Here are a few basic concepts involved in braking systems.

  • The larger the rotor used, the more effective the braking system will be.
  • As the mass of the rotor increases, it's ability to hold the heat created during braking increases correspondingly.
  • Rotor heat dissipation is augmented by adding cooling vanes.
  • Curving the rotor's cooling vanes draws more air through the rotor, allowing it to run cooler.
  • Adding rotor thickness increases cooling airflow and adds heat dissipating surface area.
  • As the brake pad surface area increases, the clamping force created is distributed across a greater surface area - and so is the heat generated during braking.
  • The effectiveness of the clamping action is greater when pistons are placed on both sides of the rotor.
  • The ratio of the master cylinder piston area to the caliper piston area determines how hard you must press the brake pedal to develop the clamping force required to slow the vehicle.

    And on the flip side...

  • Changing the ratio of the master cylinder piston area to the caliper piston(s) area can change the engagement point of the brake pedal (up or down).
  • As the rotor size increases, there is a gyroscope effect on the front wheels - making steering more difficult.
  • As the weight of the rotor grows, so does your unsprung weight.
  • Lightweight aluminum calipers do not offer the strength of steel, and are prone to "spreading" at the center due to the force of the hydraulic pressures involved.

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