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Discussion Starter #1
Just a quick PSA: for 2002-2012 Vees, the rotors are 5mm thick from the factory, and the wear limit is 4.5mm.

At 116,000 miles, mine were 3.4mm. :surprise: :frown2: :furious:

A few days later, a nice set of rotors from a dearly departed 2012 measuring 4.9mm landed on my doorstep, courtesy of fleaBay.

With a nice new set of Galfer pads, the Vee's stoppers are stopping quite nicely now.


Also, let this be a reminder that there's no such thing as cheap brake pads. Stick with and pay for a major brand name like Galfer, EBC, etc. The cheapo generic Chinese pads sold under a zillion goofy names including BikeMaster, Pyramid, Volar, etc. are no bueno. Dangerous garbage.
 

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I let a set of rotors go on my R65LS BMW to 217K miles. I'd change pads every 50K or so. They were well grooved but once the new pads bedded in they work OK.
I paid a huge price, like $200, for the single disk on my sidecar rig, R80/7 and after 2-3 thousand miles it had started to wear noticeably.
May your new rotors wear better than that.
 

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I let my rear rotor go as well, to 124,000, it was pretty thin. Same deal, got a working pull from ebay and back in business.

Good advice on thickness, but I completely disagree regarding chinese brake pads. I've been running Volar, Sixity, Catric organic pads on my bike for over 120k miles and have never had an issue with them. If you've had a different experience I'd love to hear it, otherwise I think paying four times as much is foolish. The only thing I've found that really matters is keeping the sliding parts greased.
 

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Brake pads and oil can be an endless debate . Whatever works for you is fine with me . I learned while roadracing if you like to go fast you are better off putting money into your brakes than your motor . For the last 20yrs I've only used EBC (mostly HH ) in all my bikes . Love their rotors too!
 

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Brake pads and oil can be an endless debate . Whatever works for you is fine with me . I learned while roadracing if you like to go fast you are better off putting money into your brakes than your motor . For the last 20yrs I've only used EBC (mostly HH ) in all my bikes . Love their rotors too!
Premium pads may be better for go-fast performance, I'm not contesting that since I don't ride on the track. I'm only debating the claim that cheap pads are somehow dangerous. I've seen a lot of FUD on message boards but I can't find a single report of them actually failing or causing a safety issue.
 

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Front EBC HH pads on my 650 were on for 122,000 mi. They were at 60% when it was sold. They were scuffed up at each tire change.
The rotors were at 4.6 and all was working great.
The rear rotor was at 4.2 and grooved from a worn out pad at under 50K. Replaced with a Chinese rotor($30) and EBC HH pads. The rotor was only 4.8mm new, but was still in spec at 122K. The HH on the rear were terrible. Poor feel and to easy to lock up. Lasted 30K-. Went to a EBC semi-sinstered pad and all was well for 50K more . Replaced with the same sometime before selling.
 

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Just a quick PSA: for 2002-2012 Vees, the rotors are 5mm thick from the factory, and the wear limit is 4.5mm.
FWIW, the SAE equivalents are 0.197" and 0.177".

I've been thinking about getting a dial caliper marked in mm, or else an electronic one that does both units, just to keep from having to convert constantly. They're cheap enough.

I need to check my rotors.
 

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FWIW, the SAE equivalents are 0.197" and 0.177".

I've been thinking about getting a dial caliper marked in mm, or else an electronic one that does both units, just to keep from having to convert constantly. They're cheap enough.

I need to check my rotors.
You're better off with a micrometer. If you use a caliper to measure rotor thickness, and there's a lip on the rotor, you aren't going to be able to get an accurate measurement (the lip will prevent the arms of the caliper from touching the lower part of the rotor surface). A micrometer will let you take a measurement at any point on the rotor, as long as the throat on the micrometer is deep enough.

You can get a digital micrometer on Amazon or Harbor Freight that'll convert from fractions to decimals to metric.

I do use a caliper to measure all kinds of stuff; they do come in handy. This is the one I got from Harbor Freight. I think it was $19.00, but it's been a while and I don't remember. For my purposes, it works great.



This is what I use to measure my brake rotors. It's also good for measuring things like pad thickness, and lots of other stuff. It was also a Harbor Freight purchase. I bought the small one; it's deep enough to reach anywhere on the rotors on my Yamaha.

 

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Something to keep in mind. The above by bwringer is indeed accurate. However....

The minimum rotor thickness is a function of the remaining pad thickness. If you run the pads to the min and the rotor to the min also, you could have a caliper piston over extend.

I have had bikes that finding replacement discs was about impossible and very expensive. I just changed out the pads at the 50% remaining thickness point and felt perfectly safe.
 

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I used cheap pads last time but I’m back to ebc now. Cheap pads worked but I notice a big difference in the amount of pressure I have to apply. The cheapies require much more squeeze especially when they got close to needing replaced. I don’t get that with ebc’s.
 

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Corndog, I don't know that one can overextend the piston as suggested. I mentioned I had well worn disks and noticed one day that the pad were down to the back plate and still working. Oh just shame on me! New pads and the brakes were there again.

In fact I got thinking that I haven't checked the pads in a long time on the Wee. There is still some pad left. I can see the little wear indicator grooves in the pads. That's front both sides and the rear. I was a good boy and checked them all.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
A few clarifications: cheap brake pads are IMnsHO junk for three main safety-related reasons (aside from fast wear and making a mess from brake dust):

- Lower friction means that they require more lever pressure. This really bugs me.

- They tolerate heating far less than name brand pads. This may or may not have much effect on you if you don't ride that hard or do track days. Inconsistency REALLY bugs me.

