A motorcycle that offers so much freedom and so much speed also needs to have strong brakes. Motorcycle brakes are an art by themselves! Its main function is to decelerate or decrease the speed of a vehicle. By stepping on the brake pedal, the brake pads compress against the rotor attached to the wheel, which then forces the vehicle to slow down due to friction. Smart motorcyclists properly maintain their bike’s braking systems through routine service and repairs to make sure that their bikes are in top condition.
As riders, we should know the common motorcycle braking problems.
- Worn Brakes
Over time, the brake pads on a motorcycle will wear down, and they should be checked regularly. Sometimes, pads have markings on them to indicate maximum safe wear level. Or, a motorcycle owner can easily check to see if the pedal is hard when pushed down rather than soft and spongy. If the latter, the pads need replacing. If the pads are too thin, metal against metal contact will occur and ruin the rotors.
- Squeaky Brakes
Brakes tend to squeak when dust collects inside drum brakes, dirt gets caught between the pad and the disk, or the calipers are left unlubricated. Cleaning the brakes out with a soft, dry clean cloth can help prevent this.
Brakes on newer bikes use hydraulic pressure to apply force to the brake pads. Air in the system can make brake levers soft and inefficient. To take care of this, the brakes should be bled out by a mechanic, as described above. Brake fluid must also be replaced regularly since it degrades with use.
Being aware of the fragile and sensitive part of the brake system, routine maintenance is a must.
- Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic brake. The second most common cause of low brake fluid is a leak. If you don’t find out where it is leaking and fix the problem, then you could end up running the brake system dry. The end result is this: When you step on the brakes, it will not stop the bike.
- Bleeding the Brakes
Regardless of how new the motorcycle is, a large part of disk brake maintenance is bleeding the fluid in the brake system. When new, brake fluid is mostly clear. However, as it ages, it becomes dark and dirty, and it degrades over time. This fluid is hydroscopic, so it takes the moisture from the air which causes the brakes to wear down and lose pressure. This trapped air destroys the braking response system and results in a delayed or failed brake response. Many times, as the bike heats up, a rider may not notice the loss of pressure until it is too late and the brakes fail. Bleeding the brakes once a year rids the braking system of any air bubbles, allowing brakes to perform properly.