Better Braking Required.

Calling all VF1000 Guru’s,

It seems I have a problem with my 84 VF1000FE with the “R” model motor fitted, also with the way I ride, and when fitted with a good set of Metzlers tyres fitted in the Australian summer heat!

After some 25kms (15 1/2miles) of some of the windiest, tortuous, turning, boot scrapping mountain country roads here in Australia I ran out of brakes!!! With short straights where I’m able to get up to 140kph (90mph) - 180kph (115mph) and back down to 40kph to 60kph through the hairpin corners I ran out of front brakes.
It seems due to me pushing so hard the disc’s turned a nice shade of blue and the brake lever touched the handlebars into the next two corners trying to slow down…

This bike has had all new calliper kits fitted, New standard EBC disc pads, totally cleaned and kitted master cylinder, a set of steel braided brake lines fitted, and new dot4 brake fluid. The brakes are fine around town but when pushing the old girl they tend to let me down somewhat.

It has been recomended that I flush the system with Dot5 brake fluid as it has a higher boiling point and should be better, but I don’t think thats enough.

Doe’s anyone know of a better option for the front end possibly from a later model bike of an aftermarket set up that can handle this type of punishment?

My next full on ride is at Phillip Island Race Track in late April and if all goes well there I’m seriously thinking about racing in the Forgotten Era Class, in the The Post Classic Racing Association of NSW.

Assuming the brakes aren’t lacking in everyday use, I think you’ve got to accept that the VF’s brakes are a 25 year old design, and even with new original parts, they’re still only twin piston, sliding calipers acting on small discs, trying to haul down a 520lb motorcycle(plus rider) continually in very hot conditions! The fluid change may help as it has a higher boiling point but the discs will probably still go blue( a sign of the disc itself getting too hot) and may warp. Have you got sintered pads in there(EBC ‘HH’ friction grade pads are very good and have lots of bite and normally zero fade)? As a drastic step you could try and fit modern fixed calipers with opposed pistons and floating discs from a later bike, but this may require front end modifications to get them to fit(newer forks/wheel etc). But don’t forget, any major improvement in the original braking performance over standard may well produce new problems, such as in the front suspension being overwhelmed and unable to cope with the improvement in the brakes power. I’d make sure the calipers aren’t sticking on their sliding bolts and the m/cylinder seals are OK and not leaking pressure away as well and double check for air bubbles. Do you have the braided steel lines as 2 long lines from m/cylinder to calipers now or have you replicated the oe 3 lines and the splitter box to feed the fluid to the calipers?

Hi Scratcher, Thanks for the reply.

I have the HH sintered pads fitted and all slide bolts, rubbers, original seal kits etc are as new (all just been done up).
I understand it’s an old configeration but it works so well in everyday riding to the point of getting up on the front wheel for one off heavy breaking. (left skid marks in my boxer shorts)[:D]
Being a Fitter/Turner by trade I’m not worried about machining up new brake calliper braces etc, but I would have thought someone must have done this before when they were popular on the race tracks. I’m even having trouble finding modern day disc manufacturers that know anything that will fit as well.
Have the three front braided lines through the splitter, but both front discs were evenly turned blue so I don’t think thats a problem.

Having not ridden a full VF1000RE like I do with my own bike, can anybody tell me how much better is the braking is compared to the FE? Maybe a front end transplant if it’s the best option.

I’ve heard of other modification done to change the wheels over to get bigger rubber on the ground (Howard K, ZZR wheels fitted) but have they upgraded the brakes to suit?

Hi Paul,
Take a look at EBC pro-lite discs - supposed to increase breaking performance by around 18% over the stock stainless discs.
They list discs for the vf1000f.

Not tried them myself but they may be of interest.

You might want to give the forks/brakes from a late FZR1000 a go… The last model before Yam fitted Upside-Down forks had 41mm stanchions and the ubiquitous 4-pot “Blue-Spot” calipers… Don’t know if they’ll be long enough for the VF (which is quite a high bike) but as a fitter/tuner you’ll be up to making a set of extensions to slot into the stachions anyway…



BTW: I have Blue-Spot calipers fitted to my XS1100… I don’t give it anywhere near as much hammer as you’re describing, but I can confirm that those calipers are the absolute mutt’s nuts… I reckon I could get the forks to snap off at the bottom yoke… If I were that way inclined…[:D]

Hi Miti-Babe,

Went searching for a FZR1000 front end and I guess everybody has ideas similar to mine. There as rare as rocking horse poo and I’ve been told if I find a set be prepared to pay heaps for a good set.

I did how ever get on to Wayne Gardener Enterprises here in Aust and they have told me the EBC set up with their vented , drilled disc brakes, EBC-HH brake pads, steel braided lines and Dot5 brake fluid will make a world of difference. I was also told to stop trying to slow down so much on the corners and get the cornering speed up…[:I]

Well if these bike were fitted with better tires and wider rims!!!

Hi Paul,
were they recommending the EBC pro lite discs or another model from the EBC range?


There’s a guy on the US who fits cbr600 front and rear wheels to VFs, instantly increasing tyre choice and hence upping corner speed possibilities! He also does a top end oil mod too!