In the next issue of Vroom you will find a column with our track test on the CRG-Maxter Sudam. UA test that gave us the idea of tackling a rather urgent technical theme, which goes side by side with the theme of motors; the braking system with or without “manual” front brakes.
For a long time now on karts for the KF class /but also on several single-brand) they have been using this type of brake that together with the usual rear disc controlled by the left pedal there is a front brake that is controlled by a lever on the steering wheel. And, at this point many people are wondering if this system is really appropriate.
Let’s say it straight: it is advantageous when talking about performance and lap time, there is no doubt about it. With today’s weights, even a direct drive kart requires a considerable braking force to tackle the turns in a reasonable way. We could say that to start with, it would be a good thing to reduce weights. But, apart from this, there are lots of doubts that have come up concerning “manually controlled” front brakes. First of all, the fact that you use your right hand to pull the lever, in which other four-wheeled class does this happen? None. So, it is something that has no reason to be, because it doesn’t teach anything, when in a class like KF2 one should still seriously consider that it is a preparatory class compared to car racing as such.
Then let’s think about when actually driving: apart from the fact that we have always seen that reducing the braking space is always a bit like a boomerang if looking to excitement and difference in a racing class, one should consider the way these braking systems are used by drivers; that is, with just the rear brake, braking is dosed out gradually so as to maintain a certain racing speed; instead we have see that with this sort of front brake, not only is braking delayed, but you could “storm through” when overtaking and it doesn’t really matter what happens because even if your kart gets blocked you will have got the place you were aiming for. But not thanks to the driver’s skill and his ability to delay braking without accelerating too much.
There are those who say it is a question of safety, but if this was so, you’d have to apply some logical thinking. In the meanwhile, it is a known thing that with brakes with shorter braking distance there is more chances of making mistakes and you have less time for reaction. Then it is logical that with two braking systems the chances of failure double too. Some say: “but you can use the second one to slow down”. So? You see, if you are left without brakes, the problem isn’t the fact that you could crash into a tree (there are escape roots, aren’t there?), the problem is that you could crash into the kart in front of you. And this happens whether you are left without any brakes at all, or if you lose 50%...
Last but not least (so to speak) we could add that it is more expensive. A system of manual front brakes costs about 800 euro: are we absolutely sure that the extra costs really worth it? Well, we really can’t find a logical; technical economical or even safety reason in favour of this type of braking system. When, with just a rear braking system there are no problems wherever it is used, like in KF3/KFJ or in all the direct class categories where front brakes are not allowed (there must be a reason…).
So why are they waiting to forbid use of front “manually controlled” brakes? This “change of season” would be the right time also to change regulations. If necessary, even brakes like those mounted on the 125 gear-class, which is, controlled only by the pedal, would be better. This way, they would at least learn to distribute braking on two axles, and this would also help drivers when moving on to cars.