Motorcycle Brake Upgrades: Drum vs. Disc Brakes

Motorcycle brake upgrades: drum vs. disc brakes

2 mins read

Brake technology has come a long way since the invention of the motorcycle. While drum brakes have been standard for many years, technological advancements in bike manufacturing and materials have brought a new breed of braking systems in the form of disc brakes.

This post will compare two motorcycle brake upgrades: drum vs. disc brakes. Read on to make a more informed purchase and get the most out of your braking system.

What Are Drum Brakes?

A drum brake is an old braking system, but it’s a classic that isn’t going anywhere. How does it work? The wheel connects to a cylinder with brake shoes inside. When the wheel spins, it turns the drum and forces the brake shoes against the drum surface. This creates friction that slows down or stops your motorcycle.

Drum brakes are simple systems that don’t require much maintenance over time, but you must replace them entirely once they wear out. There’s no way to repair a drum brake without replacing it, but a good mechanic can service the cylinders and shoes.

Drum brake rotors also easily become damaged. After your drum brakes wear out, they will likely start to squeak and grind against the brake rotor, which can be very loud and annoying.

What Are Disc Brakes?

The principle of operation is different for disc brakes. When you push on your brake pedal, you send brake fluid from the master cylinder into a piston inside the caliper. This pressure pushes against brake pads attached to the rotor, causing your motorcycle to slow down or stop.

The benefit of this system is that it doesn’t generate as much heat or noise when you slam on the brakes. This would not be possible if the brake pistons were inside the drum. The major difference is that the pistons are inside the caliper.

Which Is Better?

Disc brakes offer superior performance and greater safety than drum brakes under almost all conditions. Bumpy roads, dirt, gravel, wet surfaces, or other unusual conditions affect a drum brake system.

However, disc brakes are in the motorcycle’s center and stay apart from dust, dirt, and road grime. This allows for a smoother ride with fewer chances for failure.


Now that you know the difference between motorcycle drum brake and disc brake upgrades, you may wonder why some motorcycle owners still use drum brakes. First, they’re considerably cheaper than disc brakes. You can purchase drum brake kits for less than 100 dollars, while the most affordable disc brakes will cost more than 200 dollars.

Another reason people still use drum brakes is they’re simple to maintain and reliable. If you want a motorcycle that will work consistently, with little maintenance down the road, then drums might be the brake upgrade for you. You can get a motorcycle brake upgrade kit or one particular part (although the best sites offer both).

Disc brakes are superior, but they aren’t compatible with all motorcycles. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s website for a list of vehicles with disc brake compatibility.

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