How to Bleed Motorcycle Brakes

Bleeding hydraulic brakes is a necessary and regular part of motorcycle maintenance.

Some situations where you should bleed your brakes includes:

  • When you change your brake fluid.
  • When you rebuild your master cylinder.
  • When you experience a reduction in braking power or response.
  • If there has been a leak in the brake line.

Refer to your motorcycle service manual for the specific steps for the procedure.

How to Bleed the Brake Line on your Motorcycle

Bleeding the brakes on your motorcycle is a simple process.

Be sure to do this with the proper safety gear (gloves, goggles) and a few spare rags to clean up any spilled brake fluid.

To bleed to the brakes:

  • Refer to your service manual for the proper type of brake fluid to use.
  • Position the master cylinder you are bleeding as close to level as you can.
  • Remove the cap of the master cylinder.
  • Place a clear tube over the caliper bleeder bolt and route it to something to catch the brake fluid in.
  • Squeeze the brake lever to build pressure and open the bleeder bolt.
  • You will begin to see brake fluid and air bubbles exit through the clear tube.
  • Close the bleeder bolt and add brake fluid to the master cylinder as necessary.
  • Repeat the process until you only see brake fluid exiting the tube and have adequate brake lever response.

Some things to remember while you bleed your brakes:

  • Keep the fluid in the master cylinder at the appropriate level to avoid introducing new air into the line. Otherwise, you’ll need to start over.
  • You can zip-tie the brake lever and let it sit for a while to remove all air from the line if you’re having trouble bleeding them with the steps above.
  • Be careful of splashing brake fluid. Be sure to cover your paint while you’re bleeding your brakes.

If your brakes go “spongey” often there’s probably a leak in the line somewhere, you’re not keeping the master cylinder properly filled, or you’re using the wrong brake fluid.

Learn more about servicing your motorcycle’s brakes.

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