Nothing on a bike, not even the motor, has a stronger influence on the physics of riding than your brakes. Think about it, you can scrub-off 60 MPH or more in under a second with little more than the squeeze of a finger. So unless you’ve got a drag-bike that can accelerate faster, your brakes are your strongest feature.
Modern sportbikes are engineering wonders and have braking systems with performance levels far beyond the abilities of most riders. In fact, the four-pot radial front setup on our 2009 GSX-R1000 was considered a top-shelf race setup only a few years ago. In stock form the GSX-R brakes are decently strong and communicative, but they’re not perfect. When pushed from repetitive stops on a canyon jaunt they retain power, but the lever feel becomes spongy and numb. This degradation in feel is a result of the rubber lines expanding under the heat and pressure of unrelenting full-tilt braking situations. As for the lever, the stock sticks aren’t the most attractive nor do they fiddle the fingers like a proper set should.
To remedy our quibbles we enlisted the help of Galfer for a set of its stainless steel braided brake lines. These woven wonders are made from stainless steel so they won’t swell like the stock rubber units. Although Galfer offers multiple color coatings, we chose black to match our understated Gixxer. The fact the lines come cut to length and are packaged with everything needed for the swap means these are some serious low buck giddy-up (or giddy-down in this case).
With proper lines installed we turned to Sixty61 for more leverage. In place of the ugly stockers we opted for the new sliding and folding levers in all black with a red adjuster. In addition to the multi-position adjuster and the length adjustable lever, they also sport a breakaway feature to preserve the lever in the event of a tip-over.
Together the budget brake upgrades were installed in under an hour and lever feel is now consistent no matter the pace. Along with more consistent feel the new lines and levers only add to the understated darkness of our 1000cc killer. For those wanting even more, a swap to some more aggressive pads would complete the circle–in our case the stockers will be fine until they need replacing.
[Before] From wrong to right...
[Before] From wrong to right in 30 minutes flat, the most time consuming part of a brake-line installation is bleeding them.
[After] From wrong to right...
[After] From wrong to right in 30 minutes flat, the most time consuming part of a brake-line installation is bleeding them.
[Before] Rubber’s wrong but...
[Before] Rubber’s wrong but steel’s real, so out with the old and in with the new.
[After] The Galfer stainless...
[After] The Galfer stainless steel braided lines look factory on our murdered out GSX-R.
[Before] OEM levers do the...
[Before] OEM levers do the trick but cheapen the otherwise upgraded package.
[After] Sixty61 levers have...
[After] Sixty61 levers have more possibilities than a Rubik’s Cube and look the biz as well.
|Galfer stainless steel brake lines ||Sixty61 sliding and folding adjustable brake levers |
|$90 (front), $50 (rear) ||$159.99 |
|galferusa.com ||sixty61.com |
18: number of possible lever settings available.
Next Month: R1 blinker upgrades