Your motorcycle's brakes are undoubtedly among the most vital components of your two-wheeled steed. Needless to say, making sure that your bike's brakes are in tiptop condition is absolutely essential. It can be all too easy to overlook maintenance especially when it comes to your brakes. This is because brakes, and all their intricate moving components, are oftentimes hidden away from sight. However, not staying on top of your brake maintenance can certainly lead to disaster.
Today, we are going to talk about brake pads, how to replace them, as well as a few other things to consider when maintaining your motorcycle's braking system. More often than not, replacing your motorcycles and brake pads can go a long way in ensuring that your machine can come to a stop confidently and efficiently, as well as maximizing your enjoyment aboard your two-wheeled machine.
Inspect your brake pads
So, how can you tell if you need to replace your brake pads? Well, the first order of business would be to inspect your braking system. To do this, all you need to do is look in between your rotors and calipers. This is where your brake pads are housed. Most manufacturers recommend at least 1.5mm of pad thickness before replacing them. However, replacing them a little bit sooner might be a good idea especially if you plan to take your motorcycle on long rides.
For motorcycles whose brake pads are less visible due to the design of the caliper, you may need to disassemble the caliper from its mounting point. This is usually very straightforward, and only requires you to undo two bolts. If you’re working on your rear brake, all you need to do is to undo two bolts mounting the calipers to your swingarm. After this, your caliper should come off, and you can thoroughly inspect your brake pad thickness. The same story goes for the front brakes, however, you may need to repeat this process twice if your motorcycle is equipped with dual disc brakes at the front.
How to replace your brake pads
Now, once you’ve checked and determined your brake pad thickness and discovered that it is indeed due for replacement, you will now have to remove your brake pads and replace them with fresh ones. The complexity of replacing your brake pads greatly boils down to your motorcycle make and model. The same goes for when sourcing replacement brake pads for your motorcycle. Make sure to get the appropriate brake pads for your motorcycle, as well as determine the type of brake pads you would like to use. We previously discussed in great detail the differences between organic and metallic brake pads, so be sure to check that out.
Usually, replacing the brake pads of your motorcycle is very easy. You either need to undo A couple of cotter pins, screws, or fasteners, and simply pull your brake pads out of the caliper. Once your brake pads are off, you will notice that the pistons on your brake caliper are sticking out slightly. You can use a flat head screwdriver wrapped in a rag or a towel to gently push the pistons back in. After that, you can simply slide in your brand new set of brake pads, and reinstall the hardware. After this, make sure everything lines up, and everything should bolt on nicely without much hassle.
Other things to consider
While brake pads are indeed one of the most important and most consumable items in our braking system, they are not the only ones responsible for putting our motorcycles safely to a stop. Other things you need to look at include your brake lines, brake fluid, and your rotors. Be sure to check for any kinks, cracks, or pinches on your brake lines, as this can severely hinder your braking performance. Brake fluid that has not been changed or flushed in some time now can also develop bubbles or air in the system. This can result in mushy brake feel at the lever or the pedal. Furthermore, older brake fluid has a severely lower boiling point; meaning that your brakes are more likely to fail under heavy loads.
Last but not least, make sure to inspect your rotors, as they are equally as important as your brake pads. While rotors last a whole lot longer than brake pads, they can also wear out especially if your bike is an older model, and has a lot of kilometers on the clock. Look for scoring, cracks, and warping on the rotors, and be sure to replace them if you notice any damage whatsoever. Keeping your brakes clean by washing them with brake cleaner every now and then can also go a long way in preserving the life of your motorcycle's brakes.