How to Change the Brake Pads on Your Motorcycle
Brakes are essential to your motorcycle, but they will inevitably wear down over time. To help ensure your bike can stop safely, the brake pads will need to be replaced from time to time. Thankfully, you can check and replace brake pads yourself.
A brake pad is made up of a metal backing plate and the brake pad lining. The brake pad lining is a high friction material that slowly wears away every time you apply the brakes. At some point, the lining wears down to the minimum thickness that is outlined in your service manual, and the pads will need to be replaced.
You’ll need to inspect your pads to see whether or not they need replacement. To do this, take a flashlight and shine it in between the brake rotor and caliper so that you can see the brake pad lining. You can make an inexpensive basic gauge by stacking poster board and paper to match the brake pad lining thickness. Then measure the paper thickness to get an idea of how much life may be left in your pads. Check your motorcycle’s manual for the minimum break pad thickness. If your pads measured at or below this amount, it’s time to change them.
You may also need to replace your bike’s brake pads if they become contaminated with fork oil. The front suspension on motorcycles consists of two forks, which contain both a spring and oil to dampen all the bumps that can be found on roads. As motorcycles age, fork seals may begin to leak. If they’re not repaired right away, the oil can leak down the fork tube and eventually make its way on to the brake pads. You can inspect fork seals visually or by running your finger on the fork tube. If you get oil on your finger, stop riding the motorcycle immediately, and have the forks and brakes repaired.
Watch as motorcycle enthusiast Matthew Bochnak walks you through the process of changing your motorcycle’s brake pads.
>>Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Matt from HowToMotorcycleRepair.com. In this video, I’m going to show you how to change the brake pads on your motorcycle.
>>Let’s talk about some of the tools needed to swap out brake pads. You’ll need: the service manual for minimum brake pad thickness and torque values, a torque wrench, common hand tools, old towels, a small wire brush, a C-clamp and a bungee cord as well as safety glasses and gloves. You will also need a brand new bottle of brake fluid, and you may need a turkey baster to extract brake fluid.
>>Step 1: Loosen the brake pin bolt, but do not remove it yet.
>>Step 2: Loosen and remove the bolts that hold the caliper on. The caliper contains pistons that push the pads into the rotor, which causes the motorcycle to slow down.
>>Step 3: Remove the caliper by sliding it away from the rotor. At this point, you can remove the brake pin bolt and the brake pads.
>>Step 4: Slide the caliper and attachment bracket away from each other. Set the bracket aside. Use a bungee cord to support the weight of the caliper, so no damage occurs to the brake line.
>>Step 5: Open up the master cylinder reservoir cap and note the fluid level. Make sure to use an old towel to protect painted surfaces, since brake fluid can damage paint.
>>Step 6: Use a C-clamp and one of the old brake pads to push the pistons back into the caliper. While you do this, the brake fluid level will rise in the master cylinder. You can use a turkey baster, if needed, to extract excess brake fluid.
>>Step 7: Inspect and clean the metal “rattle clips” with a small wire brush. Clean rattle clips are important so pads can move as they wear. Rattle clips also prevent pads from moving, which would create “brake noise.”
>>Step 8: Clean off the old grease on the brake slide pins. Then, apply new brake and caliper grease to the slide pins.
>>Step 9: Slide the bracket onto the caliper. Ensure that these two components slide freely on the pins.
>>Step 10: Install new brake pads into the caliper bracket. Make sure to not damage the metal rattle clips.
>>Step 11: Install the brake pin. You can leave it “hand tight” for now.
>>Step 12: Slide the caliper back over the rotor, and install the bracket bolts.
>>Step 13: Torque the caliper bolts and the brake pin to the values specified in your service manual.
>>Step 14: Top off the master cylinder if needed and reinstall the cap.
>>Step 15: Pump the brake lever a few times to reposition the caliper pistons and pads. Then, test the brakes by spinning the wheel and applying the brake. The wheel should stop immediately, and the lever should feel firm.
>>Step 16: Now is a good time to flush the brake fluid if it is over 2 years old. I covered changing out brake fluid in a previous video, which can be found by clicking on the link in the upper right.
>>Alright, I hope you enjoyed this video on how to replace brake pads on a motorcycle.
>>If you’d like to see more of my videos, head over to HowToMotorcycleRepair.com, or check out my YouTube channel, MatthewMCrepair. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and see you next time.