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Old 16th March 2020, 12:18   #1
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Default Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Hello all.

I purchased a Kawasaki ER-6n during the BS3->BS4 transition fire sale. Unfortunately I had an accident after 8 months of owning it, in October 2017. The insurance company refused my claim due to some technicalities and the bike was stuck without repair for 2 years.

Just a few months ago I started repair myself and now the bike looks like new for a fraction of the cost of the ASC quoted repair cost. Even the bent chassis was straightened. And I'm back to riding after very long. This time I'm being extra careful. Check out the pictures of the bike before and after repairs, couldn't resist although its not what the thread is about.

This is my baby in December 2019.
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-bike-before-repairs.jpeg

Post repairs...
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-bike-after-repairs.jpeg


As we all know, or at least as all 650cc Kawa owners know, the stock brakes are pretty much mediocre when it comes to stopping power, especially the rear wheel. Most people upgrade to EBC pads well before the stock ones are worn, solely for this reason. After my bike was rebuilt, I felt as if the rear was barely working. It wouldn't even lock unless I applied very high pedal pressure. I bled the brakes and all but to no effect. I was thinking of getting EBC as well, until I enquired about Brembo pads and found that the difference in cost for 3 complete sets (2 front and 1 rear) came to less than Rs 2500 total. Hence I decided to go ahead with Brembo pads. I decided to replace the front ones too as they aren't too good either. There are very few reviews of these Brembo pads online that I can find so I thought of putting the review up myself for others.

The total cost including shipping came to Rs 11,175. I purchased them from Orion Motorsports Bangalore. The Brembo website is a bit confusing if you're looking to choose pads for your bike. Balaji from Orion was very helpful and friendly. The final pads I purchased were:
Front right: 07KA18.SA - Rs 3919
Front left: 07KA19.SA - Rs 3646
Rear: 07KA16.SP - Rs 3510

Pads from Brembo.
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-brembo-pads.jpeg

One of the pads came in slightly damaged condition. Actually the packing from Brembo is very poor - while Balaji had used bubble wrap and all on the outside, inside the plastic packaging itself the pads were free to move wherever. I had started doubting if the pads were genuine due to the packing alone, however sent a mail to Brembo and they confirmed that the pads are the real deal. It's a wonder that they made it from Italy to India without all being damaged. Kudos to Orion for shipping me a replacement set the very next day, no questions asked.

If you're looking to get a detailed idea on how to replace brake pads, you're better off watching videos on YouTube or buying a Haynes manual for your bike - I did both and the resources were incredibly helpful. I decided to replace the pads at the front and back, as my brakes at the back seemed particularly weak, I will rebuild the caliper if the pad replacement doesn't have the desired results. And so I started.

You'll need lots of brake fluid, a torque wrench with 12mm hex head and a 6mm Allen head (long), brake cleaner spray, a container for the drained brake fluid and a good amount of patience. Here's the basic steps to be followed for pad replacement.
-> Remove the caliper from the chassis (12 hex on the front and 6 Allen on the back). DO NOT operate the brake lever henceforth until the caliper is back on the chassis
-> Remove the R-clip (because it looks like an "R")
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-1.-removing-rpin.jpg
-> Remove the slider pin
-> Slide the outer pad off the caliper
-> Slide the inner pad off the caliper

Old pads have plenty of life.
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-2.-old-pads-have-plenty-life.jpg

New pads with the old ones.
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-3.-old-vs-new-front.jpg

-> Clean the caliper and pin with brake cleaner spray

-> Apply grease on the slider pins and the back of the caliper, making VERY SURE not to get any grease on the friction material itself
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-5.-copper-lithium-grease-back-slider-pin.jpg

-> Put the inner pad back into the caliper (take care to see that the caliper spring clip is not deformed and that it hasn't shifted from its position)

-> Press down against the pad spring and slide the slider pin back in
-> Put the R-clip back on
-> Slide the caliper back onto the disc, align with the mounting bolts, tighten it to the specified torque (FYI front is 34Nm and rear is 25Nm)
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-4.-fitted-pads-front.jpg

Ta-da! New pads are ready. Here's the fine print -

1. Brake systems are self compensating i.e. as the pad wears and gets thinner, the piston will keep pushing the pad further towards the disc and maintain constant braking performance. Due to this, when you replace the pads they may not go back on the disc because your older pads were thinner. One of my calipers slid right back on to the disc but two others didn't. So its advisable to push the pistons back into the caliper after opening the brake bleed valve. This is like a system reset.
2. Brake fluid can strip paint so make sure it doesn't get on to the bike. Personally speaking I've spilled brake fluid on the wheels many times, nothing happened, but why take a risk?
3. Using a torque wrench is highly recommended. Borrow one if you don't want to spend on a new one. (If you're a DIY guy like me, you'll find use for it somewhere)

SO after replacing the pads and taking the bike on a test ride, a few things came to light -
-> The bike seemed to be dragging a little (I had forced one of the front calipers onto the disc so maybe it was in constant contact rather than only when braking)
-> The rear braking performance hadn't improved at all, in fact it had worsened!

