How long do motorcycle brake pads last?

Are you concerned your brake pads are wearing faster than you expected? Are you thinking your brake pad materials must be inferior due to how quickly they need changing?

How often do you ride your motorcycle? How heavy is your motorcycle? Do you ride aggressively and always need to brake often in the city? This is a question that is not easy to answer for this reason.

However, we can assume that your brake pads should last approximately 20.000 miles or 32.000 kilometres for average riding.

How often should you change motorcycle brake pads?

There is no set time limit for changing your brake pads as everything depends on how frequently you ride your motorcycle. For example, if you ride 100 miles once a week during the warmer months, your brakes will last forever with a couple of caveats.

Assuming you are the average motorcycle rider who rides all year round, then you can expect your brake pads to need changing around the 20,000 miles mark. However, your brakes need a visual inspection frequently.

If your brake material looks worse for wear as if it is delaminating from the steel brake pad carrier, you should immediately change your pads.

If your pads only have 2mm of brake pad lining, then it’s time to change your brake pads.

When needed, not changing your brake pads will result in less braking power and maybe damage the disk. If the disk is damaged through grooves or a large lip, it’s time to change the brake disk.

It’s a false economy to try and get the very last out of your brake pads. Replace them when they are low on brake material or look worse for wear.

It’s worth mentioning that if your brake pad has been exposed to a lubricant or grease, replace it immediately. As good as brake cleaning fluid is, it’s not worth taking the risk of riding with a contaminated brake pad.

How many miles should brakes last on a motorcycle?

If you have a decent brake pad and you ride sensibly, then you can expect your brake pads to last up to 20.000 miles.

However, it all depends on the weight of your motorcycle. If you ride a touring motorcycle, your brakes will likely be working much harder to stop than, say, a small 250 CC engine motorcycle.

You need to evaluate your riding style and not rely on expected mileage numbers. The key is to visually check your disks every time you check your tyre pressure. Hopefully, this is at least once every week.

It’s a different set of circumstances for rear brake pads. Rear pads are only supplying 30% of your overall braking capacity.

Some riders barely use the rear brakes and leave the braking to the front brake alone. However, this does not mean you should ignore your rear brake pads.

Inspect your brake pads front and rear at the same time. If you’re changing your brake pads, it does not necessarily mean you have to change from and rear at the same time.

How do you know when motorcycle brake pads are worn?

Here are a few simple telltale signs you need to replace your brake pads.

  • If you experience a longer time for your brake pads to engage, this is a sign your brake pads are worn and need changing.
  • If your brake pads are very low and you are partly braking on the rivets, you will feel the vibration through the handlebars.
  • Brakes squealing and screeching; change your brakes immediately.
  • Unusual noises when braking

Knowing when your brakes need replacing is a critical safety element of riding your motorcycle. With experience, you can detect slight changes when braking. If you find something missing, it’s time to inspect and brake change visually.

Understand your riding habits and style; this will give you a good indication of how often your brakes need to be done.

Riding habits and style are significant contributors to how often your brakes are done. Brakes are not one of those scheduled service items at a given mileage.

If you are an aggressive rider riding hard and fast, your brakes will receive much harder use. If you drive along with the highway cruising or on the motorway, you will not often use your brakes.

It’s a case of horses for courses. It’s an individual experience of how quickly your brake pads wear and need to be changed.

Do motorcycle brake pads get old?”

Yes, they do, regardless of whether they are stored in a dry place. Brake pads have a particular give and flexibility to the material. If they didn’t, they would shatter when used.

Brake pads get old and lose flexibility regardless of the climate resulting in brake pads that could develop cracks and cause a catastrophic failure.

If you witness any cracks in your brake pads used or brand new out of the box, discard them and don’t be tempted to fit them into your motorcycle.

It’s always advisable not to buy budget brakes even though budget brakes still have to meet stringent criteria to be used in the UK. However, the materials used in the brake pad manufacture may be questionable at best.

For this reason, using an OEM brake pad is always the first option. You will know they were designed for the performance of your particular motorcycle and have the stopping power the manufacturer of your motorcycle intended for the weight and size of your bike.

Buying decent brakes will pay dividends over the life of the brake pad. You can expect the best braking performance for the pad and extended life.

To recap. Don’t use old brake pads; they could have lost their flex properties and caused a lack of braking performance.

If your brake pad looks suspect, don’t fit it into your motorcycle to save money and time.