Tips for Breaking in Motorcycle Brake Pads
New brake pads add an element of confidence when you’re riding your bike.
Effective braking power and shorter stopping distances are key ingredients to the overall handling profile of a motorcycle. The other advantage of new brake pads is that they protect your bike’s rotors. Old pads can eventually cut into the surface of the rotor, and in turn cut into your wallet by making you have to replace worn out parts more often.
After you change the brake pads on your motorcycle, they need to be broken in. Brake pads are heat cycled over and over, and have to scrub off the momentum when you slow down. That means the pads need to reach a point of maximum effectiveness, and getting them there requires several steps.
How to Break in Your Motorcycle’s Brake Pads
One important thing to remember when you’re first breaking in your new pads is not to come to a complete stop with the brakes engaged.
The heat in the new pads may warp the rotors and damage the pads. An empty lot is a good place to start breaking them in, so you can have open space to accelerate and slow down without worrying about traffic.
1. Accelerate to about 30 miles an hour and aggressively apply the brakes. Don’t come to a complete stop, and keep the wheels turning. Repeat this 8-10 times.
2. Do the same thing but from about 60 miles an hour, again without complete stops. Slow the bike down, then reaccelerate and do it again. Repeat about 8-10 times.
3. Take a normal ride, then cool the brakes down a bit.
4. Repeat the first step, but this time from about 45 miles an hour. Try to be smooth as you brake, and don’t lock the brakes down or over-modulate the braking power. Be steady.
For the first 200-300 miles, continue to take it easy. Over that time, you’ll start to feel an improvement in braking responsiveness.
Never touch the rotors. Obviously, you don’t want to touch them when they’re hot, but even when they’re cool the oils on your hands can contaminate the surfaces. Also, take special care if you’re working with fluids around your brakes, as even brake fluid can harm them if it gets on the rotors.
The brake system on any machine takes a pounding from heat and momentum. Breaking in the brake pads properly enhances your motorcycle's stopping power, but it also keeps you safer, so don't cut corners and take the time to break in those brake pads!