How Stoptech Design, Prototype And Test Its Big Brake Kits

Watch the meticulous process of designing and manufacturing an aftermarket big brake kit.

Speed Academy / YouTube screen cap

For many car enthusiasts looking to tune their cars and improve their experience at a track event, the big brake kit upgrade inevitably comes into consideration. Depending on how you plan to increase your track car's engine performance, it may lead to a cascading effect that requires you to upgrade tire size, suspension, aero, and braking performance to maintain control. So what is the R&D behind offering one of the most popular aftermarket big brake kits on the market? YouTube channel Speed Academy pays StopTech a visit and takes us on an insightful factory tour.

Speaking to StopTech General Manager Greg Wu, one of the first components that the engineers must consider is the brake pad. When you really think about it, there are many factors that dictate what makes a good brake pad. First, engineers must account for stopping power (mu), fade resistance (the drop in friction at elevated temperatures), pad life, noise abatement, dust abatement and rotor wear. Every pad is prototyped with a retention clip, chamfer, and slot necessary to fit on whatever caliper it is designed for.

As for the caliper, StopTech engineers understand that precise brake bias must be achieved in order to provide optimal threshold braking for any vehicle. Brake bias begins at the size of the brake piston bore – StopTech selects a different piston bore combination for the front and rear caliper depending on what vehicle the calipers are designed for. As StopTech mentioned before, there's no such thing as one brake pad that is suitable for every type of use and operation, so another interesting design element in StopTech's street calipers are what Greg calls a Removeable Bridge, which acts like a slot of enthusiasts to conveniently swap street brake pads for racing brake pads for track days and easily going back to the street pads when the day is done. The Removeable Bridge innovation is StopTech's clever solution to that issue.

The raw forging prototype of the caliper also undergoes finite element analysis, where engineers determine where material can be removed without compromising the strength of the brakes. Since the calipers are unsprung mass hanging at the bottom of the vehicle's suspension, any weight that can be saved greatly improves the vehicle's performance. 

Next, the biggest challenge for brake rotors is its heat dissipation from high friction. For StopTech's 2-piece disc brakes, its brake hats have aero notches that interact with the rotors, allowing air to flow through like a cooling fan. The brake hat and rotor combination are vehicle specific for optimized cooling. Last but not least, the rotors are balanced before assembly to assure there will not be vibration under braking.

Finally, one last component for a big brake kit is its stainless steel brake lines. The brake hoses are made in-house, complete with end fittings. The brake hoses are pressure tested before final assembly.

Check out Speed Academy's tour in the StopTech factory in the video below: