Brembo brings road-racing technology to street bikes

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

Automakers like to talk about technology transfers that allow everyday drivers to benefit from things first developed for auto racing.

But carmakers aren’t the only ones making such transfers. Braking specialist Brembo is bringing motorcycle-racing technology to the street with its new 19RCS Corsa Corta radial master braking cylinder.

Just like those who race in the MotoGP series, the 19RCS Corsa Corta is designed to enable the motorcycle rider to tailor the “bite point,” the point at which the brakes engage, via a selector switch atop the master cylinder. Through a cam mechanism, the rider can select from Normal, Sport or Race settings.

The technology isn’t new. Brembo introduced it to motorcycle racing in 1985, and that year racer Kenny Roberts won the world 500cc-class road-racing world championship. The technology has evolved and been proven ready for widespread use.

“We have a lot of years of experience,” said Roberto Pellegrini, head of Brembo’s motorcycle racing division, who was speaking in a telephone interview from Spain, where he was overseeing the company’s efforts in a recent round of the MotoGP championships.

MotoGP is short for the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix, the two-wheel equivalent of the Formula One racing circuit.

Roberts’ victory on the Brembo-braked bike back in 1985 was the first of many such championships for the brand. Pellegrini explained that the technology gives the racer better control, especially under the severe vibrations and acceleration forces present on the track. An original-equipment version was offered in 2002 on the Aprilla RSP4 motorcycle. The technology was updated in 2007 and now is being offered on a more widespread, aftermarket basis, as Pellegrini put it, because of customer requests that the technology spread from the track to the road.

Corsa, he said, is Italian for race and Corta means short, which can apply to both stopping distances and to the compact nature of the unit.

Basically, in the Normal setting, the braking “bite point” engages more gradually, as might be preferred in cruising around town or in low-grip road conditions. Sport mode bites with a shorter stroke of the braking lever, particularly useful for those in more dynamic speed and cornering situations, Pellegrini said. Race starts the bite point immediately.

“You have the same stroke as a MotoGP rider,” Pelligrini said, “very short and firm.”

As Brembo explained in its news release, which delves into such details as fulcrum-to-piston measurements, the 19RCS Corsa Corta is like having three different master cylinders.

The new braking unit is designed to fit on most sport or so-called naked motorcycles, and can be installed at a dealership or by do-it-yourselfers.

The 19RCS Corsa Corta has a suggested retail price of $318 and is available through Brembo’s U.S. distributor T.A.W. Performance. For details, visit the, which includes a list of dealers where the unit is available.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at