GSX-R1000 Project: Part 3 Make your Gixxer
By Don Smith
It’s no secret that sportbikes are rolling out of the factory with brakes
that are as good as race bikes were just a few years ago. With six piston radial
mounted calipers and high tech brake pads riding against large 300+ mm rotors,
it’s no wonder that a lot of riders leave well enough alone and don’t
give a brake upgrade a second thought.
But then you are not a normal rider anyway are you? And that is why you read
Dragbike.com. Just like you, we are obsessed with getting the very best performance
from our bike. Our latest project bike, the 2006 GSX-R1000 is no exception.
Braking starts with the master cylinder and that is where we started too. They
are fairly expensive so some people may skip this item, but don’t let
your lack of understanding of its role separate you from the braking performance
you are seeking. Honestly, all of the parts we used are top shelf and none of
them work as well by themselves as they do when combined. So, don’t scrimp
when it comes to stopping your bike and make sure you get the parts you need.
For our master cylinder we called Geoff Maloney at GP Tech (www.gptechllc.com,
1-269-671-4915) and asked his advice. Geoff has been involved with AMA pro road
racing at the highest levels. Geoff first suggested we go with the dual bore,
variable ratio, AP Racing master cylinder, but when I bounced the price of almost
$1200 dollars off my editor here at Dragbike, she threatened to take away my
Dragbike.com American Express Black card.
After reconsidering my options we decided to go
with the single bore, variable ratio CP-4125 unit instead. At only $595 it falls
within my daily parts budget so I get to keep the credit card too.
AP Racing has been producing brakes for various motorsport applications for
many years. In 1966 they introduced the first commercial racing disk brake system
in the world. Since then many notable professional racers such as Kenny Roberts,
Kevin Schwantz, Troy Baliss and many others have used their products on their
way to world titles. The patented AP product we selected offers a few advantages
that are not found on the factory device. Not only is the brake lever adjustable
for reach (distance from the bar to the lever) the ratio or leverage is adjustable
too. Using a convenient adjustment wheel on the lever, the rider can adjust
the brake system to suit their preference. The adjustment basically trades lever
feel for actual braking force. If you want less total force on the rotors with
a harder lever, turn the wheel in one direction. If you want a more progressive
lever feel with slightly increased rotor bite, simply dial it in the other direction.
It’s been a few years since I had the pleasure of riding a bike with this
setup and I was quickly reminded of what I have been missing. If you really
want to go all out on the brake upgrade AP Racing also produces some really
cool monoblock calipers, assuring you of a true AMA Superbike quality setup.
Galfer USA is a another company we have dealt with for many years and despite
the challenges of developing a new product that is better than the factory offering,
they are never one to let that stop them. Not only did Galfer come up with something
better than the factory brakes, their new rotors are so special they received
a US patent. (#6,386,340) These new Wave rotors are laser cut and are made from
high carbon 420 stainless steel Their process uses pre-heat treated material
and then it is parallel double disc ground to maintain a super flat surface.
To you this means that the rotor and pad will maintain an efficient contact
at all times.
The patented design of the rotor allows the rotors to stay much cooler due to
the added surface area of the outer lip, thus the “Wave” name. Plus,
the rotors look very trick on the bike. Normally we would only upgrade our front
brakes but after talking to some of our racing contacts that also use these
rotors, we decided to go ahead and do the front and rear. Our source for these
sells the front rotors for $530 per pair and the rear goes for $135.
While we had the stock rotors off the bike we took the time to carefully weigh
and measure them in order to see the difference between them and the new Galfer
Wave Rotors. As you can see below they do offer a real weight loss.
|Stock Front||Galfer Front||Stock Rear||Galfer Rear|
|Weight each||1575 grams||1432 grams||795 grams||553 grams|
|Total wt loss||10 ounces/286g||8.5ounces/242g|
Next on our list of brake upgrades were the pads.
Galfer makes several types of pads for various applications. If you are a road
racer that subjects your pads to high heat for long periods of time, you may
want to pick their Carbon G1003 Competition GP pads. For our bike we picked
their HH pads for the front rotors at $33.99 per caliper. On the rear we went
with the Black street compound at $23.99. The front HH pads are a metal and
ceramic composition. This design offers very high friction against the Wave
Rotors and absolute maximum stopping power. This exact pad is used by many professional
Next on the upgrade list was a set of the Galfer Stainless Steel brake lines.
In order to keep the factory look we picked the optional black color. But make
no mistake these lines are not stock. Cyclebrakes.com
sells a kit that includes the 2-line front kit and the rear brake line for a
reasonable $159, making this an upgrade that most everyone can afford. One thing
that we noticed on our fitted line kit was that the line fittings were perfectly
angled to fit the bike. Plus the banjo bolts are steel, not plastic like used
in some less expensive kits. Proper torque for the banjo bolts is 12-15lbs.
After installing all the new parts, we finished off the upgrade by filling up
the brake fluid reservoirs with Motul RBF600 DOT4 brake fluid. The Motul brake
fluid has one of the highest boiling points of any DOT 4 fluid on the market
at 593F dry and 420F wet, making this fluid ideal for all street and race applications.
Using a vacuum pump we then bled the air from the brake lines. Since the GSX-R1000
Suzuki has bleed fittings at each caliper as does the AP Racing master cylinder,
it only took a few rounds of going from one to the next with the vacuum bleeder
until the brake lever was nice and firm.
After allowing the brake pads to bed in for about 60-70 miles of normal street
use we started to put them to the test. The difference is amazing. Not that
the stock system was bad but Galfer has taken it to a whole new level. Not only
is initial bite increased with the HH pads so is lever feel. Even after repeated
hits at high speed the lever is always firm and 100% responsive.
If you are considering a brake upgrade for your Gixxer we highly suggest you
consider the route we took. The results are proof that a good plan along with
the right parts can yield impressive results. It is not cheap but then again
the best rarely is.