Braking performance is one of the most overlooked figures, while also being one of the most important. The ability to stop gives you the ability to go fast, so you really should work on you bike’s braking performance before worrying about it’s quarter mile time. Here are the best ways to improve braking performance.
1 – Lose Some Weight
The operator to vehicle ratio is much greater on a motorcycle than in a car, which means your weight has a much bigger effect on your bike than it does a car. The lighter you are, the less mass your brakes have to slow down. Go on a diet and, not only will your bike stop better, it will accelerate better too.
2 – Give Your Bike Liposuction
Any weight you can get rid of on your motorcycle will help. Swapping components for their lightweight, aftermarket counterparts will reduce the amount of weight the brakes are trying to counter.
3 – Steel Braided Brake Lines
Many motorcycles come with rubber brake lines, which will flex when you pull the brake lever as the pressure in the line increases. Rubber lines also deteriorate much faster than their steel counterparts. Upgrading your brake lines is a fairly cheap way to make your brakes more responsive and last longer,
4 – Upgraded Brake Pads
Motorcycles come with a wide variety of brake pads. Upgrading to high quality, HH grade “ultra high performance” brake pads will help your brakes grab better, hold longer, and fade more slowly than stock pads. We recommend EBC HH brake pads.
5 – Aftermarket Disc Brakes
If you’re really going to be pushing your bike hard, be it in the canyons or on the track, you need to upgrade your disc brakes. You want the biggest and lightest ones that will fit your bike. We recommend Galfer rotors or anything Brembo.
6 – Tires
The better your tires grip the road, the better your bike stops. Don’t skimp on buying the best possible tires you can afford, the fanciest brake pads, lines, and rotors won’t do a thing if the tires can’t stick all that stopping power to the road.
7 – Practice
As always, rider input plays the biggest factor in our bike’s performance. There’s a reason the MSF courses practice emergency stops, and it’s a habit we should keep throughout our riding careers. Practice emergency stops and get to know your bike and it’s abilities and the inputs required to bring your bike from full speed to full stop.
A few things to keep in mind: A low center of gravity and a long wheelbase improve braking performance and help keep the rear end of the bike down. Also, ABS is a HUGE help in an emergency stop situation. Zero skill necessary, just grab the lever and hang on. If you’re in the market to buy a bike, get ABS.
What tips have you found useful to improve your motorcycle’s braking performance? What products or brands do you trust the most?
Ask RideApart: ABS Or No-ABS For New Riders