Motorcycle brakes are the most important components in controlling and creating friction that causes the brakes to work.
It is essential to maintain the brakes for ensuring a safe ride.
Many riders question on how often should motorcycle brakes be changed. This question depends on how often you hit the road and the maintenance of your brakes.
Having well-maintained brakes keeps your ride safe.
How Often Should Motorcycle Brakes be Changed Easy Guide
How long do motorcycle brake pads last?
How often should motorcycle brakes be changed depends on the durability of the motorcycle brake pads. The lifespan of motorcycle brake pads lasts between 30,000 to 50,000 miles. But some pads last from 100 miles to an astonishing 100,000 miles. These far-ranging durations come in various types of frictional materials that make these brake pads a long-lasting system of controlling the ride.
Brake pads manufacture in four materials that are organic, metallic, semi-metallic and synthetic. Each material portrays its characteristics of making a frictional braking system and a durable brake pad. These four materials explain below:
Organic brake pads are made of non-metallic fibres manufactured into a composite material. This composite material treats with modifiers including graphite, powdered metals and even nutshells. Fillers added to reduce noise and tend to produce less rotor wear. Such examples of organic brake pads are Kevlar and carbon to increase durability. Organic pads produce less brake dust and are cheaper than metallic pads.
Metallic (or Sintered)
Metallic or sintered is the most popular material in brake pads as they handle different types of motorcycles due to handling various riding conditions. Metallic pads use extensively in racing bikes, which makes a mixture of pressure-bonded metals. Sintering is the process of fusing metallic particles under heat and pressure to form friction material that resists from wearing. This friction material best works for racers, city riders and riding on hilly terrains.
Semi-metallic (or Semi-sintered)
Semi-metallic is the combination of organic materials and metals that bond to form a braking pad. Semi-metallic pads are harder to resist heat. This type of pads uses 30% copper to fit right in between metallic and organic to increase durability and performance. Semi-metallic pads last longer but have tougher friction control compare to organic.
Synthetic brake pads refer to as ceramic composite that made in ceramic fibres and non-ferrous metal filaments bonded at extreme temperature and pressure. These brake pads contain ductile metal-filaments that produce moderate friction level for good initial ‘bite’. The heat-resistant ceramic fibres help to decrease thermal pad decomposition, which delivers a strong braking performance and making a quiet sound. Synthetic brake pads work over a wide range of riding conditions. Ceramic-composite is not available for all motorcycle models.
When to Replace Motorcycle Brake Pads
Like any other component, motorcycle brakes need replacement after frequent rides. Motorcycle brakes require careful attention as one second they go, they cannot stop. Not maintaining the brakes would result in severe road accidents.
To replace your brake pads, there are three things, which you need to look when acquiring brake pads replacement. You need to replace brake pads in terms of appearance, the feeling when applying brakes and the sound. Each will explain further below:
The appearance of the brake pads
The appearance of the brake pads is the easiest indication to check for requiring a replacement. To inspect your brake pads is to look for the wear indicator groove. Most brake pads have a wear indicator groove that moulds or cut into a surface in which you can locate how much of that area remains.
The groove disappears due to overusing of brake pads. Once the brake pad reaches down to 2 millimetres, this is where you need to replace the pads. Not all bikes have a wear indicator groove. If this is the case with your bike, a technician will use a micrometre to check the amount of friction that lefts on the material.
If you want to check, the appearance by yourself is to refer to the owner’s manual.
How it feels when you apply brakes
When to change motorcycle brake pads depends on how you feel when applying brakes. At a normal case, the brakes take minutes to engage the engine to ignite before riding off.
When you ride a motorcycle, you expect all of the components to function properly. This component includes the brake pads as well. The sound of the brake affects your ride. For example, if you feel that the brakes mechanism takes longer than normal to engage, this is the sign of brake deterioration and requires replacement.
If you feel something different from your brake pads, it is time to get it repaired at the mechanic shop.
The sound of the brakes
The sound of the brakes is similar to how your motorcycle feels while applying. The brakes make a low-level noise for ensuring a smooth ride. If you hear a squealing noise when applying the brakes, this is the indication of getting your brakes serviced.
How to Change Motorcycle Brake Pads?
To ensure a smooth ride, it is important to change motorcycle brake pads every few miles before and after the ride. How often should motorcycle brakes be changed depends on how well you maintained the brakes.
If you feel that your brakes need repair and you do not know how to change the brakes, just follow the simple instructions below:
1. Remove the brake caliper mechanism. The brake caliper mechanism involves two bolts holding onto the bike. This requires a size 8, 10 or 12 mm socket wrench. This varies with the model of your bike. If you are using an Allen key wrench instead of a socket, you might want to loosen the other two bolts of the caliper slightly. The wrench will not give you much advantage once the caliper removes.
Note: If your caliper covers in dirt and gunk, clean the mechanism with a toothbrush and a mild dish detergent.
2. Remove the brake pads. Most bikes have two bolts holding the brake pads which they have Allen key head. They are much easier to remove and install using an Allen key socket. Once you loosen the bolts, the pads will fall out or wiggle off by hand.
3. Push the calliper pistons out of the way. The pistons locate where the brakes once were. Before installing the new brake pads, you need to push these pistons as far back into the calliper cylinder.
4. Dress your rotor by cleaning with a rag and using a brake cleaner spray.
5. Install the new brake pads. The new brake pads must be the exact size and shape of the old ones. If two pads are different sizes, you must identify which pads go into which side of the calliper.
6. Then insert the new pads by aligning the bolt holes carefully with the holes in the calliper.
7. Reinstall the brake calliper mechanism by aligning the bolt holes. Then secure the mechanism back onto the rotor. Then align the bolt holes on the calliper or front forks.
8. Tighten the brake pads bolts by hand and since the calliper secures well, you can finish the process with the Allen key bolts.
9. Pump the brake lever before riding. This step is important as it helps to push the calliper pistons back causing the brake fluid to flow back into the cylinder reservoir.
Pump several times until you feel the right amount of resistance on the lever. You should feel the brakes putting the resistance of the front lever.
Note: Never skip this step after changing the brake pads. The brakes will not work until you push the brake fluid back down
10. Ride at the next 250 to 350 miles, as new brakes need adjustment to work properly. Start riding at slower speeds.
Motorcycle brakes are the most important component to control and create friction. Like any other component, maintaining the brakes helps to ensure a safe ride. How often should motorcycle brakes be changed depends on how well you look after your valuable vehicle.
Motorcycle brakes should change after a couple of miles or after frequent rides. If you want to replace your brakes, just refer to the procedures above. If you have not maintained the brakes after a while, now is the time. The more you look after the brakes, the more you can control the friction.
So repair your brakes and enjoy the ride!