When we think of motorcycle brakes, one of the best names out there is #Brembo, the Italian manufacturer of automotive brake systems, especially for high-performance cars and motorcycles. Based in Bergamo, near Milan, Brembo is considered the amongst the pinnacle of braking component manufacturers. In essence, the Brembo name is synonymous with performance and build quality.
Riders with Nissin kit stare longingly at bikes outfitted with Brembo master cylinders and callipers. Motorcycle owners often opt for upgrading their brakes to install Brembo’s Master Cylinders and mighty M50 Calipers. Higher end motorcycle manufactures such as #Ducati, #KTM, #Aprilia, and #BMW, opt for OEM equipped Brembo brakes on their upper echelon supersport bikes. Racers, including #WSBK and #MotoGP teams, as well as weekend track junkies also swear by Brembo kit to ensure they slow down quickly while mixing it up on the track.
However, this week news broke about mighty #Brembo’s massive recall that affects a number of sport bikes with Brembo #PR16 radial master cylinder units. The first wave of that recall included #Aprilia’s two steeds, the Aprilia RSV4 superbike and the Aprilia Tuono 1100 street fighter. #Aprilia focused #Facebook groups and forums globally all had members posting the recall, to warn each other about the potential danger of failing master cylinders. Rival Italian enthusiast groups were also discussing the issue while poking a bit of fun at Aprilia.
Then on the eve of 2017, the official word from Brembo came down, and the factory expanded the recall to Ducati, and possibly others.
With six affected models, spanning four model years, Ducati is globally recalling roughly 8,000 units because the piston in their master cylinder may crack. It seems that Brembo chose to use a plastic piston in their higher end master cylinder rather than the aluminum one that was used before. This plastic one can apparently crack after hard use. If this happens, the master cylinder can stop operating, which can lead to front brake failure. #WTF? #WOW!!! :S I guess plastic parts are cheaper to use. But using that in your upper end kit? Really? Not what I expected out of the well renowned Bergamo factory. Tsk Tsk.
Imagine if you are on the track, rocketing down the straight into a hairpin, and squeeze that life saving lever to shave off speed as you set up for the corner, and there is no pressure! Imagine having to suddenly slow because traffic has come to a dead stop on the motorway, and you squeeze and nothing! That would certainly be an ass puckering moment, never mind the potential for serious injury or a loss of life! Worth swapping in a plastic part to save a few cents per unit? Hmmm..
To put it simply… This is an obvious safety concern!!
For Ducati, this issue touches the 2015-2018 models from the following lines: 1299 Panigale (including the Superleggera and Final Edition), #Panigale R, Monster 1200, Multistrada 1200/1260, XDiavel S, and Scrambler 800 Café Racer (2017-2018).
To remedy the situation, like Aprilia, Ducati has begun notifying affected owners, and dealers are to replace the front brake master cylinder piston, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 15, 2018 for Ducati owners.
Concerned Ducati and Aprilia owners should contact their local dealer or the inquire with the national distributor.
Now this is not the end of it. This particular Brembo Master Cylinder is the one that is normally mated with the M50 Caliper, so it is likely that more recalls will be issued. Manufacturers such as #Triumph, and #KTM are also expected to issue recalls. Furthermore, some customers have fitted these MC’s as aftermarket kit on their bikes, and there may be word coming down about those.
If you have a late model (2016 onwards) bike with the M50 Caliper, or you upgraded your brakes with a late model Brembo MC, you should definitely look into whether or not your bike is also kitted out with the PR16 MC, and if it is, then it would be a very good idea to:
- take it easy riding for a while, and
- Start hounding your dealer for a fix!
We’ll keep you updated, but in the meantime, stay upright and ride safe!
Here is some technical details on the US Recall for Ducati.
Report Receipt Date: December 15, 2017
NHTSA Campaign Number: 17V812000
Component(s): Brake System
Potential Number of Units Affected: 8,000
Manufacturer: Ducati North America