How to Replace Your Motorcycle's Front Brake Pads

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How to Replace Your MotorcycleMotorcycle owners can pay motorcycle repair shops to do this work for them, or they can do the task themselves and save money in the long run.  Many bike owners comfortably replace front brake pads in their own garages. While replacing the front brakes is relatively easy to do, it requires specific knowledge, including knowing where to find the right components necessary for replacement and how to switch out the parts. Before beginning, motorcycle owners must purchase new brake pads and any other associated tools they need. While the tools and supplies needed to replace the front brakes can be found at local auto parts store, it is also generally a good idea to do a little price comparison on sites like eBay .

Knowing When to Change Brake Pads

The best way to tell when the front brakes of a motorcycle need to be replaced is to inspect the brakes from time to time. Bike owners can accomplish this by inspecting the wear lines, in the form of slits, and if they are no longer visible, then owners should replace them. If owners find that the wear on the front brake pads has become uneven, they should replace both pads and make adjustments for proper wear. If this is not corrected, the brake rotor could become damaged.

Another sign that the front brake pads need replacement involves the brake fluid levels. If these levels drop, it could mean that the brake pads have worn down. When refilling fluids on a motorcycle, always check the brake pads if the brake fluid is low.

Types of Brake Pads

When buying replacement front brake pads, bike owners can choose two basic types of brakes among the various brake pad manufacturers and grades, and this includes OEM and HH. The table below details both of these brake pad types.

Brake Pad Type


Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

Original brake pads used on a bike when it comes from the factory

Quiet compared to high performance

Good stopping power

High Performance (HH)

Aftermarket brake pads

Always make noise when placed on a bike

Stop faster than OEM brake pads

Excellent stopping power

OEM brake pads provide sufficient stopping power for most bikes. High performance pads are generally used on racing bikes. If you are unsure about which type of brake pads to use, you may want to consider switching over to high performance pads for ultimate stopping power.

Changing the Front Brake Pads on a Motorcycle

Before working on their bikes, owners should put them on bike stands or centre stands. This provides better access to the front brake pads and allows them to turn the wheel, if necessary. To keep from accidentally engaging the brake lever, tie it in place before beginning maintenance to prevent this possibility.

Remove the Front Brake Callipers

Before beginning the replacement process, bike owners need to make sure they have the proper tools for working on their bikes. They need 14mm sockets or wrenches to properly remove the front brake pads. They should look for two bolts on the lower part of the front fork that hold the brake callipers in place. Upon locating the front brake pads, motorcycle owners can then remove them and install new brake pads.

Step 1

Remove the bolts holding the brake calliper in place. The calliper should slip off easily, as the brake hose is the only thing holding the calliper in place. Leave the hose attached, if possible. If you expect to leave the calliper loose for a long period of time, tie the calliper to the motorcycle to remove the weight from the hose.

Step 2

Remove the retaining pin that holds the pads in place. To do this, first remove the retaining clip, located on the inside of the calliper in a groove on the pin. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, remove the clip. The pin should slide out easily with the pliers.

Step 3

After removing the pin, the pads should easily slide out of the callipers. Inspect the pads for wear. If they show signs of uneven wear, then the callipers may also need replacing. Owners can accomplish this by removing the brake hose from the old calliper and then attaching a new calliper. Remember, the brake lines now require bleeding.

Step 4

Inspect the brake discs. If the discs are scratched or gouged, bike owners need to remove them and take them to a machine shop for turning. In extreme cases, the disks may need replacement, especially if turning reduces them to below the minimum thickness. Do not turn them unless needed, as doing so reduces their life expectancy.

Step 5

Clean the calliper using brake cleaner. Pay extra attention when cleaning the calliper's piston and be sure to clean it well. Use brake cleaner only, as other cleaners could leave an oily residue on the brake pads and make it harder to stop.

Step 6

Compress the piston. Most people who replace their brake pads use a large C-clamp to accomplish this. Apply slow pressure on the piston to avoid pushing brake fluid out of the piston too quickly.

Install New Front Brake Pads

Before installing the new brake pads, place any shims attached to the old brake pads on the new ones. The shims help reduce squeaking. In the absence of any clips to hold the shims in place, use brake grease to stick the shims to the new pads. Do not get grease on the faces of the new brake pads.

Step 1

Place the new brake pads into the callipers. They only go in one way, so placing them should not be a problem. Align the holes in the callipers with those on the pads and insert the pins. As long as the old retaining clip remains in good condition, it can be reused. Replace the retaining clip.

Step 2

Replace the calliper over the brake disk, with the two brake pads positioned on either side of the disk. If for some reason the pads do not fit over the disk, the piston needs more compression. Owners should remove the new brake pads before compressing the piston again, as any pressure on the new pads can crack them. One way of fully compressing a piston involves putting the old pads back in and using a pry bar to separate them. Take care that the pry bar does not slip and damage any bike components.

Step 3

Reinstall the two brake calliper mounting bolts and tighten them. Brake installers should torque the bolts to about 3.16 Nm using a torque wrench. Check the motorcycle's manual for more information and the exact specifications.

Step 4

Test the brakes fully before taking the motorcycle out onto the open road. This requires riders to start and stop along short distances at very slow speeds to make sure they work properly. If the brakes need adjustment, do so before riding.

Finding Front Brake Pads for Your Motorcycle on eBay

Once you decide to buy front brake pads online, go to the eBay home page. You can find a variety of product options on the site that meet your specific needs. To begin searching for brake pads, tools, or other motorcycle accessories, enter keywords into the search box on any eBay page. Try using terms like 'Harley Davidson front brake pad&' or 'ceramic motorcycle brake pad&', for example, to begin your search. The key is to be specific when using the search bar. If the product list of results is too long, cut it down by clicking on the filter options. eBay's Search Tips page also gives site visitors great advice on searching for brake pads or other products using keywords.

Shopping on eBay facilitates a quick and easy shopping experience, including for those searching for automotive parts and accessories. Once you find a product listing that looks like a match, read through the listing for item quality and other important terms of sale, such as shipping costs. Check with the seller if you need more information about the product by clicking the Ask a Question link on the listing page. Also, don't forget to check the seller's feedback rating to make sure you feel confident about his or her business practices.


Keeping the brakes on a motorcycle in good working order can go a long way towards ensuring safety for bike riders and those around them. When replacing the front brakes, bike owners should know how to do so correctly and have the necessary replacement parts and tools available to accomplish the task. This includes any pads, callipers, brake cleaner, brake grease, and brake fluid required to make sure the motorcycle's brakes remain in top working order.

Bike owners must take care not to remove the brake lines when replacing the front brake pads. They must likewise check the brake fluid to ensure it remains at the proper level after replacing the brake pads. If the brake lines require bleeding, take care of this when replacing the brake pads. Always seek the help of a professional if you are unsure about how to perform any maintenance or part replacement. Motorcycle owners can find all the items they need to successfully change out front brake pads. Both local motorcycle parts stores and online retailers like eBay typically have these necessities in stock.

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