No doubt this helped our bike turn-in easier, but we're convinced the combined light weight of the wheels and the ferocious stopping power of the CMC rotors slowed our ZX-10R at a very impressive rate. Then again, this was never a complaint we had with the stock braking system anyway. Initial bite is soft with the SRAC pads provided by Ferodo-the suggested compound for hard trackday/racing usage-but braking power progressively gets stronger the more pressure is applied to the lever-to the point that it challenges you to push your braking markers further than you ever have before with steel rotors. The higher coefficient of friction with the CMC/SRAC combination improved stopping distance compared to the stockers noticeably. Even after numerous laps, the brakes never showed any signs of fade, in fact getting stronger as the day wore on. Despite the material, the brakes work as claimed and don't require any "warm-up" time at all. And this was all from standard rubber lines. At $1250.00 for the rotors and an extra $77.00 for the pads, these brakes are not cheap, but that's the price for technology.
For the rear we decided to...
For the rear we decided to leave the stock rear brake disc alone as its weight savings are miniscule. The M4 exhaust includes a hanger that attaches to the stock passenger foot peg assembly; meaning if you want this system, you're going to have to give up two-up rides.
Like we said earlier, we decided to up the ante a little with a full titanium exhaust system from M4 Exhausts weighing a tick over 11 pounds. M4 claims power advantages of up to 16 horsepower and three foot-pounds of torque. We'll document our real-world findings in part two of this saga as we've got a few things still up our sleeves for this bike.
Unfortunately, this is where the advantages end. We experienced issues with our system as one of the header pipes was significantly misaligned with the rest, causing a faulty seal at the cylinder head. Once we got the resulting exhaust leak sorted, the next issue was an improperly aligned collector that pointed directly at the shock linkage. Some backyard engineering of the mid-pipe was in order to allow it to mount to the collector without being damaged by the shock linkage while riding. For $1,097, these flaws are simply unacceptable. All told, the full system did feel a bit more powerful according to our seat-of-the-pants gauge, and power delivery did seem more manageable with less peaks or flat spots.
As a whole, each of the three modifications we performed worked as advertised to make our ZX-10R handle like we remember it the past two years. But the bike still has one major flaw: some of our testers during our literbike test complained of a lack of rear ride height. With the lightweight wheels this problem rears its ugly head again. This just goes to prove you can't change one aspect of a motorcycle without it affecting something else. With that said, stay tuned for stage two of project ZX-10R as we throw more goodies on it to see if we can realize its true potential.