mono motorcycles essential guide to brake, caliper & disc care, Funtington, Chichester, Portsmouth.
When was the last time you checked your motorcycle brake pads, calipers or discs? Are they legal & more to the point, are they safe? Brakes undergo an intense amount of wear & tear. Many riders put themselves & others at risk if they are not checked regularly. So again we ask, when was the last time you checked your brake pads, calipers or discs?
Step by step guide to keeping your brakes in top working order by Daniel Morris – Master Technician at mono motorcycles, New Barn, Funtington.
Brakes, about the most important bit of kit on your motorbike. Let’s face it without them it’s game over!
So what can go wrong?
As with all things on your motorcycle, brakes are exposed to all the elements. Mix that with alloy calipers, steel pistons rubber seals & corrosion & this can cause the pistons to stick. If ignored this can cause pads to wear out, discs to over heat & warp, brake fluid to boil & in extreme cases you can find your lever coming all the way to the bars!
When a motorcycle caliper sticks it can do it in two ways. First, the piston can stick in so when you pull your lever the pad is not pressed square onto the disc. This in turn can warp a motorcycle brake disc. This can be felt as a shake through the steering under hard braking & the only cure is new discs. Secondly, the other way a caliper can stick is it jams on when used. This slows the motorcycle under normal riding, heating up the disc and wearing out the pads.
So what can you do?
Unless you have the expertise, it is always advisable to seek professional help when dealing with anything to do with motorcycle brakes. The only way to correctly fix motorcycle calipers sticking, is to strip the calipers right down, clean everything & replace the seals. It’s not normally the piston that causes the issue nor the seals, it’s the corrosion of the alloy caliper under the seal. This expands causing the seal to pinch the piston. At mono motorcycles we gently remove all the pistons / seals & clean the seal groove. We then put all the part in our ultrasonic cleaner for 15-20 mins.
Pistons are normally reusable if stainless & with a wipe with some very fine scotch bright they can be made good as new. However, if there is any damage to the piston, they must be replaced to prevent damage to the seals or pistons sticking. Early model items can be made of mild steel with a chrome coating that can peel. At mono motorcycles we tend to replace them with hard alloy or stainless pistons to prevent the same happening again.
Upon removal mono motorcycles ensure all parts are dried using compressed air. Sometimes if the motorcycle calipers are really dirty, we will repaint the bodies before re assembling. We always use new seals, assembled with red rubber grease we also replace bolts & bleed screws.
Moving on to the pads. It’s always worth replacing motorcycle brake pads if rebuilding the calipers. At mono motorcycles we normally use OEM spec pads like EBC. This not only guarantees good stopping power, but also helps prolong brake disc life.
Brake discs are fairly low maintenance. But here are a few things to consider before replacing them.
1/ Bobbins can wear causing a rocking of the discs on the rotors.
2/ Can you feel a shudder when braking from high speed? Normally a sign of a warped disc.
3/ Some inexpensive brake pads can increase disc wears.
When did you last change yours? Did you know that brake fluid is hygroscopic? Glycol-ether (DOT 3, 4, and 5.1) brake fluids are hygroscopic (water absorbing), which means they absorb moisture from the atmosphere under normal humidity levels, let alone being left in a cold garage over the winter!
This can cause all sorts of issues. Water in brake fluid can lower the boiling point of the fluid, the only time you would be aware is then you loose the brake lever! Water in the brake fluid can also cause premature failure of components due to corrosion of vital parts.
For this reason we at Mono motorcycle replace all the fluids every service. Overkill? Not really, it’s an easy change that can make the difference between life and death, quite literally!
For all your servicing needs, brakes, tyres, detailing, wiring & detailing, call Daniel Morris on 07899 654446 or contact us through our contact page.