MXA TEAM TESTED: BRAKING OVERSIZED CRF REAR BRAKE CALIPER

September 15, 2011
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WHAT IS IT? It’s a complete replacement rear brake caliper for the modern CRF that does away with Honda’s small caliper and brake pads.

WHAT’S IT COST? $299.00.

CONTACT? www.braking.com.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Braking’s Honda rear caliper.

(1) History. In 2002, Honda’s engineers, in an effort to save weight, downsized the rear brake caliper and swapped to 50-percent smaller brake pads. Many Honda riders had trouble with the new rear brake. The smaller brake pads required more pressure to do the same job as the previous larger pads. The extra pressure, especially when confined to a spot the size of a silver dollar, generated more heat, which boiled the hydraulic fluid, expanded the air molecules and caused many Honda riders to burn up their rear brakes in the middle of a moto. Braking’s forged rear caliper increases the fluid capacity, brake pad size and caliper heat sink potential?basically returning to pre-2002 standards.

(2) Installation.
Bolting the new caliper on is a snap, but you need a certain amount of savvy to bleed the system. To minimize air in the system, we recommend these tips:
     (a) Elevate the end of the brake line when you unbolt it from the stock caliper.
     (b) Prime the Braking caliper with new fluid before connecting it to the brake line.
     (c) Once the new caliper is installed, bleed the complete brake system of its old fluid.

(3) Fitment. The Braking caliper only fits 2008 to 2011 CRF250s and CRF450s.

(4) Performance. The difference was drastic. Perhaps our test riders had become accustomed to the feel of the small caliper and brake pads, but the new large brake pads required us to relearn our braking technique. Surprisingly, the larger brake pads felt more powerful than the small pads (which goes against scientific wisdom). Riders who liked their rear brake to function like an on/off switch loved the feel of the Braking caliper. Test riders who didn’t like the grabby feel switched from the stock pads to aftermarket pads, ground off the leading edge of the pads or re-bled the brakes with less fervor.

(5) Fade. We sent test riders out for the sole purpose of abusing the rear brakes. The stock CRF450 rear brake started chirping and fading within two laps. The Braking caliper lasted seven laps.

(6) Weight. The OEM brake caliper weighs 10.8 ounces and the Braking caliper weighs 12.6 ounces (both without brake pads). Surprisingly, the larger Braking pads were lighter than the smaller stock pads (the small pads have more material on them because of their accelerated wear characteristics). In the end, the Braking system weighed 1.5 ounces more than the stock caliper and pads.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK?
There are two quibbles. (1) With the increase in size came a decrease in the ability to modulate the power. This improved as the pads wore down. (2) When the brake pads were new there was a little drag that eventually wore away.

The Braking oversized CRF caliper is for riders who are tired of brake fade, chirping, boiled brake fluid or want to use their bikes for Supermoto.

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