The time has come for another brake upgrade. The OEM calipers are nice and perform well but they have some downfalls, such as 1 piston, non-uniform pad compression, and at low speeds they feel very on and off.
Iíve been running my OEM R32 calipers with Racing Brake rotors for about a year and a half and have been extremely happy with their product. The rotors have a lot of advantages from weight, strength, cooling, and their ability to perform under extreme temperature. They give me quicker takeoffs around town or when I need that extra passing power on the freeway. I like to enhance the car feel wherever I can, connecting more with the true capabilities of an already very fun car. I also feel that each mod should be executed methodically (researching, testing, conclusion).
Racing Brake has come out with a full progressive brake upgrade for MKV/MKVI VWís and Audiís, so I thought hey, nowís the time to upgrade these calipers. This progressive brake upgrade concept is ideal, giving me options. The idea is you can buy the brake parts separately and upgrade as youíre ready, example; you can buy their 2-piece rotors, then down the road when youíre ready for a caliper upgrade you can buy the caliper kit without rotors or vice versa. If you get both, then pricing benefit is even better. The parts they use are high quality, well engineered, and cost effective to the budget modder/hpde track ***re/show queen/etc., I think you get itÖ
I got the chance to buy my RB460 kit (Racing Brake 345 caliper kit) before production started and give them feedback, basically help them test prior to production so that they may fine-tune their design work. This is great that Iíve been able to be involved since I have a lot of seat time on and off track with the stock system. Please keep in mind this is pre-production, so the calipers aren't powder coated and bracket isn't anodized in the pics. The rotors have been used for the last year and half, with roughly 9 track events on them, so this is a true test of progressively upgrading.
Iíve been running the kit for the last few weeks, driving my car daily (itís usually a garage queen) and am amazed at the performance difference on the street. The kit I purchased came with:
ē (2) 4-Piston Forged Aluminum Calipers 6061-T6
ē (2) Aluminum adapters made of 7075-T6 (comparable to steel in strength)
ē (2) Front Stainless Steel Brake lines
ē (1) Pair of ET300 Racing Brake Street Pads
So, I installed and bedded-in the new pads with my existing rotors. I thought I would try Racing Brakes pad compounds on and off street this time. I chose their ET300 street pad, I wanted a quiet pad that will modulate and release well on the street. I had previously been using Carbotech 1521ís which I really liked. I did a good job of getting the pads/rotors up to extreme temps so pad compound adhesion would occur on the rotor. The RB rotors are very durable and adhesion can sometimes take 2-3 bed-in sessions to get that pad adhesion process completed in a uniform manor. This is an essential/critical part when putting on new pads for them to perform as expected. I performed the procedure about 4 different times since I had a previous compound on the rotor.
Post break-in I right away noticed that the car had been transformed in terms of pedal-feel, modulation, overall stopping power, and rigidity. The RB 4-piston calipers bring the stopping power on smooth and progressive compared to the on/off feeling of the OEM. The low speed modulation coming to a stop is very sure footed and comes to a smooth, controlled stop. When getting on the brakes hard from 90-40mph, the car stops amazingly faster than before, giving the slightest front wheel chirps with no lock-up. Also, under hard braking the car tracks very straight and controlled, giving you extra confidence and further connecting with the car in a new found way. The system has the ability to perform very gracefully under cruising and light conditions while able to withstand extreme temps and provide the necessary stopping power for a heavy car such as the MKV R. Iíve also noticed the car seems to be a little more agile with the extra weight loss. Last but not least they look really nice under my Rotiís and add that extra beefy-ness in the looks department.
Rigidity has been a part of my focus lately, but not to the point where anything would affect the car in a jarring manor (bushings, rigid collars, and soon xb unibrace). This kit is a part of that concept and has made the brakes more responsive due to the 4-piston setup, rigidity, and quality components. Iíve found a way to shed 50% of the front caliper weight (9.9 vs 18.1lbs), for a total of 34lbs off the front axle combined with their 2-piece rotors.
Iíd like to mention some key points about their caliper design and rotors:
- Piston Seals: their piston seals are internal and arenít external. This is nice so there isnít a boot to rip or melt.
- Caliper Mount Type: they are mounted radially, meaning from the top. So the bolts go through the top of the caliper into the bracket, rather then coming from the inner side of the wheel well. This provides more rigidity and is common in high performance motorsport brake systems.
- Profile: good profile for aftermarket wheels.
- Piston Material: made of stainless steel rather than aluminum, which reduces heat transfer (1/10) from pad to fluid. Titanium piston shims arenít needed.
- Hardware: all the hardware is made of the highest quality materials while still being cost effective.
- Pads: Standard FMSI pad type that all brake pad manufactures make. This gives you options if you donít want to try their pad.
- Calipers: come pre-loaded with pads, switching pads couldnít be faster with how they mount, 3 screws and theyíre out.
- Assembly: all parts are assembled and hydro-tested in their Fullerton, California facility.
- Rotors: matching front and rear rotors available.
Vented Stainless Steel Pistons
Dirty Wheel Disclosure: been putting some miles on this kit =)
Stock Shaped Carbotech XP20 Pad vs RB460 Caliper - RB XT960 Race Pad
Pad Back Plate
Iíll be running @Streets of Willow in early July at a twilight event that runs from 3-12am, should be fun. Track review to come after the event, looking forward to see how they have affected my car under track conditions.