In this Instructable I will show you how to change the brake pads on a newer model motorcycle. These instructions are only intended for hydraulic disk brakes and should only be performed by someone with at least a general understanding of basic motorcycle maintenance. These also only apply to those with Japanese bikes as I have very little experience with Chinese or American motorcycles. Be sure to check with your local dealer to make sure your bike doesn't require anything additional that may not be covered here. Also this is not entirely complete, I could not get the new brake pads in soon enough to meet my deadline so all of the pictures will be of the old brake pads. *Bike being used is a 2004 Honda VT1100*
Step 1: Gathering Tools Required
Before beginning you should gather all the tools needed in order to reduce the amount of time spent on this project. You will need; a flat head screw driver, a 5mm hex wrench, and your new brake pads.
I would recommend using high performance brake pads, as pictured below, if financially feasible because of the extra stopping power and extended life. A hex wrench is also known as an allen wrench which is also pictured below.
Step 2: Removing the Screw Protecting the Pin
Once you have gathered your tools and moved your motorcycle to a safe location you can begin. Position the bike on a flat paved surface with plenty of room for you to maneuver around the front wheel. If you have a center stand put the bike up on that but if your particular motorcycle does not have one, the side stand will work just fine. Also if working on blacktop make sure you are parked in the shade as the stand can sink into the blacktop and create an unsafe working environment.
The first thing you want to do is locate a flat head plug located in the bottom right side of the brake assembly as pictured below. Use the screw driver to remove this plug and set it aside in a safe place. Be careful once you have removed it because it is rather small and can be lost very easily.
Step 3: Removing Pin
After the plug is removed it is time to take out the pin holding the pads in. If you look into the hole you just revealed you should see a small 5mm hex bolt. Take a hex wrench and unscrew the pin as far as it will go. After you are done unscrewing it gently pull the rest of the pin out and set aside in a safe place. Make sure to be careful once you pull the pin out as the brake pads tend to just fall out with this pin removed.
Step 4: Removing the Pads
When the pin is taken out the pads are only connected to the bike by friction so if they are well worn they may fall out on their own. If they stay in place just tug a little bit on the bottom until they break free. Once they are free you should check them to see how worn they are and make a note of how many miles you drove with them for future reference.
While your hands are anywhere near the brake assembly DO NOT compress the brake in any way as this could severely injure yourself or damage your bike.
Step 5: Compare the Old Pads to the New Ones
When you have freed the old pads and removed them from the assembly set them next to one another to ensure that they are the same size and shape. If they differ in any way call your local dealership and make sure you have the correct size. Also be careful not to let any dirt or grime get on the new pads as this could damage the disk or shorten the life of the pad dramatically.
Step 6: Inserting the New Pads
After you are sure you have the correct pads it is time to insert the new ones into the brake assembly. This step is simple but can be kind of a pain due to the intricate nature of the brake pad. Start the the left pad so you can insert the pin into it to hold it up when working on the right one.
You will need to slide the new pad back up into the assembly and try and get the hooks and notches positioned correctly. When it is correctly installed the hole at the bottom must be level with the the hole the pin goes into. It also has to be flush with the rest of the assembly along the disk so run your hand down the disk to check this before installing the pin again. There is also a metal tab as pictured below that helps hold the pads in but can be pulled back to make the install easier.
Step 7: Finishing the Install
Once you have put the new pads into the brake assembly screw the pin back in until it is tight enough that it will not dislodge itself during riding. After the pin is securely fastened replace the plug as mentioned in step 2. Once everything is re-assembled roll your motorcycle back and forth applying different pressures on the brake to ensure that they are working properly. Also, when going on the road for the first time try stopping abruptly to make sure your brakes will perform well in an emergency situation.