|MGF/TF: The Brake Options|
The standard brakes on the MGF and TF (excepting 160 VVC models) can best be described as 'adequate'. Without going into too much detail, these brakes are inherited from a number of sources within the MG Rover parts pin. The front discs for example are MG Maestro items. The rear callipers are Rover 800. The list goes on. Little wonder that there is some scope for improvement!
|The calliper design is a single pot, sliding calliper design. They work along similar principles to the rubber block brakes of your push-bike - the force of the piston pushing one pad onto the disc whilst at the same time pulling the other pad onto the opposing surface. Although cheap, this is not the most efficient design. Nor is the standard 240mm diameter disc necessarily the optimum size for a one tonne sports car.|
So if you want to make your car stop harder, bringing it safely to a halt in the shortest possible distance, what should you look at?
Here are some of the options available on the market today:
Options with standard sized discs
|EBC offer a range of
different pad materials that are suitable for use with the MGF and TF ranges. These are
colour coded black, green and red (there are also yellow stuff pads, but these are not
suitable for road usage). All the pads fit in the standard callipers, and work well with
the drilled and grooved discs that EBC are also able to supply. These disc/pad
combinations have won a number of plaudits from independent magazines, and green stuff
pads have the admirable trait of limited brake dust production with better than standard
I personally found the black stuff compound pads to perform no better than standard pads, and to have a much shorter life span. I found the green stuff pads to be much better [than the black stuff pads] in both regards (although when removing the pads when I upgraded to Mintex 1177 pads, I found that the pad blocks had started to crack and flake - which may have something to do with some of the track work that my car is subjected to). I have not tried the red stuff pads.
|An alternative option to the EBC discs and
pads are the Rover, now MG, Sport and Racing discs. These discs are the
ones fitted to my car, and are grooved, but not drilled (although this design may have
changed now that MGR have taken the manufacture of these parts in house). These discs are
the ones preferred and specified by Tech-speed motor-sport, and are
typically used in conjunction with Mintex pads.
Mintex pads are available as a range of materials, from the fast road 1144s, through 1155s and racing 1166s to full-on 1177s that need to be ordered through Sport and Racing (for which you need to have a racing licence and be registered with one of the MG Club race/sprint series). The latter in particular offer outstanding braking performance from standard sized discs, with no cold-stopping penalty. Hugely recommended if you can get them - although you need to be aware that these  pads do have a tendency to 'eat' discs! The cost of high performance is high running costs.
Options with larger sized discs
|MG's own large disc option is probably
very familiar - these red MG branded 4 pot AP racing callipers. Allied with huge 304mm
discs, these brakes offer awesome braking performance, as well as fantastic good looks!
Disadvantages? Unfortunately, those discs are so large, meaning that the callipers are
pushed so far out, that they need special wheels to fit over them. These include the
11-spoke MGF Trophy and 11-spoke TF 160 designs, along with the Ultra-light weight wheels
available as a special option as Sports Pack 3 with the TF. Click here for more on F/TF wheel options.
Definitely recommended, although I remain unconvinced with the brake balance, as these large front brakes are used in conjunction with standard MGF rear callipers and discs...
|If you are considering the MG large brakes, then you might as well consider going the full mile for 4 or even 6-pot AP racing callipers over discs of your choice (a range of rotor sizes are specified on their web site). Unfortunately, the rear brakes are for racing only: they possess no handbrake mechanism.|
|Here's an option that you may not have
heard of before: HiSpec. These chaps sell a range of discs and callipers
that are suitable for the MGF and TF ranges - and uniquely, included options for the rear
wheels as well as the fronts. Kits are available that fit under 15" wheels, as well
as larger kits that are suitable for cars fitted with 16" wheel options.
Paul has these brakes fitted to his MGF and is absolutely delighted with them. I was impressed with his ability to out-brake my F (Mintex 1177s on standard-sized rotors) at a recent track day. These are brakes that I'd certainly consider!
|A relative new comer to the big-brake
scene, Mike Satur has certainly made a splash with this lavishly
engineered titanium billet four-pot calliper and 280 mm discs. Andy has these discs and
callipers fitted to his F, and seemed absolutely smitten with them! I've not seen anyone
use them on a track yet, but have no doubt that these brakes should be as good as
similarly specified systems from HiSpec etc.
The discs, using standard callipers, do fit under 15" wheels. To fit the callipers as well however, would require the specification of 16" wheels to obtain the necessary clearance.