Brake Failure – Dennis Murphy, Chapter Educator

The brake system is the most important part of your motorcycle. Think about it if your bike won’t start, you simply call a friend and tow the bike home or to a shop to get it fixed. When your brakes go bad you have a problem. That is why I would like to refresh your focus on the brakes

Brake performance changes so gradually that you may not realize it has degraded. But if your brakes aren’t working properly, you cannot expect to do a quip stop, let alone make smooth throttle-brake transitions.

First, before you even start the engine, feel the brakes for air bubbles. Squeeze the lever very hard and feel for sponginess. The lever should feel firm – not rubbery when the brake is fully applied. You should be able to squeeze firmly without the lever contacting the grip.

The rear brake should also feel firm. If either brake feels spongy it is time to bleed the brakes. Before you get ready to do a road test make sure that the calipers are in working order. If a caliper won’t release instantly, it is time to replace or repair. Let me give you a hint, if you have to work on calipers it is also a good time to flush the system. Also check your pads for wear, this is a good to time to replace them when you have everything apart. This is an easy check you look for the wear line in the middle of the pads that takes all the guessing out of it.

With your brakes checked and serviced, try some normal stops using both brakes. When applying the brakes lightly, listen and feel for irregular braking. Even brand new brake discs may be warped or have high spots. When braking, does the front end wiggle from side to side? If so, that is an indication that one or both discs are warped or have high spots. Screeching brakes are a symptom of glazed brake pads, imbedded debris, missing parts or corroded caliper pistons.

Enjoy the weather and stay safe.

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