Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New EBC front brake pads

Feeling somewhat disappointed with the brakes on the new RMZ front end, I've been considering an oversized brake rotor kit. The RMZ wheel has a slightly smaller rotor than the original DR rotor, which translates to less stopping power. But before spending $250 for a 320mm big brake kit, I thought a new set of brake pads would be worth a try. The pads that were on there seem to have lots of material left on them but the material looks like shit... cracked bits, dirt and grime, rough at the edges.  I took them off and cleaned them thoroughly, and sanded them down a bit with some 220 grit sandpaper. I even sanded the rotor. Didn't help much.

So, a quick call to a couple of local shops. Other than OEM, they only seem to sell EBC brand pads, by far the most popular. But the local shops want $50 plus taxes. Suzuki dealer wanted $75 for OEM pads. Screw that. Ten minutes of seaching on eBay found lots of vendors selling the same EBC pads for $30-$40.  So, I bought some from peakmoto-powersports and they arrived just 6 days later. Not bad at all, as none of the local shops had them in stock anyway.

$37 shipped to my door.
Gotta love eBay for its great selection,
competitive pricing, and convenience.

So today I pulled the caliper off, removed the old pads. I gave the caliper a very thorough scrubbing with brake cleaner and a very hard bristled brush. Re-greased the pins, installed the new pads and went for a 20-minute test ride around the city. By the time I made made it through 3 or 4 intersections, I could feel how much better these new pads were. And by the time I finished my ride -- with lots of stop-and-go riding in traffic -- it felt much like the old DR front brake setup used to. Now I'm happy. Even happier that I didn't spend a lot.

The old pads. Still plenty of material,
but they're in pretty rough shape.
These were cleaned and sanded a few days ago.

Incidentally, EBC lists the same part number for use on both the '96 and new DR650 and the '07-'08 RMZ 250.  Good to know that DR brake pads will fit an RMZ and vice versa (I already knew the caliper was the same, so I figured the pads would also be identical. However, Suzuki's parts fiche lists different part numbers for the two bikes, but I expect it's because they are different compound materials because the RMZ is made for hig performance offroad use only, while the DR brakes are probably made to last longer and see use in all types of riding conditions (more of a general purpose pad).