Brakes play an important role in the motorcycle by controlling the speed or stopping it completely. It’s all possible due to brake pads but over time due to the constant use of it, brake pads start to degrade. So, replacing the brake pads is essential in a motorcycle before they wear out completely. Here is what you need to know.
Motorcycle Brake pads last upto 20,000 miles – 25,000 miles. The average life span of brake pads depends on riding style, frequency of braking, and types of brake pads being used. You should check the wear of the brake pads periodically by doing a self-visual inspection.
The brake pad’s life varies depending upon the rider’s way of riding and the frequency of using the brake. Some may have the habit of using the rear brake only, then the damage to the brake pad of the rear tire will be quicker than the front. Thus, it’s not necessary to change or replace both the tire’s brake pads at the same time.
Brake pads can last 20,000 miles or above but you shouldn’t only rely on this information. Make sure to check your brake pad thickness or wear indicator grooves in the pad by yourself to know the condition of the brake pads.
Generally, on sports motorcycles, both the brake pads are required to be changed every 7456.5miles (12000 km).
Thus, with the brake pads, we can’t simply go with some arbitrary amount of data like time or miles. Because every person rides differently and brakes differently thus when should change the brake pads will be different for most of the riders.
But, if you used both brakes in the same amount then go with the above-highlighted data to change the brake pads on your motorcycle.
Now, in the next section, I am going to talk about the factors that affect the motorcycle brake pad’s life in detail.
When to replace motorcycle brake pads?
Motorcycle Brake pads should be replaced within the interval of 20,000 miles – 25,000 miles. But, the life of the motorcycle brake pads varies depending on several factors like riding style, frequency of braking, place of riding, motorcycle weight, etc.
Thus, it might happen that some may have to replace their brake pads earlier than the value of miles stated above. And, for some the situation may happen opposite, their brake pads have lasted more than the value specified above.
The life of the brake pads also depends on the type of motorcycle you have. Therefore, the life of the brake pads will vary with motorcycles. And, the brake pad life is also got affected by the riding styles, frequency, and intensity of braking. That’s why it’s just keep inspecting the brake pads.
According to Harley, “Brake pads must be inspected for wear every 2500 miles
(4000 km). If you ride under adverse conditions, (steep hills, heavy traffic, etc.) a more frequent inspection at 1000 miles (1600 km) or less, is required. Failure to inspect brake pads for wear could result in death or serious injury.”
As not all motorcycles come with brake pad indicators. Thus, you may need to manually check the brake pad’s wear. You may take the help of some mechanic or do it all by yourself.
Make sure to check the brake pads periodically. You just have to check the thickness of the pads, you can take the help of a motorcycle pad wear indicator.
If you don’t know what wear indicator is in brake pads then here is the image above. You can see several linings on the brake pads that cut lines represent the wear indicator.
So, if you can see the comparison of the new and old motorcycle brake pad then you can easily notice the cut is deep in the new one compared to the old worn-out brake pad.
Thus, if the lining of the brake pad becomes flat then it’s the time the brake pad has reached its limit and you should replace it.
What factors affect the lifespan of brake pads in a motorcycle?
There are several factors that affect the motorcycle brake pad’s life. In this section, we will discuss those factors in detail.
Riding style/ The way you ride
The brake pad’s life is mostly got affected by the riding style and habit of the rider. Some riders ride motorcycles crazy fast, those having sports motorcycles can easily relate to this. Thus, at high speed, if you brake then the friction caused between brake pads and rotors will be larger. Thus, the brake pads will also wear out quickly because the larger the force the. Apart from this, if the rider drives his motorcycle slowly and then applies the brake, the friction required to stop the wheel will be less thus the process of degradation of brake pads will be slower.
The place where you ride
If you ride on the highway then it’s evident that the use of the brake pads will be low as there will be low traffic. And, the use of brake increase in the high-traffic city roads due to the stop-and-go traffic that affects the brake pad life.
Apart from this if you ride on urban roads in a crowded place then you will have to concentrate on the brake always. Thus, with this type of situation brake pads’ life degrades quickly resulting in wear out the brake pads as you use them more often. From this factor, one thing is clear that if you ride in heavy congestion then you will need to apply brakes more often the life of brake pads will be short.
