Brake Swap

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siai47
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Finally did it---I swapped the front brake to the left side of the Vectrix. Since I first drove it, I have worried that in a panic situation that occurs after you have started to slow with regen, there is too much to think about trying to get out of regen mode, grab the right brake for heavy front braking and get your other hand on the left rear brake. Full regen almost locks the rear tire and in a panic, application of rear brake at the same time could be real issue if you are not traveling straight ahead. It's a pretty easy swap. The brake hoses are of equal length going up to the handlebar. The only issue is that the Vectrix uses braided steel brake lines which should not be twisted. The lines have banjo fittings at each end and the handlebar ends have about a 40 degree bend in them to follow the handlebar up to the master cylinders. When you swap the lines, the bends are going the wrong way. The rear line is long enough that it can be turned 180 degrees to line it back up. The shorter front brake line needs to be be removed from the front caliper, loosened in it's clamp and turned 180 degrees. The end going to the caliper needs to be carefully bent about 15 degrees to re-attach it to the caliper. Check the routing of the lines by turning the handlebar fully from left to right and make sure nothing is binding or chaffing. When you remove the handlebar cover to get at the lines, you will find it is held on by four phillips head screws and two very small round head allens located just inside the mirror mount area. Be sure you loosen these, but don't remove them---when you get the cover off, you will find the screws retain a couple of clamps that look like an afterthought to fit the cover. I know some will yell at me for violating FMVSS, etc., however after stopping with the front brake and full regen (without ever removing your grip on the throttle) you can really see how fast this thing stops without ever touching the rear brake :).

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moccasin
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Re: Brake Swap

Thanks for posting, my friend!!

This question (and project) has been on my list since day one, as it just makes more sense to supplement regen braking with strong front brake than to release regen then grab brakes with both hands.

I appreciate the heads up on the cable issues, because I have not yet had an opportunity to open the handlebar cover for a looksee.

All the bicycles I've ever ridden had front brakes on the left, and with no clutch, or gears to fool with, that suits me just fine for the Vectrix as well.

Mik
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Re: Brake Swap

moccasin wrote:

Thanks for posting, my friend!!

This question (and project) has been on my list since day one, as it just makes more sense to supplement regen braking with strong front brake than to release regen then grab brakes with both hands.

I appreciate the heads up on the cable issues, because I have not yet had an opportunity to open the handlebar cover for a looksee.

All the bicycles I've ever ridden had front brakes on the left, and with no clutch, or gears to fool with, that suits me just fine for the Vectrix as well.

With BMW summer leather gloves the regen brake and front brake can be operated very well together, but it needs practicing.
The rear wheel does not even look up when the front wheel locks up on a steep downhill gravel patch! It's ABS, so to say.

With "normal" leather gloves it is a lot more difficult to quickly get the fingers around the brake lever, whilst still holding full regen applied, but it can be done.

I do not have/need dedicated cold weather gloves, but am sure it will be much more difficult the stiffer the gloves are!

In Europe and Australia the front brake lever on bicycles is on the right, where it should be.

Mr. Mik

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oobflyer
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Re: Brake Swap

Just curious why you switched the brakes... was it difficult to use the regen-braking and the front brakes with the right hand simoutaneously? It hasn't been a problem on my Vectrix. I can stop quite quickly with both brakes and the regen-braking all at the same time.

siai47
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Re: Brake Swap

It is very difficult for me to use the front brake on the right if I want to keep my right hand firmly around the throttle/regen brake grip, or to control the amount of regen as I apply the front brake. For almost all cases of braking, regen does the trick with a little front brake. The rear mechanical brake isn't needed except as a last resort. Therefore, why use one hand to try to control two actions when you can do it with both hands? In a standard motorcycle with a clutch on the handlebars and a foot brake you use your right hand to control the throttle during shifting while your left hand operates the clutch. In braking, you release the throttle when you apply the front brake and are usually not trying to control it. In my Vectrix I use my right hand to control the rear braking with the throttle/regen and left hand for the front brake. With the controls as delivered from Vectrix, I found myself using the regen fully and then applying more rear brake with the left brake lever instead of properly applying the front brake. It's just a matter of preference and seems more natural for me.

moccasin
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Re: Brake Swap

Quote:

In Europe and Australia the front brake lever on bicycles is on the right, where it should be.

