MXA TEAM TESTED: RIDE ENGINEERING BILLET FRONT BRAKE CALIPER

April 3, 2013
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WHAT IS IT? Adrian Ciomo, owner of Ride Engineering, is branching out. Known for his triple clamps, Ciomo is beginning to target the brake market. His newest offering is a beefy billet front-brake caliper that aims to improve stopping power.   

WHAT’S IT COST? $374.95 (caliper), $54.95 (hanger).

CONTACT? (800) 805-1516 or www.rideengineering.com.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Ride Engineering billet caliper.

(1) Idea. Aftermarket brake systems are a gold mine, thanks to oversights by many of the “Big Five” manufacturers. KTM is the only Big Five company to sell bikes with excellent brake systems. There is room for drastic improvement if you ride a Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki or Yamaha. Enter Ride Engineering, which takes an alternate approach to bolstering braking power with a front-brake caliper instead of an oversized rotor. Crafted out of a solid block of aluminum, the caliper has larger pistons, increased rigidity, and cooling fins to promote airflow and keep the brake system from overheating over a long moto.   

(2) Installation. We tested the billet caliper on a 2013 Kawasaki KX250F?and for good reason. The stock front brake leaves a lot to be desired. It takes patience to install the caliper. We recommend a vacuum brake bleeder to ensure that air doesn’t get in the line. If you’re looking for extreme stopping power, Ride Engineering sells a steel-braided brake line for $69.95.

(3) Pistons.
The dual pistons on the Ride Engineering caliper are 2mm larger than the stock KX250F pistons. Being able to put more pressure on the brake pads should yield greater stopping power and provide better modulation.  

(4) Hanger. The Ride Engineering caliper requires an aftermarket hanger, as the stocker doesn’t work. Why? The gates on the stock bracket interfere with the caliper and don’t provide enough clearance. Ride Engineering sells a bracket for $54.95; however, many aftermarket brackets that house an oversized rotor will do the trick.

(5) Performance. We noticed an immediate improvement with the Ride Engineering billet front-brake caliper. Unlike an oversized rotor, which can feel like a light switch, the caliper was progressive and ramped up the harder we squeezed the brake lever. We could drag the front brake to help keep the front end in a rut, but we could also pull the lever hard entering corners to quickly slow down. It was predictable and felt like the stock brake system, only much better. Don’t expect the caliper to flourish in Supercross (without the aid of an oversized rotor) where stopping needs to be immediate, but it’s awesome for the motocross track. For instantaneous stopping power, invest in a braided-steel brake line.  

(6) Applications. The Ride Engineering caliper is available for many late-model Hondas, Kawasakis and Suzukis. It will not work on Yamaha motocross bikes because the master cylinder is too small to effectively push the larger pistons. Offroaders rejoice, because Ciomo sells the caliper for the CRF-X, KLX and WR models. The caliper comes in silver or black anodized (we prefer the black).

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have two qualms: (1) The caliper won’t work with the stock brake hanger. (2) With the caliper already costing $375, we don’t want to pay another $54.95 for the Ride Engineering bracket.

If you dislike the on/off feel of an oversized rotor and want something more progressive, the Ride Engineering billet front-brake caliper is for you. However, it’s not for everyone?and it’s expensive.

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