AMX News May 2003 Tech: Stock Brakes - Are they good enough?
What is the goal of the majority of off-road rider/racers besides having fun?
To imporve our riding ability. It doesn't matter if we're trail rider, motocross racers or desert riders. We all want to improve our riding ability. This leads to a sense of accomplishment. A good way to measure this is by taking lap times.
Would you agree suspension set up has the biggest impact on improving skill level and lowering lap times?
Of course, no one rides without at least checking race sag.
So what area is next?
Jetting and motor mods. Getting useable power out of the motorcycle.
So once we've tweaked our motors to put out that good, useable power to accelerate the motorcyle, don't we need equally good, useable stopping power? Isn't it the combination of all three of these things that really affect lap times?
Yes! Although master-cylinders have gotten better over the last few years, the problem with stock brakes is primarily the plastic brake lines. Plastic is used to keep the cost down, but those lines expand when you press on the brake lever limiting the stopping power.
So what you mean is that your hand pressure isn't just transmitted to the caliper. some of the force is wasted pushing against the sides of the line, expanding it?
Exactly! The average rider only ends up braking as hard as his stock system allows. That bad habit is then reinforced by less than ideal traction or the fact that it takes less physical effort to be aggressive on the brakes.
Then why do Honda brakes seem good enough, stock? They use plastic lines, right? And what about this whole patent issue on the "Honda style" routing?
True, traditionally Honda brakes have been better stock. They have had
a better master-cylinder design and the shortest way to the caliper is best because there is less brake-line wall to expand. However I should make it clear that we still get a huge improvement in brake performance when we install one of our braided steel lines on a CR, and we're not shortening the length! About 75-percent of the improvement is the braided steel that virtually eliminates the expansion; the other 25 percent comes from shortening the line. So next year or the year after (that patent is expiring soon) when Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki start using direct routing, don't be fooled into thinking that's as good as it gets.
Do you have to be a pro to really take advantage of the benefits?
Not at all. Just about any rider who understands the importance of using this front brake will improve his riding ability using one of our brake line kits. He will be able to go faster and brake deeper into each corner of the track, trail or loop, add up all the corners and see the lap times drop.
What about the bike? Is it only worth doing on late models mxers?
Actually guys with older CRs, YZs, RMs, WRs, XRs and KXs will benefits even more because their master-cylinder designs weren't as good as the new ones.
What about engine size?
Doesn't matter, mini riders will benefit just as much as guys on heavier bikes.
Should the rear line be changed as well?
Ride Engineering offers a braided steel rear line/master-cylinder extension kit for the 2002/2003 CRs to help alleviate the over-heating problem, but otherwise I would say no. Your foot is not sensitive enough to benefit from the improved feel and there isn't enough weight
on the rear wheel to create the need for more stopping power.
Are there any advantages to Ride Engineering products over other brands?
Several. We have addressed all the subtle issues of installation to make our kits hassle free, look trick and last. We are competitively priced even though we use superior materials. Our kits even remove weight off the bike. And as far as performance goes, just ask team Moto XXX and ECC. Both teams raced their entire supercross and outdoor nationals last year with Ride Engineering brake lines!
Any final words of advise?
Performance gains won't be realized without properly bleeding the brakes. If you're going to be riding dirt bikes for a while, invest in a $40 vacuum pump from any auto parts store or have an authorized Ride Engineering dealer install it for you. To get a Ride Engineeing brake kit for your YZ, CR, RM or KX, see your local dealer or contact us at: (800) 805 - 1516, www.ride-engineering.com.
Located in Costa Mesa California near the heart of the motorcycle industry, RIDE specializes in products that customize the motorcycle to optimize motorcycle performance while enhancing its appearance.