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The U.S. government is investigating complaints from Harley-Davidson riders who say their motorcycle brakes failed without warning.

The investigation covers 430,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles with model years between 2008 and 2011 and that have an anti-lock braking system, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last Friday.

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The NHTSA said it received 43 complaints, three reports of crashes and two reports of injuries.

The agency said it is possible that some riders who experienced brake failure did not change the motorcycle’s brake fluid every two years as recommended by Harley-Davidson. The old fluid may corrode valves in the anti-lock braking system, NHTSA said although it went on to say that even if riders did not change the fluid, the sudden brake failure “is a concern.”

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. said on Friday that it is aware of the investigation and is co-operating with NHTSA.

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Tony Carter

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