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Speed Bleeder review....

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A supplier sent me one of those 'one-way-valve speed-brake-bleeder' things to have a look at this week, mainly because they are “...selling like hot cakes”.  I had cause to try it out on a couple of bikes today, so I thought that I'd put up an impartial review of it for you perusal.  Your mileage may vary, don't shoot the messenger etc etc.

What is it?
Sold as a 'speed bleeder', usually for around £16ish.

What's it supposed to do?
Make bleeding brakes easier, using a 1-way non-return valve to prevent expelled fluid being sucked back into the caliper – so you don't have to keep opening and closing the bleed nipple on every pump of the brake lever.

Would I recommend it?
No.  thumb down  For details see below.

What does it look like?

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I tried it out on two bikes today – an R6 that just needed a fluid change, and a Suzuki that had had the brake lines off and needed a proper, from-scratch bleed.  The fluid change on the Yamaha went OK – the non-return valve did some non-returning, and the polyurethane pipe did a good job of being a pipe.  

On to the Suzuki and those Tokicos – and the first issue;  If you haven't reverse-filled the calipers, the presence of a 1 way valve does almost nothing to help expel any air, even after fifteen minutes of brake lever grabbing.  A down-and-dirty bleed of the upper banjos did little to help, so it was left to the trusty MityVac to drag the fluid through.  

Back with the speed bleeder to finish off, and the second problem showed up.  Those familiar with these calipers will know that opening the bleed nipple 1/16th of a turn will let fluid out of the nipple, but open up much more than 1/8th of a turn, and fluid (and air) will leak past the threads.  The weight and curvature of the semi-rigid pipe on the Speed Bleeder kept closing the bleed nipple, so you have to hold that open (or faff about getting the pipe curve lined up perfectly central).

So, to my simple mind, if you have to be at the bleed nipple anyway, the one-way valve doesn't help much, so you may as well just open and close it yourself - bleeding bike brakes is hardly a two person job like on a car.  Secondly, it's no better at getting the air out of a brake line than just bleeding it out the normal way.

As such, these are not something that I will keep in stock or actively try and sell.  If someone is really considering one, my advice would be to save your cash and just buy half a metre of clear pipe and do your brake bleeding the old fashioned way, or stump up for a MityVac if you often need to pull lots of air out.

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aquarium pipe + non return valve for less than a quid and you got yaself one thumbs

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Bought one of these for my Bandit (Tokico Calipers)about 8 years ago and found it useless for exactly the same reasons given in the above review, Still have it in a box gathering dust.
clear aquarium tube and a "Uncle Bens" Korma glass jar (curry substituted for brake fluid) does me just fine! thumbs Great review! thumbsthumbs

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