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I just bought a Vulcan that’s been sitting for a decade and the previous owner said the brakes locked up but he got them free before I got there. I flushed out the disgusting dark brown fluid and got it running out nice and clean with no air in the system. They were working great until I pulled into a parking lot to inspect a fuel problem. Started heading out to the road and suddenly it didn’t want to move, front brakes totally locked. I cracked one of the bleeders and it freed up and got home using mostly the rear brakes. I noticed that the front brakes are working way better than before with absolutely no drag since cracking the bleeder. Any ideas why they suddenly locked up/started working again even better than before they got stuck?
 

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#1 culprit - Rubber brake hose collapsing internally. You won't be able to see the collapse by looking at the hose. It's a common problem on all hydraulic brake systems.

Plugged return port in the bottom of the master cyl. can do the same. With the cap removed, very carefully squeeze the lever and see if fluid squirts up out of the reservoir. Use rags so fluid doesn't end up on your paint.

A stuck caliper wouldn't release by opening the bleeder, so it's not that.
 

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I took a bread tie wire and cleaned out the tiny return port in the master cylinder. It was completely blocked up and wasn’t letting any fluid back in. It’s all working great now without any drag. Awww yeah!
 

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The return port in the master cylinder is usually the problem when a bike has been sitting for a long time. One reason I always squeeze the brake lever on any bike I have stored for any length of time. Since it did sit for so long, water may have gotten into the system, and you may have corrosion problems. When you get a chance, you might want to go through the whole system, clean it up, and replace all the rubber seals and the hoses. For what oem hoses cost, you're probably better off getting stainless steel hoses. Brakes are not something you want to find yourself without.
 
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