Motorcycle maintenance: Checking the brakes


There are three things to check on your brakes:

  • Brake fluid level
  • Brake pad wear
  • Condition of the brake discs

To check the fluid level find the inspection window on the brake fluid cylinder and look for fluid between the low and full mark. If low, then remove the cap from the cylinder carefully (brake fluid ruins paintwork) and top up with the correct fluid from a sealed container (brake fluid absorbs moisture quickly once the seal on the bottle is broken).


Brake pad wear can be checked visually by looking into the caliper with a torch. You’ll see the pad backing plate with the pad material stuck to it. Ideally you should be able to see at least 2-3mm of pad material. Any less and they need changing.


Brake disc condition is a check for deep scoring or cracks in the disc. Warped discs are common on sports bikes and are felt as a pulsing through the lever when you apply the brakes.