How To Bleed Brakes

Make brake bleeding a regular part of your scheduled maintenance with these tips from the MC Garage.

You should bleed your brakes every two years at minimum. If you ride aggressively or ride in the rain regularly, you’ll want to replace your fluid more frequently. All you need is some fresh brake fluid, a length of hose that fits snugly over the bleeder bolt, a wrench to fit the bleeder bolt, and a receptacle for the old fluid.

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how to bleed brakes
1 // Wipe down the brake reservoir with a clean rag and turn the handlebar so the fluid within the reservoir is level. Then carefully remove the cap and diaphragm and set both aside on a clean towel.©Motorcyclist
tech tips, brake fluid
2 // Pop the cap off the bleeder bolt on the caliper and slip the closed end of a box wrench over it. Then slip the hose over the bleeder and place the other end into a suitable receptacle. A jar with a hole punched in the lid works well.©Motorcyclist
how to bleed brakes
3 // Pump the brake lever to pressurize the system and, with the lever still pulled in, crack the bleeder screw just loose enough to allow the pressurized fluid to escape. Allow the lever to come almost back to the bar then close the bleeder bolt. Don’t release the lever until you’ve closed the bleeder bolt.©Motorcyclist
4 // Repeat Step 3 until fresh, clear fluid is seen in the hose; it could take dozens of tries so be patient. Watch the fluid level in the reservoir and fill as needed; allowing the reservoir to run dry will introduce air into the master cylinder and the process will take a lot longer.©Motorcyclist
5 // Tighten the bleeder bolt, remove the hose, fill the reservoir to the proper level, reinstall the diaphragm and cap, and you’re done. Brake fluid does nasty things to paint, so make sure to wipe up any spills with a damp rag.©Motorcyclist
motion pro tools, brake bleeder
6 // It's worth noting that there are vacuum bleeders and other affordable bleeding devices—such as the Phoenix Systems bleeder and Motion Pro Mini Bleeder (shown here)—that can make bleeding your brakes a five-minute job.©Motorcyclist
brake bleeding, how to
©Motorcyclist
how to bleed brakes
1 // Wipe down the brake reservoir with a clean rag and turn the handlebar so the fluid within the reservoir is level. Then carefully remove the cap and diaphragm and set both aside on a clean towel.©Motorcyclist
tech tips, brake fluid
2 // Pop the cap off the bleeder bolt on the caliper and slip the closed end of a box wrench over it. Then slip the hose over the bleeder and place the other end into a suitable receptacle. A jar with a hole punched in the lid works well.©Motorcyclist
how to bleed brakes
3 // Pump the brake lever to pressurize the system and, with the lever still pulled in, crack the bleeder screw just loose enough to allow the pressurized fluid to escape. Allow the lever to come almost back to the bar then close the bleeder bolt. Don’t release the lever until you’ve closed the bleeder bolt.©Motorcyclist
4 // Repeat Step 3 until fresh, clear fluid is seen in the hose; it could take dozens of tries so be patient. Watch the fluid level in the reservoir and fill as needed; allowing the reservoir to run dry will introduce air into the master cylinder and the process will take a lot longer.©Motorcyclist
5 // Tighten the bleeder bolt, remove the hose, fill the reservoir to the proper level, reinstall the diaphragm and cap, and you’re done. Brake fluid does nasty things to paint, so make sure to wipe up any spills with a damp rag.©Motorcyclist
motion pro tools, brake bleeder
6 // It's worth noting that there are vacuum bleeders and other affordable bleeding devices—such as the Phoenix Systems bleeder and Motion Pro Mini Bleeder (shown here)—that can make bleeding your brakes a five-minute job.©Motorcyclist