Squirrel Power: Making our Suzuki FA50 Road Worthy


The rear shoes were only slightly better, but not by much.  These would have to come off as well.
We replaced the shoes front and rear with new grooved shoes from EBC.  The grooved shoes should dissipate dust better and keep the shoes cooler, giving them longer life.  EBC is pretty much the only name-brand option when finding new shoes for the FA50.  EBC also offers solid shoes if you don’t believe in grooved shoes, or want to save $3.
You can see the slots cut into the new shoes to help evacuate brake dust and potential water.  EBC’s shoes leading edge comes pre-tapered to help reduce brake squeaks.  You can also see our old shoe were pretty glazed, so even if we were comfortable with the amount of material left, they're simply not doing their job.  On top of all of that, EBC's friction material is much more modern and should have a higher coefficient of friction, which equates to better stopping power.  We’re glad those old shoes are in the trash and not on our bike anymore.
The new shoes look awesome (even if they’re hidden inside the wheel once it’s reinstalled).  While we had everything apart, we cleaned the wheel bearings and hubs and repacked everything with fresh grease.  We also greased the pivot for the brake lever to ensure smooth braking action.
The new shoes required the brake cable tension to be adjusted.  Unfortunately, our front cable’s adjuster was seized, so we had to replace the cable.  This was actually what caused our spongy front brakes.  The shoes had worn out so much the cable was no longer tight, but with the rusted adjuster, we could not remove the slack.  We picked up a NOS Suzuki cable, along with our EBC shoes, from Treatland, a good (if not quirky) source of moped parts.  Once installed, we used a bit of WD-40 to lube the cable in its sheath.  There is a special tool and lube for bike brake cables but, the WD-40 was already on the shelf and it's pretty much the same stuff.  
With the new cable and the new shoes, our brakes are complete!  We went for a short ride to bed in the new shoes and adjust the brake cable tension.  Riding this thing is a night and day difference.  The new brakes alone make riding this bike a much less death-defying experience.  Stopping before was a butt clenching affair as the front brakes were pretty well useless.  Our new brakes are much more solid and actually haul this thing down from speed (25 MPH or so depending on the hill).  The IRC tires are also a great addition to our peace of mind.  Even a bike n00b like me can feel the difference.  More grip, more stability, and we can actually lean over in corners now.  While it’s definitely not a sport bike, These simple parts have definitely raised the limit of what our FA50 can handle.  

1 comment

  1. Hello ! I have the opportunity to buy one of these Squirrels. After finding you guy’s, & this info .
    I think I’ll make an offer. Just connecting here so I’ll remember this. Thank You ! for this valuable info.
    HAVE A GREAT DAY , NO MATTER WHAT ! Dan . new squirrel guy

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