Soft / bad / poor brakes rear &/or front – Simple low cost modification

Soft / bad / poor brakes rear &/or front – Simple low cost modification

See also: Multistrada 1200 MTS1200 Rear Brake System Bleeding

Recommended: upgrade to EBC HH Brake Pads…

EBC Brake Shop – market leading EBC replacement brakes for BMW motorcycles – see here for DISCOUNT codes

Soft / bad / poor brakes rear &/or front – Simple low cost modification

The poor performance of the rear brake of the Multistrada 1200 is a much talked about topic. You can gain some improvement to both the feel and performance of the MTS1200 rear brake by changing the pads to HH type but the main issue appears to be air in the system. Bleeding the system via the bleed nipple on the rear brake caliper will help as long as it’s done properly…
see here: Multistrada 1200 MTS1200 Rear Brake System Bleeding
…however getting rid of any air that may be trapped in the ABS pump / control unit (the highest point in the braking circuit) can be problematic…..hence the article below on the addition of bleed nipples to the ABS control unit.

NB: Usual disclaimers apply……and don’t forget that any work carried out on the bike’s braking system incorrectly could result in brake failure….potentially with dire consequences!!

What you’ll need:
2 x standard M10 x 1mm (10mm x 1mm) thread banjo bleed nipples
(‘1mm’ refers to the pitch of the thread;-)
2 x rubber dust caps
4 x copper crush/sealing washers
…all of which you can get from good Motor Factors, Motorcycle shops or online e.g. eBay: 


If you prefer these OEM parts should be available from any Ducati Dealer:

(5) QTY 2 clutch banjos – PN 77913971A
(superceded? 77910821AB)

(3) QTY 2 Bleeder Screws – PN 18710021A

(17) QTY 4 Copper washer – PN 85250241A

(4) QTY 2 Dust Cap  – PN 61240052A.


UPDATE Jan2014 – make life a little easier and use a ‘Speed Bleeder’ bleed valve (SB1010 Speed Bleeder M10 x 1.0 x 34.44) available from Motor Factors, Motorcycle Shops or online e.g. eBay

More info:

Correct position of the brake lines / pipes (hoses) attached to the ABS Control Unit…

Extract from the Workshop Manual: Pipes (7), (8), (9) and (10) fixing must be carried out by placing new gaskets (copper washers;-) (11) between the couplings. Tighten the screws (17) to the torque of 23 Nm ± 10% (Sect. 3 – 3, Frame torque settings).

TIP: have plenty of soft cloth in place to catch any brake fluid that may leak as the couplings / banjo joints are undone. Use a cloth wet with water for cleaning up 😉

Soft / Bad / poor brakes brake Back or and Front – Simple low cost modification

By ‘AirConTechnical’ (aka Paul) – see original forum post here for the full discussion:
Ducati UK Forums post

I believe I’ve solved the soft back / rear brake and front brake issues that can affect some MTS1200 with ABS.

The highest point of the back brake circuit is the ABS control unit, located under the riders seat. The bleed nipple on the front brake is the highest point in the hydraulic circuit.

Using some parts from Louigi Moto near Bristol ( or 01761 453366) I’ve modified the ABS control unit. I was discussing my theory with the main man there about air getting trapped on the lines to the ABS actuator / motor and he agreed that they could trap air.
I offered to pay, but being the kind soul that he is he gave me two Ducati clutch banjo bleed bolts with nipples as used on Ducati slave cylinders.
Note: the Banjo bolt is identical in thread length, fluid hole size etc (not visible in photo), however it has a bleed nipple.

Having put rags all around the ABS unit and covered the battery I carefully undid the front banjo (controls rear circuit), fully expecting a deluge of brake fluid everywhere.
No, not a drop. This worried me as I started doubting how the system works…may be pneumatic or something else!
Proceeded to replace the banjo with the recently acquired part. Bled the system, back brake now perfect feel. No spongy feeling, just have to see how it test rides.

The image above shows the process 1/2 way through with the back brake circuit modified and the front still to do.

Repeated for the front and now I have a proper Ducati brake system similar in feel to the 998S (which is Brilliant). Note again this had no fluid visible.

Just look at how much air is in the fluid in this front brake circuit. I had been bleeding the initial air out for about 20 squeezes before taking this image.

That’s the pipe from a vacuum bleeder you see in the photo. In the end I did bleed the system manually first, then with the vacuum machine once I adapted another bleed kit part so it fitted better. It works by lowering the pressure at the bleed nipple causing fluid / air to be drawn instead of pumping the peddle/lever and having to lock off each time. Can give false air bubbles if the tube to nipple seal is weak.

For the record the motorcycle is a 2010 MTS1200S ABS with 24,700 miles on the clock. Both brake circuits previously bled to Ducati workshop method at 23,800 miles.
So get your hands on some Ducati Slave banjo bolts / bleed nipples and caps.
Whole process took under 30 minutes.

The grey sausage thing is the extra fuel tank for my ScotOiler!

Patent applied for, my advice may contain nuts. Not suitable for adults under sixteen.

Test Ride – Heathrow – Newlands – Box Hill and then back , 95% A/B roads at a brisk pace.

Front brake – brilliant as mentioned already.
Impossible to pull to the bar and makes ABS activate if you grab a hand full.

Rear brake – much better, but still pi$$ poor, but I believe this is more to do with pad / disk chain grease/oil contamination. It is no longer possible to end stop the brake lever, which I could always do before, even after I’d done an up side down rear caliper bleed.


[AndyW] A couple more photos…

As Paul found on disconnecting the brake line / pipe to the rear braking system absolutely no brake fluid leaked / escaped at all…..a very likely sign of air at that junction point. However on undoing the banjo bolt for the front brake line / pipe a small amount of brake fluid did leak….a sign that this side of the circuit was air free (nb: I had no complaint over the ‘feel’/firmness of the front brake lever beforehand).

On bleeding next to no air from the front brake circuit (rearmost connection to the ABS control unit;-) just what I’d introduced by disconnecting and fitting the banjo connector with bleed nipple. Different story for the rear………loads of air bubbles on bleeding for a considerable number of depressions of the rear brake pedal (good old fashioned manual bleeding;-)
Wow!……brake pedal loads firmer! 😀

I have a DP ‘Comfort Seat’ and found I did need to drill a hole in the base as it was sat on the frontmost bleed nipple (rear brake circuit;-)
After fitting the bleed nipples fit the seat and press in to place – my seat had a thick piece of foam rubber placed just right to show a depression where it was sat on the bleed nipple – instant guide for the poition to drill a hole just large enough to give clearance. CARE: you don’t want to end up drilling right through the seat :-O …..just the plastic base!