When to Upgrade Dirt Bike Brakes

When to Upgrade Dirt Bike Brakes
When to Upgrade Dirt Bike Brakes

When to Upgrade Dirt Bike Brakes – There will be a point when different parts of your dirt bike will need an upgrade and this includes the brakes. Depending on the brand, you may consider upgrading to larger brake parts like bigger rotors for better stopping power. If you ever face problems like sudden stops, soft brakes, or your brake parts wearing out fast, it’s time for a brake upgrade to make your riding safer and smoother, no matter your bike’s type.

The best way to know your brakes are wearing down is when the rotors become thinner. If you are not careful, a worn brake will not only affect the braking performance but also increase brake fluid usage as calipers work harder to reach worn rotors. However, before you decide on any upgrades, you should know there are different brake systems to understand.

Fixed Brake Rotor vs. Floating Rotor System

Brake rotors come in two main types: fixed and floating. The key difference lies in their design. Fixed rotors are one solid piece while floating rotors use bushings to connect a mounting bracket to the area where the brake pads make contact, ensuring an even grip by the caliper. Some riders detect variations between the two, but it often concerns personal preference.

While floating rotors offer even pad wear, others may prefer the simplicity of fixed rotors, which can sometimes lead to less lock-up. Both styles perform well, and you can switch between them to see if it addresses any specific concerns or preferences you have with your braking system.

Brake Disc Systems

When it comes to dirt bike brake discs, there are three main types:

  • Standard brake discs: Common on stock dirt bikes, offering good overall braking power but may experience brake fade.
  • Wave brake discs: Preferred choice for dirt bikes due to heat dispersion, brake fade prevention, and self-cleaning properties.
  • Solid brake rotors: Delivers maximum braking power but are susceptible to quick brake fade and have limited self-cleaning; mainly used in muddy conditions and not typical in motocross and enduro riding.

When to Upgrade Dirt Bike Brakes: Front, Rear, or Both?

When considering brake upgrades, it’s important to focus on the front brakes since they contribute about 80 percent of your stopping power. Upgrading the rear brake is generally unnecessary due to limited space for a larger rotor or the use of a floating rotor system.

While you can make improvements by changing brake lines and pads or opting for a higher-end standard-sized fixed rotor, the significant impact you’d experience from upgrading the front brake system won’t be replicated in the rear.

Consider Oversized Rotors

Among the different options to consider for your bike, an ideal choice is oversized rotors. Oversized rotors often come out on top due to several advantages, including improved heat distribution, extended pad and rotor lifespan, and more responsive braking. Whether fixed or floating, oversized brake rotors offer an immediate enhancement to your braking system. However, it’s important to note that oversized rotors can be pricier and require changes to caliper brackets to accommodate their larger size.


Upgrading your dirt bike brakes is one of many ways to maintain it. Sometimes you will also have to change other parts like the chain and tires, or even rebuild the engine. It’s important to keep maintenance in mind lest you end up with problems like starting issues and gas leakage. At the end of the day, if you want to keep your dirt bike in top shape, keep note of what it may need. If you want to learn more about your dirt bike brakes, you can learn how to bleed them.

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