What To Do When Motorcycle Brakes Lock Up

Suppose that, while riding your motorcycle, the front brake begins to lock up. This will become more aggravating when your disc begins to interfere with the front wheel, or even worse, when the front wheels stop moving and the bike comes to a complete stop.

Therefore, the question arises as to what to do when a motorcycle’s brakes lock up.

In today’s article, we will learn what to do in the event that the brake of the motorcycle becomes locked, as well as the explanation behind why this occurs.

This would be helpful to you in finding a solution to the same problem as well.

How Front Brakes Work?

In the following sections, we will explore the specifics of the aforementioned causes of front brake wear.

However, before we can do that, we need to first acquire a fundamental understanding of how the front-facing mechanism operates.

When you apply the front brake on a motorcycle by pulling the brake lever to the right, you will unknowingly apply unnecessary pressure to the disc that is situated in the front wheel of the motorcycle.

A front wheel brake is a disc brake system. Instead of stopping the wheel directly, the brake pads stop the movement of spinning discs that are attached to the wheels.

This is in contrast to the rear brake, which directly captures the movement of the wheel. When the lever is pulled in, the fluid is drawn from the master cylinder reservoir.

The pressure is sent all the way down from the brake fluid to the pistons inside the calliper.

When the brake fluid is pressurized, it causes the piston to move closer to the disc, which causes the component to move.

When a disc is rotated, the brake pads, which are attached to the pistons, make contact with the disc.

Because of this, it prevents the cylinder, to which the wheel is attached, from moving any further.

About the front brake mechanism, this is all the information that we required.

Why Do Motorcycle Front Brakes Lock Up?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look deeper into the whys and wherefores of front brake locking.

There are a few explanations to be found here.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at the various reasons why the front brake of a motorcycle locks up. These are the reasons for it:

1. Blockage of a Hole in the Master Cylinder Reservoir

In a master cylinder reservoir, you will typically find two holes inside the container. These two holes are important for the flow of brake fluid, particularly the smaller hole, which is also responsible for the returned fluid that is released while you are applying the brakes.

The larger hole is responsible for the fluid that is pushed out while you are applying the brakes.

When these holes become clogged up, the barking will become quite difficult, and the movement of brake fluid will not be as smooth as it otherwise would be.

If the smaller hole becomes blocked, it has the potential to cause a significant issue because it is the only thing that can stop fluid from recirculating. Because of this, it is obvious that the front brake lever is not returning to its starting position.

2. The Caliper Has Excessive Brake Fluid

This problem can happen if you press down on the brake pedal too hard or in an unpredictable way.

In this case, the force with which you pulled in the brake lever could have caused the master cylinder to release too much brake fluid into the calliper. As a consequence of this, the excessive fluid will begin to create additional pressure, which will cause the calliper pistons to not completely retract back into their housings.

The brake pads are in a position where they are only partially engaged. As a direct consequence of this, the brakes will continue to be applied to the disc.

When a circumstance like this one arises, you will need to empty the caliper system of the surplus of fluid that has accumulated there.

After enough fluid has been taken out, the pressure will be at a good level, and that’s when the brake pads will start to pull the disc away. Concurrently, the brake lever will begin to move backward as well.

3. Old Brake Fluid

An additional potential cause of the front brakes locking up is the use of old brake fluid. This takes place when the brake fluid has not been changed for a considerable amount of time.

If the brake fluid in your motorcycle is older than two years, then there is a greater possibility that the brake fluid itself is to blame for this issue.

There is a full explanation of how often you need to change the brake fluid in your motorcycle. If the old brake fluid isn’t working right and isn’t giving you the best performance, you should change it.

After that, you will need to remove the old brake fluid and replace it with the brand-new brake fluid.

4. Insufficiency of Brake Lever Free Play

Even though this problem does not occur as frequently as others, it can still cause the front brakes on a motorcycle to lock up if the lever that controls the front brake does not have enough movement for free play.

When there is insufficient free play for the brake lever, there is a greater likelihood that this condition will result in a blocked return port.

This condition could also result in other problems. You will need to create some additional space to allow for the movement of the brake lever. In addition to this, you need to check to see if the problem with the lockup has been fixed.

What Happens When Motorcycle Brakes Lock Up?

The potential causes of the front brakes locking up have already been covered in depth. Now that we know what caused the motorcycle to lock up, let’s take a look at the effects and symptoms it caused.

A lockup of the brakes can have a variety of effects, including the following:

Brake Disc Clogging

If the calliper builds up too much pressure on the inside, its pistons will start to push on the brake pads, which will then try to stop the disc.

Therefore, when someone rides in a vehicle with the front brakes locked up, they should feel a jamming sensation coming from the disc brakes. It will make gliding the motorcycle difficult for the rider.

Front Wheel Will Not Rotate Freely

It is an extension of the jamming of disc brakes. If the disc brake is being forced to stop or slow down because of the semi-engaged position of a brake pad, then the movement of the front wheel will never be smooth.

When you put different amounts of pressure on the brakes, the motorcycle will stop, which will make it hard for the front wheel to turn freely.

What To Do When Motorcycle Brakes Lock Up?

Now, we will provide the response to the significant question that led you to check out this article in the first place.

This is a really important question that is connected to the motorcycle, and unfortunately, it is a very common problem as well. When the brakes on a motorcycle jam, there are a few things that need to be done:

Determine what caused the lockup as a first step. Now check each individual component that is connected one at a time, such as the brake fluid, the calliper, the brake lever, and the reservoir for the master cylinder.

If the brake fluid is more than two years old, you should change it.

Make the necessary changes to the cable so that the front brake lever can move freely and easily.

Attach some small pipes to the calliper so that the excess fluid can be removed.

If you’re having trouble clearing out the hole, you can try using a thin wire.

when the holes in the reservoir for the master cylinder start functioning properly. The front brakes will release their hold on the front brake automatically.

Follow These Brake Lock Prevention Tips:

It is best to find a solution to the problem before it becomes an annoyance to you if you don’t want to put yourself in situations where you will become frustrated because of brake lockup.

It is important to change the brake fluid in the motorcycle on a regular basis. When it comes to changing the brake fluid, the general rule of thumb is to do so once every two years at the very least.

When you are changing the fluid, you should never fill it all the way to the top. Always fill the brake fluid to a level that is slightly below its maximum capacity. Then there won’t be any excess fluid pumped into the calliper pistons, and that will be a good thing.

It is important that the clogged holes in the Master Cylinder Reservoir be checked on a regular basis. When you are adjusting the brake lever, you should also make sure that there is sufficient free play.


In the recent article, we saw why the front brake of a motorcycle is locked. Also, we have understood the main reasons, like a clogged master cylinder reservoir, excess brake fluid in the caliper, old brake fluid, not enough free play in the brake lever, and what happens when motorcycle brakes lock up?

After that disc brakes get jammed, the front wheel won’t spin freely, what you need to do is lock up, preventative measures, etc.

If you know all these things, then it will be easy for you to get rid of this problem. I hope you have liked the information given in this post. If you have any queries, then definitely ask them in the comment section.