How to change the front brake pads on the Yamaha R3

This post will show you how to remove and change the front brake pads on the Yamaha R3 2015.  Changing the brake pads is pretty simple, there are just a couple small details you don’t want to miss.


Tools Needed:

T50 Torx driver

torque wrench

Small pick or flat blade screwdriver

Cleaner for the caliper pistons, I use acetone, but other cleaners such as brake cleaner or denatured alcohol should work fine

a few Q-tips or other cotton swabs

Small pliers to insert the small retaining clips, needle nose or smaller regular pliers should work ok


Step 1:  Use a T50 Torx to remove the two front brake caliper bolts.  Then CAREFULLY slide the caliper off the rotor so you don’t bang it against the rim and scratch your pretty rims.



Step 2:  While holding the caliper in your hand, rotate it so you can see the two retainer clips in the bottom pin that holds the brake pads in place.  Gently pry these pins out in a slow controlled motion with a pick or small flat blade screwdriver.  Be careful not to send them flying.  Then slide the pin out and remove the old pads.

IMG_3888 IMG_3889IMG_3890


Step 3:  ***IMPORTANT***  This step often gets skipped but in my opinion, it’s the most important step.  DO NOT push the pistons back into the caliper without cleaning them!!!  My bike is almost new, so the brake calipers and caliper pistons are very clean.  Usually when you change the pads, it’s because the old ones have been in the bike for awhile and are worn down and the pistons are extended most of the way out and caked with black grime.  Use a Q-tip, cotton swab, or similar dipped in acetone or another cleaner to wipe ALL of the black grime off the sides of the pistons all the way around each piston BEFORE you push the pistons back in.

If you skip this step, when you push the pistons back in to make room for the new pads, you force all of that grime across the seals and back into the brake fluid cavity.  Not only will this prematurely wear out the seals or cause them to leak because there won’t be a smooth surface for them to seal against, but it will also contaminate your brake fluid.  Also, remember when you push the pistons back in, a lot of brake fluid will be forced back into the reservoir, so make sure there is room for it.

If you get one piston clean but are having trouble with the other one, you can gently press the clean one in with your fingers and the other one will be forced out farther, making it easier to clean.  BE CAREFUL not to press the piston out all the way or you will have a brake fluid mess and need to refill and re-bleed the brakes.  Both pistons are easy to access all the way around on the R3 so you shouldn’t have any trouble cleaning them.

IMG_3890 grime IMG_3892


Step 4:  Make sure there is room in the fluid reservoir for the displaced fluid, and gently force the 2 pistons back into the caliper until they are flush.  Only use your hand or something plastic so you don’t scratch the pistons and try to press them evenly so they move in together.



Step 5:  Insert the new pads into the caliper, insert the pad against the pistons first, hooking the end under the tab, then setting it in place.  Next, insert the second pad by looping it over the pin and setting it in place.  Try to hold the pads spread apart as you insert the second pad so it seats properly against the spring plate.  If the pads are not spread wide when you insert them, the pad on the fixed side can miss the spring plate and get stuck.

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Step 6:  Press both pads against the spring plate and slide the pin through the hole in the caliper and the slot in both pads.  Then use some small pliers to carefully slide both retaining clips back into place.

IMG_3897  IMG_3899 IMG_3900IMG_3903


Step 7:  Carefully slide the caliper back over the rotor paying extra attention not to scratch the rim.  Then insert the T50 torx bolts and tighten to 25 ft lbs (35 Nm).  Remember to pump your brake lever a few times to be sure the pads are seated against the rotor before you ride the bike.

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That’s it, you’re all done!


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