How to Bleed Motorcycle Brakes

Over the years, the motorcycle braking system has evolved as an engine built into the machine increased. The brake uses friction to convert the kinetic energy into thermal energy before it brings the machine to a stop.

70% of the motorcycles have their brakes positioned in the front, while the other uses rear brakes. Aso different types of brakes apply to each kind of bikes. For example, the braking systems of motorcycles are different from those of sportbikes.  

In the 1920s, Drum brakes were the first set of brakes used in motorcycles. They are used for braking the front and rear wheels. Though there are now modifications brakes used today, the basic design hasn’t changed much.

Today, the electric motorcycle now uses a regenerative braking system. It recharges the batteries while it brings the motorcycle to a stop. Carbon brakes are used in Moto GP. The braking force generated by the carbon pad and carbon discs is more than those caused by steel discs.

Motorcycle brake bleeding

Brake bleeding can also the called brake flushing or brake purging. It is a process where the old brake fluid is drained out of the braking system to be replaced by new fluid.

Bleeding is also done to get rid of hair in the braking system because the presence of air reduces the efficiency of the braking system.


We have five basic ways in which brake bleeding can be carried out: Pump and hold method, vacuum method, pressure method, reverse method, and gravity bleeding. The pump and hold method is commonly used for motorcycles.


For optimum performance, breaks should be bleed once in 2-3 years. When there is a certain among of air in brakes, it can lead to brake failure, which can cause loss of lives. So bleeding brakes to purge it of the presence of air shouldn’t be taken with levity.

How to bleed motorcycle front brakes


Before you can breed the motorcycle front brakes, you need the following set of tools.

  • Bleed bottle with rubber connection hose
  • Small hammer
  • Ratchet driver with ¼ inch drive
  • Size 2 Philips driver bit
  • Water supply
  • Dual-ended wrench – combined open-end and ring type.

Step to take when you want to bleed your motorcycle brake.

1. Secure the motorcycle

Position the bike in a way that it won't fall or topple over; it is essential to do this to avoid serious injuries. Having done this, you can remove the brake calipers from the disk using wrenches.

2. Drain brake fluid

When you are changing the brake, don't let brake fluid to come in contact with motorcycle paint. It damages the paint. To prevent this, you can cover the motorcycle's outer surface with suitable materials. Balance the handlebars, to have the main cylinder balanced out. You can then begin to add brake fluid until it fills the reservoir.

3. Pump

When step 2 is completed. Use the brake handle to pump brakes until the piston moves. While doing this, Keep an eye on the reservoir, make sure it’s filled at all times. If not, add more brake fluid.

If the motorcycle has two pistons. Use a C-clamp to hold it in position while you work on the other one.

4. Bleed the brakes. 

You would need a Caliper and a piston for this process. Place one end of the hose on the bleed cover, while using put the other in a bucket.

Use the brake fluid as a lubricant, pump brake handles for some minutes. At the caliper's side, gently open the fluid screw and allow fluid mixed with air. Having done that, return the screw and continue pumping. Do this until the brake fluid id free from air.

5. Clean the work area 

Clean up brake fluid that spilled on bike and work area using water. Don't forget that brake fluid spoils your bike's paint do your best to avoid any spillage.

How to bleed rear motorcycle brake

To bleed the rear motorcycle brakes do the below-listed things.

  1. Get a long clean hose that fits the snug over the bleed screw.
  2. On the other end of the hose, put an empty water bottle. Secure the bottle to prevent it from falling.
  3. Put grease oil around the bleed screw. This will prevent air from getting back into the system when you release the brakes.  
  4. Open the bleed screw wide just wide enough to let the fluids come out. 
  5. Start pumping the brakes, but keep an eye on the fluid level in the container. Once the bottle is halfway filled, empty the body. Don’t let the hose the covered with oil. It allows air to flow back into the system.

How To Bleed Motorcycle Brakes

How to Bleed Motorcycle Brakes FAQs

Are rear brakes important in a motorcycle?

If you are involved in sport riding, you need rear brakes. It plays an essential role in controlling the motorcycle.  Rear brakes tighten your line as it slows you down. 

Why does motorcycle have two brakes? 

Motorcycle has two brakes the rear brake controls one of the critical pistons on the front wheel, and the front brake controls a primary piston on the wheel.

Is it safe to ride without rear brakes?

Yes, you can. But we don't advise that, of course, and the front wheel delivers a majority of the motorcycle braking power if it fails, there will say nothing to cushion the effect.

When braking a motorcycle, do I have to hold the clutch? 

No, you don't have to. If you have to press the clutch, don't have it immediately ensure that you have slowed down to a certain speed before you press the clutch.

Which is a more critical front or rear brake? 

It has been proven that the front brake is more powerful. It gives 80-90% of the braking power in a motorcycle. 

Which of the two should I use first, the front or back brake? 

Use the rear brake first. And if it doesn't work, then you can go for the front one. As said earlier, the front brake is the most effective of the two.  

Final Words

Reading this piece, you would understand the essence of brakes in the motorcycle. The part of the motorcycle that brings it to a stop cannot joke it. One needs to put it in the best condition possible.

Brakes fail when a sizable amount of air fills the braking system. That is why you need to bleed the brakes at regular intervals. The motorcycle has the front and rear brakes. The front brake is the most important, and the rear brake should be bleed too. It is advised that bleeding should be once at least once in 2-3 years.

John
 

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at brakeshub.com, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.

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