Obviously I’m going to be talking about Motorcycle Brakes but before I get there, lets look at the WHY.
Why should you upgrade your brake system?
It’s not going to make your bike faster… or is it?
We tend to focus on performance parts that add torque & horsepower because we love having that power at our finger tips and we’d also hate to be the slowest bike on a group ride.
We’re all friends and we shouldn’t need to compete but you don’t want to be that guy that everyone else is waiting for to catch up.
We want the power to easily overtake slow cars, trucks and buses.
We want to lean in on sharp twisties and feel that g-force as you hook it around corners.
We want to launch it as the light turns green and leave the cars and trucks far behind us.
I know I love doing all of those things and I’m sure you feel the same way when you’re out riding.
However, as Uncle Ben always said “With great power, comes great responsibility”. You need to harness and maintain control of that power or people get hurt and that person is most likely YOU.
"If You GO FAST, You Also Need To STOP FAST"
Rollies Speed Shop fully supports boosting the Horsepower & Torque of your V-Twin Engine. That’s how we got started back in 1979 and it’s still our main focus today.
It can be addictive chasing those higher numbers as you continually build the performance of your bike.
The key to a great build is keeping it balanced.
The average Harley-Davidson or Indian Motorcycle weighs 300kg-350kg. When you add yourself and a passenger plus a little gear you’re sitting around 500kg-570kg.
That’s a decent amount of mass you need to stop with just two small patches of rubber touching the road. Your tyres are important but the bulk of the work is done by the brake pads & calipers clamping down on your disc rotors.
These are the parts you should upgrade to keep your bike balanced as you boost the power.
Personally I would start with these from day one because I feel the stock calipers & stock brake pads are under-powered for a heavy bike.
3 Ways To Upgrade Your Motorcycle Brakes
Brake Disc Rotors
We Have Motorcycle Brake System Upgrades For All Budgets
Upgrading your brakes doesn’t have to break your wallet. Switching out a stock part for a performance part will give you incremental gains in stopping power. Upgrading all three will obviously give you the best possible result but you don’t have to go all-in all at once.
Performance Brake Pads Are Your Starting Point.
These are easy to switch over from stock and you can get better quality brake pads for less than $100 that will fit perfectly in your stock calipers.
This simple replacement can give you a 10%-20% improvement in stopping power.
They’ll also run up to 30% cooler. That’s important because the heat of your brakes (pads & rotors) impacts on your stopping power.
I’m sure you’ve noticed when you’re riding hard that as your brakes heat up you have to squeeze harder and harder to get the same stopping power you had when they were cool.
The Next Step Is Performance Disc Rotors.
The brake pad clamps down on your disc rotor and that friction slows you down. There are several ways upgrading to a performance rotor improves this action…
1. Better Friction & Less Heat Build Up:
A stock rotor is as simple as you get, it’s a round flat disc with a few holes in it. The friction connection between pad and rotor is almost constant and builds heat quickly.
Galfer USA have an improved design with their Wave Disc Rotors. The unique shape of the rotor & it’s angled cut-outs alternates the friction point on the brake pad as it spins. The extra air flow and mini break in contact helps to keep both the brake pad and the rotor cooler under constant/heavy braking situations.
Galfers Wave Rotors are available as Fixed or Floating…
2. More Leverage:
For bigger bikes you need more stopping power. A larger diameter rotor provides more leverage. As the distance between your wheel’s axle and your brake caliper increases so does the torque force.
Standard V-Twin Disc Rotors are 11.5″-11.8″ in diameter.
A Big Disc Rotor for a V-Twin is 14″-15″ in diameter.
The increase in diameter size provides approximately 30% more stopping power over a stock standard diameter disc rotor.
That 30% increase is independant of the brake pads and caliper. When you combine those into the equation you can see huge gains in your stopping power.
The Finishing Touch Is Upgrading Your Calipers.
Your calipers clamp down onto your disc rotor causing the friction between the rotor and your brake pads.
The harder your calipers can squeeze, the more pressure you can apply to the rotor when braking. Performance Calipers help you apply a stronger, consistent pressure without you having to apply a Hulk-like grip to your brake lever.
Upgrading from a 2 piston caliper to a 4 piston caliper or from a 4 piston to 6 piston caliper gives you a significant boost in stopping power because you have a larger clamping surface area contacting your rotor.
Performance Machine make a great range of calipers that have differential bore pistons. The benefits of this are more clamping area, even wear on your brake pads and cooler running temps.
The Winning Combination: Brake Pads, Rotors & Calipers
Changing any one of these parts from stock to performance parts will give your stopping power a boost.
Each part can add 20%-30% more stopping power over stock, but when you combine them that increase compounds. If you upgrade all three parts you can more than double your stopping power which should be enough for even the most extreme engine builds.
At the start of this article I made a comment about upgrading your brakes…
“It’s not going to make your bike go faster… or is it?”
Well, the reality is “YES, It Will”
While upgrading your brakes won’t physically improve your bikes power or top speed it will improve the handling & performance. It will give you greater control which in turn gives you more confidence to ride at a higher level.
Knowing that you can decelerate more quickly allows you to brake later when entering corners. You can overtake other vehicles more quickly, safe in the knowledge that you can drop back to match traffic speed and feed back into a gap when needed.
And those unexpected emergency stops become a lot less terrifying. You can only control you, not the idiots around you, so having great stopping power can literally save your life and others.
Having a balanced bike that can Go Fast & Stop Fast gives you more confidence and control in all situations.
We stock a great range of brake pads, disc rotors & calipers from top USA performance part manufacturers (Performance Machine, Galfer USA, Lyndall Racing Brakes, Arlen Ness, Hawg Halters Inc & More).
Selecting the best combination for your bike can seem confusing but we are here to help. Rollies Speed Shop has been upgrading V-Twin Motorcycles since 1979 and our workshop has tested countless combinations across a huge range of models.
Give us a call on 07-3252-5381 and we can help you find the best combination for your bike and your budget.
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