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Speed Bleeders


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I'am trying to get my mind around the idea of speed bleeders for a 2007 RT.

1.Exactly how do they work?

2.Any advantage over OEM?

3.After bleeding do I still need to bring the bike to the dealer?

4.What size speed bleeders are used on the '07 R1200RT and were to buy them?

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I've used speed bleeders on an R1200C and two 1950's GM cars. They work well. All they do is to let you bleed your brakes without sucking air back into the system. Normally when you bleed your brakes you loosten the brake bleed screw, pull on the brake handle to push fluid out and then tighten up the bleed screw so you won't suck air back in when you release the handle. All you need to do with the speed bleeders is to loosten them 1/4 turn and start pumping the brake handle or pedal. They effectively make brake bleeding a one person job.


You may still need to take the bike to the dealer if you have servo brakes.


Go to the speed bleeder site and see which ones they list for your bikes. If nothing is listed give them a call.


This reminds me to get them for may 07 R12RT which needs a brake bleed!



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Speed bleeders are a good concept. Seems quite a few here claim to have a good experience with them and I'm not saying I doubt their experiences. However, I found on the BMW's the speed bleeders would bleed fluid past the threads when cracked open for bleeding and pull air back in the same way, past the threads. In other words, the male thread to female thread contact was not sufficient to prevent bleeding past the bleeders. I don't know the reason this occurred on my bike and I observed it on other beemers as well. I suspect there is not sufficient thread engagement on the two mating surfaces. I do know that when I switched back to the OEM bleeders the issue corrected itself.


So, if you decide to use the speed bleeders, do so knowing this may/could occur. And, just for the record, I have been bleeding brakes, clutches, hydraulic equipment, you name it, for almost 40 years, so it wasn't operator error.


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However, I found on the BMW's the speed bleeders would bleed fluid past the threads when cracked open for bleeding and pull air back in the same way, past the threads. In other words, the male thread to female thread contact was not sufficient to prevent bleeding past the bleeders.


This happened when I first bled my brakes on my R1100RT with speed bleeders. After going through a couple of quarts of perfectly good brake fluid, I gave up trying and went back to the OEMs. However, when I tried bleeding with the OEMs, the same thing happened, maybe a bit less than with the OEM, but there was still a steady stream of tiny bubbles. Another forum poster said that such was not uncommon, that the "big" bubbles were what mattered, i.e. that the very tiny bubbles were air cycling back past the treads and right back out again to the bleed dump, so that it really didn't matter. I wasn't all that comfortable with that explanation, but out of time and brake fluid, I left well enough alone. I never felt my rear brakes were really "tight" however.


The next time around, I had a new idea. I took some petroleum jelly and covered the threads just below the nipple, to seal out any potential air leak. Sure enough, NO air at all showed up. I bleed all three calipers in no time. I'm probably going to buy bleeders for the R1200RT, now that I have the solution to air leaks. It'd still be a lot easier not to have to work the bleeders with each pump. And of course, I've got more work to do moving up to the R1200RT from the R1100RT, plus a clutch to service. (Someone say something about "progess" with the R1200RTs?? Well, they do ride nice!).


YMMV - worked for me. I'm sure there's some reason not to use petroleum jelly to seal the bleeders, i.e. contaminate the brake lines, etc.., but it's definitely the ticket as far as I am concerned. The rear brake action on the R1100RT-P was night and day different - much tighter.

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Hmmmm.... never had that problem. You don't need to unscrew them very far, maybe 1/4? 3/8? turn. If fluid still gets past the threads the first thing I would do is call the speed bleeder people. I'm sure they would not want you to have problems with them. They have been really good to deal with.


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A little thread sealant might need to be put on speed bleeders if they are cycled more than a few times if they leak past the threads.

The bleeder bag they sell makes the job very tidy and I like that! :)



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The only problem with the Petroleum Jelly is if any makes it way into the caliper. Petroleum of any kind will ruin the brake rubber by making it swell and bind up. I remember in high school, one person I knew had a leaking wheel cylinder, and figured free tractor Hy-Tran would work, and it did until he lost all brakes. He had to remove/rebuild or replace the master cylinder, all wheel cylinders, all calipers, all the brake flex lines, and the proportioning valve, flush all the steel lines 2X with denatured alcohol, and replace all the parts. I know it took over 2 hours and a gallon of brake fluid to bleed the brakes, I was there for most of it. On a car with ABS I shudder to think of the expense. All from about 2 or 3 OZ of petroleum biased fluid. This lead to a bit of vandalism in response to a Jock vs Goat Roper dispute. The ensuing wreck was fortunately minor but low value car was totaled. The cause of said wreck was never uncovered by LEO types since car was not fixed. Fortunately it was before it became fashionable to shoot each other. Such ended the worst of the dispute. I long for the good ole days, when we carried guns to school and somehow knew better than to shoot each other. I wonder what Darwin would say about de-evolution.



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Speed Bleeders are just bleed screws that have a built-in check-valve to prevent anything, most importantly air, flowing backwards through it. They also have some thread sealant painted onto the threads.


SB sells a little bottle of thread sealant, with instructions on how to use it, to rejuvenate the threads after a lot of use, but after two seasons of servicing my brake fluid I haven't needed it yet.


I put SB's on the calipers and the ABS controller and so far (two years) they work great.


They are costly compared to regular bleed screws, but nowhere near as costly as taking your bike to the dealer just once for service. So if doing the job easily by yourself will make the difference in going to the dealer or not, then they're a good buy. But if you have a patient helper around you don't really need them.


The fluid collection bag is the best product SB sells, though. I recommend it for anybody bleeding brakes on any vehicle, regardless of whether you use their other products. It completely takes away the hassles of dealing with spills from an upset fluid-collection bottle.

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  • 5 months later...

Alan, the factory bleed screws on the ABS controller are long & a little different,, they also strip easily.. I’m not sure I would mess with speed bleeders on the ABS controller..


If this is for your 1200 I don’t think you even have bleed screws on the ABS controller..





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Just a thought...

If you get a Mityvac (model MV8500)to use to bleed your brake system you won't need speed bleeders. This is also the recommended

way to bleed R1200rt brakes. See the Hexhead tech threads on the BMWMOA forum for an excellent tutorial. Mityvac available from

McMaster-Carr for about $80.


Dave Bogue

'08 R1200rt

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Be real careful with that Teflon tape around ABS brake systems.. Teflon tape pipe sealer should never be used on any hydraulic or ABS system,, or fuel systems for that matter.. As the threads are mated up & the parts screwed together little pieces of that Teflon tape get sheared off & can end up in an ABS valve or hydraulic control valve.. On fuel systems they can stick carb floats or plug fuel injectors..


There are so many good Teflon based (non tape type) pipe thread sealers out there now that the Teflon tape should probably be banned from all consumer use.. The company I work for has banned any type of Teflon tape usage period..




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Excellent point about teflon tape...Another problem w/ teflon is that it ALWAYS FLOWS... so you can never get a proper tightening of the fitting.. also too easy to over torque!! I still think the vacuum method of bleeding will prove to be the most reliable and

consistent method overall. The only risk is accidentally draining the master and having to start over.


Dave Bogue




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