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Discussion Starter #1
My front rotor is scored quite a bit. I don't ride in mud, or nasty stuff, and try to keep the bike somewhat clean, and pads are almost new.. With about 26K on the bike, is this normal?

I checked a couple of online sources, and the price of a new OEM rotor is around $383.00
I haven't tried to see what my local Kawasaki dealer would charge, yet.

Any suggestions on a source for a new rotor.
 

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Upgrade to a larger EDC rotor or Galfer rotor that come with an adaptor plate for the caliper. Much better braking performance for less money.
 

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The OEM manufactures really ought to gauge their prices against the aftermarket suppliers. As soon as an aftermarket supplier make a better performing and/or less expensive (but still high quality) replacement part for a bike, car or truck, the OEM should under-cut the aftermarket price tag by 10-20%, IMHO.

Otherwise the OEMs eventually just have to re-cycle the left-over hard parts the hard way. Re-melt & Re-cast, and that's after warehousing perfectly good parts for 10-30 years!

Larry, as long as the rotor is not worn below minimum thickness it is only a cosmetic issue. High grip pads can be pretty abrasive to some softer rotors.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Rotor?

The OEM manufactures really ought to gauge their prices against the aftermarket suppliers. As soon as an aftermarket supplier make a better performing and/or less expensive (but still high quality) replacement part for a bike, car or truck, the OEM should under-cut the aftermarket price tag by 10-20%, IMHO.

Otherwise the OEMs eventually just have to re-cycle the left-over hard parts the hard way. Re-melt & Re-cast, and that's after warehousing perfectly good parts for 10-30 years!

Larry, as long as the rotor is not worn below minimum thickness it is only a cosmetic issue. High grip pads can be pretty abrasive to some softer rotors.
PD: Thanks for response.
Do you know what the minimum thickness is? I'm thinking of letting my local machine shop do resurfacing.
I didn't know if someone knew of a less expensive source, of decent quality of course.

Are original rotors on the KLR softer than other bikes. I've never had a rotor get ground down like this in 26K miles. I always felt like I am kind of easy on brakes.
Our 2005 Prius with 106K still has original brake pads! (Regen braking on the electrics.)
 

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Rotor scoring (as in, grooving not unlike a 78 rpm phonograph record) to some extent, is a function of the abrasiveness of the brake pads used (in my opinion).

What brake pads have you used?

My riding partner and I installed identical oversized rotors (320 mm?); he chose Gafler Green pads (unavailable now, I understand), I installed OEM pads. After a couple of thousand miles, his rotor remained essentially smooth, while mine looked like you could stick a phonograph needle into the grooves and listen to the, "Golden Oldies" of yesteryear.

I changed to a, kinder, gentler pad; no significant compromise in my mostly-pavement riding braking, considerably smoother engagement.

The brake pad manufacturers know what they're doing: A "racing" pad (and rotor) need to last only one race; the designers are more interested in, "there's no tomorrow" competitive friction; serious racers don't mind replacing pads and rotors; longevity isn't primary interest.

The service limits for brake rotor thickness appear in service manuals; mine ain't handy to look it up. A competent machine shop, I should think, could re-surface a rotor; serviceable along as minimum thickness can be maintained. Mind the pads used after the rotor is smoothed.

All this said, I agree with posts above recommending oversize rotor and corresponding caliper bracket vs. OEM replacement; a cheaper and more effective upgrade. Might consider a steel-wrapped front brake line, while you're at it! :)
 

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I very much doubt it makes any sense to have the rotor resurfaced.....aside from the cost (if you can find a shop that will do it) , it will now warp easier once it's thinner. In all my 40+ years riding and racing, I've never heard of anyone resurfacing a motorcycle rotor.

2 cents,
Dave
 

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Minimum brake disc thickness Front & Rear is 4.5mm (may be stamped into disc), original thickness is 4.8-5.1mm so not much to play with. Check machine shop prices! The Kawasaki Concours 'A' series & early ZX10's occasionally needed truing in 1st year under warranty. Don't recall the price tags.

From a cost vs benefit view, the EBC 320mm rotor, adaptor and pads is hard to beat. And they Look Cool!
But a barely used OEM Gen 2 disc from ebay may be dirt cheap?
 
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Rotor

Thanks for input guys. I did get it surfaced for $23.50
Now it's just under the min. (0.176 -- 0.178) I plan to ferret out a new one for next summer.
The bike is up for the winter, and I won't be doing much riding for a while.
It didn't look at all warped. The guy doing the job said it was nice and flat.
 

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A pane of glass will confirm the flatness.

Under minimum rotor thickness? Needless risk, IMHO; YMMV. In fact, were this scheme applied to a rotor on an automobile in my state, the vehicle would FAIL safety inspection. Probably, fail motorcycle inspection also, were the inspectors diligent enough to research minimum value and measure rotor thickness.

