Yamaha R1 Caliper Conversion

by Terry Campbell - Jan 2001

Sam Blumenstein, from Australia, added a pair of R1 calipers to his Vmax. He has suggested a few tips to make this modification perform as good as it looks.

XJR 1300

Master Cylinder


R1 Calipers mounted on V-Max

Installing R1 calipers on a Vmax is a popular modification. Unfortunately, many people have become frustrated with the R1 calipers after finding that they usually require more lever effort to match the braking performance of stock four piston units. When Sam first installed his R1 calipers he noticed this difference and experimented with an assortment of pads to see if the condition could be improved. Ultimately he determined that using HH pads greatly improved the situation; according to Sam ... "The HH pads will impress you; the difference is night and day". Sam also recommends that stock R1 or EBC Kevlars should not be used.

In Sam's opinion the "HH" pad swap put the R1 calipers on par with the performance of stock four piston units. He was still disappointed however and noted that they probably would not perform as well as stock Vmax calipers also equipped with "HH" pads. He determined that the stock R1 rotors were the same dimensions as the Vmax (298mm diameter x 5mm thick) and started thinking of other ways to improve the performance of this modification.

While there may be as many horror stories as there are technical articles we won't be discussing them here and everyone should know better than to leave their bike unattended when a Vmaxer has tools out. ... An XJR-1300 belonging to Sam's brother just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Faster that you could spin a ratchet the XJR's master cylinder was fitted to the Vmax and beginning to look like it belonged there.

Sam offered the following comments after fitting the XJR master cylinder:

"The results are amazing. The lever travel is longer than the stock Vmax, but is identical to the XJR. The amount of braking effort required is so small I feel like I'm riding an R1. It pulls that big barge up like it weighs 1/2 of its real weight.

"This setup brings Max up to the year 2000 in terms of braking technology. I also have EBC-HH pads, which definitely helps, but frankly the Max would now stop as easily as big bro's XJR. But don't tell him I stole his master. For you guys in Europe with R1 brake calipers, order the XJR master as well and enjoy real braking. You guys in the U.S., get the Europeans to order you some of those master cylinders, it's worth the effort, especially when you compare the price of some other aftermarket alternatives. If anyone wants me to research the possibility of buying the master cylinders here and shipping to you let me know."

Parts Breakdown - Australian Dollars


Yamaha Part #


Master cylinder



Brake light switch



Lever to M/C bolt



Brake light switch screw



Washer 4mm



Spring washer 4mm



Bracket M/C clamp




Nissin Part #


Nissin adjustable brake lever



Note: A M6 lock nut is needed for use on the lever pivot bolt. Two M6x20 stainless socket head cap screws are required to attach the master cylinder clamp to the master cylinder, (to fit to the handlebars). The total price of this modification was $434.50 in Australian dollars, (approximately $234.63 USD).

The following aftermarket alternative master cylinders are also available:

Shindy - They have the 4 position lever and a remote reservoir like the sport bikes. A brake light switch is also included. These master cylinders are available in 5/8 inch (stock Vmax) and 14mm bore size for those with R1 calipers. Dennis Kirk and Parts Unlimited offer these cylinders for approximately $150.00 USD.

Marietta Mororsports in Georgia - offers a Nissin master cylinder with 4 adjustments on the lever and a remote reservoir. They are also available in 5/8 inch or 14mm for approximately $129.00 each (clutch or front brake). The front brake unit is equipped with a brake light switch. (888) FASTLAP (327-8527) or