Classic Motorcycle Mechanics


Powerhouse Automotive

- Powerhouse can be found at: or 01246 260665 and ask for Dave or Lawson, tell them CMM sent you!

Having umpired our virtual discussion I thought it would be good to speak to a six-pot guru to help us dispel a few of the myths. My go-to guy was Dave Cattell at Powerhouse. For 10 years they’ve been rebuilding and refurbishi­ng all manner of brake calipers, and the six-pot is one of their popular products.

So, what’s up with the poor six-pot Dave? There’s nothing wrong with the design, it’s definitely a case of poor maintenanc­e; chuck in the fact that some of these calipers are now over 20 years old and you can see why this may cause issues.

We’ve heard about people opting for four-pots over six-pots, are they being clever? Many owners dump the six-pot Tokico in favour of the Nissin four-pot – a straightfo­rward swap but one that we find a little baffling. With a full refurb a refreshed Tokico six-pot will feel like new again. What creates the problem? The trouble starts with poor maintenanc­e; once those pistons pick up anything to stop them working effectivel­y it goes downhill from there.

Does that explain poor lever feel? Many people complain of a spongey lever and think new brake lines will solve their woes: that’s another myth that’s untrue, nothing will sort your poorly calipers other than a rebuild.

So what actually is the problem, and is there a cure? Sometimes it’s your good intentions that lead to damaging your pistons. Powerwashe­rs are quick and easy to use but can shift grime and dust further inside the body of the caliper. Once a piston picks up dust and dirt it’s down to seals to do their bit. When they’ve worn out the piston will quickly deteriorat­e, that’s why we use a stainless steel piston in our refurbed calipers. From the

factory they are coated or anodised, but over time that will crack and allow in the elements to the metal pistons. The cure to avoid this isn’t an expensive cleaner, its good old fashioned soapy water and elbow grease; avoid anything that contains a solvent and never use petrol!

Is it easy to pull a six-pot apart? Removing damaged pistons can be tricky. We use a high power rig to blow them out: this removes any possibilit­y of damaging the caliper body itself. Many calipers we get have been attacked with everything from screwdrive­rs to molegrips.

Several comments referred to pad choice, do you have any preference? We have been doing this job for a decade now and find that SBS pads are well-matched to the Tokico six-pot and really help to give you a good feel at the lever.

Is it not sexy to spend money on your brakes? It’s funny to think people will spend money on braided hoses thinking it will solve all of their braking issues, when it’s actually the condition of the caliper that ultimately dictates your stopping power.

Are there any other issues that we’ve missed? We still get plenty of Tokico six-pots come our way, and one thing we’ve noticed is the bleed nipple area can sometimes crack at the base. Weirder is the fact it’s more common on the right-hand caliper and after years of contemplat­ing this mystery I think we’ve sussed it! Most bikes only have a side-stand, which makes the right hand caliper the obvious starting point, when people realise it’s not going to plan they don’t bother cracking the lefthand bleed nipple off.

 ??  ?? Love your six-pot and it will serve you well!
Love your six-pot and it will serve you well!
 ??  ?? Dave knows six-pots. And he was once a top Scout. True...
Dave knows six-pots. And he was once a top Scout. True...

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