Oversize diameter rotor with caliper bracket a significant improvement, again: IMHO; YMMV! :)
 

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"Needless risk"? Really?
If .001 - .002 inches under minimum specs is a fatal accident waiting to happen, then all farmers and ranchers would already be dead, from lack of maintenance on their trail bikes & atvs. Many of which show up at my place with no functional brakes! Their pick-ups are nearly as bad, according to my friends in the automotive business. And they are pulling 10,000 to 20,000 lbs of hay down our highways.

4.5 mm x .03937 = .177 inches. Oh well put a new set of pads on it and ride it until those pads are WORN OUT.

Larry, At this point I wouldn't waste another nickle of your money or mine to 'improve' this issue. Ride it with some new pads and you will be just fine.
 
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"Needless risk"? Really?
If .001 - .002 inches under minimum specs is a fatal accident waiting to happen, then all farmers and ranchers would already be dead, from lack of maintenance on their trail bikes & atvs. Many of which show up at my place with no functional brakes! Their pick-ups are nearly as bad, according to my friends in the automotive business. And they are pulling 10,000 to 20,000 lbs of hay down our highways.

4.5 mm x .03937 = .177 inches. Oh well put a new set of pads on it and ride it until those pads are WORN OUT.

Larry, At this point I wouldn't waste another nickle of your money or mine to 'improve' this issue. Ride it with some new pads and you will be just fine.
I respectfully disagree with this. Engineers don't generally publish specific numbers for no reason. I do agree that it is likely not an indication of immediate impending doom though ... But, if it is not a problem to run under minimum thickness then when is it a problem ? The logic that there are other people out there doing dumber things than I am is definitely not the logic I want to stake my safety on.

Either way, for my fat butt, Ill choose to run within published safety margins and replace before i'm tempting fate ... I can use all the luck I can get ...

The brakes on these bikes (at least on my gen 1) are crap when brand new, at full thickness and in perfect working order. IMHO they are barely safe when perfect. I would never entertain running them with any impairment whatsoever. Hence the reason for my recent 320mm caliper upgrade ... I consider it a required option ..

Everyone should do what makes sense to them ... But for me, It just doesn't seem worth saving a few bucks at the possible cost of my safety ....

To each his own ...
 

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"Needless risk"? Really?
If .001 - .002 inches under minimum specs is a fatal accident waiting to happen, then all farmers and ranchers would already be dead, from lack of maintenance on their trail bikes & atvs. Many of which show up at my place with no functional brakes! Their pick-ups are nearly as bad, according to my friends in the automotive business. And they are pulling 10,000 to 20,000 lbs of hay down our highways.

4.5 mm x .03937 = .177 inches. Oh well put a new set of pads on it and ride it until those pads are WORN OUT.

Larry, At this point I wouldn't waste another nickle of your money or mine to 'improve' this issue. Ride it with some new pads and you will be just fine.
EXTRAORDINARY points, pdwestman!

One wonders . . . why have any MINIMUM ROTOR THICKNESS specification on ANY motor vehicle brake rotors????????????? (Certainly, aircraft must be needlessly burdened by any brake rotor minimum thickness specifications; look at how little time they spend in motion on the ground!)

I don't know; could it be because . . . excessively thin rotors are more prone to WARPING? Could too-thin rotors have less heat capacity than fulsome ones, less able to dissipate heat and thus cause BRAKE FADE? Or, did the Kawasaki engineers, sitting around drinking green tea (or maybe saki), frivolously determine an arbitrary thickness, just to frustrate customers and drive the cruel heel of their authority down on KLR650 riders?

Since you have declared too-thin rotors other than a NEEDLESS risk; what kind of a risk might they be? A NECESSARY risk? A DESIRABLE risk?

Surely, the National Highway Transportation Safety Board should immediately revoke and rescind ALL minimum brake rotor thickness requirements, instructing motor vehicle inspection stations in every state and territory to pass ALL highway vehicles, regardless of brake rotor thicknesses. This goes for 18-wheelers, passenger Euro-buses, school buses, motor homes, automobiles, and certainly motorcycles.

If a minimum brake rotor thickness specification has any merit at all, on any motor vehicle; and if the Kawasaki KLR650 factory specification is too rigorous, what should the specification be (Mr. Zappo expresses the question above)? 75 % of the standard? 50 % of the standard? Nothing at all?

Sarcastic mutterings aside, people will do what people will do--some claim they don't need no stinkin' helmets, and ride accordingly. And some will knowingly ride motorcycles with brake rotors beyond service limits. And, some will open cases of dynamite and fuses with blow-torches; inspect gasoline tanks with the illumination from burning matches . . .

