Functional brake pads are a critical safety feature on your BMW motorcycle. Whether you’re flying around a motocross track or taking a long-haul trip with your favorite cruiser, be sure to periodically inspect your brake pads. Replace your OEM bike parts with new ones or upgrade to dynamic aftermarket brake pads for maximum stopping power.
Signs of Brake Pad Wear
The most obvious signs of worn-out brake pads come from a visual inspection. If you’re unable to inspect your brakes, you’ll have to rely on the sound and feel of your brakes. Grinding, squealing sounds aren’t good news for your brake pads. While squishy brakes may be a sign of old brake fluid, unresponsive brakes are typically caused by bad brake pads.
Once you’ve removed your brake pads you can perform a more thorough inspection. Brake pads that are worn to the bottom of the grooves, cracked, busted or severely scratched are due for a change. If your brakes look fresh and untouched, there may be an issue with your calipers, brake fluid or another component.
Supporting Your Bike
Start your brake replacement by standing your BMW motorcycle straight up. Use a work stand or center stand to give yourself a comfortable workspace. While you’ve got it up on a work stand, inspect your bike to see if you need to replace your tires, tighten your chain or find new OEM motorcycle fairings. Be sure your BMW motorcycle is properly supported and that no one will accidentally squeeze your brake lever as you get to work.
Removing Old Brake Pads
This part is the most complicated and highly specific to your particular bike. Flip through your owner’s manual to see how your bike’s brake assembly is put together. In general, you’ll need to follow these steps:
1. Locate brake calipers
2. Remove retaining pins and clips
3. Remove dust shield
4. Carefully remove the calipers
5. Remove and inspect your brake pads
Prepare and Install New Pads
Take this time to clean out your brake assembly with an aerosol cleaner. You may have to temporarily reinsert your worn-out brake pads in order to push the pistons into the bores. This is a great time to double-check that you don’t have any fluid flowing out of the master-cylinder reservoir.
The best motorcycle brake pads have a shiny surface that should never be touched. The oils and grime on your hands can quickly damage brake pad faces, so carefully hold them on the sides as you remove the old brake pads and insert new pads. Put your brake assembly back together with the calipers, pins and dust shield.
Take Your Bike Out for a Spin
All that’s left is to test drive your ride. Pump the brakes before you start it up to be sure everything is responding properly. Take your BMW motorcycle out for a spin in a safe parking lot or quiet side street, since your brakes may not be fully responsive. Once you’ve tested them out a few times, you’re ready to hit the open road or the muddy trail. Whether you choose reliable OEM brakes or innovative aftermarket alternatives, you’ll be safer with a fresh set of brakes.