifting of the noise frequency is good because earplugs should really remove the highs. The padding inside the helmet seems a whole lot better. The ear-pocket is better protected from wind which means less fatigue when riding at 65mph.

Another plus about the CL-MAX is that it uses the same visor latch size as my CL-14. That means I can use my dark smoke shield on it (and save $25).

BTW, I am a firm believer in ATGATT, which stands for “All The Gear, All The Time”. Motorcycle boots, pants, gloves, jacket, and helmet every time I ride. Besides being safer, it’s also a great excuse to get some nice gear!

BMW F650 GS – Changing the Brake Fluid

Today I changed the brake fluid on my GS. The speedometer is at 6, 772, so it was a little overdue. I think this is the first time it was changed. The old fluid was looking dark in the reservoir, that’s for sure!

With the stock bleeder screws, this would be a two-person operation, where one person would loosen the valve, then the second person would squeeze the brake lever, then the first person would tighten the valve so no air would go back into the system when the brake lever is released. I figured I’d be changing the brake fluid often so I bought a pair of “Speedbleeders“. These are replacement bleeder screws which have a one way valve which won’t let any air back into the system when you release the brake.

Before I could do that, however, I had to change out the stock bleeder screws with the new Speedbleeders. This was pretty easy just using an 11mm wrench. When you are doing this, some of the old fluid is going to come out so it’s best to have some rags or paper towels on hand and maybe put some cardboard on the ground. Brake fluid supposedly eats through paint, so be careful not to get it on any painted parts. I also wore some rubber gloves that I had leftover from when I used to work on the Supercub. Another tip is to not open up the brake fluid reservoir until after you are done replacing the bleeder screws so that there is at least some vacuum pressure keeping the fluid from free-flowing out.

Unscrew the old bleeder screw, then screw the Speedbleed in by hand to make sure you are threading it correctly. Then use the wrench to tighten it all the way down until it seats. There’s some sealing material on the threads, so it will take a little muscle to screw them in. Don’t over-tighten them, however!

Once the new Speedbleeders are installed, it’s time to bleed those brakes! You’ll need to have some rubber tubing and a receptacle for the old fluid. I purchased these from Speedbleeder.com for several bucks. It looks like an IV bag that you’d see at the hospital. I put the bag in a bottle just to keep it upright during the process. Attach the tube to the Speedbleeder nipple, then unscrew Speedbleeder about a quarter to a half turn. At this point I opened the brake fluid reservoir and started pumping the brake lever. The old brake fluid will come through the tube and into the bag. Pump it slowly a few times and keep an eye on the reservoir. Make sure to fill it up with the new brake fluid when it gets low. Don’t let the level go into the tube. So just pump and fill until the fluid coming out the Speedbleeder and into the baggie is a nice clear color and you don’t see any air bubbles. This might take a while. Once that is done, tighten the Speedbleeder screw, remove the plastic tubing, and make sure you fill the reservoir up to the correct level. Close up the reservoir and try out the new (hopefully firmer) brake action.

Rear Brake Fluid Reservoir
Nice, new brake fluid in the rear reservoir

Lastly, you can put the little covers over the Speedbleeder nipple. The one they provide is really cheap, so I used the old stock BMW covers which have a retaining ring. By the way, you can put this on after the operation is done since the retaining ring is stretchy enough to go over the bolt.

Front SpeedBleeder Screw with Cap Off
New front Speedbleeder with cap (off)

Old Bleeder Screw
Old BMW bleeder screw

New Rear SpeedBleeder Screw
The shiny new Speedbleeder on the rear

New Rear SpeedBleeder Screw with Cheap Cover
The cheap nipple cap that came with the kit

Front SpeedBleeder Screw with Cap
With the old BMW cap back on

IV Bag
The tube leading to the receptacle