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Big Brake Kits

Design philosophy


Powerbrake big brake kits are designed from the ground up for heavy duty motor sport applications. Maximum performance and durability are the key design targets. Our big brake kits are not intended to be a cosmetic enhancement. We do not paint our calipers bright colors and we will not cross-drill a single disc that we produce. There are countless companies on the world market selling big brake kits that include painted, cast-aluminium calipers (that are far cheaper to manufacture than high level billet calipers) and cross-drilled rotors.



These are the same companies that are releasing 8 & 12 piston calipers even though the pad profiles are, in many cases, no larger than those used in high-level 6-piston billet race calipers. We fully understand that there is a large market segment that is searching for trick ‘looking’ brakes, featuring the largest diameter cross-drilled rotors possible matched to 8, 12 or even 16 piston calipers that are painted bright red even if these components will not offer maximum performance or optimum durability. We want to be clear from the outset that this is not the market that we intend to cater for with our big brake kits.


Be careful of caliper manufacturers that are pandering to “the more pistons the better” philosophy. This is just simply not technically correct. More pistons per caliper does not equal more brake force. The clamping force at the caliper is determined by line pressure and overall piston area. A four piston caliper with greater overall piston area will create more clamping force than a 6 or 8-piston caliper with less overall piston area - given an equal line pressure. The one and only technical reason for using more pistons is in cases where the pad profile has a long enough backing plate that it is necessary to use more pistons to evenly spread the brake force over the pad backing plate. Unfortunately bragging rights over who has the most caliper pistons has become a key sales point for many BBK manufacturers that cater to the street tuning market.


It gets worse. Many caliper manufacturers are designing 6-piston calipers around pad profiles that were originally designed to be used in 4-piston calipers and 8, 10 or 12-piston calipers around pads that were designed for use in large 6-piston race calipers. Doing so simply adds unnecessary weight and more service parts in terms of additional and unnecessary pistons and seals. Selling 8, 10 or 12-piston calipers for the sake of marketing hype or fashion simply doesn't cut it at Powerbrake. We design our calipers with the appropriate number (and position) of pistons for the size and profile of the pad that we are designing around. This is done using advanced FEA modeling software. You need to look no further than Formula 1, where the calipers are all 4-piston designs because 4-pistons are sufficient to evenly distribute pressure across the carbon pucks that they use and there is simply no other technical reason to add weight and complexity by adding more pistons.



Professional race teams know that oversized 12-piston cast calipers and cross-drilled rotors just don’t cut it under serious race conditions. Our big brake kits are designed first and foremost for grassroots and professional motor sport use. Having said that, more and more customers that use their street cars for club-level events such as track days, auto cross, gymkhana’s and hill climbs on the weekends are fitting Powerbrake big brake kits as the word spreads about the class-leading performance and durability that our kits offer.


The fact that our billet race calipers all feature internal dust seals that keep debris away from the pressure seals, makes them perfectly suitable for these crossover street/track day applications that may include long terms street use as well.


Our goal is to bring professional-grade big brake kits featuring high-level billet race calipers and cutting edge race discs to the market at fair prices that are affordable to the grassroots race community and not just to cater for big budget race teams. In a feature for feature comparison, the components in our kits easily compare with ‘big brand’ high-end billet race kits costing up to three times more.


Our products are designed from the ground up to be no-compromise equipment of the highest quality and will easily compete with the very best available on the world market.


All CAD design, 3D modeling, structural analysis and CNC manufacturing are done in house in our own facilities. Only the very highest grades of raw material are used ranging from the aerospace-grade aluminium alloys used for our caliper and bracket production, to the proprietary cast-iron alloys used in the production of our various rotor designs. Every single component used in the manufacture of our calipers, ranging from our ultra-high-temp caliper seals, to our heavy duty s/steel pistons and our seamless s/steel crossover tubes are designed to handle extreme braking conditions. Our calipers and rotors have earned a reputation for durability and have often outlasted competitive big name components 2 or 3:1 under race use.


