New Project Bike

Due to the ridiculous amount of mileage I’m travelling to an from work each shift (54 miles) and the price of fuel at the moment I decided to purchase another bike rather than add unnecessary mileage to my Blackbird. I managed to obtain an “R” reg CBR600F Honda a couple of weeks ago from a colleague who decided to hang up his helmet and gloves and give up on trying to master his “50 pence coin” roundabout issue. I will also use the new addition to my garage as a project bike for Safer Rider because its a popular bike which I am sure a few of you may have yourselves. It’s only done 34000 miles which is pretty low for a 96 plate and is in reasonable condition.

After only doing a few miles it was clear to me that the brakes needed looking at. The brake lever felt hard when the brakes were applied but the bike didn’t pull up as eager as it should so I stripped down the front callipers and discovered the cause of the problem.

The front brake callipers have twin pistons each side. On the left side the upper piston was totally seized and on the right side the lower one was seized. If you have a similar issue with sticky pistons, it’s a very easy problem to fix just follow these guidelines.

  • Sticking pistons are caused by a build up of brake pad dust, road film and general crap kicked up from the road especially if you ride in all weathers. Purchase a tin of brake and clutch cleaner from any motorist shop.
  • Remove the brake pads from the callipers and inspect for wear, if they appear excessively worn then replace them.
  • Unbolt the calliper from the fork leg whilst being careful not to allow the calliper to hang just on the rubber brake pipes. I normally secure it with a cable tie which is long enough to work on the calliper but short enough not to place weight on the pipes.
  • Squirt the inside of the calliper with the brake cleaner and give it a good clean out with a cloth. The brake cleaner brakes down all the dirt and grime from inside and then evaporates quickly leaving a clean area behind.
  • Place a small socket or solid piece of metal against the working piston and then operate the brake lever. The seized piston should then begin to move out. With both pistons now extended, again clean them with the brake cleaner. Once both are nice and shinny, push back the pistons into the calliper and keep operating the pistons in and out until there is no resistance.
  • Fit a new set of brake pads ensuring the back plates and securing pins are greased with “copper slip”.
  • Refit the calliper to the fork legs, ensuring the bolts are torqued to the correct tightness and repeat the process on the other side whilst not forgetting to inspect the rear brake.
  • Once all brakes have been cleaned remember to activate the brake lever several times to take up the slack before riding off.


The other issue I had with the 600 related to the indicator switch. I could activate the indicators but I had to press the cancel button several times to turn them off. The switch itself felt like it was dirty and full of grit. I brought a can of electrical contact cleaner and soaked the inside of the switch gear with the stuff using the supplied straw. Bingo! The switch is now smoother than a velvet lined codpiece.

When I was checking on the front brakes I noticed that the front wheel bearing was quite ruff when I rotated the wheel. It is clear the 600 had been neglected a little. Next month I’m going to change both front and rear bearings and will share my experiences and dirty hands with you.

A reader has contacted the Safer Rider team this month with the following question.

“I have a friend who has just brought a TomTom Urban Rider and wants to know which Bluetooth head set works with the device and can the Rider be charged from the bike?”

Thanks for the question Anthony. Any Bluetooth device will pair with the Rider system. I use a Cardo Scala headset which is secured inside my Shoei lid and works very well. The Scala comes with the Urban Rider Pro as a set. I’v charged the headset once, used it for about 25 hours now and it still hasn’t run down. A couple of friends use Bluetooth helmets which pair with the Rider well so basically any Bluetooth device will be fine. Regarding your question about charging the TomTom Rider, check out my product review on the device. One of the issues I had with the new Urban package was that the mounting shoe that holds the Rider is blank and does not charge the head unit. I had to separately purchase a charging shoe and wiring loom from TomTom which set me back £45. I won’t share my thoughts with you about that crazy incentive of making further money from their customers otherwise I would rant on all day!

Thanks for the question, I hope I answered it thoroughly and expect a Safer Rider goodie bag landing on your door mat soon.

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