Harley front brake pad inspection can be accomplished quickly and easily by simply getting a good look at the bottom of the caliper with a good flashlight. Harley Davidson and most aftermarket brake pads have wear bars within the brake pad material. The Harley front brake pads wear bars help to give an indication of the suggested minimum pad thickness.
When gauging Harley front brake pad wear, it is important to go by the most worn pad or pad area. Brake pads tend to wear unevenly; top to bottom and front to back. If pads are not being removed from the caliper, it is very important to visually inspect every corner of the pad. For an even better inspection or for cleaning purposes, the caliper should be removed from its mounting position and brake pads removed.
To do so, you will need a 10 millimeter, 12 point socket and a 5 millimeter allen bit. Start by loosening the Harley front brake pad retaining pins with the 5mm allen but do not remove pins.
Next, use a 10mm, 12 point socket to loosen and remove the caliper mounting hardware. ABS models will have an ABS wire retainer beneath the mounting hardware. The retainer can simply hang out of the way once the screws are removed.
Lift the caliper up and back off of the rotor. Now, the Harley front brake pad pins can also be removed. As the pins are removed, note the orientation of the anti-rattle spring for reinstallation. It will be released as the pins are removed.
Inspect the condition of the Harley front brake pad retaining pins and replace if worn. The brake pads are removed through the bottom opening in the caliper. You can separate the pads and compress the caliper pistons by prying apart pads with a screwdriver.
Once the brake pads are removed, blow off the caliper and brake pads with compressed air. Then use a mild aerosol brake cleaner to wipe down the caliper, rotor, and pads, and reassemble. Upon reassembly be sure to tighten hardware to factory torque specs.