BRAKING: THE RACER’S POV
How great brakes make the top race teams go faster.
Nothing contributes to product development quite the way that racing does. After all, the race track is the ultimate testing ground for motorcycle components. Especially brakes. That’s why BRAKING® is so actively involved in off-road and on-road competition at pro and amateur levels (did you know that BRAKING has won more than 115 world championships since 1990?). We thought you might like to know what racers and their mechanics look for in brake components for their race bikes.
Give me a brake!
To the racer, high-performance brakes are every bit as important as horsepower. According to the seven-rider Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha team out of Murrieta, California, competing in the super-fast 250 MX/SX class places huge demands on brake performance.
“Brake components are so important for the reason being the faster the bike and faster the riders get, the more you rely on the braking power to help slow you down!”
The same holds true for Pro Off-Road racer Shane O’Banion, the winningest rider in Mid-South Cross Country history, competing on a Suzuki RMZ450…
“I feel like strong brakes are just as important as a strong motor. Having good brakes allows you to leave the gas on longer and still be able to make the turn.”
Hooked on a feeling.
To ride at the hairy edge lap after lap, there’s one thing racers want more than anything else: consistent control. What they don’t want are surprises. The bike needs to perform predictably so that racers know exactly where the limits are and trust that their bike will respond with firm, progressive and predictable braking performance turn after turn.
Again, Pro Off-Road racer Shane O’Banion …
“I can tell I have high quality components when I finish a two or three-hour race where brakes worked perfect the whole time and didn’t wear much at all.”
Make it last.
Consistency and durability is really put to the test in the National Enduro Series, so we asked Airgroup/Enduro Engineering/Husqvarna team mechanic Mike “Napper” Napieralski to weigh in. Napper is the guy responsible for preparing the 2018 Husqvarna TX 300 for riders Drew Higgins and Logan Lowrey. It’s on his shoulders to ensure these racers have a competitive bike that will provide consistent performance throughout an enduro.
“The major thing is feel and that it be consistent throughout the day. BRAKING® pads have that feel that the rider is looking for no matter what heat range the brakes are experiencing during the race.”
Enduro. Engineering racer Drew Higgins pipes in with his perspective from behind the handlebars …
“Stock pads will wear out quicker than the BRAKING ones. Once the stock pads are glazed over, they are either on or off, and will cause you to lock up the brakes when you don’t want to.”
Napper continues … “The (BRAKING) brake pads do not fade because of heat buildup and they stay consistent. We use the BRAKING solid brake rotor as well, as it works as a heat sink to help pull the heat from the brake caliper. Which in turns help to lower the brake fluid temperature. Longevity is also noticeable compared to the stock brake pads.”
Until next time …
Next time, we’ll ask race teams about the biggest challenges they face when it comes to brake performance and what drives their decision to change brake components. In the meantime, whether you’re a pro racer or a weekend warrior, explore the full range of high-performance BRAKING® brake pad options for your bike at sunstar-braking.com. Need help selecting the right set for your needs? Just ask!