I had expected both problems to crop up, because forcing a caliper onto the disc isn't what you should do - I was just lazy as it was a lot of effort opening up the whole thing again just to push the piston back in. I confirmed this by touching both front discs after the test ride - one was a bit hot while the other one was scalding hot and couldn't be touched. And with respect to the rear brake, I had expected that as well, as I was prepared to rebuild the rear caliper as it seemed to be sticking. So, back to work.

Front: Removed the caliper, removed the pads, opened the brake bleed valve, pushed the piston out, mounted the pads, pushed it back onto the discs (easy this time, it was actually loose, there was a gap between the pads and the disc as the piston had been pushed back all the way.)


Rear: This is where I had to nip the problem in the bud. I had to open up the piston due to the sticking issue (or so I thought), replace the seals, inspect the piston for signs of wear, put everything back together and hope for the best. Here's what I did.

-> Remove the brake hose from the rear caliper (remove the banjo bolt). Haynes manual recommends one should replace the banjo washers upon removal but these were made of steel so I didn't bother. (Plus I hadn't ordered new ones from Kawasaki)

-> Drain the brake system - open the reservoir cap, put a bottle around the opened brake banjo so the leaking fluid doesn't spill, pump the rear brake and drain it

-> Remove the caliper, pads as earlier, but this time also removed the caliper frame off the caliper body

-> Pushed the piston out of the caliper through the hole where the brake banjo was. This was the hardest part and it seemed really stuck. It took a lot of effort and I was almost afraid of damage. Upon inspection, I did see traces of brake fluid leak as well.

-> Cleaned the piston thoroughly with clean brake fluid, and cleaned the opened caliper too with brake fluid (you can see the shiny cavity where the piston slides in and out). Replaced the seals with new spares from Kawasaki.
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-6.-rebuilding-rear-caliper.jpg

-> Carefully slide the piston back in, taking care not to displace the seals.

Rebuilt rear caliper
Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n-7.-rebuilt-rear-caliper.jpg

-> Put the entire caliper back together and back on the bike. Tighten both the Allen bolts that mount the caliper onto the chassis, and also the banjo bolt with a torque wrench (25Nm for both).
-> Fill up the brake system and bleed it properly to make sure it's free of air.


Went on a test ride again. The front was sorted and I noticed a drastic improvement in brake bite and response. Seriously this is miles ahead of the stock pads and I'm sure the performance will improve over the next 160km. I was actually afraid of braking hard with the front earlier because I could never tell if it was going to lock up due to lack of feel, however now it inspires a lot of confidence.

Rear - Basically hardly any performance improvement over the stock pads I checked the system for leaks and there were none. It did lock up now, albeit with some effort. I'm now sure that this is the best the rear can be. All said and done, my friend who's into bike racing told me over and over that I should pretend the rear brake doesn't exist and brake only with the front! So I'm going to have to go in that direction now and learn new things.

Bottom line - Brembo pads for the front were definitely worth the money and I'm very glad to have made the purchase. However for the rear, swapping the pads didn't make much difference so unless the pads are worn, I suggest users to stick to the stock ones. Objectively I can't compare these to EBC pads since I've never ridden an ER-6n with those.

I'll take questions now if y'all have any!

Last edited by ads295 : 24th March 2020 at 15:36. Reason: Completing the review
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Old 25th March 2020, 07:51   #2
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Motorcycle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th March 2020, 16:57   #3
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

I was thinking of buying a used ER-6N looking at the twin disk setup which looks very impressive. This is really disappointing, the Interceptor is half the price, has a single disk and ships with Brembo pads. Nobody has complained about poor brakes on the INT. Hats off to RE for getting the essentials right. On the other hand, the suspension and handling on INT could use some improvement. Speaking of which, how does the ER6N handle?
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Old 25th March 2020, 19:20   #4
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beast_of_Burden View Post
I was thinking of buying a used ER-6N looking at the twin disk setup which looks very impressive. This is really disappointing, the Interceptor is half the price, has a single disk and ships with Brembo pads. Nobody has complained about poor brakes on the INT. Hats off to RE for getting the essentials right. On the other hand, the suspension and handling on INT could use some improvement. Speaking of which, how does the ER6N handle?
Brake pads are not the ultimate indicator of performance, master cylinders and brake lines matter a lot too, I suggest you ride both bikes and then judge which has better handling... For example I've heard that putting on '05 onwards ZX-6R master cylinders on this thing greatly improves braking performance. As well as braided steel brake lines.

