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 Motorcycle Safety
 Technical/Maintenance
 Brake Rotor Question
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Mikeydude
Male Advanced Member
741 Posts
[Mentor]


Ft. Worth, Texas
USA

Harley-Davidson

03 FXD Super Glide

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  9:51 AM                       Like
It's time for a new front rotor on my Harley FXD and in searching around to learn about them I have come across the term "floating" rotors. They are a bit more expensive than the stock rotor I have.. Are they better? Is this something I should want?

And 2nd, what are your thoughts to using aftermarket parts for something like this. I've seen floating rotors priced quite a bit less than Harley flat rotors. I'm not being cheap but Harley wants $159 for a plain rotor. J&P has them down around $75.

Thanks

rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  10:10 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Floating rotors mean they are attached to the carrier in a way to allow a little side to side movement. On cars, the caliper is usually mounted on a sliding pin to do the same. On bikes, the calipers are typically rigid mounted. It's mainly a feature to allow even rotor and pad wear, and to center the rotor between the pads to get an even clamping force on both sides of the rotor.

I read the other day in CycleWorld magazine, the new Mount Rushmore models come with floating calipers.

As much as Harleys usually have some pricey parts costs, be grateful for those prices! I wore my front rotors out, 2 of them, and Suzuki wants $316 for them. I was lucky to find low milage used.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  10:27 AM
This question use to come up all the time on the Ducati forums. Most of those bikes come with semi-floating front brake rotors, that can be turned into full floating rotors with a hammer and a bit of work.

A solid rotor is one piece of metal that bolts to the wheel. That is what is on my Honda XR650L front and rear.

A semi-floating brake rotor is two separate parts held together with a number of round "buttons". The two parts appear to be solidly connected, although sometimes you can move one a tiny bit relative to the other. The biggest advantage over a solid rotor is that under heavy braking when things heat up the braking surface can expand evenly while the part bolted to the wheel remains cool, so you're less likely to get any warping. My KTM has semi-floating rotors front and rear.

On full floating brake rotors, the "buttons" are looser so that the braking surface can move side to side a millimeter or two. They have the advantage that the braking surface tends to align itself relative to the pads so that light braking is a bit smoother. They also tend to make some noise at low speeds as the buttons move around. Race bikes tend to have full floating rotors and you'll find them on of the "R" models of the Ducati superbikes.

I would expect a bit of improvement on your bike if you went with semi-floating brake rotors.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  10:31 AM
Since I took so long putting my response together that another response made it in ahead of mine, one more thing to add.

The sportbikes with either type of "floating" rotors also have brake calipers than can move a bit to align with the rotor. If nothing else, there are pistons on both sides pushing against the brake pads and they automatically adjust to the correct position.
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Mikeydude
Male Advanced Member
741 Posts
[Mentor]


Ft. Worth, Texas
USA

Harley-Davidson

03 FXD Super Glide

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  11:50 AM
Ok... Sounds like floaters or semi-floaters is a good thing. My current rotor is warped, hence the replacement.

The HD Floaters are around $250... J&P has them quite a bit lower than that. What should I be aware of when comparing brands?
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  12:21 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Mikeydude

Ok... Sounds like floaters or semi-floaters is a good thing. My current rotor is warped, hence the replacement.

The HD Floaters are around $250... J&P has them quite a bit lower than that. What should I be aware of when comparing brands?



The first thing you need to do is find out if your calipers are compatible with floating rotors. The calipers on my HD Sportster Sport float as do the rotors. They are a system.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  2:25 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Mikeydude

Ok... Sounds like floaters or semi-floaters is a good thing. My current rotor is warped, hence the replacement.

The HD Floaters are around $250... J&P has them quite a bit lower than that. What should I be aware of when comparing brands?



I have never had occasion to use anything from J&P, so I can't attest to their quality. I have had great experience with EBC braking products for various cars and motorcycles. They recently introduced aline of full floating rotors for "Big American Twins" that I would check out if I were you. http://ebcbrakes.com/product/ebc-br...r-big-twins/

I just put EBC HH Sintered pads on my Sprint, which has floating discs and the new EBC pads provide more stopping power than the OEM Triumph pads (which are also HH Sintered). For me, at least, when my rotors need replacing I will likely go with EBC units.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  2:32 PM
And one other question.

Did you say 'rotor' as in one? Does a 600+ pound bike really have just one brake up front, or was that a typo?
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Mikeydude
Male Advanced Member
741 Posts
[Mentor]


Ft. Worth, Texas
USA

Harley-Davidson

03 FXD Super Glide

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  3:03 PM
Yep... it only has one (1). No typo. I've never had a problem with it not being strong enough to stop me. Even when 2 up. I would hope their R&D guys knew what they were doing when they designed it.

J&P is just an online "store" that sells many different brands of parts. I got my Progressive springs and shocks from them. I'll go check out EBH... Thanks!

And I'll do more research into if they are compatible. I went to the HD site and they have several different floaters listed in the 03 FXD section. I may be assuming they will work, but I'll find out.
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 11/11/2013 :  3:49 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Mikeydude

Yep... it only has one (1). No typo. I've never had a problem with it not being strong enough to stop me. Even when 2 up. I would hope their R&D guys knew what they were doing when they designed it.

J&P is just an online "store" that sells many different brands of parts. I got my Progressive springs and shocks from them. I'll go check out EBH... Thanks!

And I'll do more research into if they are compatible. I went to the HD site and they have several different floaters listed in the 03 FXD section. I may be assuming they will work, but I'll find out.



It's worth checking with someone from your dealer, but I wouldn't think the OEM would be selling them if they weren't compatible.

BTW Competition Accessories sells EBC products at a decent discount, but it may take some doing to figure out the correct part number. The "recommended online vendor" linked on the EBC website showed that they did not make EBC pads for my bike, which, clearly they do.
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