This is achieved through a combination of design, materials and the multiple stress-relieving processes that our calipers and rotors undergo during manufacture. New brake kit development is aided by the use of state of the art co-ordinate measuring equipment that allows us to measure up new vehicle platforms and feed this dimensional information directly into our CAD design and 3D modeling software with an accuracy of 0.002mm. Investment in this level of equipment allows us to rapidly prototype and develop brake kits for new vehicle applications.


Brake balance


Our big brake kits are each tailored to suite the target vehicle in question. This involves careful software modeling of correct brake balance/bias, brake torque outputs and pedal travel using custom written software. The result is that caliper piston diameters are specified to match the brake actuation and overall system on the target vehicle in question. Brake balance is optimized to ensure maximum brake performance and vehicle stability. We do not try and make the 'closest off-the-shelf' caliper work for a new vehicle platform (as is the case with many other brake manufacturers). The calipers in each of our kits are developed and produced specifically for the target vehicle in question.


Pad compound availability


Our callipers are all designed around pad profiles that are available from all major fast-road and race pad manufacturers, so the availability of pad compound options to the vehicle owner will be no problem, wherever they may be in the world. We are in a position to make qualified recommendations on the pad compounds that we feel would best suite a particular application, after discussing the brake system, brake balance, vehicle weight distribution, actuation, tyre choice and intended use (i.e. street, track day or race) with each customer but our customers have plenty of choice should they choose to experiment with different pad compounds thereafter.


Unique designs


Below are two interesting pictures. They show our billet PB44L caliper alongside a cast 'Porsche' 4-piston caliper (which has been OE fitment on numerous Porsche models and some other European performance cars over the years) as well as our billet PB42E compact 4-piston caliper alongside a cast 'Ferrari' 4-piston caliper (which has been OE fitment on the Ferrari F360 & F430 Stradale). Similar caliper designs from the same manufacturer have been OE fitment on the Dodge Viper, Alfa GTA, Jag XKR and numerous other European performance models from Volvo, Peugeot, Seat).


What makes the pictures interesting is that these two OE-style cast aluminium 4-piston calipers are the two most copied calipers in the world today. Many of the big brake kit manufacturers around the world produce almost exact copies of these two specific calipers, which form the backbone of their big brake kit ranges. Have a careful look at the two cast calipers in the pictures below and compare them to the calipers found in many aftermarket big brake kits today. You will see that up to 60% of the big brake kits currently available on the world market are direct copies of these OE-style cast calipers. In many cases these cast-aluminium copies cost the same as our unique, professional-grade, billet kits do.


So, we decided to photograph our equivalent billet calipers next to the most copied calipers in the world. We won’t bore you with a feature for feature comparison but will let the pictures speak for themselves. The point we would like to make is that Powerbrake calipers are designed from the ground up with unique design features. They are designed to offer the very highest levels of performance and durability and are not copies of any other calipers on the world market, as is the case with the calipers in so many big brake kits on the world market today.




If you plan to take part in track days, we highly recommend reading the following article to learn more about upgrading your brakes for track day use prior to ordering – click here for article.


Race customers – please supply us with basic data regarding your vehicle platform and race series, including: Vehicle weight, power output, wheel & tyre sizes, type of tyres used (i.e. semi-slick or full race slicks), type of actuation (i.e. OE master with vacuum assist or pedal box with dual masters and no vacuum assist), duration of a typical race and any other information that you feel is relevant regarding your current brake setup. This information will allow our technical staff to make the best possible recommendation regarding pad compound choice for your application.



We produce four categories of Big Brake Kits. Please click an option for detailed information:



PB44L Big Brake Kits

Recommended for:
  High performance street use.
  Advanced track day use.
  Medium weight race use.



PB62I Big Brake Kits

Recommended for:
  Off road rally/raid race use.



PB42E Big Brake Kits

Recommended for:
  High performance street use.
  Track day use.
  Light-medium weight race use.



PB62E Big Brake Kits

Recommended for:
  Extreme performance street use.
  Advanced track day use.
  Medium-heavy weight race use.

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Call Powerbrake on +27 12 803 0155 or +27 12 803 0092. Email: sales@powerbrake.co.za