Fast Bikes - - LONGTERMERS -

Now that the Gixer’s mak­ing more power than stock (thanks to the SP Engi­neer­ing can), and is there­fore a tad faster, stopping with more alacrity is now even higher on the agenda. As you may already know, the Gixer’s brakes aren’t ex­actly the best on of­fer. They say ‘Brembo’ on the calipers, but they’re let down by both the mas­ter-cylin­der and the OE brake pads.

When we were at Sports­Bike Of The Year, the Suzuki would last about three laps at flat out pace be­fore the brakes gave up. Back off for a cou­ple of laps and they’d come back for a bit, but the is­sues con­tinue on the road too. I don’t have the long­est fin­gers, so pre­fer to have the lever set a lit­tle closer to the bar. I also like to brake with two fin­gers, so hav­ing brakes that are ef­fec­tive at all points of lever travel is im­por­tant to me. The cur­rent setup is fine for gen­eral rid­ing, but hav­ing had a cou­ple of emer­gency brak­ing sit­u­a­tions arise, they just aren’t up to task. The im­me­di­ate prob­lem is the first two inches of lever travel – noth­ing hap­pens! So brak­ing in a hurry, by the time pow­ers starts build­ing ap­pre­cia­bly my fin­gers are then trapped, and brak­ing power stops in­creas­ing.

I had a very sim­i­lar is­sue with the Yamaha MT-10 last year, so am ap­proach­ing the Suzuki’s prob­lem in the same fash­ion. This means tak­ing it step by step while trying to achieve the goal as cheaply as pos­si­ble. So I’m turn­ing to the same pads as I used last year, Brembo’s Road & Track SC items from Bike HPS.

I popped up to JHS Racing to see Mr James about a few things, and while there had the pads fit­ted. It’s a pretty sim­ple pop-out, pop-in pro­ce­dure for the pads, how­ever, James no­ticed some­thing at the same time. The rub­ber flange in the brake fluid had dis­lodged un­der, were pretty sure, the hard duress the brakes were put un­der at SBOTY. Added to that was the fact there was a lot of wa­ter con­den­sa­tion in there too, which re­ally isn’t ideal!

So James re­placed the brake fluid and bled the calipers and lines, as he thinks the OE fluid didn’t have a high enough boil­ing point (which was there­fore ex­ac­er­bat­ing the fad­ing is­sues), just to be sure and to try and help per­for­mance. Once rid­ing away, I did my usual thing of com­pletely for­get­ting I had brand new pads in and then hav­ing a mild bum-pump when I first came to stop! It al­ways takes a few miles to bed pads in, and once they were I in­stantly re­alised that while things were ac­tu­ally no­tice­ably bet­ter, un­like the quick-fix we man­aged on the Yamaha, the Suzuki may need an­other cou­ple of bits be­fore it’s per­fect and just how I like it.

There’s no doubt the new pads (and fluid) means I’m now­more com­fort­able with the in­crease in ear­lier power, and priced at just £139.08 is a fab­u­lous way of mak­ing the an­chors more ef­fec­tive. How­ever, I think I need bet­ter still be­fore I’m truly happy. So the next port of call will be a set of brake lines from some­where, as com­bined with pads they will still be cheaper than stick­ing on a de­cent mas­ter-cylin­der.

To be clear, I’m ab­so­lutely not af­ter brakes which slam the front into the deck when I merely think about hit­ting them. That’s counter-pro­duc­tive most of the time, and I’ve al­ways liked my brakes to be pro­gres­sive. The pads mean that things start work­ing bet­ter an inch of lever move­ment ear­lier, but there’s still an­other inch we need to work on. We’ll sort it no doubt, but for next month I’m stick­ing on a wealth of ace Yoshimura bits and we’ll tackle the rest of the brakes an­other time.

James was on hand to bet­ter the brak­ing.

Fill ’er up, gov’na.

Bet­ter pads are a sim­ple way to bet­ter an­chor­age.

The cru­cial seal of stopping.

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