1. How do I bleed my brakes?
Brakes will need bleeding every now and then to make sure they are still functioning properly. This is very important if you take part in competitive events as you'd obviously want to improve your bike's performance as much as possible. Bleeding brakes is a relatively easy task which can be carried out with just a few simple tools. Firstly clean around the brake fluid reservoir to prevent any muck getting in the brake lines. Check the manual for the correct measurements (usually dot 4) and then top up the reservoir with brake fluid. Now you can use an open ended spanner to loosen the nipple on the front brake calliper and drain the old fluid into a container. Pump the brakes a few times until the lever goes soft and the new brake fluid starts to come through. Then tighten up the nipple again and repeat on the rear brakes. Top up the reservoir again to around three quarters full.
2. What does it mean if the brakes feel spongy and unresponsive?
If the brakes on your bike feel spongy then you could have air in the brake lines. This is a particular problem if the last brake bleed was carried out incorrectly. You could try reverse bleeding the brakes, but it is a good idea to get a professional mechanic to check the braking system just in case there is a more serious problem.
3. Can you change motorcycle brake pads at home?
If your brake pads are worn or you just want to upgrade them then you can change these yourself. This is a fairly straightforward job. First start on the front brake pads and remove the brake pin using an Allen key. This will loosen the brake pads and allow them to drop out. However this may not be that easy on all models so you may need to remove the brake calliper bracket first. Whilst you have the brake system exposed take a few moments to clear away any compacted dirt. Now apply a good heat resistant lube to the brake calliper pins and gently push them back using a screwdriver so that you can slot the new brake pads in place. Clean the brake pin and then replace. Repeat this on the rear brake pads if necessary. Ferodo brake pads are an affordable and high quality option for your replacement brake pads.
4. When do I need to change brake pads?
You do need to check your brake pads now and again to make sure they are still providing you with optimum performance. If you have not used your bike for a while then the brakes can also warp or bond together. Worn or damaged motorcycle brake pads can be dangerous so you do need to test the brakes regularly. As a general rule you should replace brake pads once they get down to about 30% of the pad remaining. Most motorcycle riders do not use the rear brake as much as the front brakes so you may find these do not get worn as quickly.
5. How can I sharpen up the brakes for track days without replacing the whole system?
Most standard factory motorbikes are fitted with rubber or plastic brake hoses. These will flex as you apply pressure to the brakes and this can cause a vague, unresponsive feel. It only takes a few moments to replace these hoses with a steel braided version and this will make the brakes feel much sharper and more responsive as they do not expand under pressure. This is a good way to sharpen up the brakes for track conditions.
6. What are drum brakes?
Drum brakes have been used for many years on motorbikes and are part of a straightforward system that uses a cam to spread the ends of the brake shoes apart against the drum. Early models had double cams which would operate each of the brake shoes individually and although these were effective they had more parts and this meant they were more expensive to fix when they went wrong.
7. How much should I spend on brake pads?
Motorcycle brake pads are made from different compounds and this can affect the price. As with most motorcycle parts you get what you pay for with motorcycle brake pads and the more you spend the better the performance and the longer they will last. You need to make sure you buy brake pads that are suitable for the conditions you are riding in (metallic pads for example last longer in muddy conditions) and you should spend as much as you can afford to ensure you get pads that are durable and long lasting. Ferodo brake pads are a great high quality option for off-road, street and race bikes.
8. Will a disc guard help to protect my brakes?
If you are riding in challenging conditions such as off-road trails then you can help to protect your motorcycle brakes with disc guards. These fit over the disc brakes and prevent mud and debris from accumulating on the calliper and also protect the brake system from being hit by rocks or deep ruts.
9. What brake products do Ferodo sell?
Ferodo are a leading manufacturer of brake systems and sell a range of products including brake shoes, front brake pads and rear brake pads. Brake systems are offered for all kinds of brake pads from dirt bikes to race bikes. Ferodo brake pads are made from premium quality materials and provide high performance at affordable prices.
10. Which brake is the most effective?
Most riders wear front brake pads down more quickly as these brakes provide as much as 80% of the bike’s overall stopping power. Front motorcycle brakes provide immediate stopping for emergencies but because the weight of the rider will be thrown forward the rear brake must also be used to provide balance and control. Accurate braking on a motorcycle is about staged braking, which is when you apply the brakes progressively. This helps to prevent either the front or rear wheel from skidding and losing control. The rear brake is the lightest under braking so you do need to be very careful applying this brake to prevent the wheel from locking up and skidding.