And you guys all ride on the wrong side of the road too! HAHA!! :-)

I can usually ease the front brake with my index finger while backing off the throttle, but that's not a natural movement, so I definately want to let my do-nothing left hand take on the front brake task, so I can apply it with better control.

I really only need manual brakes when my braking distance gets chopped up for some reason. Most of the time, regen is all I need, but when someone cuts in or something else happens quickly, I don't want to lose the time involved with grabbing that right lever.

Vectrix-NH
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Re: Brake Swap

Hi
I have had my vectrix since last Oct. , I was thinking the same thing when I got it .
But I have a gas motorcycle also . I have found it easy to go back and forth between the two bike .
and have gotten use to the braking on the vectrix . and in a panic stop it all Brake not regen anyway.

I have also noticed that driving easy and coasting to a stop and just a little regen has ben as good for distance (battery life ) .and my rear gear is quieter by not waring it so hard on the back side of the gears .

One thing you would beware of if you change the brake to the other side , is letting some one else use it . it could be a liability issue if they have an accident . where it is brake to brake its not all that bad though.

I do know someone that had classic British bike that had the brake and cluch on the opposite side . they had troulbe with it and had a friend lay it down because of it.

Happy riding , Herb

Morrison
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Re: Brake Swap

Like most of you, I find that I rarely even need to use the brakes. I am fully into regen braking as much as possible and with enough distance, brakes are rarely used. However, I have mastered the art of simultaneous regen & right brake when needed.

oobflyer
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Re: Brake Swap

Yes, I see the logic. I too ride another motorcycle (Honda Shadow), so I'm afraid that I'd get confused on which bike has the front brakes on which handlebar! All of the motorcycles that I've owned (a dozen or so in my life-time) have had the front brake on the right handle-bar. I just assumed that the Vectrix was the same, but after talking to a friend who rides a Honda Silverwing scooter (he said his are the opposite) I double-checked the Vectrix owner's manual to make sure! And, yes, duh, it has the standard configuration. I'll stick with it I s'pose.

dgh853
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Re: Brake Swap

Thanks siai47.

I have just changed my brakes over using your instructions and after a couple of rides can confirm that having the front brake on the left is far safer as you can make fast stops without contorting your right hand (by having to pull the right brake lever while you're wrist is twisted away from you in full regen). It's also useful when your slowing for a set of lights and need just a little extra braking on top of full regen (e.g. downhill with passenger on board) as you can just feather the front brake with your "free" left hand as required.

While some may find having the brakes swapped over confusing I race road bicycles and the vast majority of racers have the rear brake on the rear and the front brake on the left (neatens / better aligns the brake cables).

One thing I would add to siai47's post is that after switching over the brakes you will need to clear the air out of the brake lines. This can be done by pumping the brake levers until the air is moved back into the master cylinder (and the lever has no free play when pulling on the brake) or if this is not successful, bleeding the brake lines.

eyeinthesky
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Re: Brake Swap

I changed my levers 6 mths ago and feel very comfortable in emergency stopping, not once locking rear wheels
Rear brakes all but forgotten. and as emegergency braking usually happens in a panic is natural to grap two things quickly
the rear lever is not one of them. but each to their own method.
Pete

Hermes
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Re: Brake Swap

I have always used the rear break for sudden stops whilst applying the front after two seconds-ish in my previous bikes, and that always got me to a tidy stop without skidding or risking flying out of the bike forwards.
Now I'm having some serious concerns with Vectrix.
First of all I have never had a rear wheel lock problem like others reported BUT the bike skids "seriously" at emergency stops even at 30 miles an hour on dry even roads.
At first I thought it had to be due to new tyres needing a bit of wear but I've now 600kms on the clock and still feel very unbalanced when breaking. I was warned that the breaks fitted on Vectrix are quite strong and care was required, BUT I don't find them to be any "stronger" than the breaks of my previous bikes.
So the issue lies else where... the weight? I don't know.
Anyone else skidding for no apparent reasons?

moccasin
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Re: Brake Swap

Hermes wrote:

I have always used the rear break for sudden stops whilst applying the front after two seconds-ish in my previous bikes,...So the issue lies else where... the weight? I don't know.
Anyone else skidding for no apparent reasons?

The issue lies within your dangerously flawed braking technique, paired with small wheels, low slung weight, and rider forward ergonomics.

