ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Motorcycle Brakes - Part 3

Updated on November 29, 2009

Mechanical Brakes

Mechanical brakes operate by means of levers, pivots. adjusters. cables. springs, and cams. Each of these items plays an important role in stopping your motorcycle. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the parts in this system and how they operate as the proper maintenance and functioning of these systems can make the difference between a pleasant Sunday afternoon ride and a ride in an ambulance.

Levers, Pivots, and Adjusters

A lever assembly helps the operator gain mechanical advantage over the braking or clutching system of a bike. About a 6-to-1 mechanical advantage is gained at the lever. It is important to keep the pivot lubricated to ease operation. The adjustor simply provides a quick, easy way to compensate for stretch that develops in the cable over time.

The cable is basically a steel wire inside of a flexible rubber covered steel tube. It provides a flexible coupling between the operator and the brake. If the outer tube is held stationary at the ends, motion can be transmitted via the inner cable even if both have to go around corners and be flexing while the inner cable works.

The cable is attached to a brake lever that is splined to the brake activating cam. Once again, mechanical advantage of about 6-to-l is gained between the lever and the cam.

Strong retracting springs are connected between the brake shoes to return the brakes to a disengaged position. Lighter springs are used to return the levers and pedals to their ready positions.

Hydraulic Brakes

Just as levers can be used to increase mechanical advantage, a hydraulic system can accomplish the same task. A force applied to a small piston in a hydraulic system over a long distance can be converted to a much stronger force over a short distance. This increase in force takes place when the original force from a smaller piston is applied through a liquid medium to a larger piston.

A motorcycle braking system uses this principle to increase hand pressure on a lever to the great energy required to clamp two pads together on a disc to stop the machine. To accomplish this, the hydraulic brake system uses a master cylinder, brake line, and a slave cylinder in the caliper assembly.

The master cylinder is the central unit in which hydraulic pressure is developed. Pressure from the rider's hand on the lever is transmitted to the master cylinder piston. As this piston is forced forward in the master cylinder, it pushes brake fluid ahead of it. Since the brake line and caliper piston are filled with fluid, the piston is acting upon a column of fluid. As hand-lever pressure increases, pressure on the caliper piston increases the pressure of the pads against the disc. These pressures build up throughout the system and result in quicker stopping.

Again, hydraulic brakes are the current standard as they are modern, efficient, and reliable... and are truly the only type of braking system that belongs on a modern motorcycle. Don't bet your life on anything less.

Continued In: Motorcycle Brake Service

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)