Normally specialised pieces of kit annoy me – a lot of outlay for what is tool that has a very specific and limited purpose. The wonderful thing about vacuum pumps are that they have a whole range of uses – not the least of which is making the bleeding of brake lines into a fairly effortless (and nearly idiot proof) one person job. The vacuum pump and brake bleeder kit from Bikeservice not only does these things, it’s incredibly well made as well.
The kit from Bikeservice comes in a handy case and includes the obvious star of the show – the vacuum pump – as well as a reservoir, hoses and a variety of connectors and adapters. Most people are probably familiar with the Mityvac – one of those products that is so well marketed that its name becomes synonymous for what it actually is – a simple vacuum pump that’s been in existence for decades. The one from Bikeservice is the same, save that it’s of a higher standard with a higher (but in our opinion, warranted) price.
Most people will buy a kit like this for bleeding brakes, and you can see the application of that in our video (and related article) below. Everything you get in the kit can be applied to bleeding brake and clutch lines and it does a perfect job it. The vacuum pump itself is extremely solid and is probably at a trade level – something that would easily sit in a full time mechanic’s workshop. The pump is die cast and finished with red powder coating and looks a million bucks compared to cheaper alternatives. The reservoir, hoses and adapters are all standard fair and should be fairly easy to replace should you lose any of them.
What a lot of people don’t realise however is that everything you see in the kit can be used for a variety of other mechanical applications. By connecting the pump and a hose to either a port directly on the manifold or on the carburetor below the throttle butterfly, you can trouble shoot a variety of issues including leaking intake manifolds, retarded ignition timing, fuel mixture that is too lean or too rich, a blown head gasket, worn piston rings and more. The reservoir can even come in handy here – using something with a volume of air in the ‘circuit’ can help smooth the readings and make diagnosis easier.
It’s not just engine diagnostics a vacuum pump is useful for. If you’ve got an older bike with brake drums, a vacuum pump can be used to test the booster diaphragm on them. They can also be used to test mechanical fuel pumps, diaphragms on carburetors, ignition systems, vacuum solenoids and so forth. They’re an extremely handy tool to have in anyone’s garage even if using them to bleed brake lines will be their main use.
We’ve been extremely impressed with the kit from Bikeservice and given how solid it feels, will probably last a long time before requiring replacement. Maxxis are the importers of them in the UK, or you can go online here to purchase them directly.