In defense of my previous post, I qualified my remarks with, IMHO (in my humble opinion; I stated nothing as FACT), and, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). So, violate minimum brake rotor thickness specifications at your own pleasure, and . . . at your own risk (don't know where that last phrase came from! :) )!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Rotor

PDWestman: Thanks. I don't ride hard, and am not to worried about it, as it is now.
Something I'll be keeping my eye on. That nasty stuff (Snow) is forecast for tomorrow, and I don't think I have to worry much about it for a while.
Appreciate all the input.
 

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I did read your qualifying remarks. IMHO (in your humorous opinion) & YMMV. And know exactly that you like to 'stir the pot'. I sometimes do oblige the conversation.

Service specs still remain, New 5.1 - 4.8 mm. Service limit of 4.5 mm. That is New 0.201 - 0.189 inches & service limit of 0.177 inches. So 0.024 inches from Thickest possible new rotor to Thinnest possible in spec rotor. I'll bet on another 0.012 - 0.024 inches of engineered safety margin. and yeah, YMMV.

One ought to see some of the Worn-Out farmer / rancher rigs which are still operational.


And I do still like my signature line. As with all internet advise, even mine should be carefully considered before use. :)
 

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I think we can all take a grain of common sense to say that one or two thousandths under the min is okay for a half a season on a KLR. Nobody is saying to complete disregard that spec and throw caution to the wind, just that this guy can last a little longer without having to drop $100 on a new part immediately.
 

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I think we can all take a grain of common sense to say that one or two thousandths under the min is okay for a half a season on a KLR. Nobody is saying to complete disregard that spec and throw caution to the wind, just that this guy can last a little longer without having to drop $100 on a new part immediately.
Quite agree! That said, the worn-out farmer/rancher rigs don't responsibly comprise safety standards, provide useful role models, IMHO! :)

(I'd distinguish between what a farmer/rancher gets by with on his back 40 acres, and a panic stop at 80 mph on the Interstate on a KLR650.)

Drawing upon limited personal experience, I found recently my local dedicated automobile service technicians no longer SURFACE (as in, machine surfaces smooth) worn brake rotors; instead, they R & R (remove and replace) them with new rotors. Don't know the rationale behind this (to me) latter-day practice/procedure. Tighter minimum-thickness specifications? Changes in materials/metallurgy? As stated, don't know.
 

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Rotor or not to Rotor

Hey guys,
When you mention that automotive techs no longer machine rotors, the reason is cost to performance ratio doesn't make sense. Chinese production costs have tipped those scales over the years. The same has happened in the motorcycle world. The aftermarket stock replacements for the KLR are now $100 or less ($59.00 was the cheapest I found).
I wouldn't personally waste the time to get the rotor machined, especially with so little material to work with, when you could install a new one and be finished in a couple hours or less. And probably pretty close on price with what machine shops charge these days!
Just my 2 cents.
Danny.
 

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I’ll disagree (sort of) with a few things mentioned, and say it depends what you’re working on.

My Chevy 250 van has had breaks done twice in 110,000 miles. Both times, Firestone surfaced the rotors while on the van. Total brake job cost was much less than I expected. Rotors are rather expensive for this truck.
I used Cheap China rotors on my prior truck. Never again.
They wore very quickly. Within 5,000 miles they had to be replaced. A buddy in Ohio has had similar experience with cheap China rotors.

On the KLR, surfacing the rotors makes sense if you’re on a tight budget, it’s still cheaper than even cheapy China rotors, which I would never risk myself using. I sanded the glaze when I put new pads on, but the best route to take is the larger rotor without a doubt. My next upgrade.
 

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Automotive brake jobs are, in many respects, a scam IMO......the industry hangs it's hat (which I understand) on "we have to do it it's a safety issue" when resurfacing/replacing rotors which usually means they are going to rebuild/replace the calipers as well.....usually for no good reason from a functionality perspective. If the rotors are warped or worn beyond minimum thickness; fine....otherwise, you could just replace the pads, bed them in and go. Within a very short time, the new pads would contour to the rotor's grooves and you'd have full braking power - which is what we've done on motorcycles for years. I've replaced pads on my 41 motocycles dozens of times and all I do is check the rotor thickness, clean with brakeclean, install the new pads, bed them in and ride. On the flip side I routinely pay $1,000 plus for brake jobs on my fleet vehicles when it could and should only be a few hundred dollars for pads and labour. :mad0235: ...unfortunately I simply don't have the time to do the fleet maintenance myself.

Nobody I know resurfaces motorcycle rotors or replaces them every time they install a new set of pads as a matter of course yet that's exactly what happens in the automotive industry.


2 cents,
Dave
 
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