Front Brake Upgrade - KTM Duke 390 Forum
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post #1 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Front Brake Upgrade

After chafing at home for 11 straight days as the climate-change-skewed weather alternated between freezing, snowing and raining, yesterday I was able to put 2 hours on the Dukino to test out my new front brake combination:
Galfer 320mm rotor and Frando 15mm radial master cylinder. I came home chilled, but very pleased at the power and control of these new components.

I have long thought that the Duke's stock ByBre MC is something of a weak link in the front brake chain: It works adequately, but has little tactile feedback, requires relatively high effort, and even after being thoroughly bled, it still retains a kind of murky, springy, indistinct feel. It stops the bike, but does not provide the kind of feedback, effortless power and easy control of brake dosage that many experienced riders seek. I decided to look for something better.

I first looked at Brembo's RCS 15 (see HardRacing), a beautiful, race-oriented and pricey unit festooned with features such as on-the-fly lever ratio changing, folding lever and expensive Brembo logo. An exquisite piece, perfect for racing, but definitely overkill for my kind of enthusiastic but rational street riding. I researched and was drawn to Frando, a high-quality Taiwanese brake system manufacturer whose products are similar in design and quality to the major Asian brake makers such as Nissin and Tokico. Frando, however, is lesser known, especially in the NA and EU markets, has lower manufacturing costs and is therefore able to match Nissin and Tokico (and Brembo) at a significantly lower price point. Frando has quite a complete selection of master cylinders, calipers, rotors and accessories.
FRANDO- Brake System CHE LIWU CO., LTD.

I decided on the no-frills Frando 7NB Vertical (ie, radial) MC with the stock short lever. Since I have fitted my bike with Barkbuster hand guards that protect the levers in the event of a fall, I saw no need for the available folding lever. The MC is available in a variety of anodized colors (including Orange!), but I chose a sober black finish. I purchased the Frando from WeBike Japan,
frando : Radial Brake Master Cylinder [065-7NBRL14BK]
an excellent, efficient vendor, BTW. The price of this unit varies almost daily as the USD/Yen exchange rate fluctuates. I paid about $138 last December.
The Frando comes nicely boxed with MC, banjo bolt with built-in brake switch with connector, and reservoir with hose and bracket. Very complete, everything needed for fitment except a couple of copper washers.

I thought that fitting the Frando would be much more of a project than proved to be. It was surprisingly easy and painless. The most difficult part of the operation was uninstalling the stock MC. The ByBre does not have a two-piece handlebar clamp, and thus requires disassembly of the control module, removal of the throttle tube (and in my case, uninstalling the right-side Barkbuster) before the ByBre can be unhooked from brake line and brake light leads, then slid off the handlebar.

Installing the Frando was dead easy. The two-piece clamp mounts readily to the bar; The OE brake line is long enough to reach the Frando's underneath outlet (vs the stocker's side outlet); new copper washers added, it hooked right up; the two brake light leads to the stock MC pushed easily onto the Frando's connector pins, no modification needed. If I were OCD, I would have cut the Frando's rather long connector to the exact length; instead, I simply looped it around the bar and attached the Duke's leads directly - no hassel, no cutting. In 20 minutes the Frando was fitted and ready for fluid. I filled the reservoir with new DOT3-4 and opened the top mounted bleeder (a great feature of radial MC's, entirely lacking on conventional MC's like the ByBre). Right away I had a firm lever and a working brake light. I tied the lever under pressure to the throttle grip and left it overnight to eliminate any vestige of air in the system. The next morning I had a rock-solid lever. (Note: Like Nissin and Tokico, Frando uses a 10mm x 1.25 banjo bolt thread, vs. Brembo's 10mm x 1.0. Not interchangeable.)

The rotor change was straightforward, following HardRacing's helpful video. The new Galfer was Locktited and torqued to spec within an hour. Serendipitously, when re-installing the wheel, I loosened the pinch bolts on the right side of the fork, pumped the forks several times, then tightened the pinch bolts. Like magic, the unusual stiction - I had assumed was just part of the basic forks - suddenly disappeared. The fork action is distinctly freer and better now. One would think this fork alignment procedure would be part of the factory assembly routine, but apparently not. I recommend this operation to any Duke owner who has not yet done so.

