Replace Brake Pads On A Harley

Disc brakes today on a Harley Davidson motorcycle require very little maintenance except for periodic fluid bleeding and replacement of the brake pads. Manufacturers have been producing many kinds of replacement brake pads and making various claims about their products. However, the manufacturer of your motorcycle may require that you purchase and use genuine factory parts. It’s very important to replace parts according to the manufacturer, especially if your bike is still under warranty.


1. Park your motorcycle on a flat surface and put down the center stand, leaving the fork legs (connects axle and front wheel to the frame) free to turn or rotate for better access to the retaining pins.

2. Remove the bolts from the calipers and set them aside. On a motorcycle with fixed calipers, rotate the retaining pins until the loop ends of the retaining clips are exposed, and then remove the clips with needle-nose pliers. You may also have to remove the dust shield if it does not come free upon removal of the pins from the caliper.

3. Shake the caliper until the old brake pads fall out, and then inspect the pads for cracks, general wear, and missing material. Clean the caliper pistons to remove road grime and pad residue. Reinsert the old pads in the caliper and then wedge the screwdriver in between the two pads so that the caliper pistons go back into the bores. Check for leaking fluid from the master cylinder reservoir as you are pushing the pistons back into place.

4. Prepare the new brake pads according to the directions on the package. Remove the old pads and then insert the new pads, being careful not to touch the face of the pads with your hands or to touch any other parts that will keep the face of the pads from being clean.

5. Reinstall all parts removed in the beginning such as the retaining pins and clips, if applicable to your motorcycle. Clean and lubricate any slides or pivot points with the brake grease. Perform final cleanup and bolt the calipers back to the fork leg using a torque wrench. Pump the brakes until they feel firm underneath your feet. Check the fluid level on the master cylinder.