Brake Upgrades

Some riders are happy with their brakes just the way they are. However there's no doubt that the OEM brakes can be improved upon, other than by just choosing different pads or disc rotors.

CALIPERS - In my opinion, there is a great deal to be gained by swopping the standard FJ calipers for YZF750 (or late Exup RU) six pot items or the one piece R1 or Thunderace calipers. This swap (which if you keep your eyes focused sharply in the s/h parts sections of the bike mags, needn't be that expensive) will give a more progressively powerful brake, that inspires confidence. Unfortunately, they only bolt straight on to the later FJ's, that came originally equipped with four pot calipers. Other companies such as PRETECH or HARRISON BILLET manufacture aftermarket six pot calipers, though they are quite expensive. Owners of FJ1100's may also like to consider a four pot conversion, as in pix 5&6. The brackets are still available through the UKFJOC (I think!). Another alternative are AP calipers, as in pic 4. Or how about a ZX-9R six-pot conversion (this one by Phil Hacker of the UKFJOC) pic 4.

Earlier 84-87 FJ's can benefit from four pot calipers from a FZR400RR. This mod was discovered by Piolo Martin from Chile. To my knowledge no-one's discovered this easy modification before. Piolo reports a terrific improvement upon his original calipers.

 

1. Harrison 'Billet ' Six Pots

2. Ace Calipers on 3CV

3. YZF 750 Six Pots

4. AP Calipers

5. Four Pot Conversion

6. Ace Calipers on Early FJ

7. ZX-9R Six Pot Conversion.

8. Honda VTR 1000 master cyl.

Six-pots with 320mm PFM discs.

10. FZR400RR Calipers on early FJ.

9. YZF750 six-pots with 320m disc.

 

STAINLESS BRAIDED LINES - As the OEM lines age they are more inclined to 'give' slightly under braking pressure, giving rise to 'sponginess'. Braded lines (correctly installed and bled) will eliminate this and restore a firm lever. If following installation, the lever remains 'spongy', check the brake master cylinder. Very few people regret fitting these.

MASTER CYLINDERS - Without doubt, the standard item is a weak link. Personally I've tried a ZZR1100 Kawasaki unit and found it to be better. More recently I fit a Honda VTR1000 Firestorm master cylinder. I understand this is the same or similar to Fireblade and CBR600 masters. Whatever the truth, the fact is that this has given the best results yet, giving a powerful, progressive brake. Of course I realise that is all just a question of cylinder bore size and lever pivot points etc etc and that the master cylinder itself is not producing something for nothing. But the proof is in the pudding! It's a low cost mod that can give very good results.

LARGER DISC ROTORS - The FJ comes with 298mm discs as standard. These can be upgraded to 320mm as can be seen in pic 9 (above) by using adaptor plates. Alternatively, this can be considered when changing front forks.

FULLY FLOATING ROTORS - I installed a set of Spondon 'Multi-Drill' Fully Floating rotors on my 1990 FJ. I did this purely as they were available when one of the original 320mm discs I'd obtained proved to be warped. In operation they feel fantastic, with a sort of eerie smoothness that's hard to describe. Yet because of their fully floating nature, over bumps they're a b*stard and the constant rattling quickly gets on ones tits. I may try using semi floating type bobbins to reduce this.

STOP PRESS:- The Spondon discs have bit the dust. It would seem that the hardened 'billet' carriers are just not up to the job of hauling a hurtling FJ to a halt and have developed too much free play due to wear. NOT RECOMMENDED.

I've since fit a per of 'budget' aftermarket YZF750 discs. They are available from Viper, here in the UK. Frankly they are performing (currently) every bit as good as the ones they've replaced and cost half the price.

Scrub that, the Viper 'Stealth' discs warped prematurely. They may be guaranteed but who wants more of the same? I've now installed EBC rotors. And so too did the EBC's. These six pots are killers. Only the fully floaters seem to be able to cope without warping ! So I've overhauled the Spondons with all new bobbins. I've also 'spring loaded' the rotor in an attempt to quiten down the dreadful rattling !

 

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