Before the long stretch of unrideable weather set in, I was able to make a short, chilly test ride. Even with brake pads (EBC HH) unbedded-in to the new rotor, I was elated at the increased power, feel and control of the new setup.
Yesterday's ride confirmed that impression: Compared to the ByBre MC/stock rotor setup, the Frando/Galfer combination offers instant bite, greatly increased deceleration for less lever effort, and especially, much better feel/feedback/dosage control. Almost effortless to bring the front wheel to the ABS intervention point. Exactly what I was seeking. This is a great upgrade, and will only improve as the pads bed in over the next few hundred miles.
I think this is about as good as it can get on the Duke using the ABS unit and the stock ByBre caliper. (Idle, wicked thought: new, big-time caliper? Hmmm.....I'm sick, I know) The Frando/Galfer combo is certainly the most meaningful of my Dukino's winter upgrades, along with the R6 shock. The Frando MC, in particular, is excellent quality and performance for the money, right up there, IMO, with the other top-tier manufacturers - a deal.

The sun's coming out! It's my birthday! Need to ride! Later yall......
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Cheers, Will

"If you don't know where you're going, you might wind up somewhere else."
--Yogi Berra

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post #2 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 10:04 AM
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Joyeux anniversaire , Will and congratulations on a job well done ... as you know my Frando front brake MC and hydraulic clutch master and slave cylinders should be with me by no later this Monday ... a bit of luck I'll have them on Friday . Unlike you , I went with the flashier orange Mc's with black folding levers and 17mm pistons
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post #3 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 10:07 AM
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Nice write up, Will. That's a tempting mod, after I get some more miles on the bike. Right now, I'm happy with the stock set up.

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post #4 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diploman View Post

I thought that fitting the Frando would be much more of a project than proved to be. It was surprisingly easy and painless. The most difficult part of the operation was uninstalling the stock MC. The ByBre does not have a two-piece handlebar clamp, and thus requires disassembly of the control module, removal of the throttle tube (and in my case, uninstalling the right-side Barkbuster) before the ByBre can be unhooked from brake line and brake light leads, then slid off the handlebar.


One would think this fork alignment procedure would be part of the factory assembly routine, but apparently not. I recommend this operation to any Duke owner who has not yet done so.

.
Will, there is a difference between our bikes either because of you having an older model or because the US version ?
My stock Mc has a two bolt clamp fitting and no need to take off anything else to remove it from the handle bar .

However , the clutch lever unit is a single bolt and I will have to remove the lot to get that one off . I'll see how I can adapt the clutch lever action switch to the hydraulic sensor switch . That switch would seem to actuate on the starter in neutral or when the clutch is engaged . Probably I could do away completely with that function , but perhaps safer to keep it in place .

The user manual advises to do the fork alignment after having taken off the front wheel in that manner .
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post #5 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 11:18 AM
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My early 2015 US spec 390 has a two-bolt mounting, with the bolts going in horizontally.

Great write-up, but none of the pics really show how you mounted the mirror - to the boss where the reservoir bracket mounts? Wifey does not like the bar end mirrors, and buying a set of those aftermarket ones would increase the cost quite a bit.

I have to admit that with the EBC pads I don't hate on the front brake much...maybe there are other differences in my stock master cylinder than the bar mounting.

Lighter makes it righter!
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post #6 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Yves, you are lucky that your OE MC will be much easier than mine to uninstall. My Duke is a 2015, from the first batch to reach North America. This is one more strange equipment disparity between the US/Canada and EU models. While the enlarged tail light and incandescent indicators on the NA models were driven by US Department of Transportation regulations, it is seems unlikely that a single-bolt MC clamp (vs the two-bolt clamps on the MC's fitted to most bikes sold in this market) would be required by safety or other regulations. Probably some unexplained cost-cutting by KTM/Bajaj.