- The biggest difference in daily use, the thing that REALLY separates the better from the worse, is what happens in the rain. Cheap brake pads, and even some expensive brake pads, are HORRIBLE in the rain. Little to no friction, and then after a few revolutions they grab. Better brake pads have much more even friction in all conditions. (EBC pads are normally great, but their HH sintered pads have this problem in the rain. Great when it's dry, slippery then grab in the wet. EBC's "organic" pads have much more consistent friction in all conditions.)

If you're happy with your El Cheapo pads, great. Maybe you don't ride in the rain much or you just haven't noticed a difference. No, I don't think they're going to fall apart or explode or anything. Most normal people don't use their brakes that hard.

My personal experience, YMMV, FWIW, etc. Use whichever brake pads make you happy. None of my business, and my apologies to any shareholders of Ho Lee Fook Brake Pads Inc. or whoever is cranking these out.



Also, HF sells a very skookum digital micrometer I use for this and for many other things, primarily checking valve shims.
https://www.harborfreight.com/digital-micrometer-63647.html

The one thing about this micrometer that it has in common with many others made in the ROC, is that they drain their batteries over time; the switch turns the display off and on, but the electronics inside stay "live" and use a weensy beensy drool of electricity. So you have to remove the battery between uses, or replace it every few months. Not a big deal to me since a Mitutoyo is literally 10X the cost and 2032 batteries are cheep.

You can switch between outdated yucky old inches and fresh clean sensible modern millimeters at the touch of a button... (Can you tell I hate thinking in inches? Everything I work on is metric.)

Also, you'll note that the face of most measurement tools is flat; my rotors had some minor grooving as they all do, and so the "true" measurement was somewhat less than measured; without points on the anvils of the micrometer, it can't reach into the valleys. In any case, it was clearly way past time for fresh(er) rotors. Yeah, I could have kept going for some indefinite period of time, but there's not much point overall and some of the likely failure modes are grim.
 

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From above:
"The biggest difference in daily use, the thing that REALLY separates the better from the worse, is what happens in the rain. Cheap brake pads, and even some expensive brake pads, are HORRIBLE in the rain. Little to no friction, and then after a few revolutions they grab. Better brake pads have much more even friction in all conditions. (EBC pads are normally great, but their HH sintered pads have this problem in the rain. Great when it's dry, slippery then grab in the wet. EBC's "organic" pads have much more consistent friction in all conditions.)"

So its more a matter of sintered v. organic, not necessarily expensive v. cheapo?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
From above:
"The biggest difference in daily use, the thing that REALLY separates the better from the worse, is what happens in the rain. Cheap brake pads, and even some expensive brake pads, are HORRIBLE in the rain. Little to no friction, and then after a few revolutions they grab. Better brake pads have much more even friction in all conditions. (EBC pads are normally great, but their HH sintered pads have this problem in the rain. Great when it's dry, slippery then grab in the wet. EBC's "organic" pads have much more consistent friction in all conditions.)"

So its more a matter of sintered v. organic, not necessarily expensive v. cheapo?
Sorry, I guess that was incomplete... I've found that Galfer, Ferodo and SBS sintered pads stay consistent in the rain, and EBC's "red" semi-sintered pads do as well.

I was pointing out a failing in an otherwise premium brand; In my experience, EBC's sintered HH brake pads are not consistent in the rain, but their other products are, and similar pads from other premium brands are fine in the wet as well.

In actual hard all-weather use, none of the cheaper alternatives I've tried (and I've tried several) have worked nearly as well as the premium brands in any conditions, and in the wet they are FAR worse.

In my mind, consistency matters a LOT in streetbike pads, far more than friction strength. You need to KNOW exactly what you're going to get when that minivan full of nuns and orphans pulls out in front of you in the rain.

Opinions vary. I think cheap brake pads are just not worth it, and you should save money somewhere else. Some riders can't tell the difference, or feel that reduced performance is acceptable, or maybe they don't ride in the rain much.
 

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Good to know. I just installed some inexpensive sintered pads and bedded them in and they provide much improved braking over the pads (no idea what brand) I took off. I will definitely be cautious in the first wet conditions I encounter! Thanks for the heads up!
 

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I don't have a car and live in the northeast, we got over 60 inches of rain last year. Most of the criticisms you're leveling seem to apply to organic pads, and they do have limitations. I've found them predictable enough to live with. In heavy rain, I'll drag my brakes a little bit on the highway to feel them out and keep them ready. But then I'll do that with any type of pads.

We did quick stops about a thousand times in MSF instructor training, so I'm familiar enough with where traction breaks and can approach that point quickly. I've run this set-up for 7 years.

Whatever everyone chooses, I recommend practicing threshold braking once in a while, especially if you lack ABS.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yup, practicing braking is important. And yep, predictable is the most important attribute of brake pads.



I once arrived home one evening during heavy rain. The weather dried up, and temps fell below freezing overnight. The next morning was my first experience with ice in my brakes. Life was FAR too interesting the first few stops...
 

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Hmmmm I’m currently running the HH Volar pads and they stop and feel “much better” than the OEM pads, have noticed no extra brake dust either. I’ve run both EBC and Galfer pads on previous Stroms, IMHO it’s likely I’ll be using the Volar pads at 1/4 of the price. So far so good and I have excellent lever feel......time will tell. I do agree on being mindful of rotor wear regardless of what you run and for however long. Keep those calipers maintained like Mr Fox mentioned, it makes quite a difference.

Meant to mention wet performance as well, for me I notice no inferior braking performance from the Volar pads, matter of fact they feel better than the OEM pads did.....and yup I ride plenty in the rain. Lol
 
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