Racer X Canada Tested: EBC Oversize Brake Rotor



By Rob McCullough
Photos by Jason T. Griffiths

                                                                     

The Weapon:
Suzuki RM-Z 450/ Honda CRF450R

The Victim: 
EBC Oversize Brake Rotor

Test Riders:
Brad Coles Sr.  “The better looking one”
Mike Ackerman “Friend of Giver”
Bill Law “Dad owns track”

Location:
Law Family Farm

Experience:
I personally began using an EBC Oversized Rotor in 2003 after riding a Yamaha YZ250F equipped with one.  I can still remember riding at RJ’s, over jumping a small step-down double before the finish line, grabbing a handful of front brake so I could make the corner and almost going over the bars.  Since then I have used a few different aftermarket rotors and to date I have yet to try one that works as well as the EBC.

Installation:
In about 15-20 minutes with no special tools required.

Track Tested: (Please Note: For this test the stock Suzuki pads were used)


 

Label It's Brad Coles gets on the binders. 




Brad Coles Sr.
After putting in a few laps on Rob’s RMZ-450 I headed over to our engineered testing lane for the stopping test.  After five documented runs from second gear wide open to a dead stop on our dirt laneway with the stock rotor and pads, we installed the EBC oversize rotor.  Immediately upon entering the track I noticed a significant difference in feel and strength and after spinning a few laps I again entered the dirt laneway to compare braking strength.   Although our test is not without faults it became very obvious that the EBC Oversize Rotor slowed down the bike in about two-thirds of the original distance.

As impressive as the stopping power was the increased feel at the lever was just as improved and important.  I’m a one finger on the lever guy and with the stock set-up after five runs I was using all four fingers to stop the bike.  Like a fast green in golf or a fine cloth on a pool table, it takes a bit of getting used to but once you do, you can be much more precise.


 

Mike "Let's make a deal" Ackerman came out of retirement for this test. Rumour has it that the 2004 250/ GP Intermediate Provincial champ is returning to racing this summer. 



Mike Ackerman
My first impression of the stock Suzuki front brake was that it felt soft and spongy as I could pull the lever all the way into the bar when braking hard.  The brake distance test to me wasn’t as influential as the track test.  As I was the first rider to test the EBC Oversize Rotor I also had the good fortune of also tearing up the braking area, which started out somewhat slick.  I believe my results in the distance test don’t accurately demonstrate the actual differences between the two rotors as my runs with the EBC Oversize Rotor were on a much tackier surface.

Where I noticed the EBC Oversize Rotor was on the track; it required much less finger pressure for braking, was more controllable and could be dragged through a corner to keep the front wheel tracking without the extra effort the stock rotor requires.  The EBC Oversize Brake Rotor allowed me to use one finger instead of two. I feel the EBC Oversized Rotor was a benefit to the Suzuki as I felt the RMZ-450 front brake, in stock form, was a little weak.  With the EBC Oversized Rotor I felt it made the RMZ-450 braking much stronger, more progressive and easier to control.

 

Billy Law doesn't mind McCullough using his track for testing, but he says from now on, Rob needs to keep his shirt on.



Bill Law
What I noticed in the rotor comparison was the dramatic decrease in stopping distance when using the EBC Oversize Rotor.  I felt there was an initial period of adjustment when switching rotors but it was mostly due to the increased power offered by the EBC Oversize Rotor and not something that couldn’t be overcome within a short period of time.  I believe the EBC Oversize Rotor would be more beneficial to the skilled rider where fractions of a second are so important. For the Beginner/Junior level rider the fundamentals of braking are still being learned and all the new bikes have adequate brakes.


Braking Results:

Coles                                Ackerman                              Law
Stock      EBC                   Stock      EBC                         Stock     EBC
49’           33’                    48’-6”      33’-02”                    35’         36’
49’           35’                    50’           28’-07”                    41’         34’
49’           34’                    50’-6”      27’-05”                    44’         35’
48’           33’                    43’-3”      42’-10”                     42’         32’
50’           37’                    46’-1”       30’-05”                    38’         35’


Summary:
I believe what best sums up the EBC Oversize Rotor is simply when I ask someone to ride my bike to see if they can notice a difference in the performance of a particular part, suspension change, etc their first comment is typically “Why didn’t you warn me about your front brake?”

Based on the above results, if we could all stay on the gas an additional 10 to 15 feet into every corner on the track our lap times would be greatly reduced. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  For some reason, even though the EBC Oversize Rotor allows you to stop much quickly, the majority of riders won’t use the additional stopping power.  I tend to agree with the frugal Will Law and believe the EBC Oversize Rotor most benefits the more skilled and aggressive rider. I also find the reduced finger pressure required to stop is equally important allowing a rider to ride for longer periods of time without fatigue.  In my opinion at a cost between $200 to $250, it’s a very worthwhile investment.


Special Thanks:
To Allan Jaggard of www.motovan.com, www.ebcbrakes.com, and The Law family for welcoming us to their private track.