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1990 BMW R100GS Dakar

Braking Bad

Classic Velocity

The stopping power of the R100GS single disc is legendary in how poorly it works. Even in 1990, the single pot Brembo, single disc, and forearm building lever feel, combine to make for less than desirable stopping power up front. The remedies range from easy/marginal improvement to extensive/dramatic improvement. Offroad, I found the brakes ok, but not great. Onroad, they were downright lousy and performed more like the drums on my /2.

I spent some time researching the various options for making things better. The cheapest and easiest is to get better pads. Descriptions of results mostly indicated a little improvement. Other improvements involved the always popular stainless steel brake line, replacing the master cylinder with a 13mm version, changing the rotor, and then complete caliper conversions and replacements. The most popular of this latter solution was the conversion to dual pot brembos from a later K-bike.

After lots of reading and thought, I decided to replace the rotor and pads. The reports are significant improvement, and the change is very easy. I did not like the idea of sourcing/rebuilding another caliper, using adapter brakets, and/or shaving caliper mounting bosses.

I went with the EBC rotor and pads. They are a bit lighter and semi-floating. After the 15 minute change, I took the bike for a ride to bed the pads in and assess the results. I can report that the difference is significant. The stopping power is increased such that front end dive is more of a problem. It is also much smoother, but that is probalbly down to new rotors. What is not improved, is the feel of the brakes. It still takes physical hand power to get the bike stopped. I suspect that only different calipers will change this. Meanwhile, I am pleased with the results and feel much better about stopping the bike on the road.