On EVERY bike, the weight of the bike is shifted forward toward the front tire during braking, which creates a dip in the front end and a lift in the rear end. As soon as you hit EITHER brake, the weight on the rear tire is lightened, making it far less dependable as a braker than the front tire. This shift in weight is radically demonstrated in the sportbike arena's where they use those physics to an advantage while doing "stoppies" or front wheel stands.

While both brakes should be applied at the same time (whether it's two levers or front lever and regen), you should train yourself to rely on the front brake as your primary aggressive brake, and the rear as an "assist".

There are times when front brakes are a no-no, but the rules are simple. At parking lot maneuvering speeds, the rear only should be used, because using the front brakes while attempting to turn the bike around or sharp, slow turns will cause the bike to fall. Sand and gravel are not kind to front braking or rear braking, but when stopping on loose surfaces, you have to avoid a front wheel skid at all costs. Out on the road, the front brake is your friend, as it will handle 70 to 80% of the braking needs of the bike. On a Vectrix, Regen braking is excellent as a rear brake because it will rarely, if ever, cause a rear tire skid. Use Regen whenever possible, and add front brakes when regen isn't enough, then use the rear brake to hold your position until you're ready to roll again.

No matter how long anyone has been riding, they can improve their riding skills immensely with Jerry and Donna Palladino's self help videos. Whether you actually practice the proper skills, or just listen and watch, you WILL be a better rider at the end of the video! http://www.ridelikeapro.com

Hermes
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Re: Brake Swap

One learns something new everyday... although my dangerously flawed technique is what I was taught by the so called experts, first for my CBT 10 years ago then at full license level 8 years ago and was expected so at final driving test thereafter. So either I was unlucky to have three different teachers giving the wrong technique or this is the standard way one is told in UK.
In any case the Vectrix is my third bike and so far the only one that's skidding.... but I will try the front break technique.
Should you not see me posting on here anymore, it means I flew forward and kissed the back of a bus.

undead
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Re: Brake Swap

Been riding over 15 years, have had loads of different bikes and have had advanced training to the point of taking my IAM test (didnt have the time)

I have never met a single motorcycle instructor that would recommend using the rear brake as a main source of braking - its 75% front 25% rear or 50%50% in wet conditions and very careful on gravel.

The vectrix has not skidded with me yet and is one of the more stable bikes I have riddden IMO

Hermes
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Re: Brake Swap

As I said before, that's how I was taught (no lie) and obviously found 3 bad tutors along the way. However I never questioned its correctness as it always worked for me and assumed it was the right way.
Let's however NOT turn this into a "who's got the most driving certificates and knows better" it's rather boring.

I asked for advice, not to be patronized.

I'll try retraining my technique.

Thanks

undead
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Re: Brake Swap

If you wish to read it as patronising, thats up to you. Its a block of text on a page with no emotion attached.

I was stating my experience, qualification and opinion. Nothing more...

Mik
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Re: Brake Swap

This thread has been added to the Vectrix Collaborative Handbook, please stay on topic!

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Mik
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Re: Brake Swap

I would like to make a suggestion regarding the brake swap:

At the time that the brakes get swapped over, one could also swap the brake light sensors.

This would make every Vectrix rider aware that S/he is booting up a Vectrix with switched over brakes, because the start-up sequence will not work as usually. One will then need to first pull the right brake lever, then add in the left to make such a modified Vectrix "GO".

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dgh853
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Re: Brake Swap

I agree that swapping the brake lever squeezing start-up procedure could be a useful way to differentiate brake set-ups. Any idea how you do that?

siai47
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Re: Brake Swap

As you are not moving the brake master cylinders (and their associated switches) when you swap the brakes, the startup lever sequence doesn't change.

R
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Re: Brake Swap

I've been riding the vectrix with swaped brakes for two years. In my opinion, it is safer: one hand for the front brake, another for the rear regen brake. I never blocked the rear tyre again. In fact, the rear hidrualic brake was so useless that I finally take it away: My range increased about 3-4 km, because the brake pads are always frictioning on the brake disc...
sany0188_custom.jpg

Mik
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Re: Brake Swap

dgh853 wrote:

I agree that swapping the brake lever squeezing start-up procedure could be a useful way to differentiate brake set-ups. Any idea how you do that?

Maybe the cables can just be swapped. I recall that they had once come off and I just pushed the connectors back on. I figured that my guardian angel must have pulled them off, because in the process of analysing why the bike would not start, I wobbled the side stand and the spring retainer pin fell out. Without the check it would have done that during riding and the side stand would have dropped down....could have been nasty!

