“Reversed” Front Brake Calipers on Vintage Hondas?

On some bikes (including the Honda GL1000), the front calipers can actually be installed on the wrong side!  Front brake calipers on all bikes must be installed with the bleed screw “up.”

This simple requirement can get corrupted when brake parts are carelessly “mixed-and matched” or installed without care.  Whatever the explanation, this error leads to two serious issues:

  • Brake hoses will be too short and “kinked” at an odd angle creating a serious safety hazard!
  • Air bleed nipples with be rendered worthless, since they are no longer at the top of the caliper where air bubbles rise. The brake system can never be fully “bled” of trapped air.

Reversed Caliper

Caliper “Reversed” – Note Stress on Brake Hose!

75-76 GL1000 Brake Calipers

Correct Caliper Orientation – Note Bleed Nipple at “top”

Remember: There is only one correct placement of the left and right front calipers. Correctly installed, the air bleed nipples will always be at the top of the caliper!

Comments

  1. Caliper pin B rubber sleeve replacement ?

    • Norton Muzzone says:

      Mark,
      There are some fantastic aftermarket caliper rebuild kits on the market. You will have to specify your year and model to research. Unfortunately, Randakk does not offer any of these style kits which include the pins and rubber replacement items.
      Thank you for your inquiry,
      Norton
      Randakk Customer Service Team

  2. Dan Jacobsen says:

    I have purchased several of the oil filter adapters for my vintage GL1000s. What spin on filter is recommended.

  3. That “wrong way” photo is of my bike. In my defense I removed, repaired, and reinstalled the brakes as I found them. Thanks to Randakk’s costumer service (Norton) I realized my mistake. Those calipers were installed incorrectly for many years because now I figured out why the calipers had hammer marks of them. The previous owner must have had the calipers flipped somehow and when the brakes didn’t work he hit them a hammer. Okie Dokie!! Learning some of the psychology of the previous owner and it also appears he was proficent with a grease gun too judging by the vast volume of grease I cleaned off the back drive hub. 🙂 Ah the joys of trying to restore an old bike. I’m just glad that Norton was there to help and advise!!

    • David: Stuff happens! Glad we got the mystery solved. I thought sharing this might help some other GL1000 owners.

      Have you swapped the calipers back yet? Thanks.

      Randakk

      • Yes! I have the calipers installed the right way now and bleed the system. Bingo!! I also have purchased your hi-tech front master cylinder. Now the front brakes are not only working but now they also now a really solid, predictable feel. In my restoration so far I’ve redone the front end. Brakes being the most important component. The rotors have been trued, the calipers completely rebuilt; seals, stainless steel pistons, stainless steel brake lines from you. and now I truly think I could flip the bike in a full panic stop at over 30mph. Just like in the cartoons. BAM!! Shit!! Something else to worry about! 🙂

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