Front Disc Brake on the XCD 135 DTS-Si

Friday, March 20, 2009 Leave a Comment

Front disc brakes have virtually become a compulsory feature for motorcycles in the 150 and above category in India. But in the sub 150 cc category, front disc brakes are sometimes offered as an option on some bikes.

The XCD 135 DTS-Si comes with a 200 mm Front Disc Brake as an optional feature.

Few guys might argue that the 200 mm dia. disc is comparatively smaller than the disc brakes of 150 cc plus bikes. But then these bikes (150 cc +) are also comparatively heavier than the XCD 135 DTS-Si, which is quite light weight at 116 kgs. Also a 200 mm disc brake will offer far more effective braking than a 130 mm drum brake (which is the normal size of drum brakes on Indian bikes).

What is the difference between a drum (normal) brake and a disc brake?

130 mm Drum Brake
Drum brakes have an internal friction material called the “shoe” which is pushed up against the inside of the drum, causing friction to slow the motorcycle down. This is done by mechanically by the brake cable which is depressed by the rider.

Limitations of drum brakes are:

1. It is prone to overheating which leads to brake fade and wear outs
2. Manual effort required to apply drum brakes is more
3. Drum brakes have to be adjusted frequently for brake play adjustment

Drum Brake Shoe

A disc brake works on the principle that a steel disc is gripped by two brake pads. These pads are "hydraulically" activated. Hydraulic means that the manual effort is applied at one point and is transmitted to another point using an incompressible fluid/liquid (brake fluid).

Benefits of disc brakes:

1. Less prone to overheating compared to drum brakes thereby leading to less brake fade
2. Manual effort required to apply a disc brake is less
3. Disc brakes require virtually no adjustment for brake play (only replacement of worn out brake pads and replacing brake fluid is needed)

Opinion against Disc Brakes:

There is a section of people who have formed the opinion that disc brakes are a hazard and often lead to accidents. Few even quote incidents where guys have fallen off their bikes due to panic braking (of bikes having disc brakes).

Actually in majority of the cases it is not the fault of the disc brake, but how it is operated by the rider, which is the cause behind those spills. One need not grab the brake lever with all his might to stop the bike.

Pressure from one or two fingers on the brake lever and a little bit of getting used to is all that is required to stop the bike (with a disc brake) safely. Disc brakes offer superior braking and are safer to operate than drum brakes. More so if one likes to ride fast and hard.


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