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Old 04-11-2014, 03:15 PM   #1
jonz OP
Miles are my mantra
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Joined: Aug 2004
Location: CA dez (it's a dry heat)/West Yellowstone,MT
Oddometer: 2,481
Rear brake issue on 950SE

Howdy gang,
It's happened a couple times now. My rear brake goes away. I bleed it. It works for several thousand miles and then goes away again. No fluid leaks or loss.

Is something failing or need to be rebuilt?

Thanks in advance for any help.
KTM 950 SE, KTM640 ADV ( Hibachi, risen from the ashes)
KTM520EXC (broken), KTM 400XC (the replacement)
Honda ST1300 ABS (newest addition to the stable)
STOC #326 IBA #217
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:25 PM   #2
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: London, but am a Kiwi
Oddometer: 882
Well... my take is if you bleed it and it works, then goes away - you need a master and/or calliper piston seal rebuild. Check the hose as well.

Job done :)

Not much else it can be
Current Bikes: 2006 Honda XR650R & 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R (build thread at )
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:26 PM   #3
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: San Diego, CA
Oddometer: 108
Overheating? Any chance you might be ever so slightly depressing the pedal? A buddy of mine cooked his rear brake in similar fashion on a long downhill in death valley a few weeks ago - they came back after cooling off.

I've also had the rear brake on my SE go away when riding from sea level in SD to Big Bear (like 8,500') one day. I thought I might have some air in the system or something and I'd need to bleed out the system when I got home but it seemed to recover once we left Big Bear and decended the next day. Oddly enough they've been fine ever since.
'07 KTM 950 Super Enduro R
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:08 AM   #4
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Brisbane
Oddometer: 1,596
Id guess that your big fat clod hopper is resting on the brake lever & you don't know it.

It doesn't take much to cook the rear brake on the SE.

Don't ask me how I know this.
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:29 AM   #5
Vtwin madness
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Not quite Tamworth, Aus
Oddometer: 444
I have the same problem with losing the rear brake, and no I'm not resting my foot on it. I have my lever set fairly high so it is reachable when standing. I lift my foot to get on it whilst sitting. It only fades after hard use ie when chasing an XR650R through a twisty dirt back track last monday. Didn't fade again for the rest of the weeks ride. I was going to change the fluid before I went but didn't. This could be some of the problem. Not enough cooling from the drilled rotor, anyone tried a slotted one? Fluid capacity too small for the size of the bike? Not an issue on a sports bike as you hardly use the rear brake.
950A, 660RR, 640A, 250EXC-2t, RM125C, PE175C, TM250
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:48 PM   #6
Fat kid on a 950 SE
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Catskill, NY
Oddometer: 361
Brake Fluid

I had a similar problem until I completely flushed and refilled from a brand new sealed bottle of fluid. Brake fluid can absorb moisture. (Hygroscopic)

I made the mistake of buying a quart sized bottle and it took forever to use up.
2013 KTM 1190 Adventure
2007 KTM 950 SE
2004 KTM 450 EXC
1979 Suzuki GS850
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:36 PM   #7
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Joined: Aug 2013
Location: SouthWest (AZ)
Oddometer: 813
Heat Shield

master may or may not need a rebuild… they are just too small for the bike…

I got tired of bleeding every few months… I installed a Galfer rotor and pads and spark plug boot heat sock/shield (keeps exhaust from heating up fluid in line) that deflects up to 1200 degrees F and I run Motul RBF600 high-temp racing fluid… don't know it it will fix your issue, but after years and years of messing with the SE rear brake I've been 14K miles now without a rear brake issue...
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Old 06-28-2014, 08:50 PM   #8
Jerkus Maximus
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Lowville, NY
Oddometer: 8,601
All three of my 950's needed the rear brake bled every so often.
2013 KTM 690R Enduro
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Old 06-28-2014, 11:14 PM   #9
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Joined: May 2008
Location: SLO County
Oddometer: 410
I have to bleed the rear brake on my SE every 5-6 months to maintain a firm brake pedal.
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Old 06-29-2014, 05:26 AM   #10
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Blighty
Oddometer: 8,543
Clean and grease the calliper pins (not pad pins), make sure the rubber boots are not split, remove any muck around and clean pistons. Sticking calliper or pistons will add unwanted heat. The brakes reset from the natural wobble of the disc, fractions. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, any moisture will boil easily causing brake fade, higher altitude will lower the temp at which it boils.

If the fluid is clean, and still brake fade then its getting too hot, sticking pistons etc. Or your riding is beyond the capability of the brakes cooling effect, only option is to use higher temperature fluid. As suggested race fluid, Brembo, its not cheap.

I can only get the rear peddle to feel right by reverse bleeding from the calliper.... I must invest in a vacuum kit.
Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:10 AM   #11
wholesome dirtiness
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Socal, between the mountains, desert and ocean
Oddometer: 222
Same for my 950SE. It's great for a few months, then start going away pretty quickly. I've never been able to find any hint of a leak. It just seems to have a six month shelf life. Doesn't appear to be an isolated issue.
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