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 Contrary Opinions
 Are rear brake upgrades really beneficial?
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marsam
Male Advanced Member
510 Posts
[Mentor]


Birkirkara
Malta

Yamaha

Dragstar & Vmax

Posted - 07/10/2005 :  3:45 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
While on the subject of brakes in this Contrary Opinions topic, I thought I'd share another thought that has been in my mind for a while. A number of brake accessories are out there claiming that you must have them for better braking efficiency and performance. In my opinion most brake upgrades kits and accessories are welcome on the front wheel brakes but are rather useless when applied to the rear wheel brake.

We all know how easy it is to lock the rear wheel brake with very little effort. This is evident on both my bikes and I find that both the twin pot caliper and disc with rubber hose setup on one bike and the mechanical drum brake on the other, are more than enough to lock up the rear wheel with very little pressure applied.

So my argument is:

Do we need (for normal day to day (not track) use)

1) Steel braided hoses for the rear brake?
2) 4 or 6 pot rear caliper conversions?
3) Bigger, grooved and cross drilled rear disc conversions?
4) High performance sintered brake pads?

Is it not to have an eye catching, attention grabbing rear end rather than to increase unecessarily the rear braking performance?

Don't get me wrong, I am all in favour of having better braking performance but to upgrade any rear bike brake system is in my opinion, unnecessary.

I admit they make any bike look meaner, nicer even. But can all that money spent on upgrading the rear brake, give you more braking efficiency?

On the other hand I would endorse any upgrade to the front brakes if it provides better braking performance over the factory fitted setup.

I am only talking about whether there are benefits in buying and installing rear brake upgrades here and don't want to enter into debates about related items such as tyres, traction, suspension settings etc.

Edited by - marsam on 07/10/2005 3:46 AM

lupo
Junior Member
84 Posts


Bergen
Norway

BMW

F650GS

Posted - 07/11/2005 :  8:39 AM
Err.. Is this contrary opinion? Contrary to what? Who upgrades their rear brake?

Drilling holes in the disc and reducing pad size is the most common rear brake mods, both reducing stopping power to aid braking.
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TedGamble
Standard Member
214 Posts


Murfreesboro, TN
USA

Honda

GL1800A

Posted - 07/11/2005 :  9:00 AM
I agree with your opinion that REAR brake upgrades could be hazardous to your health. Having hair-sensitive rear brakes is not a good thing. You do not want over sensitive rear brakes if you are in a hard turn and need to brake (don't ask me why).

Today's bikes already have outstanding brakes. The items that you mention (with the exception of steel braided lines) are all overkill on the rear. The steel lines DO offer less expansion in the hoses when brakes are applied (which is a good thing, once you get used to it). You should not use sintered pads unless you have a disc that is specifically engineered for sintered pads, otherwise, you'll be replacing your disc before it's expected lifetime.
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17286 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  9:04 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Ed,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for all your contributions here on your first day.

This one, however, confuses me. I see no correlation between brake usage, even in a turn, and 'tank slappers' and the old adage that braking should be done with 75% on the front and 25% on the back is more than dated - it was appropriate 40 years ago when brakes and motorcycle geometry were different, but not so any longer.

As to your assertion that motorcycle manufactures setup the bikes to provide 75% braking to the front and 25% to the rear ... that is exactly wrong. That is, virtually all Linked Braking Systems (LBS) are active only when you apply the rear brake and they cause about 75% of the braking energy to be applied to the REAR brake and about 25% to the front brake. In other words, they insure that usage of only the rear brake is not possible but that only about 1/4 of the brake pressure is directed to the front brake. That is NOT what *YOU* should do normally, nor is it in any way an attempt to maximize stopping ability. It is merely an attempt to prevent novice riders from throwing away at least 60% of their stopping power by only using the rear brake.

I recognize that you almost invariably use much sarcasm in your posts so it's possible that there was a hidden message in your post, but without some indication that you intend some humor (or sarcasm in place of humor) we (at least me) are unable to see that message. Perhaps an emoticon from time to time?
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marsam
Male Advanced Member
510 Posts
[Mentor]


Birkirkara
Malta

Yamaha

Dragstar & Vmax

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  3:58 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
quote:
Why do you want more stopping power on the rear only? Are you planning on being a hooligan down the main street? We got plenty of those around as it is dammit!!


Ed,

The intention of my starting this topic was exactly to show that what comes as standard in the rear braking department is enough, and any upgrades to the rear are unnecessary and waste of money.

English is not my native language but I do proofread my contributions a couple of times before I post to make sure every sentence will mean exactly what I had in mind.

