You said what now?

Winston and the valuable art of listening.

I first met Winston on the internet, which people tell me is normal these days. An opinionated fiery redhead, it was love. I found myself on a one way flight to meet someone I had exchanged less than 100 words with. She was very pretty, sometimes you just have to jump. It will be six months this June.

It hasn’t been exactly perfect, we had one hell of a fight Tuesday. My fault really, I should have been more proactive but I digress. I gently brought up the idea that we slow this whirlwind down and think about what we really want from each other. Full steam ahead is fun but what are you actually looking for?  Maybe there should be more to this than wide open in 6th?

Winston looked at me incredulously:  “You want what now….I don’t think that’s going to work”

Brake lever went all the way to the bar….nothing….well shit.

I have never backed it into an on ramp before, there is a first time for everything I guess.

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Figure 1. Winston, not a real girl, sorry about the grandkids Mom.

Brakes, Meh Who Needs Those

First and second gen triples have 3mm featherweight front rotors, mine were manufactured by brembo which is sexy and Italian. These are fine if you drive around gradually speeding up and slowing down enjoying the scenery. I enjoy actually riding, my rotors were cooked in 5000 miles. I want brakes made by a man named something like bob, bob isn’t very sexy, but I imagine he makes things that stop pretty good.  The left one was coned enough to cut a groove in my caliper. I should have noticed earlier, but I pay a triumph dealer to change my tires, they should have noticed too, blame all around.

The engineer in me says I should go run a thermal model of a rotor to see what heating would cause this deformation. The sitting in my garage drinking beer me says the rotor doesn’t wiggle on the carrier anymore so it’s bad float gap on the bobbins and or too much heat on the inner radius of the rotor.

Sad news bears

When a rotor is warped or coned, as it rotates it can force your brake pads apart. If this is bad enough, your master cylinder wont provide enough fluid to close the gap and you cant brake.  In my case the coned rotor compressed my brake pistons enough that a full stroke and a half of the master cylinder was barely enough to get anything out of the front. I don’t know why it suddenly got this bad, I had had a spongy lever once before, but I bled the brakes and it was fine. Probably warped just enough extra in the canyons last weekend.

I have one other friend with a 12’triple who also coned his rotors and lost brakes at 100+, yes he rides hard, yes he does all the scheduled maintenance, no he didn’t die.

One thing you really can’t have if you ever ride anywhere close to your limit is lack of front brakes. Half a second frantically pumping the brake lever and banging down gears is not what you want going 130, especially if there are obstacles coming up soon.

The Fix

I take educated risks, it makes life interesting. I really try not to do the same dumb thing twice though, unless it was really really fun. In the spirit of not being dumb I decided to fix the problem, I had a couple things I was looking for.

  • I wanted 5mm rotors instead of 3mm, thicker is better, because reasons.*
  • They needed to have a decent bobbin design to prevent coning.
  • I needed parts NOW because I want to ride this weekend.

* Thicker rotors take longer to heat up, and being stiffer can absorb more punishment before warping. Yes I know they are heavier,  but they last longer and actually work. I don’t have sponsors throwing me free parts after every hooligan session.

Old VS New, notice the awful wear pattern, disks shouldn’t look like that

EBC makes a cool truncated bobbin they call the SD system which allows for a larger gap between the disc and carrier but it doesn’t increase disc slop. Galfer was expensive, and wouldn’t show up for at least a week  (the squid in me also frowned on the lack of cool red anodized bits). I sure as shorts was not going to order 300$ stock rotors that would just try to murder me again. So I ordered some EBC VR800Red rotors. The internet and ebc catalogue told me to. Damn, they didn’t fit. Second gen triples use a non offset carrier, EBC800’s fit first gen triples.

Thank the lord for amazons return policy.

Now Winston was a unicycle which makes no one happy. Back to google, I found a company called BrakeTech, located in Lake Elsinore Ca (I could have parts today) they have a sweet carrier design that uses the carrier for the primary braking loadpath instead of the bobbins (also the disks are replaceable so you only have to buy the carriers once). Which is nifty, and there are probably reasons no one else does this, but I am going to chalk it up to a patent or something, it cant be a bad idea. I gave them a call, three hours and one overheated truck later I had myself some fancy new rotors. Call Braketech Jeff at 951-471-3476 if you want some for yourself.

Jeff hand assembles each rotor to carrier and manually checks all the tolerances, I got an inspection report on a post it note, how can you not say yes to that? They were barely more expensive then stock replacements and 10mm bigger, bigger is better, I went for it.

I would tell you how to install them but google actually has an answer for that. Torques and part numbers are below if you are feeling lazy.

They work great, now stopping is a viable option which is good, maybe I will keep this thing Winston and I have together going for a while.

The Irony of the galfer sticker is not lost, its under clear coat.
Second Gen Street Triple R front rotor part numbers
  • OEM, PN: T2021390, 295$, made by brembo
  • EBC, 852 series X/xc/vee between 180$ and 240$*
  • Galfer DF906 series, 300$ to 340$
  • Braketech 320mm kit PN: BTT-100.SK, 670$ for two rotors and caliper spacers

*the internet will lie and tell you you need 800 series, don’t believe the internet, 800 series are for first gen street triples

Second Gen Torques (Metric, this is a triumph)
  • Front wheel spindle/axle bolt-65
  • Front wheel spindle pinch bolts-20
  • Front brake pad retaining pin-18
  • Front brake disc to wheel-22 (use loctite)
  • Front brake caliper to fork -55