Winter Motorcycle Maintenance


Looking After the Brakes

Author Bob Mack

Just as night follows day, salt on the roads follows a couple of sharp frosts. Those of us who ride our motorcycles in these conditions can try and ward off the effects of this corrosive goo by continuous maintenance and good pre-winter preparation.

In a previous newsletter we suggested 10 Top Tips for Preparing Your Motorcycle for Winter Riding. Tip number 3 highlighted the motorcycle brakes.

Motorcycle brake calipers and pads can really take the brunt of the salt, from the roads, particularly on damp days. Different motorcycle models seem to suffer in different ways. Sometimes it’s the front brakes that suffer most and sometimes the rears or on others both.

The message, today, is clean calipers and pads as often as necessary to keep the salty goo and subsequent corrosion away, for safe riding.

We have some great dealers in our area who will do this for you but there are those amongst us that could tackle the job, themselves, on a regular basis.

Within the BMW motorcycles range there are many variations in the way the brake calipers are mounted and the pads are retained. A workshop manual is a good thing to have handy and will also contain the torque settings for caliper mounting bolts and retaining pins, if appropriate. For those who can or would like to try here’s a short guide so here goes…….

1. This may well happen if you ride in winter and don’t clean the brakes.

2. A typical BMW front caliper

3. Remove safety clip and slacken caliper pin

4. Slacken and remove caliper mounting bolts.

5. Gently rock and twist caliper to push pistons back in to allow easy removal of caliper from disc and to avoid damaging wheel rim.

6. Use a bungy or similar to support the caliper when your not holding it.

7. This one’s quite clean but imagine how it would look after a month of daily salt washes.

8. Now the controversial bit……dangle the caliper in a container of hot soapy water and clean all the goo and gunge off with a good tooth brush. Obviously the choice of cleaner is up to you but solvent cleaners don’t really dissolve salt as well as hot water. They are good for greasy dirt though. After cleaning thoroughly dry with and air line or warm air if the hot water method was used or just air if solvent was the choice. The pic shows an empty container, as no BMW’s deserve to be wet, just for photos.

9. Refit caliper and tighten mounting bolts to correct torque.

10. Clean pads with a suitable solvent cleaner and blow dry.


11. Coat pad back plate, back plate ends and pad retaining pin with a thin smear of brake paste or Copperslip.

12. Refit pads, clips and pin and tighten pin to correct torque.

13. Most importantly don’t be distracted by the fact you have no bits left over, PUMP THE BRAKE LEVER NOW to bring the pads back out to the disc.

14. Check that you have done step 13……..again.

15. Top tip…… after doing any work on the brakes, particularly the front ones, it’s not unusual to find that the feel is not as good as it was before the work started. To rectify this simply pump the lever a few times and hold the brakes on by wrapping a bungy or similar around the twist grip and brake lever. Leave over night if possible. When it’s released you’ll be amazed at the improvement……don’t ask me to explain why it works.

Wrap up warm and have a great corrosion free winter.


Originally posted 2017-11-26 22:32:33.


Author: bobmack70