Harley-Davidson recalls more than 250K bikes globally; brakes can fail

MILWAUKEE — Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 250,000 motorcycles because the brakes might fail.

Documents posted Wednesday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say the recall covers more than 30 models from the 2008 through 2011 model years. Harley says deposits can form on brake parts if the fluid isn't changed every two years as specified in the owner's manual. That can cause a valve in the antilock brake control unit to stick.

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The U.S. agency began investigating problems in July of 2016 after getting 43 complaints including three reports of crashes and two injuries.

Documents show Harley wanted to do a field service campaign instead of a recall, but the government refused.

The company says it cooperated with NHTSA and began a thorough evaluation of the issue. "Complex, ongoing discussions regarding what was ultimately identified as a maintenance issue continued with the agency through January 2018," Harley-Davidson said in a printed statement.

The recall covers nearly 175,000 motorcycles in the U.S.

Dealers will flush and replace brake fluid starting on Mondy, Feb. 12.