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Noisy motorcycle brakes? It sounds like you've got a problem

May 1, 2022
Brake noise feature min

Most of the time, your motorcycle brakes will perform well. Yet, there may be times when you're going to experience strange noises coming from the caliper.

What makes bike brakes noisy?

Depending on the sound, you can more or less pin the issue down to vibration, debris or wear. In which case, when you apply the brakes, you may hear one of these three noises:

  • Hissing

  • Squealing

  • Grinding

Bendix Moto Inspection 47

Motorcycle Brake Hissing

Problem: Hissing often occurs at slower speeds when the brake is applied or released

Cause: Brake pad glazing occurs due to overheating either from overuse or prolonged high-speed braking. Glazed brake pads have a glassy, smooth appearance.

The resulting heat build-up causes the brake pad to exceed its safe working temperature. When this happens, the brake pad's surface crystalises. The same noise is also the symptom of a glazed disc (rotor). This problem occurs when excessive amounts of road or brake pad dust coat the disc.

Some riders report a hissing sound after they've released the brake. In this case, the brake pistons may not be returning correctly. When this occurs, it means the pads are still slightly in contact with the disc.

Cure: Any of these problems will affect brake performance. So head straight to your nearest motorcycle mechanic. Sticking brake pistons will need a caliper strip. Meanwhile, fitting high-quality brake pads can cure glazing.

When you visit your mechanic, let them know you want Bendix Moto brake pads and wave goodbye to the hiss.

Squealing Motorcycle Brakes

Problem: The majority of squealing noises directly result from worn metal components. You hear a squeal rather than a metallic chatter because it is happening at a high frequency and is basically vibrating fast.

Cause: Wear to the brake pad material is expected. However, some brake pads may also wear on the metal backing plate. When this occurs, the wear creates a gap between the pad and either the piston or the pad-locating pin. Even a tiny gap results in an audible squeal if it vibrates fast enough.

When it comes to motorcycles with floating discs, the same squealing can result from a dust build-up inside the bobbins separating the rotor from the hub.

Cure: Whatever the reason, brake squeal will mess with your two-wheeled karma. Vibration also leads to wear, so schedule a trip to a motorcycle mechanic. If the problem is down to brake pad wear, replacing them with Bendix Moto brake pads will silence the squeal.

Bendix Moto Inspection 44

Motorcycle Brake Grinding

Problem: If there's one noise guaranteed to drive any motorcyclist crazy, it's a loud grinding noise coming from your brakes upon slowing.

Cause: There's only one thing that makes a grinding sound and that's metal on metal. Worse still, the result is never good. Whether using sintered brake pads or ceramic, all braking pad material bonds to a metal backing plate.

If you neglect motorcycle brake maintenance schedules or inspections, the brake pad material will wear out over time. At which point, the only thing slowing the bike is the metal backing plate of the brake pad grinding against the disc.

Cure: You may need your motorcycle transported to a local mechanic if you encounter this problem. Not only will the brake pads be ruined but there may well be damage to the disc.

Insist on replacing the brake pads with Bendix Mot Ultimate+ ceramic or SRT sintered pads. The mechanic will show you how to inspect the built-in wear indicator making the daily grind a thing of the past.

When you hit the brakes, the only noise you want to hear is the diminishing sound of wind whistling through your helmet as you slow down. Anything else such as hissing, squealing or grinding may signal anything from a quick fix to a total caliper overhaul.

Brakes have a tough job. To avoid issues, listen for the warning sounds that signal a potential problem. What's more, rely on Bendix brake products and a local skilled motorcycle mechanic to keep you rubber side up.

Bendix Motorcycle Brake Products

Bendix Moto offers a wide range of consumables, including brake pads and brake fluids.

The ceramic Ultimate+ range of brake pads is suitable for commuter bikes and scooters and lower capacity, lightweight motorcycles. Meanwhile, Bendix Street Road Track sintered motorcycle brake pads are ideal for spirited riding, mid and large capacity motorcycles and heavier machines.

The Bendix motorcycle brake fluid range features two high-performance products. These are DOT 3 and DOT 4. Always insist on the best for your motorcycle.