Kawasaki Concours Forum

Concours 1400 (C14) FAQ => C-10, the 'classic' Concours, info => "Farkles" => Topic started by: elvin315 on May 18, 2011, 10:35:16 pm

Title: Brake Improvements
Post by: elvin315 on May 18, 2011, 10:35:16 pm
Considering that the Concours is essentially a 20 year old motorcycle its brakes aren't too bad. That is if you compare it to other twenty year old bikes. Compared to current braking systems it's definitely lacking. But the Concours doesn't have to remain frozen in time. There are things you can do to bring its brakes closer to today's motorcycles.

In my search for better braking I've tried pads from different makers and settled on EBC front pads in the HH compound. They use sintered metal particles (brass I think) that offer the highest friction coefficient at the high temps generated. They brake strong in the dry and get better as the heat increases, with no fade. Those metal particles dig into the discs so expect those to wear some. Expect some noise too.

The other choice is organic Kevlar pads. They are not sintered and impart less wear on the rotors. To provide good stopping power they employ a softer compound as compared to the HH so they wear down faster. Not that they are inferior to the HH pads, just different. I have HH pads up front but I do use Kevlars in the rear though. I prefer them in the rear to lessen the possibility of lockup. When you apply the front brakes the bike's weight shifts forward and the rear suspension unloads. This increases the chances of the rear brake locking. The ensuing skid can turn into a violent highside. A less grippy brake pad can be an advantage in that situation.

In addition to adding some slip, rain cools the discs and pads decreasing their friction compared to their dry performance. This can be a good thing. It lessens the odds of you locking the front tire in the rain. Riding in the rain means increasing following distances. It also means braking earlier than in the dry. Smoother too. No grabbing a fistfull at the last second. With the water lifting grease and oil off the pavement it's slipperier than you'd expect. Super braking isn't what you need under those conditions.

Besides better pads there are other upgrades to improve your braking power. Braided Stainless Steel hoses are usually next. They won't swell under pressure and transmit all your squeeze to the the calipers. One homegrown improvement came from Gary (Murph) Murphy in the form of his Brake Upgrade Kit for late models ('94 - '06). The stock front discs are around 300mm but Murph's kit replaces those with 320mm ones. What makes this work is the new caliper bracket which moves them out 10mm. The end product is an increase in mechanical advantage for stronger braking, and a better feel at the lever. I had his kit on my bike and can tell you it's very noticable and a definite improvement.

Similarly, Shaun Forgacs (zrxmopar) makes brackets that allow 4 & 6 piston calipers from Nissin and Tokico to be used on the Concours. He makes them to fit the original 298mm discs as well as the 310 or 320mm discs. They fit all model years.
http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/4560/calipertm0.jpg (http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/4560/calipertm0.jpg)
http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/9259/caliper2us7.jpg (http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/9259/caliper2us7.jpg)

A while back Ralph Spencer invented an early model front brake upgrade. It utilized discs from a Yamaha and 4 piston calipers. The disks required a custom carrier adapter to mate the discs to the early Concours wheel. It was a one off and never offered for sale but the drawings and CadCam renditions were good enough to help you duplicate it if you have a CNC machine in your basement.

An early model brake upgrade is this one shown in my album. Unfortunately I lost the owner/inventor's name. It consists of 2 undetermined discs and twin 6 piston calipers on a custom bracket. The brackets look fairly simple and if given the dimensions could probably be whipped up by a local machine shop cheaply.
http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/61001852 (http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/61001852)

Here are a few others. None are bolt-ons but if these guys could do it why not you?
http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/19170962 (http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/19170962)
http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/18627060 (http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/18627060)
http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/45620001 (http://www.pbase.com/elvin315/image/45620001)

Better braking for the Concours is available. Luckily there are more options than ever.

Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: Motor Head on November 10, 2011, 12:15:47 pm
 Well after reading this and other threads on the Brake Upgrade, I did it to this 90 Concours I picked up. It needed brakes anyway so why not use the money wisely and do an upgrade. I did mine a bit differently than the attached photos above. I made some brackets to go onto the stock fork mount ears, as from Kawasaki mounting from behind the ear. Then using the Tokico 4 pots, mounting them to the bracket as was intended mounting, the flats are also on the inner surface. Its just basically a Flat plate with some holes, 1 of the 2 holes are Tapped for threads, the 10mmx 1.5. The other is just drilled out to 8mm, and the bolt comes from the back through the caliper threads, with enough to get a nut on for locking, , Simple.
 The center will probably get drilled or cut out later. I just needed the brakes to continue riding now, as I have just bought this bike and have been fixing all the issues.
Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: 2fast on November 16, 2011, 09:32:57 pm
Very similar to what I did, only I went BIG with a 320 mm floating rotor set.

http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/580581620UuEehi?start=28 (http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/580581620UuEehi?start=28)
Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: redzgrider on December 23, 2011, 07:23:30 pm
2Fast, I went to check out your photos, and my browser was hijacked to a fake security scan page. Somebody may have pirated your link!
Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: 2fast on December 24, 2011, 09:51:59 am
Nuts. I had heard that was fixed by Webshots, but maybe not. I am sure they are on it cause they have photos from millions of people. Try it again later. I am quite sure it's on Webshots itself, not a hijack. I have heard others report the same thing not related to my photos. I just tried it now and it opened clean for me.
Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: enim57 on May 03, 2012, 11:48:57 pm
I've been making and selling adapters to suit 4 piston calipers for '86 to '93 models since 2008, have sold them in Australia, USA, and Europe. They suit Nissin and Tokico calipers. Made from stainless steel with minimal work to fit them they look professional and original (to those who don't know this bike), mine have passed roadworthy and police inspections.
Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: vanjeff on June 09, 2012, 08:43:49 pm
I have read for hours at end, but I am still confused at my options for a brake upgrade for my 2001 Connie. I would like to go with upgraded rotors, and upgraded calipers. I am aware of the 230 rotors, and the 4 pot calipers, but what brackets, and where to get them? Thanks, Jeff
Title: Re: Brake Improvements
Post by: Centex on June 22, 2012, 08:17:24 am
Apparently no one is currently selling brackets to put 4 pots on  late C10s.  Some of us have fabbed our own, I can't offer a template but you can use 1/8 plexiglas to make prototypes till you get the alignment right.

Murph may offer a kit to remount your stock calipers for 320mm rotors.