Affordable Brake Upgrades - Kawasaki Ninja 1000 Forum
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post #1 of 43 Old 07-01-2019, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Affordable Brake Upgrades

I recently bought a 2012 N1k with 13k miles on it as my second bike. After taking it home and riding it around town, I noticed the front brakes were pulsing at low speeds. I didn't notice this during the test ride because I did that mostly on freeways and faster back roads. I did a bit of research and apparently, the older N1k's had this issue of uneven brake pad deposits on the OEM rotors. So much so that many owners report that by 15k miles the front 300mm OEM rotors were toast. De-glazing the front OEM rotors did not help. I was about to replace the front OEM rotors but realized that was simply too pricey for me at the moment at $215 EACH!

With the help of an experienced member here (RCannon), who hooked me up with a like-new set of ZX10R 310 mm front rotors, along with the highly recommended Vesrah Sintered Metal brake pads, my front brakes are now SOLID! Braking power increased noticeably, along with better feel at the lever. The pulsing went away completely. This wasn't an issue before but my brake lever feels solid AND firm with very little lever travel. This with stock rubber brake lines.

Total Cost: Around $160 for the used rotors, and new Vesrah pads.

What a difference 10mm of rotor diameter makes! Looks slightly more substantial.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr

Here's a stock front brake rotor set up for comparison. That rotor looks smaller.
Untitled by rogue_biker, on Flickr
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Last edited by OCLandspeeder; 07-01-2019 at 04:23 PM.
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post #2 of 43 Old 07-01-2019, 04:27 PM
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That zx10 rotor is a great choice. They part out a ton of them, and it's pretty easy to find a low mile machine. Rarely do you need to pay over 150.00 for them.

That's a good picture. It shows the 5mm spacers you have to buy, and use. Those are on Ebay as well. Brembo sells the spacers, in a bunch of different sizes, , but they are a lot more expensive.
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post #3 of 43 Old 07-01-2019, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Yup I saw quite a few ZX10r rotors on Ebay for less than $120 a set. New they are $300+ each!

I like this conversion so much I might convert my 2018 when it reaches the 15k mile mark. Hopefully it doesn't develop the uneven deposits from the OEM pads.
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post #4 of 43 Old 07-01-2019, 08:40 PM
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You could always sell your "new" 2018 rotors. People dont know the modern Kawasaki rotors are basically the same dimensions. Often times you'll see them pay a premium for a strange rotor...listing a 2018 ninja 1000 rotor set would be strange, and stand out. You might even out. Or, find another set of the brembo rotors from the zx14se. Those are way, way more high quality than anything else out there for low dolars.
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post #5 of 43 Old 07-01-2019, 08:57 PM
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Ok, this sounds great. Can I get more details on exactly what parts to get to do this? What year ZX10 discs do I need to look for? What spacers do I need? Do the original calipers still work with this change?


Thanks guys.

Scott in Omaha, NE
2015 Ninja 1000 - Metallic Sparkle Black and Copper
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post #6 of 43 Old 07-02-2019, 08:28 AM
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Zx10 rotors from 2008-2015. Really search Ebay for them. Pick a set that you can visually see is in good condition, or deal with one of the large brokers who take returns in case you get a damaged set. Really, there are several bikes you can get 310mm rotors from. The newer zx6 and the zx14. The zx14 is known to be hard on rotors. If one is crashed with low miles, maybe that's a good choice, too?

Yes, stock calipers work fine. This is true for all years of our ninja 1000. The only additional parts you need are caliper spacers. Search "5mm caliper spacers" and you will see what we have talked about. You are switching from 300mm rotors to 310mm rotor. It's a circle, so you have to space the calipers 5mm outward...half the increased diameter.

That's it. No additional parts needed.

It's worth doing this if you need rotors, or just want to. . If your stock rotors are ok, then maybe not. The larger diameter rotor does offer improved braking power, but not that much, in and of itself. On our older 11-13 bikes the increase in power if mostly from the better brake pads we've installed.

Another great set of used rotors are the rotors from the 2016 and newer zx14 se. That's the high end zx14 and it is supplied with 310mm brembo rotors that are 6mm thick. Those sell for more money, usually, but should last a lot longer than normal, Kawasaki spec. rotors. You will recognize them because they are round, non wave rotors. I have these on my ninja 1000 and my concours 14, and they are excellent.
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post #7 of 43 Old 07-02-2019, 08:47 AM
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I should also say I have no idea how this works on a newer bike , 2017 and newer, with all the new electronics. Obviously, it's all going to bolt on, no issue there.

What I dont know is if this added brake power, up front, upsets anything else within the system. When a brake system let's you pull a brake lever, as hard as you want to, during a turn, it's doing some crazy-ass calculations to allow that. Changing anything about that system is doing it at your own risk.
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post #8 of 43 Old 07-02-2019, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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This conversion was very easy. It literally took me 30 minutes to do, which included removing the front wheel.

I re-used the OEM brake caliper bolts. Only the rotors changed. I did have to remove the OEM brake caliper locating dowels with a needle nose pliers, but that took 2 minutes as they came right out.

RC, I'll look around for the ZX14 se since those came with ABS/TC.

I'm not an ABS technician but from my understanding, ABS sensors work on rotational speeds read from the rotor's carrier. So Rotors need to have that "ABS Ring" on it. I believe these rings are transferable from one rotor to the next. But the Rotor may need to have the ridges or channels for the ABS ring to press onto. I also don't believe ABS cares about the size of the rotor disc because it reads the data at the wheel hub. You can see it from the 2nd photo above. I'm not sure about pad material if that matters to the algorithm of the IMU controller. If it does I'd be really impressed but doubt if it will affect the function of the ABS. Kawasaki probably will not use bike specific ABS rings so what fits a ZX14se or ZX10R should be the same ring as used in the Ninja 1000. I'm hoping someone has done this and tested the fit and function. I'll look into it.
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post #9 of 43 Old 07-02-2019, 11:36 AM
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Thx for the info guys. I've been meaning to replace the pads for a bit now and may make this change at the same time.

Scott in Omaha, NE
2015 Ninja 1000 - Metallic Sparkle Black and Copper
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post #10 of 43 Old 07-02-2019, 12:10 PM
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This is mine, for now. Gsxr brembo calipers, 5mm spacers, and 310mm rotors from the 2016 zx14se. Its a really good set up with Vesrah ct pads.
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