About the ER-6n handling, I'm not too sure since I'm nowhere close to exploring the limits of the bike, I'm just a casual rider... However it's a fact that the stock tyres are absolutely worthless and stickier boots are also a must have if you're going to be attacking corners (Metzelers, Pirelli Angel GT, Michelin Roadsport etc are the names that come up.)

I've been meaning to attend riding school to gain confidence while cornering.
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Old 25th March 2020, 20:00   #5
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Quote:
Originally Posted by ads295 View Post
As we all know, or at least as all 650cc Kawa owners know, the stock brakes are pretty much mediocre when it comes to stopping power
The problem is primarily with the ER6N and the previous generation Ninja 650. Both these bikes have very poor braking hardware!

Versys 650, and the newer Ninja and Z650s have no issues with brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beast_of_Burden View Post
I was thinking of buying a used ER-6N looking at the twin disk setup which looks very impressive.
Spend a lakh (or lesser if you can find a bargain) more and pick up a used Z650 instead! The difference between the two machines is well worth the price, particularly due to weight reduction and ABS.
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Old 26th March 2020, 00:47   #6
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

I'd love a write up on you fixing your bike. Looks quite bad in the first pic.

Being able to repair something is a superb skill to have. It really gives you a sense of independence. And no one will repair my car with as much care as I personally will.
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Old 26th March 2020, 11:31   #7
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

I'd love to write about it but unfortunately I didn't take any pictures during the repair so it'll be really tedious to read through all of it.

But to summarise. The chassis member at the left was bent where the engine mount is, leading to a bent mount too. ASC said the whole chassis had to be replaced. This was beyond my scope so I found a mechanic take care of it. He said the chassis was very strong and he had to heat it up and use a hydraulic setup to push the member back into shape.

This was the toughest part and he handled it brilliantly. Using just the internet I first found a genuine Kawasaki spares supplier in Thailand. Spares for this bike are dirt cheap. Then I found a "courier" online, a guy who lives in Kalyan (W) and travels there quite frequently. He charged me a fee and got all the spares into India.

I'd forgotten to order the small stuff such as the washers, some fasteners, that sort of stuff. So he put on all the parts to the bike, I rode it home and got some paperwork done. After these washers and all arrived (some were below the seat, fuel tank, main fairing, instrument cluster etc) I put them on myself.

The chassis bend was the main issue. I had found a spare chassis in Haryana that I had planned to buy, as I couldn't find a competent mechanic here in Rajkot, Gujarat. Also on the cards was sending the bike to Mumbai. But it all worked out brilliantly. ASC repair quote was ₹4.45L. I spent ₹90k (excl brake pads obviously) to get the bike up to speed 100%.
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Old 29th March 2020, 02:11   #8
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

That's good enough for me thanks!

Seems like the hardest part of it was finding a competent and willing mechanic
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Old 29th March 2020, 02:47   #9
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Hats off to you for doing such a major repair. Most people would look at the bike and go 'It's dead now, throw it away and buy a new one'.
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Old 5th April 2020, 19:19   #10
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

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That's good enough for me thanks!

Seems like the hardest part of it was finding a competent and willing mechanic
Yessir. The major doubt was the bent chassis member, in fact I didn't order any of the Thai parts until he took a look at the bike and said it was fixable.

And yes, Kawasaki themselves told me to get rid of the bike, they sent me a repair quote for four and a half lacs!!! Quite pathetic I must say....
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Old 5th April 2020, 22:20   #11
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

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And yes, Kawasaki themselves told me to get rid of the bike, they sent me a repair quote for four and a half lacs!!! Quite pathetic I must say....
While I must commend you for bringing back the bike to life with your efforts despite the unfortunate accident 8 months into ownership - the above statement I feel is a bit misplaced.

Reason being - Kawasaki gave you the ideal, ethical (and safe) diagnosis of 'replacing the entire chassis', thereby the quote of 4.45L (which might be almost 3/4, if not similar, of the price you might have paid to begin with and hence the 'get rid of the bike'). Obviously, they wouldn't suggest you to 're-align/re-weld your chassis' because that still poses some risk to both the bike and the rider; at the same time risking their brand in case of anything untoward happens.

The fact that you found a mechanic capable of setting it right is great. But calling the dealer/ASC solution 'pathetic' - doesn't seem right to me (unless it was for the quote - which I'm sure many would agree is classic Kawasaki budgettng!).

Hope you get to ride more post the 'current crisis' and give us updates on further modifications/travels!
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Old 6th April 2020, 09:02   #12
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Hey, so let me run you through the sequence of events that led me to say that:

On the day of my accident I had ridden to Ahmedabad to the ASC for a service as there's no ASC in my city. On the way back home I crashed, 3 hours after the service was finished.