BTW I do ride (albeit with great respect) what is termed as the hooligan bike, so after all, maybe I qualify.
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Jerry Godell
Male Senior Member
441 Posts


Kansas City, kansas
USA

Harley-Davidson

FXD SuperGlide

Posted - 07/19/2005 :  9:10 PM

I think the only upgrade I would do to my rear brake is the steel brake line. Also change the fluid when pads are replaced.
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cybersymes
Junior Member
27 Posts


belfast, antrim
Ireland

Yamaha

v-max

Posted - 07/25/2005 :  9:29 AM
vmax...hooligan bike...the original i think...

i did upgrade the rear caliper to a 4-pot...

and installed a s-steel line...

this was done as the stok brake was rubbish...

and also for cosmetic reasons as it now looks the mutts...

i have gold-line brembos on the front...fantastic...

me max is way heavy...i need good stoppers.
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 07/25/2005 :  7:00 PM
quote:
Originally posted by cybersymes

me max is way heavy...i need good stoppers.
In another thread you admit to a problem of the rear locking up very easily. Why would you recommend it?
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cybersymes
Junior Member
27 Posts


belfast, antrim
Ireland

Yamaha

v-max

Posted - 07/26/2005 :  6:32 AM
well spotted...the stok caliper was dangerous...didn't work at all...it's a 1988 bike...new pot is indeed almost too good...it's great for 99.9% of my riding...it's that crazy ole 0.1 percent that gives me gyp...and i'm gonna chill and not go there... ... ... my max looks special...it's clean and mean...i wanted a good looking 4-potter and s-s line...that's wot i got...for the majority of riders the addition would only be an improvement...it's only a problem for a nutta-few...and i've left that group.

the fault was with me...not my billet rear brake basically... s.
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StarsAllSeemToWeep
Junior Member
26 Posts


Cottage Grove, Wi
USA

Suzuki

IntruderLC

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 08/08/2005 :  11:20 PM
Just in case anyone isnt 100% sure as to what drilled or slotted brake rotors do.

The slots or holes are there to allow the brakes to de-gass. During heavy braking, gases can build up between the pad and the rotor, efectively reduing braking power by literally keeping the pads off the disc. The "vents" as they were, allow the gas to escape.

Notice I said during heavy braking. Most normal braking isnt heavily affected by "gassing", most car rotors dont have vent holes in production vehicles. WHY? Well, it costs more to drill/slot the discs, and it also reduces the amount of metal on the disc. Why is that a problem? Well, have you ever had the rotors turned down too far on your car? What happened? They pulsated. Why? Because there isnt enough metal to evenly dissipate the heat generated by the brakes. When you drill/slot rotors, you do the same thing, ALTHOUGH, the holes/slots are evenly placed around the disc, to minimize distortion, but still you have less metal there. DONT try and take your cordless drill and attempt to drill your discs, chances are they will warp. HD trucks will never have vented discs, because of the extreme loads and heat applied to the brakes. Warpage would be commonplace.

I believe that motorcycles have vented discs because the pads are so small, that they can generate alot of heat which may cause the gassing situation.

As far as my opinion on this goes, I have always been a firm beleiver that a better quality brake pad is a good upgrade. If a cheaper brake pad saves the mfg $1.50 per pad, (lets just say 2 pads for one wheel) Thats $6.00 per bike, X how many bikes does say, Honda make in a year? Now you know why they dont but the best on.

Certainly there are some execptions to my opinion on mfg brake pad choice, but you get the idea.

Doc.

Edited by - StarsAllSeemToWeep on 08/08/2005 11:26 PM
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marsam
Male Advanced Member
510 Posts
[Mentor]


Birkirkara
Malta

Yamaha

Dragstar & Vmax

Posted - 08/09/2005 :  2:03 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Well thought explanation on the benefits of cross drilling/grooving of discs. Maybe it is the only worthwhile modification together with a good set of aftermarket pads, that would be beneficial to the rear braking department.

In fact Tar-Ox Brakes, if I'm not mistaken, had also designed aftermarket uprated (rear) brake drums for most vehicles, that had grooves machined on their inside friction surface where the linings press against the drum for the same benefit of de-gassing/deglazing the brake shoe linings.


Edited by - marsam on 08/09/2005 2:06 AM
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Gs82Seca650
Male Advanced Member
1990 Posts
[Mentor]


Southern, PA
USA

Yamaha

1982 XJ 650 R Seca

Posted - 08/09/2005 :  11:17 AM
I am probably one of the few with this opinion, but if I could upgrade my rear brake some, I would. It's a mechanical drum set up, and it is EXTREMELY weak, and YES it is adjusted correctly and is not contaminated.

If I stood on the rear brake I am fairly certian I could not lock it up if I wanted to, it is that weak. The front brake leavs a lot to be desired as well.

In certian circumstances, especially with a bike as old as mine is, a rear upgrade would not hurt or be dangerious.......IMHO.
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Cruiser
Male Standard Member
127 Posts


Madison, WI
USA

Honda

ST1100

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  9:27 AM
quote:
Originally posted by StarsAllSeemToWeep

Just in case anyone isnt 100% sure as to what drilled or slotted brake rotors do.

The slots or holes are there to allow the brakes to de-gass. During heavy braking, gases can build up between the pad and the rotor, efectively reduing braking power by literally keeping the pads off the disc. The "vents" as they were, allow the gas to escape.


