How to Replace Motorcycle Brakes and Rotors

What You'll Need
Replacement Motorcycle Rotors
Replacement Motorcycle Brakes and Brake Pads
Ratchet Set
Motorcycle Workstand

Replacing the brakes and rotors of your motorcycle is somewhat similar to the process used to replace the brakes and rotors on a passenger vehicle. This is a do-it-yourself task that is best left to someone who has experience working with motorcycle maintenance. Because of the importance of your motorcycle’s brakes and if you do not get this job correct, it could lead to a catastrophic failure, injury and even death.

If you wish to attempt the replacement of your motorcycle’s brakes and rotors and are a novice, perform the task under the supervision and direction of a qualified motorcycle mechanic. The steps, tools and materials provided in this article are designed to give you a sense of the process involved in performing this task.

Step 1: Secure the Motorcycle

You need to secure the motorcycle in a work stand that will allow you to have access to the rotors and brakes. The motorcycle should remain secure throughout the entire replacement process of the brakes and rotors.

Step 2: Remove the Tire

Remove the tire where the brake and rotor replacement is going to take place. You will need a ratchet and socket set that fits the size of the nut holding the motorcycle tire in place. Be sure to keep all removed parts in close proximity to the bike while repairing.

Step 3: Remove the Brake Pads

In most instances, the brake job that you have to perform is the replacement of the brake pads, which have become worn. You will need to purchase replacement brake pads from an auto parts store or a motorcycle dealer. Locate the brake pads on the bike – use the motorcycle owner’s manual if you are unsure as to where the brake pads and rotors are located. This location may be different for different types of motorcycles so no general statement will be made here about there location.

Step 4: Replace the Pads and Worn Rotors

Check the rotor to see if it is worn. There will be grooves cut into the rotor that will indicate that it is due for replacement. Take the worn rotor off of the motorcycle and replace it with new rotors. The rotors should be machined in order to check them for warping. If they are warped, they will not work properly, making braking difficult and potentially dangerous.

Step 5: Reassemble the Motorcycle

Once you have replaced the worn rotors and brake pads (or complete brake system), reassemble the tire and put the motorcycle back together. The reassembled motorcycle should be checked to make sure that all parts have been put in place and that the motorcycle stops properly. Start the motorcycle and in a small area practice moving and stopping. If the brakes do not seem to be working properly, shut the motorcycle off and reexamine the work area where the brake job was performed in order to ensure that it was done correctly. Make any adjustments or corrections as necessary.