Hop on any online road racing forum and you'll come across some banter over cryogenically treating brake rotors. So what is it and do you need it? The process involves repeatedly chilling a rotor in liquid nitrogen then letting it warm backup to room temperature. "Cryogenics realigns the metal structure by squeezing it all together, which makes the rotor stronger," says Michael. "It makes a rotor last longer, but not that much longer. Since it's very expensive, there is some benefit of cryogenics for track use, but it's not worth it for the street."
"Clamping force is based on surface area, so you want as much piston coverage behind a pad as possible. However, you must achieve a good balance of the number of pistons and piston diameter. More pistons give you more clamping force. For instance, a factory C5 Corvette caliper has two small pistons. Our Tri Power caliper is based on the C5 design, but by simply adding a third piston we've been able to increase clamping force by 50 percent. However, regardless of piston count, pistons that are too small will give you a hard pedal. Just as an engine with small pistons won't make much power, the same situation applies to braking. Four large pistons are usually better than six small ones. Even I didn't believe that until I sat down and calculated it."
Selecting the right brake pads for your application is just as important as selecting the proper tires. Camshafts are designed to work in a specific rpm range, and similarly, brake compounds are designed to work in a specific heat range. No one pad can cover all heat ranges. "Using a full-race-type pad on a street car is just as dangerous as using OE-type organic pads on a race car," says Michael. "Factors in selecting a brake pad include vehicle weight, brake temperature, and how the vehicle will be used. Entry-level pads are organic, and semimetallic pads are a good upgrade for the street."
Fresh brake pads require some sort of break-in procedure, and while this should be common sense, follow the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you don't ruin your new pads. "Different pad compounds need to be broken in differently, so it's very important to obtain the manufacturer's specific procedure instead of relying on info from some random source," explains Michael. "Some manufacturers suggest stomping on the pedal two or three times from freeway speeds, while others recommend several slow stops from 30 mph."