How Long Do Motorcycle Brake Pads Last

Maintenance and replacement of bike brake pads must always be taken seriously. It is the crucial motorcycle component that promises the rider’s safety.

Needless to say, you must replace your bike brake pads every 20000 miles. If you notice the vehicle making a strange and awkward sound, it is a clear signal that your brake pads have become worn out.

The below-mentioned guide has all the details regarding how long do motorcycle brake pads last. Overlooking the brake maintenance aspect certainly puts your life at risk. If the brake pads are in top-notch, efficient, and spic and span condition, it will get easy for the vehicle to stop confidently anytime.

So, take care of the braking system if you are on this two-wheeled machine. The excellent condition of brake pads gives the rider ultimate comfort and control, and he can safely ride for hours. Other details are mentioned below:

How long do motorcycle brake pads last?

The average lifespan of motorcycle brake pads is 20000 miles, after which they must be replaced on a priority basis. If the brakes are not replaced on time, the rider might encounter serious accidental situations.

Note that the lifespan differs depending on the riding style and how often you ride. Brakes last longer under light braking applications. They tend to wear out less.

Overall, maintaining the bike’s braking system has become an integral and vital duty that all motorists must perform. It ensures safety, and this aspect should not be compromised. 

From this platform, you can further explore how to check if your brakes need repairs and what are the signs of a worn-out braking system.

How to check the condition of motorcycle brake pads?

There are various ways which help you measure the life of your bike’s brake pads:

Look at the thickness

You can measure their life by looking at the ‘’thickness’’. Pads’ thickness becomes 1-2 millimeters or even less than 1/8 of an inch when they become worn out. 

Generally, there has to be 1.5 mm of pad thickness; you can inspect the condition of brake pads by looking closely in between the rotors and calipers. 

It is exactly here that the braking system is housed. Bonus tip: The brake pads of rusty bikes must be replaced immediately with new brake pads.

Check the awful sound

At times, the motorcycle makes strange and awful sounds. It is a clear hint that your brakes have become damaged.

In addition, might hear a grinding or scraping noise whenever you engage the brakes. It happens when the metal brake pad backing gets excessively rubbed against the rotor surface.

Check the groove area

You can also check the groove area. It is the easiest way to determine whether the brake pads of the bike need replacement or not. If the groove seems hardly visible or if it is less than 2 mm, it is a sign to buy new brake pads and throw away the old ones.

If your bike lacks a wear groove indicator, you need to get in touch with a certified technician. He uses a micrometer and measures the friction material that helps you decide whether brake pads need replacement.

Feel and sense on your own

The rider feels and senses whether the brake pads are in good condition. If brakes take longer to stop and engage, it means there is a problem with them, and needs immediate repair. Thus, taking longer to engage is a clear-cut sign of brake deterioration.

Why is it important to replace motorcycle brake pads?


Replacing old and worn-out brake pads has become a necessity, or, you can say, a mandatory duty. For your safety, never and ever ride with damaged brake pads.

The good condition of the braking system keeps it fully functional, efficient, and safe to ride. It allows the rider to control the speed while avoiding accidents confidently. 

Letting the brakes wear out brings some risky situations; below you can know about them:

Worn-out brakes eat up the rotor

The rotor quality gets severely affected if the brakes are smashed and damaged.

Brake pads are made of a metal plate, and they are punched into the caliper and thick layer of friction. On the other hand, the rotor comes in the form of a metal ring. 

It rides between the brake pads and is connected to the wheel. The reduction in friction material thickness affects the rotor or completely eats it up. 

Damaged brakes produce excess heat and destroy the brake fluid

Damaged brakes lead to the destruction of the brake fluid as well. If the fluid gets hot, the air in the fluid starts to expand. This situation brings the hydraulic power of the fluid to a ”non-existent” mode. Under such a scenario, replace the brake pads and brake fluid- both are important.

Failed brakes ruin the calipers

Failed brakes bid adios to calipers too! Calipers are hydraulic cylinders. Their prime duty is to squeeze the pads properly against the rotor. If the braking system is in poor condition, the calipers will not perform either. Their performance gets completely ruined under such excessive heat conditions. Furthermore, replacing the caliper is assumed to be more costly than getting new brake pads, so beware. 

How to increase the lifespan of brake pads?

  • Speed is the enemy; avoid over-speeding all the time. Such a practice only ruins the braking system.
  • Never and ever ‘’two-foot’’ your pedals.
  • Keep the bike as light as possible.
  • Brake easily and avoid accelerating while applying the brake.
  • Replace your motorcycle brakes after every 20000 miles usage or two years.
  • Change brake fluid regularly to increase the efficiency of the braking system. When the moisture boils, this directly impacts the braking effectiveness. So, flush out the old fluid periodically or at suggested time intervals.

How to fix damaged motorcycle brake pads if the issue looks minor?

If the issue looks minor, you can repair the damaged brake pads on your own. You must have some tools ready, including a screwdriver, plier, socket wrench, rags, and a cleaner, wrenches in multiple sizes.

Tips to follow:

  • Remember that the brake fluid remains highly corrosive to paint, so handle it carefully while making repairs.
  • Use a plastic bowl to keep the old fluid.
  • You can keep a good-sized syringe for extracting fluid properly from the reservoir. 
  • Some prefer using a hand-operated vacuum pump when it comes to flushing and bleeding the system. 

Bonus tips:

  • Changing the brake pads is simple; you just have to unbolt the caliper. It will help you maneuver the pads out easily and quickly. There is no need to remove the wheels until and unless it is instructed.
  • Add brake grease right on the back side of the metal plate. This will reduce noise.
  • Once you have put on the new brake pads, bolt the caliper to its desired place.
  • Before disconnecting the brakes, pinch the soft line. It will prevent the fluid from unnecessary leakage.


The bottom line is that motorcycle brake pads have an average lifespan of 20000 miles. Once you have crossed this mileage, getting new brakes for your bike is a must.

Brake pads give control, balance, and comfort and ensure efficient stopping power. You will encounter no serious accidents if the brakes are in excellent condition.

Brakes are critical when we discuss the rider’s safety. Worn-out brake components pose an intense risk to your life safety. It is recommended to check and inspect the braking system condition regularly. Even if the issue looks minor, repair it as soon as possible.

About David Riedel

I am David Riedel founder of Bikerwhizz, I'm a technician at Keystone Harley Davidson with more than 10 years of industry experience. I’m here to help you solve motorbike problems, customizations, tweaks, and easy fixes to enjoy your rides more.

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