Interesting! I crossdrilled the front rotors on my '81 Yamaha XS650 Special, but I didn't do it for that reason. The rotors on the old Yamahas don't have any holes or slots from the factory. They're just a heavy chunk of steel that has a tendency to gall pretty badly. Any bike that has been ridden at all is full of grooves that are formed when tiny bits of metal are sheered off the rotors and stick to the pads. Drilling the rotors allows the holes to clean the pads and prevent more galling. This also increases stopping power because the metal on metal friction of rotor on contaminated pads is not as good as the friction of rotor on clean pads.

Granted, the XS650 is pretty old technology, and this line of reasoning may or may not hold up with newer bikes. I do know that my brake is much more effective now than before I crossdrilled it. Unfortunately I upgraded the master cyclinder at the same time, so its hard for me to know for sure the actual cause of the improved performance. . . .

Cruiser
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Gs82Seca650
Male Advanced Member
1990 Posts
[Mentor]


Southern, PA
USA

Yamaha

1982 XJ 650 R Seca

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  10:29 AM
Hey Cruiser,

I had an 81 650 Special a few years back too. My 82 Seca has rotors similar to what you described. How did you cross drill yours? Did you take it somewhere? I would like to look into that during the winter this year, becuase my brake performance in general is not very good.

Thanks.
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Cruiser
Male Standard Member
127 Posts


Madison, WI
USA

Honda

ST1100

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  1:27 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Gs82Seca650

Hey Cruiser,

I had an 81 650 Special a few years back too. My 82 Seca has rotors similar to what you described. How did you cross drill yours? Did you take it somewhere? I would like to look into that during the winter this year, becuase my brake performance in general is not very good.

Thanks.



I drilled them myself using a drill press. There was a writeup on another forum where someone made a pattern and I printed that out and center-punched the pattern onto my rotors and then just drilled them. Some folks seem to think that the rotors are "superhard" or something, but I had no trouble drilling them with HSS drills. I used an 11/32" for the larger holes and a 1/4" drill for the smaller holes. My pattern is a little different than the one I found--so unique, I guess. I'd recommend drilling with at least 11/32" and using a pilot hole first with plenty of oil, and a slow RPM on the drill 300-500 RPM.

Here's a picture that gives you an idea of what it looks like.

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Cruiser
Male Standard Member
127 Posts


Madison, WI
USA

Honda

ST1100

Posted - 08/17/2005 :  1:30 PM
Gs82Seca650, one more thing. Don't champfer the holes because that will reduce or eliminate what you're trying to do by drilling the holes in the first place. There needs to be a sharp edge to clean the pads. It is a good idea to remove any burrs, though!

This all seems a lot more complicated when I spell it all out. . . really it's not so bad.

Cruiser
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Gs82Seca650
Male Advanced Member
1990 Posts
[Mentor]


Southern, PA
USA

Yamaha

1982 XJ 650 R Seca

Posted - 08/18/2005 :  7:21 AM
Hey Cruiser,

Thanks buddy! I apprecieate that information. If you come across that web address, PM me with the link if you would. That 650 Special looks very nice too, very clean/polished, I like it!
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firefly
Junior Member
72 Posts


Santa Monica, California
USA

Yamaha

vmax

Posted - 09/28/2005 :  5:52 AM
The only benefit I see to upgrade the rear brakes is if I ride 2 up most of the time otherwise it could be dangerous to have a strong sensitive rear brake.
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OB
Male Advanced Member
528 Posts


Houston, TX
USA

Buell

1125CR and others

Posted - 10/30/2005 :  7:00 AM
Well,

One reason to upgrade is to replace worn out calipers and pistons. Another reasons along those lines is that braking can become more predictable when applying pressure with a premium system. Don't know if you would really know that before upgrading though.

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larswlvs
Junior Member
55 Posts


Akron, Ohio
USA

Honda

2003 Valkyrie

Posted - 11/27/2005 :  12:40 PM
I agree with the last post
On my bike I have 2 disks on the front and one disk rear , both have braided steel brake lines and a softer compounded brake pad, but I was always taught to use the front break as the primary brake.
But I think you should have the best stopping power you can get and learn how or adjust your ways of using it with out locking up either wheel or get a bike with an ABS.
I think every one should practice,practice and practice their braking skills especially riders in the colder climate that put their bikes up for the winter and may be a little rusty in the spring when they get their bikes back out
These are just my thoughts on the subject
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DannyC
Male New Member
12 Posts


Anaheim, Ca
USA

Ducati

Multistrada

Posted - 05/09/2012 :  1:10 PM
I always use my rear brake first - as a position modifier and a low speed stopper.

The rest of the time it is rear brake then front brake as I can start stopping faster with my foot than my hand, so by the time my hand starts pulling the handle, I've already started slowing by the rear brake.

Holes dissapate heat - heat affects braking, then they help scrub off contaminants.

My bike shows a lot of contaminants every day!

The front brakes on my Strada only lasted 4,100 miles, and that was not hard use, just normal street stopping; though that sucker will stop on a dime.
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