Types of Brake Pads used
There are three types of motorcycle brake pads like Sintered Brake Pads, Organic Brake pads, and Semi-metallic brake pads. So, the type of brake pads your motorcycle have will decide its life. Generally, Sintered Brake pads last longer than the organic and semi-metallic brake pads types. Also, sintered brake pads are resistant to fade and can handle extreme heat also.
Then there are organic brake pads that are made of organic material and are a blend of fibers and fillers. This brake pad is cheaper than the sintered and semi-sintered brake pads. Also, these brake pads wear out quicker than the other two brake pads.
Apart from these two brake pads, there are third brake pads called semi-sintered brake pads. It is a blend of both the brake pads elements. It usually lasts longer than the organic brake pads. To read about brake pads in detail, go to the “Types of brake pads” section below.
How quickly your brake pads will wear out, totally depends on the number or frequency of your braking? If you ride in heavy traffic or crowded places then definitely the frequency of braking will be more. Thus the more you apply the brake the more quickly it will wear out.
That’s the reason if you ride on the highway or low traffic area where there is not much requirement of braking. The brake pad life will be longer.
Weight and Speed of the motorcycle
The speed of the motorcycle affects the brake pads. But there is one more thing to consider; the weight of the motorcycle. With heavier or sports-oriented motorcycles, more force or friction will be required to stop it. So, the degradation of the brake pads also will be fast due to the weight of the motorcycle.
With a heavier motorcycle, the force required to stop the motorcycle will be quite higher than the lighter one. And, the friction will be even more when the heavier motorcycle is at speed and you apply the brake to stop it. Thus, the brake pads will wear out fast on heavy and performance-oriented motorcycles and you may need to change them quickly. Thus, make sure to have visually inspected the thickness of the brake pads.
Types of brake pads used in motorcycle
There are three types of motorcycle brake pads, Sintered Brake Pads, Organic Brake pads, and Semi-metallic brake pads. Let’s discuss each of the brake pad types briefly.
Sintered Brake Pads
These are modern brake pads that offer great performance and durability. As sintered brake pads cover the widest range of braking conditions, thus these brake pads are originally equipped on most (99%) of motorcycles from manufacturers nowadays.
Sintered brake pads go through a dedicated production process where metallic particles are fused together under high pressure and heat. As a result, making the resilient and porous brake pads material which is resistant to heat and friction. That’s the reason sintered brake pads are durable and last longer than any other brake pads.
Sintered pads are used in a wide range of vehicles and conditions such as racing, city riding, steep hilly terrain, Off-roading, etc. These brake pads have high friction coefficient that means they have a strong initial bite and great stopping power.
Sintered pads provide effective and consistent braking regardless of weather conditions making them a great choice for any type of motorcycle.
Apart from this, sintered brake pads also perform well on off-roading. If you ride on steep hilly trails, muddy or wet trails then the sintered pads will provide you effective braking.
Well, at this point we can all agree with the benefits of the sintered brake pads. That’s the reason sintered brake pads are considered the gold standard and brake pad technology.
But, we can’t deny the factor of pricing; sintered brake pads are more expensive than the other two brake pads.
As it comes default in most of the motorcycle brake pads so there is no issue of cost there. But for the next time, you will replace your motorcycle brake pads you may need to reconsider the choices if you are thinking of the price.
But I think sintered pads definitely deserve the price compared to the benefits offered by it.
Here I have listed the advantage (Pros) and disadvantages (Cons) of sintered pads:-
|It has a high braking coefficient providing a good initial bite.||Sintered brake pads are expensive.|
|Sintered brake pads are heat resistant.||Sintered pads make noise when brakes are applied.|
|Sintered brake pads work well in any situation or temperature condition.||Sintered pads produce more wear on rotors comparatively than other brake pads.|
|Sintered brake pads are durable and last longer.|
|Sintered brake pads perform well also on off-roading with muddy trails or rainy season.|
|It has an aggressive initial bite and has great stopping capability.|
Organic Brake Pads
As the name suggests these brake pads are made using organic material. Organic brake pads are a blend of fibers and fillers held together with resin. Apart from this, some companies have also started to add fibers like Kevlar and carbon. The addition of these components increases the durability of the organic brake pads.
