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Archive for November 13th, 2019

A motorcycle braking system’s primary function is to adequately dissipate heat in order to increase the fade resistance and stop the vehicle.

The Italian company, Brembo, and their brake systems dominate the legendary circuits of the MotoGP and Superbike World Championships.

Solid Block of Aluminum

Brembo has recently introduced a new braking system for the Harley-Davidson flagship models as well as the new LiveWire with distinctive elements of performance, lightness and style.

It all starts with a solid block of aluminum, a material with extraordinary properties that not only have eye-catching surface finishings, but is able to combine low weight and stiffness.

The new radial monoblock caliper with 4 pistons (30 mm) boasts a unique design and the result takes full advantage of the material characteristics.

Motorcyclists know that caliper changes, even for an object of this small size may seem insignificant, but calipers are unsprung weights: even a few hundred grams more increase the braking distances, reduce the acceleration and make changing direction less stable/smooth.

New Radial Monoblock Caliper

Brembo manufactures braking components to ensure constancy of performance and that lever response is immediate with adjustable deceleration in any riding condition. Clearly, Brembo leveraged their 40-years of MotoGP success, to help improve the Harley-Davidson braking systems.

Another distinguishing feature of Harley-Davidson or Brembo’s OE braking system is the use of color.  Call it Italian creativity, but it is appreciated for its high quality standard, attention to detail and the importance of the braking systems’ aesthetics.

But, more to the point of aquatic habitats.

The Pacific Northwest is well known for its beer distilleries, marijuana shops, and hipster-forward culture (and lots of beards). It’s an attraction for foodies, coffee bean experts, hikers and features a diverse landscape of twisty back roads just outside the metro areas for wind in the face relief.

Salmon and the Pacific Northwest go hand in hand, but did you know that every time you grab and engage the brake lever, minute amounts of copper from brake dust is chemically degrading aquatic habitats, often in the form of toxic stormwater runoff which contributes to the killing of coho salmon?  It’s true.  Multiple studies demonstrate that stormwater runoff is unusually lethal to adult coho that return to spawn each year in watersheds.  The Washington State University study is HERE and the Ecological Society of America study is HERE.

To be fair, urbanization along with polluted runoff from automobile (268+ million in the U.S.) brake dust poses a greater challenge to fish species conservation, but motorcycle braking contributes to toxic stormwater runoff and recurrent coho die-offs.

Brembo Colors

I should’ve produced a truck load of “Save a Salmon, Don’t Brake” t-shirts hoping to get wealthy, but didn’t.

Are you looking for a way to get involved?  It’s expensive and not very practical for Harley-Davidson, but upgrading to carbon ceramic brakes don’t produce the same amount of toxic dust.

Motorcyclists can plant trees along the network of streams and rivers.  Or build rain gardens (vegetated basins or depressions which capture and absorb runoff) at their homes or neighborhoods to intercept stormwater that would otherwise flow onto city streets then to the rivers with polluted runoff — the main culprit for the decline of urban salmon populations.

Photos courtesy of Brembo and Harley-Davidson

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