Recently we had a few people asking about brake specifications and if we could explain the differences between different technologies. So we will try to explain a few of the things you can find in motorcycle specification regarding the brake system…
First the floating brake disc. A floating disc is a brake setup wherein the brake disc or rotor is mounted using rivets on a carrier, which, in turn, is mounted on the hub. The carrier enables the brake disc to move parallel to the axis of rotation. The calipers on either side grip the brake disc, so pressure is applied to both sides of the disc.
High performance motorcycles use radially-mounted calipers, which make a difference on track. However, series production motorcycle benefit from the lower weight unit. Performance-oriented motorcycle, from the Benelli TNT300s and KTM 390 Duke to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R and Suzuki GSXR1300 Hayabusa, use floating discs at the front. Conversely, fixed discs are mounted rigidly to the wheel hub and use floating calipers.
For the floating caliper a brake setup moves with respect to the brake rotor or disc, parallel to the axis of rotation to the disc. Pistons on one side of the disc push the inner brake-pad until it makes contact with the surface of the disc, then pulls the caliper body with the outer brake-pad, so pressure is applied to both sides of the disc.