How to Install Motorcycle Brake Calipers

Lead Image
  • 2-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 65-200
What You'll Need
Replacement caliper
Replacement brake pads
Tool kit
Needle nosed pliers
Brake fluid

When you need to install new motorcycle brake calipers and pads, you have a relatively simple and straightforward project ahead of you. However, if you have not undertaken such a task before and you are new to the structure and anatomy of motorcycles, follow a few simple instructions to get the job right first time. Brakes are a highly vital part of your motorcycle and should be tended to and repaired correctly.

Step 1 - Safety

To change the rear brake caliper of motorcycle, jack the motorcycle so that the rear wheel is off the floor. Remove the rear wheel. There is usually a cotter pin in place to hold on the lock nut. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, pry it out to release the lock nut. Some motorcycles will have a nylon locking element that will actually lock the nut to the bolt so be aware of that.

Step 2 - Retainers

Remove the spring retainers for your brake pads which you can do using needle nosed pliers. The retainer clips sit flush against the rods which are connected to the brake caliper via the cotter pins. Be careful not to lose any of the smaller parts.

Step 3 - Pins

Once the retainer clips are out, push the pins through. Be cautious not to damage the brake springs because you are going to put those back on the motorcycle afterwards. The brake pad should now slide out.

Step 4 – Mounting Plate

Remove it from the mounting plate which goes up inside and hooks to the axle of your motorcycle to gain access to the brake caliper.

Step 5 - Washers

Once you have removed the mounting bracket, remove the cross washers that attach to the banjo bolt. There is one bolt on the top and one on the underside. Make sure there is no debris or dust inside the cross washer surfaces. If you find any, simply clean it off with a suitable solution.

Step 6 – Remove old Calipers

The main body of the caliper separates into two sides by a seam. On the inside, there will be two pistons. You may find four or sometimes just one single piston. This is dependent on the model and make of motorcycle.

Run a check of any seals to make sure there are no rips or signs of wear and tear. Clean off any brake fluid that may have leaked on to the calipers.

Step 7 – New Calipers

To install the new caliper, attach the bolts and retainer clips the manner in which the old ones were removed. Put the new brake pads in the calipers. Then, attach those back with the retainer clips.

Step 8 – Bleeding

Once you have installed the new brake calipers, you will need to bleed the brake system to clear it of air locks or any other issues that could hamper the motorcycle’s performance. Top off brake fluid reservoir.