Some Quick Tips on How to Care for Your Motorcycle Brakes
There’s one part of the motorcycle that stands between you and the potential for a crash and a date with the pavement – well-maintained brakes. Brakes need to be good to go whenever you’re in gear. In a nutshell, they’re the final frontier when it comes to safety.
Keeping the fluid for your brakes replaced and replenished is an important step in brake maintenance. The fluid helps to deter wear and tear on mechanical parts. Check the fluid level often. Depending on the frequency of your ride time, the oil may need to be changed at least once a year, possibly every two years. The process involves flushing out the old brake fluid, then replacing it with a new batch.
Brake pads play an important role in the braking system. Once braking is initiated by the rider, the brake system goes through a set of steps. In a disc brake system, these steps include the brake master cylinder pressurizing the system and routing that pressure to the brake calipers. Pistons that are part of the calipers are pressed against the brake pads, which in turn creates friction against the brake discs/rotor resulting in heat energy.
Since braking is a process relied on from the start to finish of a ride, the brake pads need to be kept in good working order. Visually check the brake pads frequently for wear. Also, listen for any unusual sounds – such as squealing, screeching, or grinding – being emitted from the wheels. This can indicate the metal backing of the brake pad is in contact with the surface of the rotor.
If the pads show signs of wear, they need to be replaced. If the pads seem fine but the bike is making sounds when braking, take it to a reputable mechanic to determine what is causing the problem and to make repairs.
When brake pads are worn down, braking efficiency is decreased. When a metal-on-metal situation occurs, the braking system is compromised. If left unattended, the rotors could be ruined and the bike will not stop as it should when the brakes are engaged, which can lead to dangerous situations on the road.
There are plenty of do-it-yourself kits available with instructions to help you keep the brakes on your motorcycle in tip-top condition. While this is an option for riders, it’s best if the rider is experienced in bike maintenance and has a thorough understanding of how the braking system works for their motorcycle.
To ensure brakes are working at their peak performance, have the bike checked out by an expert. Do this by scheduling periodic maintenance checks whether it’s just to change the brake fluid or pads, or to repair or replace the discs.
When it comes to safety, don’t take a shortcut and allow your bike’s brakes to take a beating while you keep on spinning down the highway. Proper care and maintenance mean a safer journey wherever the road may take you.