I forgot to mention in my review that I opted for a 15mm bore on my Frando, taking a cue from Brembo, who tout the RCS 15 radial MC as the optimum size to drive a single 4-pot caliper.

Cheers, Will

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post #7 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy49 View Post
My early 2015 US spec 390 has a two-bolt mounting, with the bolts going in horizontally.

Great write-up, but none of the pics really show how you mounted the mirror - to the boss where the reservoir bracket mounts? Wifey does not like the bar end mirrors, and buying a set of those aftermarket ones would increase the cost quite a bit.

I have to admit that with the EBC pads I don't hate on the front brake much...maybe there are other differences in my stock master cylinder than the bar mounting.
So it is not the US specs but most probably production year that alters how the MC is fixed to the handle bar .

The Frando Mc's allow the mirrors to mount on the same fixation of the oil reservoir ( right hand thread ). I bought a new left hand side mirror and will use that arm ( right hand thread ) to fix my old original right hand side mirror to .
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post #8 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Zippy, Now that really is strange, that your 2015 bike and mine would have different master cylinders. Maybe they fit one-bolt MC's on Monday and Wednesday, two-bolt MC's on Tuesday and Thursday, and on Friday whatever happens to be in the parts bin.

The Doubletalk mirrors are mounted on RAM ball studs screwed into the (right-hand thread) receptacle on the Frando, which also holds the reservoir bracket; and into the (right-hand thread) mirror fitting on the clutch perch. The ByBre MC has a left-hand thread mirror receptacle.

Will do a review of the mirrors when I have some time. They are good.

Temp here is now up to 44 F (6.7C) - time to ride!
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Cheers, Will

"If you don't know where you're going, you might wind up somewhere else."
--Yogi Berra

2015 390 Duke
1980 Moto Guzzi V50 II (becoming a cafe racer)
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post #9 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 11:59 AM
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As others have said, great write up - one reason I've held off from changing the levers is I've had more of a problem with what the brake lever is attached to......

Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy49 View Post
My early 2015 US spec 390 has a two-bolt mounting, with the bolts going in horizontally.

I have to admit that with the EBC pads I don't hate on the front brake much...maybe there are other differences in my stock master cylinder than the bar mounting.
My 2015 is a two bolt mounting also. My 2015 is still essentially fully stock (not counting incidentals such as DRLs, crashbars, handguards etc.) and well out in front now for my least favourite characteristic of the bike is the mushy - and variable - feel to the front master cylinder. Admittedly I have not tried changing the brake fluid, but have tied the lever to the bar twice now, each time giving a temporary improvement in performance, so something tells me changing the fluid (on a year old bike !) isn't going to make alot of difference.

I will probably try changing the fluid first (out of curiosity as much as anything) but expect my bike will be getting the 'Frando' treatment at some point.
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post #10 of 82 Old 04-13-2016, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diploman View Post
Yves, you are lucky that your OE MC will be much easier than mine to uninstall. My Duke is a 2015, from the first batch to reach North America. This is one more strange equipment disparity between the US/Canada and EU models. While the enlarged tail light and incandescent indicators on the NA models were driven by US Department of Transportation regulations, it is seems unlikely that a single-bolt MC clamp (vs the two-bolt clamps on the MC's fitted to most bikes sold in this market) would be required by safety or other regulations. Probably some unexplained cost-cutting by KTM/Bajaj.

I forgot to mention in my review that I opted for a 15mm bore on my Frando, taking a cue from Brembo, who tout the RCS 15 radial MC as the optimum size to drive a single 4-pot caliper.

Well , I too thought that safety rules and regulations would have been pushing it a little if that was the case . Then again , I believe I have mentioned this before .. The safety regulations in the US are quite different to us europeans .. and sometimes perceived as absurd by us .

I went with the 17 mm pistons as I knew that the Brembo RCS19 was overkill for our single 4 pot calipers , but assuming that the Brembo RCS 15 products could maybe be more effective than the Frando , chose the middle way .. 17mm
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