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How Brake Shims Work


Titanium Brake Shims
Brakes are tested under extreme conditions. Titanium brake shims work as heat shields to maintain braking power.
Brakes are tested under extreme conditions. Titanium brake shims work as heat shields to maintain braking power.
Peter Ginter/Science Faction/Getty Images

When brakes are under stress, they get hot. Real hot. Just think how hot the brake parts on a racecar get when coming out of a straight stretch to enter a corner. Rubber can quickly turn to goo in that situation, or in any heavy braking scenario. The heat created from the friction of the hard-working brakes can actually boil the hydraulic brake fluid, which even further reduces stopping power. That's where titanium brake shims come in.

Titanium brake shims work like heat shields to prevent the heat of the braking effort from affecting the other brake parts. Manufacturers often use a titanium alloy in the brake shims to keep costs down, as titanium can be very expensive.

While rubber brake shims can be stuck to the back of brake pads using two-sided tape, titanium brake shims are usually secured by other means. They often have holes at the top and thread onto the caliper pins. They still fit between the brake pads and the rotors, but they function less as noise dampeners and more as heat shields.

­Keeping the brake parts as cool as possible means a longer life for brake parts and fewer brake fluid changes. Brake shims are great for cars, but what about motorcycles? Can one brake part make a difference in the safety of a bike? Of course it can. Read on to find out how.


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