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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I have a 2015 Speedmaster purchased in 2016 that I have only put a little over 2,000 miles on, mainly a lot of short rides around Chicago where I used to call home. However, now home is Asheville, NC and I'm putting a lot more miles on the bike in the better weather and hitting up the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway any chance I get.

On one of these rides up the Parkway a couple of weeks ago on the way home I noticed a grinding/scraping sound whenever I pressed the rear brake. I live on the side of a mountain so it was pretty noticeable as I used the brake on on my way down the other side. I thought maybe a small rock or something had gotten in between the pad and rotor. Upon further inspection, I couldn't see anything but I noticed there is very little clearance between the pads and the rotor. It looks like basically none. I also noticed raised ridge like metal bumps on the rotor itself. No grooves or indentations. I should've taken some pics when it was light outside but I'm not sure they'd capture it anyway. Since I know it is a question that will be asked, the pads look fine, like there is plenty of area for wear left.

Since the nearest Triumph service shop is in Greenville, SC over an hour away, and I tend to do my own work anyway, my next step was going to be to remove the caliper and check the pads for anything weird and see if the caliper is operating correctly. I'd love it if you all here have some suggestions of what to look for and what could be causing the issue.

I rode a few hundred miles north from Chicago into northern Wisconsin and back a year or so ago without issue, but maybe the lesson I learned is to use a lot more engine braking and front brake on the way down these mountains in the future. Maybe the transport of the bike down last fall caused some kind of issue with the caliper I am only noticing now after I've been on some longer rides this spring. Either way, hopefully nothing is too messed up back there.

Thanks for your input,

Scotty
 

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Stock rear brake pads wear out FAST. I know you said they look OK, but double check them again.
Have you cleaned the whole assembly, spraying everything with brake cleaner ?
 

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I was having an issue somewhat similar to yours and found a stuck piston in the caliper. Good luck with the diagnosis and welcome to the southern US.
 

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You can easily take the caliper off and clean and inspect everything and lubricate the slide pins. My Bonneville has over 6k miles and I serviced the rear brakes for the first time last year. I had never done it before but it was super easy. I bought new pads but when I disassembled everything the rear pads were barely worn at all so I just cleaned and lubricated everything and saved the new pads I bought for next time. Apparently I'm not too hard on brakes though cause I was thinking about doing a brake job on my Honda Accord I drive daily so I inspected those pads but they still have half their life left after 101k miles.
 

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Check the wheel rotation after it has been left overnight and then apply the brake a few times and check it again. If it is lots harder after using the brake it means worn M/C, sticking caliper or clogged hose.
Next release the pressure on the system by undoing the bleed nipple and then doing it up again [rinse with a bit of water or attach a small hose to the nipple to control the fluid]. If after doing this the wheel rotates freely again then the issue is in the hose or M/C. If it is still there then the problem is more likely the caliper.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for your advice!

I'm going to take off the caliper next week (unfortunately I'm attending a wedding this weekend) and see what I find out. I'll post an update after I see what's going on in there. I ordered new pads that are arriving tomorrow just in case that turns out to be a part of the issue.

After riding focusing on using the rear brake less (engine braking and more front brake), I'm realizing that I may have just developed a habit of using that brake too much that is hurting me more in the mountains. Its possible I was riding on that brake downhill too much and it overheated and caused some depositing from the pads? I've read numerous places the OEM pads are pretty lackluster. Just a thought.

Well, we'll see what it looks like in a few days time.
 

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You can remove the caliper, examine it, and put it back in ten minutes. Remove the two bolts, pull off the caliper, have a look at the pads. Don't ride the bike if there's not much pad left, for risk of gouging the rotor. The usual spec is 2mm of pad, when new they are 5mm.

Loosen the reservoir cap without removing it, to vent it, then carefully pry the pads apart slightly with your hands if possible or a large slotted screwdriver to ease the caliper back on the rotor; this should not take much effort. Put back the two bolts and tighten to spec, replace the reservoir cap, then pump the brake to move the pads back to where they belong.

Do not press the brake lever while the caliper is off the rotor unless you have a piece of wood between the pistons.

If you are unable to easily pry the pads apart with the reservoir vented, you might have a stuck piston, and you might have to rebuild the caliper.
 

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All the above. Take the caliper off. Pull the pads out. Now with the pistons fully exposed, tooth brush and give them a good cleaning with brake cleaner. With a wood shim, ( so not to damage the pistons) push each piston back into the caliper. Be aware that doing this will push the brake fluid up in the reservoir. You might have to syphon off a little depending on how much you have to push them back in to get the pads back in. Obviously with new pads the pistons have to go back more. While there check out the disc. If not badly scored go over it with a scotch Brite pad. I have always applied a Very small amount of copper paste to the back (piston side) pads. Never had any brake squealing by doing this.
 

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@Scotty_b, when you do get to look at the rear brake pads, don't be surprised if you don't have the same amount of material on both inner & outer pads. Think the brake bits have remained the same for many years. New pads for me have different amounts (depth?) of friction material for inner & outer pads.

edit: And yes, the OEM rear pads do seem to wear rather quickly compared to EBC or other replacement pads.
 

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Think I may have found a photo for this post.

All the best in getting it sorted.
Kiwi Tiger.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey y'all,

Still haven't had a chance to take the calipers off yet. Work piled up, the Ol Lady got the flu, etc, etc.

I came to the assumption that mediocre OEM pads + a lot of Chicago city traffic braking + now a bunch of mountain downhill braking probably has eaten up the pads way faster than I would have expected. So I also ordered some front pads so I can change them all no matter what.

I'll be swapping them during the long weekend this weekend and will post a follow up. Thank you all for your advice and instruction it is much appreciated!

-scotty
 
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I did exactly what you did which was assume my rear pads were bad. I took everything apart and my pads were in fact barely used after 4k miles. Just a bunch of dirt and a piece of melted plastic bag caught in the caliper. I cleaned everything, lubricated the slide pins and put everything back together and kept the pads I bought for another day.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yep, what many of you had thought, including myself in the end, was in fact the case.

Rear brake pads were completely worn off while the front had a ton of material on them. The piston did not seem stuck so I'm now just convinced that 2K miles of city traffic and steep, curvy downhill passes ate my stock rear brakes away much faster than I expected. Kind of surprised they went that quick but, hey, stopping is good right?

I put on some Galfer's and now I know its something I need to check more regularly, like once a year. Thanks everyone for the advice, it was a ridiculously easy process but your input was beneficial to what to look for.

Cheers!
 

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Thanks everyone for your advice!

unfortunately I'm attending a wedding this weekend.
Unfortunately for you or for him? :) I am pleased that you got it sorted easily.

I also use brake cleaner in a spray can. That keeps everything clean and working correctly
 
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