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Too Fat To Be Fast
BurnCycle's Avatar
Posts: 603
Join Date: October 1, 2002
Location: NoVA
April 1, 2005, 08:13 AM

One of the best things you can do for your brakes is up grade the lines and pads. But what happens when you want to go further than that? What are your options? A little research can go a long way. In the case of my TLS I found out I had more options than I ever realized. Most upgrades in the brake area mean big bucks when it comes to parts beyond the line/pad combination. Fortunately OEM parts from model to model maybe a viable solution. In my case it was.

The stock TLS came with 4-piston calipers squeezing against 320mm rotors. This was a common set up at the time with a lot of Suzuki and Kawasaki bikes. But so was the 6-piston set up. Along with the 6-piston set up came a larger piston master cylinder to drive them (14mm Vs 5/8”).

As technology keeps upgrading so do those options. In ‘04 Suzuki put a radial master cylinder on the 600 and 750 (yet the 1000 remained a conventional unit until ‘05). The radial master cylinder uses a ¾” piston or 19.05mm. This is also a very popular size that you maybe more familiar with from radial mount Brembo units.

Some parts can be a direct swap; others may take a little tweaking. This was my experience…

The stock 4-piston calipers proved to be inadequate and lead to a major pucker moment on 211 one afternoon. After a little searching a set of calipers from a TLR and the larger master cylinder were on the way ($65 on eBay). As well as Goodridge lines and EBC HH+ pads.

This proved to be a great combination and the TL could stop like no other bike I ever had. But I wanted more…

Knowing that Suzuki and Kawasaki shared items from the same parts bin I hit up ebay again for a set of ZX12R calipers ($50). These calipers offered no additional performance gain but they were gold anodized to satisfy my squidly needs.

I was now happy with the front brakes but looked for other areas to improve on. A little more searching and I found that a GSXR rear caliper from a ’01 or ’02 unit would bolt right on (eBay $50). I also found that a rotor from a GSXR would bolt right on (eBay $40). Combined they offer a weight savings close to 1lb over the stock parts. Not much but everything counts at some point. The other benefit was that the GSXR caliper was gold anodized too.

What more could I do! Well, thanks to the constant upgrading of technology in sportbikes, parts that were once reserved for racers are becoming OEM part. As I mentioned above the 04 GSXR 600 and 750 were the first Suzuki’s to offer the radial mount master cylinder. I had to have one… Yep eBay again for $65.

This proved to be the biggest challenge to install but still quite simple at the same time. In order to clear the TLS clip-ons I needed to shave the ‘teeth’ that keep the brake lines in place down.

With the tabs ground I was able get the lever down to a comfortable position. Watch the banjo clearance against the clip-on though.

Another area to watch is with the lever and the upper banjo. Turn it too far and the lever will hit it.

No worries about the hose and reservoir. The stock mount worked fine.

The overall look.

With the new master cylinder braking on the TL is on par with the today’s sportbikes. The feel is precise and responsive.

I know not a lot of people on this forum own a TLS but I hope this sparks some ideas for some of you to try things out. Let take you GSXR folks with them new fangled radial brakes. Did you know that the ‘03 1000 was the only year they had a 4-pad per caliper set up. This set up reportedly provides for better braking but the downside is pad cost to the 2-pad per caliper set up. Did you know that Kawasaki still uses the 4-pad per caliper set up… Did you know that they are the same bolt spacing and offset… Get the idea.
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