When it comes to braking performance, it’s rapidly becoming common knowledge that EBC Brakes Racing’s Apollo Balanced Big Brake Kit has a profoundly positive effect on any vehicle it’s installed on. But the cutting-edge componentry is also far more durable over time than the stock components it replaces, as perfectly demonstrated with Willem Gylling’s story below.
Finland-based Willem upgraded to our 355x32mm four piston-caliper kit over 18 months ago on his Ford Focus RS, with the intention of taking the car on track more frequently in-between his usual hard road driving.
“They’ve been mega, both on the road and on the track. I don’t drive my car lightly, either, but the brakes have not resisted one bit.
“The turn-in under braking is so much better now compared to the OEM setup, and while the standard brakes are okay, they can’t match these, especially for braking feel.”
– Willem comments on the Apollo kit.
Braking performance improvements come from an increased pad surface area, larger two-piece fully-floating front discs, stiffer calipers and braided brake lines (that all come as part of the Balanced Big Brake Kit). The result is shorter stopping distances, better heat dissipation and fade-free performance with better pedal feel and consistency – music to the ears of any track day enthusiast.
The improved turn-in response that Willem mentions is primarily due to the fact the aforementioned two-piece disc, despite being 20mm larger in diameter and 4mm thicker than the original disc it replaces, is also a significant 2kg lighter, whilst also having twice the number of cooling vanes. The calipers and brackets then shave a further 9kg from the unsprung weight over the front axle – resulting in a huge 13kg saving which is immediately apparent in the way the car steers and handles bumps in the road. It’s also worth noting that, although larger, the Apollo kit still fits comfortably under Ford’s OEM 19” alloy wheels, without the need for spacers.
The numbers only tell one side of the story when it comes to braking, though. Often, modern stock brake systems can achieve good deceleration figures – enough to lock a wheel at least – however it’s the ‘feel’ and confidence a big brake kit inspires during braking that really transforms the driving experience when pushing hard on both the road and track. Big brake kits improve pedal ‘feel’ by minimising unwanted flex of the brake caliper and by also reducing the ‘pull back’ of the piston after brake application.
A stiffer brake caliper means a greater proportion of pedal effort goes directly into clamping the pads against the disc, rather than wasting pedal effort by unhelpfully flexing the brake caliper. Meanwhile, careful design of the caliper seal interaction results in reduced piston retraction after the brakes are disengaged. This results in a quicker response time for the brake caliper and reduces the amount of ‘play’ felt at the top of the pedal, where in many modern cars the first 0.5” or so doesn’t really do anything.
It’s this combination of a much firmer brake pedal with reduced pedal travel that makes using the brakes much more enjoyable and intuitive, inspiring confidence to really drive the vehicle to the limit.
It’s also great to see Willem’s Apollo-4 calipers still look as good as new, despite 18 months of hard road and track use. This is due to the fact that, unlike most competitor calipers, EBC Brakes uses a high-temperature Teflon polyester topcoat, NOT a powder coat. Essentially the topcoat EBC Brakes uses on its calipers is the same you’ll find painted on the underside of a high-quality frying pan, meaning the colour never fades and the calipers remain looking fantastic even when they’re used as their maker intended.