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Tuesday 16 January 2024

DP Brakes

DP M-8 Clutch Kit and 410 Stainless Rotors

2023 saw British sintered brakes pioneer DP Brakes celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the business as a spin-off from Dunlop Aviation, a subsidiary of Dunlop Tires. In the early 1980s, the legendary (then) British tire company started to divest a number of the 'adjacent' businesses that the Dunlop brand had embraced at various stages in its storied 20th century history.

Those brand diversifications stretched from tennis rackets and golf balls to the application of the sintered braking and friction management technology that Dunlop had developed for aircraft brakes - specifically for the Concorde. The application of that sintered brake pad technology in the then fast changing motorcycle industry resulted in Dunlopad - the brand and product line that Dunlop sold in the 1980s.

This new clutch kit for M-8 applications (DPHK607) is made using an exclusive, asbestos-free, high-heat friction material that contains a state-of-the-art blend of carbon and aramid fibers. It gives fade-free performance, achieving higher performance and greater durability than the original equipment plates.

This was the era of the emergence of Japanese superbikes and a street performance riding culture that was quickly beginning to think that there must be better ways of controlling speed and cornering than the historically "approximate" technology that had characterized motorcycle braking technology up to that point. Specifically, if sintered brakes could stop Concorde in the wet, then it should be able to do better on motorcycles than conventional organics.

That is where Phil Ayliff Products came into the market. Ayliff and his trusty band of ex-Dunlop fellow travelers bought the Dunlopad brand. Continued product development saw Dunlopad established as the first motorcycle brake pad brand to successfully harness the stopping power of sintered friction material into a safe, reliable, stable and durable motorcycle brake pad. The name was changed to DP Brakes, and it has remained the only motorcycle brake pad range to be entirely focused on sintered pad technology ever since. DP Brakes remains a true pioneer. 

The new name was chosen in order to link the new generation of products to the origins of sintered material development at Dunlop in the UK, and friction management and stopping power have remained the core competency ever since.

Brake rotor DP1907F, fits new seven spoke mount '20-'22 FLHR and '20-'24 FLHTK/FLTRK.

The British head office and factory is now under third generation family (and original employee and fellow ex-Dunlop man Frank Edwards) ownership, with founder Phil Ayliff's son Trevor taking over from his father in the 1990s and now, in turn, grandson Graham having taken over running the UK operation from his father.

The North American operation was started by ex-Dunlop Tire North America man Tony Mills and, in turn, that too is now headed-up by his son Larry, operating the Williamsville, New York, DP Brakes North America.

To come right up to date, that 40-year-old sintered compound DNA and friction management core competency is captured in these DP clutch friction plates. The tech may be 40 or more years old, but there is nothing out-of-date about the advanced and exclusive high-heat friction material used. 

Containing a blend of carbon and aramid fibers, they give fade-free performance, achieving higher performance and greater durability than the original equipment plates that they replace - without using asbestos.

Left to right: Trevor Ayliff, Graham Ayliff, Larry Mills

They comply with all the latest regulations and come ready to install - there is no need to soak in oil - and are designed "to ensure ultra smooth power delivery" with friction compounds to suit all Harleys.

The DP steel plates "are precision-made to exacting tolerances, from the finest quality steel, and heat-treated for maximum life and to provide an unrivaled smooth progressive clutch action.  DP clutch kits are designed to eliminate fade and slip and allow all the available horsepower that the engine makes to get to the rear wheel.

"The clutch springs are precision-wound using the finest chrome silicon wire and heat-treated and shot-peened for maximum life. Each spring set is individually designed to provide no slippage - without the need for super strong spring rates, ensuring they are easy to operate with great lever feel."

Also seen here, DP's USA made brake rotors (DP1907F) are direct OEM replacements and deliver "improved performance, feel and stopping power - a perfect combination for use with our market- leading DP sintered brake pads for maximum stopping power performance and precise, reliable feel and feedback."

Manufactured from high quality 410 stainless steel, they are 100% laser-cut for precise fitment and compatible with all brake compounds and aftermarket calipers. They are high-quality Blanchard ground (rotary surface ground) for precise flatness of down to 0.001" - Blanchard grinding is also popular for the characterful, attractive 'engineering-cred' surface finish it produces. The rotors fit new seven spoke mount '20-'22 FLHR and '20-'24 FLHTK/FLTRK.

Here is another couple of DP Brakes factoids for you. The company was the first to use a ceramic heat shield on motorcycle pads - to reduce heat flow to the caliper. 

Having been the first to produce pads that really could stop 800 lbs Big Twins before the end of time, the company was also the first to produce a genuine a noise and dust-free compound for heavyweights. 

All DP brake and clutch components are distributed exclusively through Drag Specialties throughout North America and are available through Parts Europe.