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How To Replace and Install Motorcycle Brake Rotors

When to Replace Your Motorcycle Brake Rotors

The first sign that you may have rotor problems is typically when you feel a pulsing in the brake handle when braking hard. Basically what's happening is the pads are not making consistent contact with the rotor either because the rotor face is scratched or marred, or the rotor is warped. No consistent contact, no consistent braking and that's not a good thing.


Every time you change your brake pads you should take a close look at your rotors. Run your fingernail across the rotor and if you can feel grooves or chips you have a rotor that needs to be replaced. Also be concerned about the rotor wearing thin. If there is an obvious worn spot use a micrometer to measure the thickness of the rotor and ensure that it is within the tolerance recommended in your owner's manual.


Things You'll Need:

  • Replacement rotors
  • Bike stand
  • Socket set (make sure you have a 22 mm socket in that set)
  • A support (cinder blocks, 5 gal bucket etc.) that is tall enough to come up to the axle
  • Screwdriver
  • Stable work table

Preparation

There really isn't much in the way of preparation for this task other than to ensure the bike is securely in the bike stand. If it has been a while since you last replaced your brake pads you may want to consider buying a set and installing them in the caliper while you are changing out rotors.


How to Change Brake Rotors on a Motorcycle

Removing the Wheel:

  1. There are usually two mounting bolts located on both sides of the frame near the axle. Use a ratchet wrench to loosen these to the point that you'll be able to remove them by hand. Don't take them out just yet.
  2. Next to go will be the axle nut located on one side of the axle. This is usually where your 22 mm socket will come into play and you may need to use an extension to get the leverage you need. After you have removed the nut pull the axle out about 3 inches.
  3. The next step is to remove the caliper. Put a support under the caliper so it does not hang by the brake line when it is removed (an upside down bucket works fine). Next remove the bolts (usually 3) that attach the caliper to the frame, remove the caliper and set it on the support.
  4. With the caliper safely out of the way, pull the axle out and remove the wheel.

Installing New Rotors:

  1. Place the wheel on a solid work table.
  2. Loosen and remove the bolts (usually 6 to 8) that secure the rotor to the wheel.
  3. Remove the rotor.
  4. Follow the same procedure for the second rotor.
  5. A note here about all of the OEM bolts and screws. Take a moment and inspect them and if they need cleaning use the wire brush and WD 40.
  6. Place the new rotor on the wheel and line it up with the bolt holes.
  7. Ratchet the bolts back in place. Do the same thing for the rotor on the opposite side.

Remounting the Wheel:

  1. An important note here. Your tires are directional. That means you want to make sure that when you mount the wheel the tread design is pointing the right way. On the sidewall of most motorcycle tires you'll find the word "front" and an arrow pointing in the right direction. Make sure that's the same direction that your tread is aiming when you mount the wheel.
  2. Line up the wheel with the axle hole and slide in the axle.
  3. Tighten down the axle nut.
  4. Install the four mounting bolts.
  5. Re-install the calipers making sure there's a good fit with the new rotor.

You have just replaced your rotors and you should get many, many miles out of them even if you are riding off road.


- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

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How To Replace and Install Motorcycle Brake Rotors

When to Replace Your Motorcycle Brake Rotors

The first sign that you may have rotor problems is typically when you feel a pulsing in the brake handle when braking hard. Basically what's happening is the pads are not making consistent contact with the rotor either because the rotor face is scratched or marred, or the rotor is warped. No consistent contact, no consistent braking and that's not a good thing.


Every time you change your brake pads you should take a close look at your rotors. Run your fingernail across the rotor and if you can feel grooves or chips you have a rotor that needs to be replaced. Also be concerned about the rotor wearing thin. If there is an obvious worn spot use a micrometer to measure the thickness of the rotor and ensure that it is within the tolerance recommended in your owner's manual.


Things You'll Need:

  • Replacement rotors
  • Bike stand
  • Socket set (make sure you have a 22 mm socket in that set)
  • A support (cinder blocks, 5 gal bucket etc.) that is tall enough to come up to the axle
  • Screwdriver
  • Stable work table

Preparation

There really isn't much in the way of preparation for this task other than to ensure the bike is securely in the bike stand. If it has been a while since you last replaced your brake pads you may want to consider buying a set and installing them in the caliper while you are changing out rotors.


How to Change Brake Rotors on a Motorcycle

Removing the Wheel:

  1. There are usually two mounting bolts located on both sides of the frame near the axle. Use a ratchet wrench to loosen these to the point that you'll be able to remove them by hand. Don't take them out just yet.
  2. Next to go will be the axle nut located on one side of the axle. This is usually where your 22 mm socket will come into play and you may need to use an extension to get the leverage you need. After you have removed the nut pull the axle out about 3 inches.
  3. The next step is to remove the caliper. Put a support under the caliper so it does not hang by the brake line when it is removed (an upside down bucket works fine). Next remove the bolts (usually 3) that attach the caliper to the frame, remove the caliper and set it on the support.
  4. With the caliper safely out of the way, pull the axle out and remove the wheel.

Installing New Rotors:

  1. Place the wheel on a solid work table.
  2. Loosen and remove the bolts (usually 6 to 8) that secure the rotor to the wheel.
  3. Remove the rotor.
  4. Follow the same procedure for the second rotor.
  5. A note here about all of the OEM bolts and screws. Take a moment and inspect them and if they need cleaning use the wire brush and WD 40.
  6. Place the new rotor on the wheel and line it up with the bolt holes.
  7. Ratchet the bolts back in place. Do the same thing for the rotor on the opposite side.

Remounting the Wheel:

  1. An important note here. Your tires are directional. That means you want to make sure that when you mount the wheel the tread design is pointing the right way. On the sidewall of most motorcycle tires you'll find the word "front" and an arrow pointing in the right direction. Make sure that's the same direction that your tread is aiming when you mount the wheel.
  2. Line up the wheel with the axle hole and slide in the axle.
  3. Tighten down the axle nut.
  4. Install the four mounting bolts.
  5. Re-install the calipers making sure there's a good fit with the new rotor.

You have just replaced your rotors and you should get many, many miles out of them even if you are riding off road.


- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

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