2020 GTS 300 Spongy front brake

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by DandyDoug, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    I noticed the other morning that the front brake lever has way too much travel for my liking , it felt spongy but the bike stopped ok.

    I don't find any leakage of brake fluid , and looking at the sight glass it's either completely full or lower than the glass. I tried shaking the bars to see if there was any movement of the fluid but don't see anything. Tried the old trick of compressing the lever overnight with a strap. But it did not improve on the travel or feel.

    I looked at a video about changing /flushing the fluid and it looks like a major job of body parts, windscreen, and mirror removal.
    Is there any other way to just see if I just need a little brake fluid. ??
    #1
  2. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    If you pump the brake lever does the feel improve? If so you probably have air in the line. Considering the scoot's age I'd have it documented at the dealer's for warranty work (In case there's leak in the system that needs parts).
    #2
  3. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    It feels like some air in the line to me, warranty work will be a problem I think.
    Had a bad buying experience with the closest dealer , so I went from NC to MD to buy the scoot .
    Not real comfortable going to the NC dealer at this point.
    So I'll have to tackle this myself. No big deal except for all the plastic needing to be removed.
    I was just hoping there was some other way to get to the reservoir .
    #3
  4. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    For the GTS it's not too bad. Just the mirror & a hex screw holding plastic over the reservoir.


    When I was doing it I'd cover the handlebar plastic with tin foil to prevent damage.
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  5. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

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    Have you noticed a change in the lever or has it always been like that? If you pull hard enough does it trigger the ABS? Some scooters and motorcycles just have a spongy feeling as stock, I've heard large parts of Asia likes it that way. They're used to it or something.
    #5
  6. Johann

    Johann Commuterous Tankslapperous

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    Tieing the lever to the bars overnight works well but you need to undo the m/c cover to allow the air in the system a way to escape.

    Investing in a hydraulic bleeder transforms bleeding brakes from a triple handed patience of the buddha job requiring three hands to a five minute effortless job. Undo bleed nipple. attach pump, pump a few times and make sure the reservoir is topped up as once the fluid starts flowing the level will change very quickly.

    Longer term a braided line is a good improvement but even the cheap OEM brake lines should be good for 20-30k miles before you get a noticeable lack of performance.

    Increased lever travel is also a natural function of pads wearing. Have you checked how much pad material is left?
    #6
  7. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    2018 and later don't have the reservoir cover. You have to remove the headset
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  8. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    ooh, that is painful. :(
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  9. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    Thanks, that's the video I watched earlier. Robot is da man IMHO.
    Where is the hex screw holding the plastic cover located ?
    Or do you mean the brake reservoir cover ??
    #9
  10. HarveyM

    HarveyM Been here awhile

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    On my old '07 it was a plastic cover over the brake reservoir (parts 9 & 10):
    GTS handlebar pre '18.jpg

    Appearently Vespa's changed that :(
    #10
  11. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    Yes it's different now .
    Oh well it's supposed to rain later this week , good project for an afternoon in the garage.
    Since I gave away my Miti-Vac , I'll call a buddy to come over and help pump the lever and do it old school style .
    I love the look of my Vespa, just hate mucking about with plastic body panels and covers. They always seem to come apart marginally ok . It's the fitting them back and all the fiddly bits I don't like.
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  12. Ride2Live/Live2Ride

    Ride2Live/Live2Ride On the road again Supporter

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    When I recently had the 600 mile service on my 2020 GTS, I ask the mechanic why the rear brake lever felt much “stiffer “ than the front brake which felt a little “mushy”. His response was that it was be Vespa design to make it more difficult to lock the front brake. Even with ABS I ask? He said yes, because of the weight distribution bias towards the rear. Any way, I notice that that there is very little weight transfer to the front wheel when I brake hard with front brake and I’ve never actually activated the ABS. Could this be due the the rear weight bias on this vehicles, similar to Corvairs and VW bugs, where the rear brakes did more work than on front engined cars? I’m developing the practice of using rear brake first and the adding front brake, which is opposite to my past practice. Actually I think the brakes on this machine are quite good when used in this manner.
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  13. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    That's brilliant , I did not consider that it might have been designed that way.
    I think I'll leave it alone for a bit now and try to change my riding style.
    As they say, learn something new every day !!
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  14. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    I also noticed that the front brake got a little "tighter" after riding about 1,000 miles.
    #14
  15. JerryH

    JerryH To Each Their Own Supporter

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    IMO no brake should be spongy. That sounds exactly like air in the line that is compressing when you apply the brake. The lever should be firm, and easy to modulate. You should feel some slowing as soon as you put pressure on the lever, and it should become stronger as you put more pressure on it. I have seen brakes that would lock up with just a little pressure, and brakes that wouldn't lock no matter how much pressure you put on the lever, along with spongy brakes. it shouldn't require much movement of the lever to apply significant braking force. If the ABS works like I've heard it's supposed to, it should never lock, though it will repeatedly chirp the tires on cars before releasing. Both my Vespa brakes work fine. I changed the fluid right after buying it. My guess is the change in design is to make it harder to work on, to encourage owners to take it to the dealer.
    #15
  16. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    The design is because when it was first made Piaggio didn't like exposed chains on motorcycles. He wanted something something you could ride in a suit and arrive clean at your destination. Also something that women could ride in a skirt without being immodest.
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  17. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    Went for a putt around locally and in all maybe 50 miles . I was constantly testing the brakes, both front and rear.

    Front: the lever never came back all the way to the bar.
    Tried several front only stops, was never able to get the wheel to slide or feel any ABS activation.
    At some points the lever did feel a bit harder and did not seem to come back as far .
    Still feels a bit odd to me at least.

    Rear: felt about like my Burgman , traveled about 1/2inch before starting to slow the bike.
    Never locked up the rear wheel and never felt any ABS activation like you feel in a car .eg: pedal pulsation

    Summation: I guess it's ok but I still feel that a good bleed of the front is in order.
    Even if it's just to satisfy my mind.Next rainy day I'll hope to get motivated and start removing plastic bits AARRGGHH !!!
    #17
  18. CBRider

    CBRider Between a rock and a weird place.

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    I stopped by AF1 Racing this morning. They have several 2020 GTS 300s and also a several 2019 models. Every one of the 2020 bikes had real spongy front brakes with the lever coming almost back to the handlebar. The front brakes on all of the 2019 bikes felt real firm like they should. The sales guys were all busy and I didn't get a chance to ask them about it. Not sure what's going on with the 2020s.
    #18
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  19. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Long timer

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    I wonder if there is any way to contact Piagio about this. ?????
    Of course we need to wait until they all get back from vacation in September :imaposer
    #19
  20. Cactus67

    Cactus67 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Same story here at the Vespa dealer yesterday. 5 HPE’s and all mushy / numb front brake - I demo rode one of them - rear was good, but the front was lousy.

    My Sprint 150 front brake was better for sure, and it was never great.

    Something seems to be going on, with multiple HPE owners reporting the issue on multiple forums.
    #20
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