During the service I had nothing to do as I had gone to Ahmedabad ad-hoc for the service. Their main service tech was sitting around playing on his phone when the service was being done by his guys. I'm a hands-on guy so I was quite curious to see their methods and how they went about things. Imagine my surprise when I went back to see my bike, only to see that they were draining petrol from my fuel tank in order to clean/degrease the chain! I got a bit pissed and told the service tech. He barely took his eyes off the phone, called out to the guys working on the bike and told them not to do it. This is the start.

Before the repair quote was sent to me, I called them up from the police station as the approx repair quote was to be mentioned in the FIR. I asked him to give me a conservative estimate, and he said Rs 1L. I wrote Rs 1.2L on the FIR. Here's where it gets interesting, A few days later he calls me, just making small talk and chitchat ("Sir we've opened up your bike and things are not looking good"). He asks me the IDV of my vehicle. I told him the truth - Rs 4.65L. He made some more small talk and hung up.

Believe it or not, the repair quote came to Rs 4.45L... It seems as if he was banking on the insurance company to write off the bike. (He told me after sending the quote, "Sir the insurance company will mostly give you the IDV."). And it reflects on the competence of a mechanic if the actual repair cost comes to 4.5x the initial estimate.

And since you mention safety, let me mention some items on the repair quote that were quite frivolous and seem to have nothing to do with safety:
  • Fuel tank had a few dents - replacement costed Rs 43k. I got the current tank repainted with OE paint for Rs 7k. You can't tell it was in an accident.
  • Radiator tank was dented and was reworked by my mechanic - ASC quoted Rs 50k for that.
  • Front disc has had absolutely nothing done to it by my mechanic yet ASC put that up for replacement at Rs 20k.
  • The instrument cluster too has had nothing done to it except some buffing to remove some scratches and marks due to the accident - Rs 43k replacement advised.
  • Front wheel has a 5-8mm bit that chipped off due to the accident - makes no difference whatsoever, yet front wheel advised to be changed at Rs 43k.
  • Headlight replacement cost is Rs 21k - I purchased an aftermarket used one for Rs 3.5k. No safety compromises there.
No doubt there are items he considered that were warranted (chassis - Rs 1.3L, handlebar - Rs 5k) but the above stuff could have been avoided. Heck even I ordered an OE handlebar and got it changed as the mechanic couldn't perfectly put it back into the shape it came with from the factory.

About the chassis, let me be very clear that there was zero welding involved, I myself would not dream of using a bike with a cracked chassis. I had found a spare rolling chassis with wheels and brake system for just Rs 30k in Chandigarh. I showed it to my mechanic and asked him maybe 5 times over the next week, asking if I should buy it, RTO headache be damned. He replied in the negative. I'm sure he would have agreed if he felt that the safety of the bike was being compromised.

I think we also need to reflect on the current mentality of "replace" that most ASCs seem to have, as opposed to "reuse" or "repair". It takes guts and willingness to put in effort and ingenuity if you genuinely want to help your customer instead of ripping him/her off. I'm not even focusing on the fact that spares purchased through Kawasaki India are 5x the price of the spares I got through Kawasaki Thailand, everyone has their own markups, but consider the fact that IKM (India Kawasaki Motors) will not sell you spares over the counter as it means less customers bring their bikes in for service. I was explicitly told this by the new guy handling spares at Kawasaki Ahmedabad - he said "bring in the bike for repairs and we'll get all of them." That's really dumb and uncompetitive in a free market.

My entire experience with Kawasaki Ahmedabad has been crappy to begin with and I haven't one good incident to share. I don't want to name the service tech explicitly, but let's just say that the place is under new ownership now yet they've kept the old staff, so I'm not going there again.
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Old 6th April 2020, 10:16   #13
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

I think you are comparing apples to oranges, you are talking about replacing items from the used market and other bikes which the ASC cannot do.

Also, coming to specifics, if the front wheel is chipped, are you sure it is balanced right and there are no other cracks, hairline or otherwise? This is a potential disaster, please be careful.

Anyway, why did you not choose to take the IDV write off from the insurance company? You could have a picked up another bike for the same cost almost...
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Old 6th April 2020, 10:40   #14
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

There's no other item except the headlamp that has been replaced with the used component.
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Old 6th April 2020, 12:42   #15
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Default Re: Review: Brembo brake pads on my Kawasaki ER-6n

Quote:
Originally Posted by killjoy View Post
Also, coming to specifics, if the front wheel is chipped, are you sure it is balanced right and there are no other cracks, hairline or otherwise? This is a potential disaster, please be careful.

Anyway, why did you not choose to take the IDV write off from the insurance company? You could have a picked up another bike for the same cost almost...
There are no other cracks, I checked. However I will keep this in mind, thanks.

Also, like I said, the company refused to honour the claim on a technical issue, the discussion of which warrants another thread in itself
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