How to Change Dirt Bike Brake Pads – There are different common parts to know about in a dirt bike, but do you know about brake pads? Brake pads are a part of the braking system that helps slow down and stop your bike. When the rider uses the brakes, the brake pads press against the spinning brake disc, creating the necessary friction for effective stopping.
Designed to endure the challenges of off-road riding, dirt bike brake pads are built to withstand different terrains and weather conditions, ensuring reliable stopping and rider safety. Simply put, they provide effective stopping power in different conditions. Like any other dirt bike part though, it requires proper maintenance.
How to Change Dirt Bike Brake Pads: The Process
Step 1: Remove the pad pin plug, if present, to expose the pad pin screw. Be cautious not to round it off.
Step 2: Crack open the pad pin but keep it in place for leverage. Use WD40 if needed.
Steps 3 & 4: Undo caliper bolts and remove the caliper while it’s still attached to the brake hose.
Step 5: Take out the pad pin screw.
Step 6: Remove the brake pads and inspect/clean the caliper, checking mount pins for smooth movement.
Steps 7 & 8: Install new brake pads, ensuring proper seating on the guide and spring plates. Insert the pad pin and tighten.
Step 9: Check the disc for wear, grooving, or distortion. Replace if necessary.
Steps 10 & 11: Remount the caliper, align it with the disc, and tighten caliper bolts to the specified torque.
Steps 12 & 13: Tighten the pad pin to spec using a torque wrench if available. Insert the pad pin plug without over-tightening.
How Often Do You Need to Change Brake Pads
The frequency of changing brake pads depends on factors such as usage and riding style. There’s no strict rule; it’s up to the rider to recognize when the pads are wearing down and replace them before they become too worn. Regular inspection is crucial for maintaining braking effectiveness and ensuring the ability to stop when needed.
Allowing pads to wear too low not only jeopardizes your safety by reducing stopping power but can also cause damage to other crucial components like discs and calipers. Being proactive in replacing brake pads is not just a matter of safety but also a way to prevent more extensive damage to the braking system.
Types of Brake Pads
While it helps to know how to change dirt bike brake pads, it also helps to know the types available:
Organic Brake Pads (Carbon Brake Pads): Designed for optimal performance in dry conditions, these pads struggle in the presence of moisture, affecting overall effectiveness. While suitable for desert riding, many riders opt for alternatives due to this limitation.
Sintered Brake Pads: Preferred by dirt bike riders, sintered brake pads excel in all conditions. They effectively combat heat build-up, boast durability, and although pricier, they provide long-lasting value for your investment.
Semi-Metallic Brake Pads: An economical choice with commendable braking performance, semi-metallic brake pads are budget-friendly. However, they are tougher on brake rotors, have a shorter lifespan compared to sintered pads, but offer affordability for riders on a budget.
Sintered VS Non-Sintered Brake Pads
Between the different brake pads, is one better than the other? When comparing sintered and non-sintered brake pads, it’s essential to consider their performance characteristics. Non-sintered pads initially provide a stronger bite but may fade in challenging conditions and wear out quickly, particularly under heavy braking generating more heat. The softer composition of non-sintered pads, made from a mixture of fibers like Kevlar, carbon, and rubber held together with resin, can result in a soft and spongy brake feel, akin to air in the hydraulic line.
On the other hand, sintered brake pads, containing metallic particles fused at high temperature and pressure, handle heat more effectively, minimizing fade. However, they may produce some noise, becoming loud and potentially annoying when hot. Choosing between the two depends on your riding style and the conditions you regularly encounter.
Breaking in Dirt Bike Brake Pads
Do you know? Similar to a good set of dirt bike boots, brake pads need breaking in? Breaking in dirt bike brake pads is vital for peak performance. Start with a clean setup, ensuring both the pads and rotor are spotless. Follow any instructions from the pad manufacturer for new pads. To break them in, ride smoothly, accelerating to 30mph, slowing without a full stop, and repeat around 10 times.
Gradually increase speed to 40mph and then 50mph, slowing to a walking pace each time, repeating 10 times for each speed. Allow brakes to cool before riding again. This process beds the brakes, creating a smooth surface for optimal performance. Failing to break in the brakes properly may lead to a juddering feel through the handlebars during braking due to uneven pads or discs from incorrect bedding.