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Discussion Starter #1
I just installed Kuryakyn brake and clutch levers on my Vulcan, and when I took it for a test ride THE FRONT BRAKES LOCKED UP !!! This happened as I was in a slow corner on some sand-covered blacktop by a construction site and I went down. I scratched up the right edge of my brand new windshield, bent the foot brake lever and sprained my ankle . . . but I'm otherwise alright, except for my pride.

I think this is what happened. The little nipple on the brake lever was too high and would not let the master cylinder release. I must have used the brake lightly several times before this corner (I had ridden about 2 miles by then, several stop lights) and the friction heated everything up and expanded it. When the front wheel hit the sand the friction between the road and the wheel was not enough to keep it turning, so it just stopped. Motorcycles are mostly stabilized by the gyroscopic action of the front wheel, so when this stability suddenly dissappeared, I went down.

All I had to do to release the brake was to remove the new Kuryakyn lever.

There was a Sears store right there, so I bought myself a file and adjusted that lever right in the parking lot. Interestingly, I had tested the brake in my driveway before leaving home. It may have been one of those things where the spacing was very close. It was cold today (about 45 degrees F) and it could be that using the brake a few times warmed up the fluid and the resulting expansion was enough to get things past where the master cylinder could release. In any case, if you are using these levers BE VERY CAREFUL to check that the brake master cylinder is not being pressed upon when the lever is at rest.

Now I think I had better search on the topic of "polishing out scratches."

Bill
 

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"Motorcycles are mostly stabilized by the gyroscopic action of the front wheel, so when this stability suddenly dissappeared, I went down."

Although this is true, in this case, if you were going fairly slow and leaned into a turn, you more than likely "went down" because you lost traction and nothing else. If you were on ice...and the wheel was still turning, the same thing can happen.
Gyroscopic forces on the front (and rear) wheel mostly come in to play at higher speeds, and when the bike is running straight. Losing traction in either wheel while in a turn can have you on the ground quickly.

I am curious about the lever however. If it was made improperly, you might want to call the company and perhaps even seek damages. Do make sure they sent you the correct lever though, as the Vulcan used diffrent master cylnders on some models.
Knifemaker
 

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There are two different sets of brake levers for the VN750 that correspond with the change in the Master Cylinder. The rectangular one is from 85-90 and the round one from 91 and all years after.

7426 // $29.95 _ORDER NOW
Wide Style Levers for Kawasaki (pr)
Fits: '91-'05 Vulcan VN750 (all).

I don't see any levers listed for the earlier models. What year is your bike?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Knifemaker, you are absolutely right about the traction thing, and I was only going walking speed when I got dumped. I shudder to think about this happening at a higher speed . . . as it is I have some new purple color on my foot and it was definitely a "Motrin Morning." As for a damages claim, I suspect that Kuryakyn would just blow me off and it wouldn't be worth the trouble. I just won't be buying any more of their products.

Dianna, sorry for the oversight in my post. My bike is a '99 VN750 and the levers ARE the 7426 (46092-1170+46092-1172 is on the back of the package as well). Also, this is a problem with the mold used, as the mold marks show that the problem did NOT result from flash or any such thing.

Bill
 

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Then I would say contact Kury's Customer Support. I have found them to be outstanding in the past and they are one company that still believes in Customer Service and satisfaction. Surprising in this day and age when most company's do just blow ya off..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You are quite right, Dianne, and at the very least this will give them the chance to make a design change. I just sent them the following:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently installed your finger lever set (7426) on my Kawasaki Vulcan 750 (1999 model) and a flaw in the brake lever design caused my front brake to lock up after riding roughly two miles, thus causing an accident. There is a more complete description of this event at: http://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1012

Upon looking at the probable cause of this event, it appears that the "nipple" that presses upon the brake master cylinder is too prominent by about 1 mm, thus preventing the master cylinder from releasing the internal pressure under certain circumstances.

PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS!!!!! My accident was at a very slow speed, but it does not take much imagination to see that it could have been much worse than it was.

Thank you,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, it’s been two weeks and still no word from Kuryakyn. I hope this means that they are seriously looking into the problem, but it could also mean that their lawyers have advised them to not acknowledge the problem for liability reasons. Which is to say, they may well intend to ignore it and just hope it goes away. I guess we’ll see. In the meanwhile, I hope that everyone is passing the word, and those of you with Kuryakyn levers are giving them a hard look. A slow speed dump is one thing, a higher speed accident or one in heavy traffic could well be a different thing entirely.

