Change The Brake Pads On A Harley Davidson

Your motorcycle depends on good brake pads to slow you down safely and quickly.

While most motorcycles are rated by the power produced by their motor, braking ability is an undervalued capability. Slowing a massive Harley-Davidson motorcycle to a halt is no easy task and requires a set of thick brake pads to withstand the amount of friction created during the process of braking. Over time, the brake pads will wear away, leaving very little surface area to grip the brake rotor, eventually incapacitating the brake system and damaging the rotor. Luckily, replacing the brake pads is a simple task that can normally be accomplished in less than half an hour.


1. Remove the brake caliper from the motorcycle. Using a socket wrench, unscrew the bolts that secure the caliper to the front fork or swing arm bracket. Slide the caliper off of the bracket and the brake rotor.

2. Unscrew the brake pad pins on the side of the brake caliper using a socket wrench. Pull the brake pads and the anti-rattle spring out of the caliper.

3. Spray the inside of the caliper with an aerosol brake cleaning spray to remove any dirt and dust buildup. Wipe away the excess with a towel. Using a flat head screwdriver, press the brake pistons into the caliper.

4. Place the anti-rattle spring over the back of the new brake pads. Insert the brake pads and anti-rattle spring into the brake caliper. Secure the pads into place by inserting the brake pad pins, tightening the pins with a socket wrench.

5. Slide the brake caliper over the brake rotor and onto the mounting bracket on the swing arm or the front fork. Insert the caliper’s mounting bolts and tighten with a socket wrench.

6. Squeeze or depress the brake lever repeatedly to close the brake caliper‘s pistons and brake pads around the brake rotor. Stop when the lever requires a firm pull or press to actuate the brake.