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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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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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Discussion Starter #3
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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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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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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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-*** calculations to allow that. Changing anything about that system is doing it at your own risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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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I upgraded the calipers before the 2014 Kawasaki calipers were available. I would have used or stayed with the Kawasaki monoblock marked pieces. I think they are as good as anything else we have.

The 11-13 calipers were ok, too. I saved about 1 lb of weight, but gained very little with that exchange. My brakes were never very good until i installed the Brembo master cylinder. At that point, they became VERY good.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I rode my friend's 2018 Triumph 765 RS, which has the full Brembo brake package.

Honestly, I wasn't blown away nor impressed. Yes they were powerful. But the lever feel didn't feel that good to me. It had moderate travel and had what felt to me like slight resistance on the lever the moment I tried to squeeze. And once I felt that initial brake bite and the "real" resistance at the lever, and the bike began to slow down, there was still a bit more brake lever mushiness. Not a lot, but it felt soft to me. Powerful brakes no doubt, but soft. Because I was expecting the lever to hit a wall of resistance for that initial bite, then just a smidgen more squeeze left for me to modulate stopping power. My 2018 N1k has a VERY similar brake lever feel without that, what felt like brake lever friction across its travel.

By contrast, my "old" 2012 factory Nissin/Tokico combination with rubber brake lines feel awesome to me. Very little brake travel, has that wall of resistance on the initial bite, then just a smidgen more of squeeze to modulate the braking power. It feels really, really good. NOT as powerful as the Brembo's but it is close. But the lever feel feels close to ideal to me. But I only know what I know.
 

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There are a lot of factors involved, but brake pads are at least 50% of making this system good. An excellent set of Brembo brakes, mixed in with junk oem pads, ebc or galfer will end up being very average. Everything has to be good.

Its not really the factories fault. Many people get angry when that new bike needs brake pads at 5000 miles so they use something built for miles instead of performance. Ducati is an exception. Their brakes are usually very strong, right from the factory, but not many others will do that. If you used vesrah rjl pads, on that Triumph, there would be a massive improvement.

A good set of pads will go a long way towards improvig a very normal set of brakes. You felt that on the 2012 ninja.....that specific bike is the perfect example of weak brake pads. Even thats a trade off. You wont get 15,000 miles from the vesrah ....
 

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An excellent set of Brembo brakes, mixed in with junk oem pads, ebc or galfer will end up being very average. Everything has to be good.
WHAT?!? EBC pads are awesome! Not sure what compound you run but their "extreme pro" EPFA pad are fantastic with great initial bite and incredible durability. I've used them, commuting, canyons, and track days with no issues whatsoever. OEM are obviously nothing to write home about, and I've never run Galfer, but they are easily on par with the Vesrah's you've been pimping on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The 2018 Ducati Supersport I test rode had that wonderful and natural brake feel I was talking about--short travel, very firm on initial bite, with great feel to modulate the power. That bike also had steel braided hoses from the factory so that helped I'm sure. Yeah so you have a point about Ducati brake equipment choices right off the showroom floor. But then again, the 765 RS also had steel braided hoses so maybe that bike had some air in the lines.

We're kind of splitting hairs here. Because I know what it's like to have horrible brakes. My DR650 has horrible brakes...Can barely feel the rear brakes with 2 inches of pedal travel and no power! The front has great lever feel but weak binders. Just weak, garbage in my opinion. I replaced the pads with EBC Sintered Metals, the brake lines to steel braided hoses, the front rotor to a 320 mm (from 290), still weak. Better. Lots better. But just slightly better than adequate (before it was almost dangerously inadequate for normal street speeds). In this bike's case I'm told the culprit is the brake caliper itself (only has one up front). Probably should have two.
 

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WHAT?!? EBC pads are awesome! Not sure what compound you run but their "extreme pro" EPFA pad are fantastic with great initial bite and incredible durability. I've used them, commuting, canyons, and track days with no issues whatsoever. OEM are obviously nothing to write home about, and I've never run Galfer, but they are easily on par with the Vesrah's you've been pimping on this forum.

Agree with this. I've used Vesrahs in the past and have't really felt much difference between them and the EBCs I typically use. But then again, I'm no professional motorcyclist or racer. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
WHAT?!? EBC pads are awesome! Not sure what compound you run but their "extreme pro" EPFA pad are fantastic with great initial bite and incredible durability. I've used them, commuting, canyons, and track days with no issues whatsoever.
I think pad compound also has a lot to do with it.

Do you know how many miles one usually gets with the EBC EPFA pads? On liter bikes?
 

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I think pad compound also has a lot to do with it.

Do you know how many miles one usually gets with the EBC EPFA pads? On liter bikes?
I'm still on my stock pads on my '18 N1K, which I actually don't think are all that bad.

On my 2009 FZ1, and 2015 R1, I've run the EBC EPFA pads. On each of those bikes the EBC EPFA pads I'd get around 15k miles out of them before I replaced them. Also, I only run them on the front, I've always been fine with OEM pads.
 

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Im glad you guys like the ebc, it really makes no difference to me. I would say that people are not walking into shops and finding their higher end pads hanging on the wall. Thats where my ebc issue is. Their High end pads are probably much like everyone else has. Im lucky in that I wont ever know. The junk they hang on walls..... For them to even sell THAT quality, speaks volumes about who they are, as a company. They have to take out full page ads to sell that garbage. Im not the only one who feels this way about ebc. If you look anywhere where peopel are serious abotu brake performance, you wont see many positive remarks for EBC....I would never recommend any product they sell, for that reason.. Their clutch plates are **** as well. I would never recommend a company where you have to caution someone to "be careful what you use from XXX, the line up is sprinkled with piles of dog **** you can step into."

Vesrah, and most of the other companies have good quality, throughout their line up and you dont have to throw up a list of qualifiers to make sure someone gets a decent brake pad....thats all. As soon as they put me on the payroll, I'll care, but when they sell decent products, at a reasonable price, its hard not to recommend them.

OC, you are right in that there is nothing magic as far as brembo goes. I think you would have to spend over 5000.00 to find magic. Even then, I think its in areas we probably would not even notice. Things like ultra light weight, and 20 lap consistency.

If we were goign to take your 2012 ninja to that next level, that would take a master cylinder. The rubber lines are fine. Theres little to nothing to be gained in replacing them with stainless. People notice a difference when they change to those because its the first time their brakes ever got a full bleed.

The master cylinder is a big deal. Its not like you get more power. Maybe? But there is a ton of feel. Very much like a reflash and improved throttle control. It would be interesting to see what pads your friends Triumph has as well as what master cylinder he has. I suspect it might be like our friends MV Agusta, and no, with a low end master cylinder, nothing great happens.
 
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