ANSWERS: 1
  • There is a dirty little secret about car/truck/motorcycle brakes. All those fancy Brembo calipers and carbon-ceramic-matrix brake discs don't mean SQUAT (for the most part). If the brakes are strong enough to lock up the tires, it doesn't matter how much stronger they are. Once the tires lock up, you have sliding (not rolling) friction and more brakes don't help. The advantages of disc brakes over drum brakes are NOT in the ability to provide maximum braking force (drum brakes do that *very* well). What disc brakes provide is: A) better heat dissipation than drum brakes, so they maintain their performance longer under sustained use. 2) Better performance in wet weather. Drum brakes can trap water inside the drum, while disc brakes quickly shed it off of the rotor. III) More consistent brake 'feel' and modulation. Drum brakes have a 'self-energizing' effect (essentially, the shoes wedge against the drums) that can be difficult to control. Also, as you noted, disc brakes are lighter than drum brakes, which is important for suspension tuning. Drum brakes main advantages on modern cars are: 1) They are cheap to manufacture and 2) it's easier to incorporate a mechanical parking brake mechanism in drum brakes than in disc brakes.

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