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Questions and answers about sports

How does a disc brake caliper work?

2 min read

Asked by: Kimberly Moore

The brake caliper fits over the spinning disc and works much like a clamp – step on the brake pedal or pull the brake lever and the pads within the caliper are pushed out via pistons to make contact with the spinning disc. The friction generated by the action of the pads on the disc is what slows the vehicle.

Are fixed calipers better?

In a system with fixed calipers, not only is the mounting much more rigid, but the stiffness of the caliper itself is greatly increased. This manifests itself in enhanced braking performance, pedal feel, and pad wear.

Why are fixed calipers better than floating?

A fixed caliper does not move when the brakes are applied. There are pistons on both sides of a fixed caliper. When the brakes are applied, the pistons apply the brake pads on both sides against the rotor (See Figure 1). A floating caliper’s operation is a little more complex.

Which is better floating or fixed caliper?

The advantage to a floating calliper is that it’s simpler, cheaper and lighter – it’s not as effective though, and doesn’t do well with distorted rotors. Fixed callipers with pistons on both sides usually have a higher braking force which is why you see them on performance vehicles.

What does a fixed caliper do?

Fixed calipers are fixed in place with a bracket, stabilizing them on the rotor with pistons on either side. When the brake is pressed, brake fluid pressurizes both pistons simultaneously, pushing them out to force the brake pads to squeeze the rotors.

What are the advantages of floating calipers?

It is generally made of cast iron or steel which in turn increases weight and heat compared to the aluminum fixed caliper. A heavy weight stops the disc faster than light weight. The other advantage is that the floating caliper can better dissipate heat due to sliding nature and therefore less chances of brake fade.