Sacrilege or Saviour: Yamaha brakes on a MK 5 LeMans
Not being a chequebook motorcyclist, I needed more and better brakes for the LM Mk 5. Here in the North Island of New Zealand, corners are prolific and straights limited to anti-gay marches. There are 173 bends and corners in the first 25 minutes of riding from home. The old girl has enough wheaties for an old crock like me, but  would be better utilized by more efficient anchors. The cast iron discs are small by modern standards but float and are efficient. That left the calipers. The stockers were relegated to the shelf.

Having surveyed the Brembo alternatives and price tags, the salvage yard gave me a more than adequate solution, a pair of very light, one piece cast, 4 pot calipers, lightened  bolts and pads from a Yamaha R1 1000 of approx. 2000 vintage.(as fitted to most Yamaha sports  models)  Mine have the blue anodised caps from the line boring, I would have preferred the newer gold ones, but hey for $150 NZ per side, I wasn't complaining.

I've become accustomed to the linked brakes and decided to leave them as is, and just fit the calipers and braided lines. The fit was a little too close for comfort with the stock wheel, so I enlisted the expertise of Steve in Hamilton NZ ( ) who crafted two very fancy adaptors ($100 NZ each) and angle milled a fraction off the back of the calipers to clear the wheel. The alloy plates are milled from 10mm plate and the spacers are also 10mm long. Note the “groovy” styling added by Steve, ever the craftsman. One of the photos shows the  angle milled into the middle of the back to clear the stock cast wheels spokes.

Did they work? Did they what! With stock but rebuilt master cylinders the difference is well worth the effort. The front brake has progressive feel and control. The odd chirpy howl has been known to echo through the hills from a tyre now earning its keep. The rear settles the machine nicely with more predictability.

Its easy to rave after big mileage brakes are replaced with more modern versions, but I'm happy with the seat of the pants comparison, and my riding companions now need to take more heed of my brake lights.

Was it all plane sailing? Definitely not, getting bits to fit and then bleeding the @#$%$# things took its toll. The worst was getting on to ride after the previous day's jaunt in the rain. The stock Yamaha pads had bonded
themselves to the cast disc. I had to remove the calipers to free the wheel. New non-metallic pads have cured that wee hiccup.

Relearning to ride the beast was aided by poring over Nick Ienatsch's Sport Riding Techniques book and taking my time (read as haven't had a "moment" yet)

Sacrilege or saviour... it saved me a few bucks and may save my hide one day... I'll call it saviour.

     Andy Murray
          Tauranga, New Zealand