Brake Replacement Tutorial for Motorcycles

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    Basic Preparation

    • Before you begin, have a few basic items on hand. First and foremost, obtain a service manual specific to your motorcycle. The service manual will outline every detail you need to know, from installation and disassembly of the brake system to specific torque values for the caliper bolts. If there is one accessory that you must buy for your bike, it is a service manual.

      Next, be sure that you have the proper tools. For most brake repairs, a few small hand tools, such as a socket wrench, sockets and screwdrivers are all you will need. (Just be sure you have metric tools for imported motorcycles and standard (SAE) tools for American bikes.) Work in an open area with a flat, level surface to make working on the brakes safe and accessible. Also have thread-locking adhesive, brake cleaning spray and clean rags or towels at hand.

    Brake Pads

    • Depending upon the type of bike you ride, your motorcycle can have as many as three sets of brake discs and calipers, up to two in front and one in the rear. Regardless of the amount or location of the calipers, the procedure is similar.

      Start by removing the master cylinder's cover. This will allow any pressure that has built up within the brake lines to escape, making the brake system easier to work with. Next, loosen the retention bolts on the side of the caliper, but don't remove them yet. Then, remove the calipers from the front fork or bracket by unscrewing the mounting bolts, working on one side at a time.

      Once you have the calipers off, retract the pistons into the caliper with a large flat head screwdriver wedged between the brake pads. Remove the retention bolts and the attached clip completely to free the brake pads. This is a prime time to inspect the caliper for damage, look for obvious cracks or leakage of brake fluid.

      If everything looks good, give the caliper a quick spray of brake cleaner and wipe away any remaining grime. Insert new pads and attach the retaining clip and bolts, then reattach the caliper to the bike. Once you've gotten the caliper on, re-seat the pad and build hydraulic pressure in the brake lines. Replace the master cylinder cover and pump the brake lever smoothly until the lever goes from soft and squishy to requiring a firm squeeze.

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