Organic pads perform very well in dry conditions but in wet, or muddy conditions it doesn’t perform well.
As organic pads are made from less metal compared to sintered pads thus its initial bite is softer than the sintered abrupt grab. It gives you a progressive feel and control braking with its low initial bite.
Apart from this organic pads are not tolerant to high heat and cannot manage heat well. If the heat reaches the maximum operating temperature then it affects the organic pad’s build quality and coefficient of friction.
As organic pads are made from a softer material than sintered brake pads. Therefore organic pads don’t make noises. Generally, organic pads are cheaper than both sintered and semi-sintered brake pads.
Here I have listed the advantage (Pros) and disadvantages (Cons) of organic pads:-
|Organic pads are quieter than other types of brake pads.||Organic pads are softer thus wear out quickly.|
|Organic pads are cheaper than sintered or semi-sintered brake pads.||You will have to change the brake pads more often.|
|Organic pads are kind with the rotors thus increasing their life.||Organic pads are not tolerant to excessive heat.|
|It has a low initial bite and gives a progressive feel.||Organic pads don’t perform well in rainy or muddy conditions.|
Semi-metallic Brake Pads
These brake pads are hybrid of both sintered and organic brake pads we have discussed already. Thus, these brake pads are made by mixing the properties of both the brake pads making them stand apart.
Semi-sintered brake pads are made by combining the distinctive quality of both worlds. Thus providing a long life (quality of sintered pads) and progressive feel (quality of organic pads). It retains the progressive feel of the organic brake pads and provides the “feel” with lower heat transfer and less rotor abrasion.
The overall construction contains 20%-40% of copper by volume that has been mixed with the organic pads. Thus, these brake pads perform well in every weather condition be it dry, wet, hot, or cold.
These pads are a popular option for vehicles like motorcycles, ATVs, etc. But, these brake pads are also going to cost you a little bit more money than organic brake pads.
As semi-metallic brake pads offer better performance than organic ones and are suitable for commuting to sports riding. Thus, I think a little extra price is totally justifiable considering the benefits you get.
Here I have listed the advantage (Pros) and disadvantages (Cons) of semi-sintered pads:-
|Semi-sintered pads are quieter than other types of brake pads.||Semi-sintered brake pads cost more than organic brake pads.|
|Semi-sintered pads are valued for money as it combines both brake pads elements.||It is not designed for track use.|
|Semi-sintered pads are kind with the rotors thus increasing their life.|
|It gives you a progressive feel like organic pads.|
|Semi-sintered pads have a longer life than organic brake pads.|
Brakes are the most crucial components of the motorcycle or any vehicle that helps to control the vehicle and avoid any accidents. Thus, it’s important that you change your motorcycle brake pads in the right interval of time with the right type of pads.
Thus, I have discussed most of the necessary details in this post that will help you to take your decisions responsibly. Till then enjoy riding and ride safely.
At what thickness should brake pads be replaced?
The brake pads get worn out by constantly using overtime so do indicators. Therefore we have to measure the brake pad thickness to inspect it. If required then change it.
So, at what thickness should brake pads be replaced? Generally, if the thickness of the brake pads is lower or equal to 2mm. Then it’s time to change the brake pads.
Or, if you think you want to go further with the brake pads then make sure to replace it with 1.5mm remaining pad thickness. Otherwise, you may run into trouble.
Should you replace both the brake pads at the same time?
Replacing both the brake pads at once is not required because it’s not necessary for both the brake pads to wear out at the same time. It depends on the frequency of the brake set you use on your motorcycle.
If you use the front brakes more than the rear one then the brake pads of the front one will wear out earlier than the rear brake pads.
Thus, it’s not required to change both the brake pad at the same time. Although, if wear is even on both the brake pad then you can definitely go for replacing both the brake pads set.