Informational Guide

How To Bleed Motorcycle Brakes

We’ve got a step-by-step guide for bleeding your brakes whether they’re empty or not. Learn how here.

Just like with a car, you need to know how to bleed motorcycle brakes if you want a safe ride. You should bleed the brakes every time you change the fluid. In this guide, you will learn how to bleed motorcycle brakes manually so that you can ride with confidence.

What is Brake Bleeding? (& Why It's Important)

Why would you want to know how to bleed motorcycle brake lines? While it’s not common, air can get trapped in the brake lines, leading to brakes that don't perform the way they should. If left unchecked, it creates a dangerous situation and possible brake failure.

To protect yourself, you want to bleed the brakes with every replacement or service.  

How To Bleed Motorcyle Brakes From Empty

How to Bleed Motorcycle Brakes (Step by Step)

Tools You'll Need:

  • Spanner
  • Socket set, including hex-head sockets
  • Clear tubing that fits the bleed nipple
  • Container to collect old fluid
  • Screwdriver
  • Torque wrench
  • Protective gloves, clothing, and eyewear

You can learn how to bleed motorcycle brakes by yourself, but if you aren't a mechanic, you might prefer to trust a professional. Doing anything wrong with the braking system can put you in danger on the road.

1. Try to level the rear master cylinder and the reservoir as best as possible

Before you learn how to bleed new motorcycle brake lines, you want to place your bike on a stand that holds it level. Ideally, the rear master cylinder and reservoir should be level with one another.

2. Remove the cap and the diaphragm

Before removing any bolts or flushing the fluid, you should wipe the lines, calipers and reservoir down with a rag. This ensures that debris doesn't contaminate the pads. Once that is done, you can remove the cap and diaphragm. Put both parts aside on a clean surface. If the diaphragm is cracked, torn, or worn, now is a good time to replace it.

3. Prepare the bleed nipple on the caliper

Pressurize the brake system by pumping the lever. While the lever is in, crack open the bleeder screw a little. You only need to let a small amount of the fluid to be released. Close the bolt. Don't release the lever until the bleeder bolt is completely closed.

4. Fill up the reservoir as needed

Now that you know how to bleed your motorcycle brakes, you are going to repeat those steps until the brake fluid reservoir is nearly empty. Don't allow it to become completely empty, or you will introduce air into the system. Refill it with clean fluid until you see it moving through the hoses.

5. Tighten the bleeder bolt and clean up

Tighten up the bleeder bolt and remove the hose. Fill the reservoir to the full level and install your cap and diaphragm. If you spilled any brake fluid on the paint, clean it up right away.

6. Perform a test ride

The most important step after learning how to bleed motorcycle front brakes is to take a test ride. Take it around the block first and feel the lever. If it is spongy, there is air in the system and you must start over.

How To Bleed Motorcycle Brakes Manually

Bleeding Motorcycle Brakes In Different Situations

If you want to learn how to bleed motorcycle brakes without a kit, you might encounter one of these situations.

1. How To Bleed Motorcycle Brakes From Empty

These are the times when you want to know how to gravity bleed motorcycle brakes. Fill the master cylinder up with fluid and crack the bleeders. Watch for the fluid to show up at the bleeders, thanks to the help of gravity.

Once gravity has drawn the fluid through the system, you should be able to finish the job normally, as per our instructions above.

2. How To Bleed Motorcycle Dual Front Brakes

Do you know how to bleed dual caliper motorcycle brakes? While you are going to follow the same procedure as what you learned when looking at how to bleed disc brakes motorcycle, this process will take a little longer. Start with the bleeder furthest from the master cylinder and work your way in.

With each bleeder, perform the steps outlined above until there is no more air coming out. Don't forget to take a test ride and try out the braking system before heading out on the open road.

3. How To Bleed ABS Brakes On A Motorcycle

The ABS on a bike isn't much different from automotive ABS setups. Learning how to bleed ABS motorcycle brakes isn't going to require different steps, as long as you are careful. You can follow the same procedure as outlined above.

However, you don't want to get any air into the ABS module, or you will have more work on your hands. Be very careful to follow the procedures to a tee to ensure your on-road safety.

4. How To Vacuum Bleed Motorcycle Brakes

You might be curious how to bleed motorcycle brakes with Mityvac. It's just as simple as learning how to bleed motorcycle brakes with a vacuum pump. Of course, you will need special tools to complete the job, and you want to follow all of the instructions included with your kit.

While this process will require more effort, it does a better job than manually bleeding the brakes and ensures there is no air left in the system.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long should my brake fluid last?

All of the major bike manufacturers recommend changing the brake fluid every two to three years. However, you should check the levels every 100 to 200 miles.

When do I need to replace my motorcycle brake lines?

It's recommended that you change your motorcycle brake lines every four years. You should make the swap sooner if you notice any wear that could impact safety.

Why won't my motorcycle brakes bleed?

There might be too much air in the system to bleed normally. In this case, you want to gravity bleed the brakes to get the process moving.

Can I gravity bleed my motorcycle brakes?

Yes, gravity bleeding is common practice with motorcycle brakes. In fact, you want to use this method if you are bleeding new brake lines that have had no fluid.

Why are my brakes soft after bleeding?

If the brakes still feel soft after bleeding, there is still air trapped in the system. Start the process of bleeding the brakes over again.

How do you bleed brakes on a Harley Davidson motorcycle?

Learning how to bleed brakes on a Harley Davidson motorcycle requires you to follow the same steps as any bike. You can use our method above or choose to gravity bleed them instead.


How long does it take to bleed motorcycle brakes? Not long and you can do it at home with some simple tools. Follow our guide to learn how to bleed motorcycle front disc brakes if you want to ride safely.