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Emmerx
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Re: Brake Swap

R wrote:

In fact, the rear hidrualic brake was so useless that I finally take it away: My range increased about 3-4 km, because the brake pads are always frictioning on the brake disc...
sany0188_custom.jpg

If you removed the brake caliper then you should also remove the enormous and heavy brake disc.

  • You will get more mileage and faster acceleration (and braking!) as you don't have to accelerate (straight line and rotation) the mass of the disc.
  • And you will have better traction at the rear end as the unsprung mass will be less

(although I don't have a clue about the mass of the motor inside the wheel; the mass of the disc could minimal)

Emmerx
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Re: Brake Swap

I have just ordered a VX-1 after I was able to test ride it at the distributor in our country: I got very enthousiatic about the concept.
As I race motor bikes on tracks I'm used to use only the front brake and at the same time disengaging the clutch. The first braking procedure with the Vectrix was fancy as the rear completely locked (I was fully compressing the 'clutch') and was sliding alll over...

Also I was not very pleased with the braking power of the Brembo front brake.
I know a single disc is minimal to decelerate a nearly 300kg combination, but this needs tweaking in my opinion.
Any modifications done already by Vectrix riders or brake pads known to perform better then the standard?

Or could it be the demo was worse then most bikes?

eyeinthesky
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Re: Brake Swap

I changed the brake lines across a year ago and have made the odd emegency stop
Dont think they need tweeking, I have locked front on sealed road
and other times rear tyre has lifted.
never use the rear brake lever! mostly regen (ABS braking) and front for quick pull ups
after a short time it sets in the brain.and feel so natural, but dont let others ride your scoot,
they will forget and use it as a clutch,
I did it on a IC bike once with the opposite effect, pulled on the clutch to stop, Shi.. myself for a second
Might be an issue with roadworthy and insurance changing them over.
I never checked that out.

R
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Re: Brake Swap

If you removed the brake calliper then you should also remove the enormous and heavy brake disc.

Emmerx, your suggestion looks logical, but
1- I need to reinstall the brake in every ITV (vehicle inspection).
2- I need the bike to look as normal as possible, because taking away the rear brake is not legal at all.

So I'll leave the disc installed...

Mik
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Re: Brake Swap

Having never ridden a racing bike, I find the Vectrix brakes just sufficient for a single rider with total 110kg (including everything).

I have practised dozens of full emergency stops, and any more front brake power would allow the wheel to lock up too easily. It will lock up on sub-optimal surfaces, anyway!

The front brake is strong enough to make the front tire sing on good asphalt and almost lock (probably would lock if I was less careful), and the rear wheel lift off.

But my braking technique is probably far from perfect - but I bet it is much better than the average scooter rider's (don't we all think that!).

If you had really really powerful brakes on the front wheel of a Vectrix, then many panic-stricken riders (who of course never practised a single emergency brake because it might be dangerous - HAHA) would crash when they pull the front brake too hard!

With two heavy riders the brakes might be inadequate, but I never tried that.

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AndY1
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Re: Brake Swap

Having owned a Yamaha R6, I can say, that Vectrix's front brake is somewhat weak, but sufficient enough. One has to consider, that racing bikes have two front discs, but Vectrix has only one.
Maybe a different brake pad (the thing that presses to the disc) manufacturer is all that's needed - maybe softer material.

Emmerx
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Re: Brake Swap

AndY1 wrote:

Maybe a different brake pad (the thing that presses to the disc) manufacturer is all that's needed - maybe softer material.

That is probably the only way to go for the front brake to get more braking power out of the single disc.

For the rear brake I'm still worried as this will be confusing for for me, riding both motorbikes and the Vectrix scooter with the rear hand brake on the left side.

As I still own a GPtech thumb brake I'm considering using that one on the VX. Anyone experience with this conversion? Diameter of the steering tube, enough space to mount....

AndY1
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Re: Brake Swap

Interesting. All my previous bikes (Tomos APN6S, Cagiva SST125, Yamaha R6) had a clutch on the left hand, but I had no problem switching to Vectrix and using left hand for rear brake. Not that I use it.

There's no need for switching gears, I mostly use regen, but when I brake with disc brake, I brake with front brake only. I use it in combination only for emergency stops.

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