How to Change Your Motorcycle’s Brake Pads

Changing your motorcycle brake pads are a necessity today, and it is quite easy to do – especially since we want to promote safety here at Saker Racing. If you get to replace them with new ones, you could also upgrade your stopping power.

Before going on to change your brake pad, you should know a bit about what they do.

What are Brake Pads?

Each time you press on the brake lever, the brake master cylinder attached to the lever pressurizes the system which then sends hydraulic pressure to the brake calipers at the wheel. The calipers have pistons – often, one or more, which are forced outward against the metal backing of brake pads. As the brake pads clamp against the spinning rotor in your bike, this creates a friction that converts the kinetic energy built up in the motorcycle from speed into heat energy. This heat passes from the rotors to the pads, calipers and then into the air.brake components of a motorcyclebrake components of a motorcycle

brake components of a motorcycleBrake pads are the friction surfaces which contact the brake discs into the disc brake system. Made of various friction materials bonded together to a steel backing plate. Most brake pads found in motorcycles are made from a variety of high tech materials that do not pose any health problem to the rider.

How To Check Your Brakes

You should form a habit of visually inspecting your brake pads regularly before you ride out and during oil changes. What you want to do is to look into the calipers, back side, and inner pads.

Check to see if the friction lining has worn down. If it has, then it’s time for a replacement. Another way of knowing when to change your brakes is by paying attention the sound that comes out of the brakes. If the sound changes from the usual sound – take that as a warning. Inspect the brakes immediately and possibly change it.

Here are the steps to follow when you want to change your brake pads

1. Support the bike on center stand

motorcycle with center stand upThe first step is to support the bike on the center stand and then leave the fork free to turn. This is advantageous as it allows you to turn and rotate the front wheel. To cut the lever away from bystanders who might want to squeeze the pucks out when it’s disassembled, cut a length of fuel line to fit the grip and lever. Then pass a long zip-tie around the grip – going through the hose and around the lever.

2. Pad replacement

broken calipers replacing padsA simple pad replacement can be executed by using calipers bolted to the fork legs. But, it’s advisable you remove them so you can inspect the components closely. Take your time to remove the bolts and set them aside. Rotate the retaining pins, so the loop end of the retaining clips are more visible. Be careful while removing the clips with needle-nose pliers. The retaining pins on the Brembos also keep dust shield in place so it can come free when the pins slide out. Other fixed calipers can be called to remove two small Allen-head screws to free the dust shield.

3. Let the pads fall off

Once the pins have been removed, shake the caliper so the pads can fall out. Check the pad for cracks or missing pad material as well as wear. The face of the pad contains telltale lines that will tell you when they are done. Before disposing off the pads, use a bit of aerosol brake cleaner to remove grime and any pad residue that might still be around the caliper pistons. Then reinsert the pad and use a large screwdriver between them to push the pistons back into their bores. As you do this, keep an eye on the master cylinder to ensure the fluid isn’t overflowing.

4. Prepare new pads

At this stage, prepare the new pads to be inserted. Check the directions to see if the original squeal shims would be used. Reinstall the retaining pins and clips as they could be reused as long as they are not damaged. Clean up remaining goo and bolt the caliper back to the fork leg.

These tips should help you change your brake pads when you feel the need to. Always endeavor to inspect the brakes before riding out or when changing your oil.

  • Updated August 6, 2017