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Changing the Brake Pads

Changing the your KLR's brake pads is a straight forward job. No great mechanical skills or special tools beyond a socket set and a metric allen wrench set are needed. This is an overview of the job, and you should consult a service manual when servicing your brakes.


Begin on the front and remove the brake hose support to allow added room to work when the caliper is removed. Next, use a 5mm allen wrench to loosen but do not remove, hex keyed alignment pins on the caliper. These can be tight and are easier to break free with the brake caliper still mounted on the fork. Use a 12mm socket to remove the two caliper mounting bolts. Also, have a length of rope or bungee handy to support the caliper once it is removed from the fork. Do not let the caliper dangle by the brake hose.


Now, the alignment pins that hold the pads in the caliper are ready to come out. Use the allen wrench to finish unscrewing them. If they are stubborn about come out, use a suitable tool to push them out from the back side. When both pins removed, the inside pad rotates out and the outside pad can be easily removed. That is all for taking things apart, the job is half done.


These pictures above clearly contrast the wear on the old and new pads for the front brake.


Before installing the new pads, be sure to push the two brake pistons back into the cylinder bores. This makes room for the thicker new pads to fit over the rotor when the caliper goes back on. The pistons can be moved by hand, but if they are stubborn use a C clamp to gently push them back into the caliper. Insert the first pad against the pistons then partially insert both alignment pins through the caliper and the new pad. Give these pins (below) a quick cleaning and inspection before inserting them.


There is a spring beneath the both pads so apply slight downward pressure to align the pads with the pins. With the pins through the first pad, position the remaining pad and insert the pin through it and completely into the caliper. A couple turns on the pin will hold it in place for now.

Next, position the caliper on the fork and reinstall the mount bolts. Be sure to use thread locking compound on the threads and torque them down. Apply locking compound on the exposed threads of the alignments pins and torque them down. Finally, reinstall the brake hose guide and remove the support rope from the caliper.

The rear brake pads removal and installation are identical to the front and you can follow the same process when changing them. You can see below, my rear pads had a bit less wear than the front.


Before riding the bike, be sure to pump both brakes several times to build pressure in the system. Also, check the fluid level for both the front and rear cylinders. Finally, record the mileage for a record of when the new pads were installed. If everything went well, you should be done in about an hour.