How To Change the Brake Pads for your Harley Davidson Sportster

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The brake pads on your Harley Davidson Sportster
are among the most important parts of the brake system. Brake pads are
the portions of the motorcycle that the brake pistons themselves rub up
against to create friction, thereby slowing the engine and the wheels
and bringing the motorcycle to a halt. Without properly functioning
brake pads, the level of danger associated with driving a motorcycle
increases dramatically. In order to maintain the highest safety levels
possible, plan to change the brake pads on your Harley Davidson
Sportster every 2000 to 3000 miles or as the brakes begin to lose their
sensitivity. Read on for a brief guide on how to do this process at

Step 1 — Gather Materials

You’ll need the following materials in order to change out the brake pads:

  • New brake pads that are compatible with your bike
  • Allen wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning solution
  • Pliers

Step 2 — Mount and Prepare the Bike

Wait until the motorcycle has been turned off for several hours
before you mount it up and prepare to change out the brake pads. Doing
so ensures that the brake pads cool down so that you don’t injure
yourself by attempting to remove them while they’re still hot. Mount the
bike so that you can access both sides of the motorcycle at once.

Step 3 — Remove the Caliper Bolts

Use your allen wrench to unscrew the caliper bolts from the outside
of the brake system. The brake caliper bolts hold the calipers in place.
Set the bolts aside in a safe place where you’ll be able to access them
at the end of the procedure to reinstall them. If your Sportster has
retaining clips instead of bolts, turn the retaining clips by hand until
you’ve moved them to the point where the clip ends stick out. Next, use
a pair of pliers to remove the clips.

Step 4 — Remove and Inspect the Calipers

Take the calipers off of the brake system by hand. Look at them for
signs of damage including cracks and other wear and tear. If such damage
exists, purchase a new set of calipers to install in their place.
Otherwise, use your cleaning solution to clean off the dirt and debris
from the surface of the calipers and temporarily set them aside as well.

Step 5 — Remove the Pads and Clean the Pistons

Take the brake pads out of the system by hand. Dispose of these in a
safe and proper way. Depress the brake pedal on the Sportster until all
of the air in the brake pistons and spring system has been discharged.
Next, clean up the pistons with the cleaning spray. Use your screwdriver
to push the pistons back into the caliper system once again before you

Step 6 — Replace the Pads

Install new brake pads by hand into the brake system on each side.
Fit the calipers back into place and then attach the caliper retaining
pins or the caliper bolts once again. Tighten up the caliper bolts with
the allen wrench to ensure that the entire system is securely in place
before you finish.

Test out the brake pedal before you turn on the Sportster once again
to be sure that it will properly depress. Next, remove the bike from the
mount and test drive it at low speeds to check on the quality of the
new brake pads as well.

All of the various components and materials that you’ll need for this
procedure are available either at your local hardware store or at a
bike repair shop.

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