Getting Hosed !

A key change from the 1972 GT750 to the 1973 model was the addition of front disc brakes to replace the original internal cable operated drum brakes.  I’m told that brake hose should be changed about every 6 to 8 years, regardless of what it looks like – much like tires – as the materials supposedly fatigue and perish which could lead to catastrophic failure. Of course I’m told this by people trying to sell both tires and brake hoses, and while I don’t doubt their sincerity, I also can’t rid myself of the nagging thought at the back of my mind that perhaps the recommendations are a trifle too self-serving. None the less, I also have no doubt that 37-year-old tires and brake hoses desperately need to be replaced, as the ones on my 1973 GT750 project bike are severely cracked, checked, split and harder than a teenager with his first copy of Playboy ! There was, of course, one small problem.

The GT750 disc brake design went through a couple of changes over the course of the model releases, mainly to do with the hoses and master cylinder and 1973 was the only year in which Suzuki used hard walled steel brake line together with flexible brake hose (two middle hoses to the lower brake lines and an upper one to the master cylinder) on the GT750. This steel line and the middle hoses have been long discontinued, and the later replacement model of hoses uses a different fitting on the brake calliper itself, so you need either to modify the callipers, or replace them with later model calipers. I have a box full of later model callipers, but I was interested in retaining the original 1973 look if possible and while I have seen a few NOS or good used hoses, lines and fittings, they are all of course 37 years old and therefore suspect from a reliability perspective.  You don’t want to be thinking about potential reliability issues when you are trying to stop !

So I decided to see about having new hoses and lines made to order, and went looking for an outfit that was willing to do small custom work at an affordable price for vintage and custom vehicles. While I’m positive there are places in Calgary that would have done this for me, I couldn’t find any actually advertising this sort of service on the internet (always my first port of call) , and when I did call one that I found after a search through the on-line Yellow Pages, the person that I talked to was a complete idiot which was disappointing. After a bit more searching, I located another Alberta located outfit called Edmonton Brake and Clutch , located (not too surprisingly) in Edmonton that both specifically advertised this sort of custom service on their web site and also were very helpful and knowledgeable when I called – I was actually able to talk to the fellow in the shop (Blayne) who would be making the fittings up for me, and on the basis of that discussion I sent them a set of what I needed to have replaced and a couple of days later they called to say they were ready to go !

While I wanted to retain the look of the original installation, I’m not such a slave to authenticity that I minded making a few small changes – for one thing I was quite happy to have all the fittings in stainless steel. I was also happy to move away from rubber hoses, to braided stainless steel hoses as it allows much more pressure to actually reach the brake callipers – which can be quite useful when trying to stop ! The downside of this is that the braided hoses are a bit smaller in diameter than the original ones, but I can live with that. I’ve attached a photo to the right showing the original  hoses and steel lines below the new ones – due to the smaller diameter of the new braided hose, I will leave off the wire coil found on the old upper hose, but I will retain the rubber hood that goes over the fitting attached to the master cylinder. All-in-all I’m pretty happy with the end result and so if you need custom brake hoses made up for some reason, give Blayne a call and I’m sure he can get you all fixed up !

Next on the list is to rebuild the callipers, re-spoke, true,install new rubber and balance the wheels, finish off rebuilding the wiring and switch gear,  rebuild the carbs, decide whether I’ll use an electronic ignition or just stay with points,  and wait for Cyclemania Artworks in Okotoks to finish doing the paint. I’d also like to get the engine running, but that means having to sort out the exhaust ……… I’m aiming to have this ready for a show and shine June 12. Could be close.

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