I strongly recommend that if you have these levers (and I certainly like mine, after modifying them) you take the brake lever off and take a look at how far the master cylinder piston is depressed when you put it back on. You can see this quite easily, just pull out the bolt that the lever pivots on and hold the lever in place with the part that rests on the master cylinder snug against it but not depressing it, and the tab that prevents the lever from pivoting outward also snug. The hole in the lever should be slightly offset in an outward direction parallel to the handlebar, indicating slight spring tension from the master cylinder with the bolt in place. If the master cylinder is holding the lever too far outward, then when the bolt is re-installed the master cylinder will be depressed by the amount of the offset, which in my case was roughly a millimeter or so before I filed it down — and enough to prevent the pressure from bleeding after the brake was used. If you do find an excessive offset, a little work with a file on the nipple that depresses the master cylinder can quickly fix it.

If I hear anything from Kuryakyn I’ll post it here.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Blown off . . .

Well, it's about 10 days short of four months since I contacted Kuryakyn and I haven't heard a peep from them . . . so I think it's safe to say that they blew me off. Caveat Emptor folks.

BillyDoc
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'll send them a certified letter today. There was no bounce on the first email. I think they got it.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This should get their attention

I just sent the following to Kuryakyn. If I don't hear from them in a few weeks I'll file in small claims court and see if they notice that. I wouldn't mind getting my scratched up parts replaced anyway. The foot has mostly replaced itself (turned out I broke the big toe, I just didn't notice because the ankle hurt so much).


Küryakyn
P.O. Box 339
Somerset, WI 54025 USA Certified Mail #: 7002 2410 0003 4106 1924

Dear Sir or Madam:

On the 19th of November, 2005 I sent you the following email:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently installed your finger lever set (7426) on my Kawasaki Vulcan 750 (1999 model) and a flaw in the brake lever design caused my front brake to lock up after riding roughly two miles, thus causing an accident. There is a more complete description of this event at: http://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1012 (Since moved here:
http://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1002)

Upon looking at the probable cause of this event, it appears that the "nipple" that presses upon the brake master cylinder is too prominent by about 1 mm, thus preventing the master cylinder from releasing the internal pressure under certain circumstances.

PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS!!!!! My accident was at a very slow speed, but it does not take much imagination to see that it could have been much worse than it was.

Thank you,

I expected some form of acknowledgment from you, but none has been forthcoming for almost four months, so this letter is a second attempt to bring this issue to your attention. I am sure that you can appreciate the fact that a motorcycle is impossible to steer at all with the front wheel locked. Had I been traveling at highway speed and on a curve when this event occurred, I would likely now be dead. You would then have incurred a potentially expensive liability.

I would like to further point out that my original message has been on public view since the date cited above, thus making it unlikely that you can escape liability by claiming ignorance of the problem, or that another person who has a similar or worse accident will not use the fact of my notice to you to your disadvantage in a court of law should the same problem cause this second accident. The prevalence of Google and other search engines, also suggests that your continued silence will be to no avail if you are hoping that this information will simply remain hidden.

Therefore, I request that you acknowledge this message with an explanation of your intended solution to this problem. I will post your response on the forum above and perhaps, together, we can save some chrome and paint and possibly a life or two.

Yours truly,
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, Küryakyn's rep signed for the letter above on the 15th of last month and the mail today had nothing from them. So, I guess they have no intention of doing anything about this problem . . . except ignoring it and hoping it goes away.

My initial feeling was to forget about it. This, however, makes me worry that the same thing will happen to some other rider, except maybe they won't be so lucky that they are going slow, and bad things will happen that could have been prevented. This would make me feel very guilty, if I were to hear about it.

So, at this point it has been about 5 months since I first contacted Küryakyn and they clearly are not going to respond. The only alternative I can see at this point is to go find a lawyer and bring a suit against them for damages. This way a formal record of the problem is made. Then the lawyer for the family of the guy who gets killed because of their negligence will find it and REALLY sock it to them.

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Bill
 

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I just installed these 7426 levers last night ...... no problem at all fit right felt
right worked right. Maybe they finally got your message !!
 

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sometimes its easier and cheaper to pay off a lawsuit to change production (research and development, prototypes ect.) hence why recalls only occur after so many deaths or injuries....sadly that is how big business is, cost effiacy.

Do i agree with it no... but it is true
 
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