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I live in a very wasteful student neighborhood, and just found a lightly-used Kona Lisa DS (ca 2007ish) with Hayes Sole hydraulic disc brakes in the garbage. After a thorough dusting, it's in great shape, and I'm ecstatic.

The brakes, however, fail to stop (or even slow) the bicycle unless pumped repeatedly. I can depress both levers fully and wheel the bike around with little to no resistance. If I pump the levers repeatedly, both front and rear brakes seem to gain the pressure they need, and begin to function as expected. I'm not sure they're working well, as I'm terrified to ride the thing in this condition, but they are working much better. Release the levers, wait a few seconds, and I'm back at square one.

Notes: This is occurring after giving the brakes a full bleed. (Both brakes were also useless prior to the bleed.) I am new to teching hydro brakes, but know my way around a wrench and think I did a reasonably good job. This is a pressure issue, not a pad/rotor surface issue.

  1. Why is this happening?
  2. Is this repairable? If so, how?
  3. Given the age of the brakes, and my very limited student budget, is this worth repairing?

Thanks for your help and experience, Chris

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    If I found a good bike in the trash I would assume it had been stolen and dumped. You might want to do the right thing and see if it's been reported. – Argenti Apparatus Jun 4 at 21:34
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    Hayes Sole were garbage OEM units even when new. I can’t imagine that 13 years of use/sitting around would do much good to the calliper seals or the reservoirs. Given that bleeding brakes is a skill to be learned , you might still have air in the lines, so if another bleed cycle or three depending on your patience and budget doesn’t work, let it go and grab a new set of callipers. Clark’s M2 for example are super well regarded at the budget end of things but you can use your favourite search engine to make a decision. – Warren Burton Jun 4 at 21:56
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    Have done, @ArgentiApparatus. Thanks for encouraging good bicycle citizenship! – Chris Keefe Jun 4 at 23:42
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Probably air in the lines. Assuming that's the case, yes, worth repairing. You'll need to bleed the brakes. To do that, you'll need the appropriate bleed kit. Probably $20 or so. Here's the service doc. Do not use the wrong kind of brake fluid, as that can damage the seals.

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  • Thanks for the link, @Adam Rice. This is the state after a full bleed, but the documentation has some So1e-specific notes that might make a difference. I'm going to give it a couple more attempts before deciding whether to accept this answer. – Chris Keefe Jun 4 at 23:48
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So1es basically don't work and always have problems. If you already possessed the means to service them, the pads were functional, and you were only going to be down fluid and time after they still don't work, I would say you should probably rethink your valuation of your time unless you want to experience for yourself how bad they are for whatever reason, which I can respect. Otherwise you can be near-certain that money spent on them will be money wasted and you should avail yourself of basically any other option, like either BR-MT200s if you want hydros or finding a deal on name brand mechanical calipers and levers only. The rotors are likely fine unless there's some kind of obvious problem.

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    Mt200s are a safe bet. I don't think I'd risk anything cheaper. Plus Shimano are easy and inexpensive to bleed. – shox Jun 5 at 1:33

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