Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Re: Why Not SS Brake Lines ?
Funny, I've put over 180K on my LT's brake lines and never had a problem, and this includes riding two up in 100F heat pulling a trailer in the west, where you would think the dry air would decimate the rubber.
Stainless steel lines are nothing more than marketing hype - developed for race car brakes that operate at extremely high temperatures - ALL the braiding does is provide chafing protection - despite what the manufacturers claim - period. Teflon has it's limitations too.
Stolen from Snowbum's website - and I agree 110%: (although he's talking about Airheads here this still applies - and perhaps even more so for Anti-lock systems.)
"BMW stock-original type rubber hoses will last MANY DECADES, if you never hang the calipers by the hoses, which is true ABUSE! Hanging calipers by the hoses will pinch/kink the tiny diameter hidden internal hose, especially at the hose end fittings. It is RARE for the internals of a stock-original BMW hose to collapse, so long as the hose is not injured by that mentioned hanging. Stainless steel lines are NOT all that much better...many are MUCH worse than the stock hoses. The problem with nearly all SS hoses is that they won't pass the WHIPPING test...a test of constant flexing to simulate long term use; and, the 304 SS material will work-harden, then can break; also the bad braiding area can rupture...and you get a bubble situation that can blow out. SS hoses are NOT just SS braid covered standard rubber hydraulic line hoses. If you use SS hoses be SURE that they are plastic tubing covered...not hardly just to protect painted surfaces, but to help avoid the common SS hoses/lines failure modes. SOME premium hoses WILL pass whipping tests. ASK!
BMW hoses are not overly long, which tends to minimize the potentially softer feeling (from using non-metal-braided hoses). BMW hoses are of the HIGHEST quality. With a stock hose you can generally feel the hose to see if it is failing, especially near the end fittings, while you apply heavy lever pressure. That is not so easy with SS braiding, a drawback. SS hoses require covering by clear plastic tubing of some sort, where the hoses might touch paintwork. Some SS lines are far too stiff, not really meant for all the flexing that your airhead does with its moving fork. Some (or most?) SS hoses have far too small an internal diameter of the inside tubing (often Teflon or?), and that creates a harder lever feel, but creates other problems as the lever pressure is released. I like the LOOK of SS braid covered hoses, but not the potential problems."
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