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The Brembo option for the 124 Abarth says it includes 4-wheel Disc Performance Brakes. My question is whether there would be any problem with installing Brembos or Wilwoods on the front wheels only and leaving the stock brakes on the rear.
 

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I've the Brembo option on my car (all Australian cars come fitted with them as standard), they are only fitted to the front.
 

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Short answer is....Street customers can upgrade just the fronts on this chassis.

Now the long explanation. With prior generation Miata if we installed just front big brakes the result was serious front end dive that made the rear tires light, threatened to spin the car if not braking in a totally straight line. With that in mind we worked with Wilwood on that prior generation to make a rear setup to balance the front. Picture of "Project Blue" below which was the test car for that balanced front and rear Wilwood setup. Recently sold that car, it was a favorite toy for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where we could pass much lower weight Spec Miatas in the brake zone for Turn2 and out-brake them consistently without drama....because it had brakes for days!


Expected same dive issue with ND generation chassis which is the basis of Fiat 124 too....but it did not happen, even when we bolted up big 12.88 front setup and 6 piston calipers and had stock rear setup.

Thus, for track customers still a good idea to thermally balance front and rear, but this chassis has enough built in bias control to balance the braking with big front setup for street customers without excessive dive issues. Our Fiat 124 below with stock size rotors, changed to our two-piece rotors to drop weight, and our caliper conversions to drop more weight. For street use this setup is great, rides better than stock thanks to much less unsprung weight, modulates better too. Nobody needs bigger than stock for street use or autocross and we were working on dropping as much of the extra weight in the Fiat 124 as possible to get it closer to performance of ND Miata. But installing roll bar soon and hitting some of our sponsored track events and will likely move up to at least our 12.1 inch front setup because I have exceeded the thermal capacity of stock size rotors in track day testing on the lighter ND.
 

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The short answer is yes, you can upgrade the fronts only. However it makes a lot more sense to go with the 4 wheel brake upgrade from Wilwood, and it's less money than the factory's Brembo option.

Greg
 

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Nice write up Brian. I just had the fronts done with the 6-piston Wilwoods. Here is what they look like with the stock rims.
 

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The short answer is yes, you can upgrade the fronts only. However it makes a lot more sense to go with the 4 wheel brake upgrade from Wilwood, and it's less money than the factory's Brembo option.

Greg
Are the rears new? I was told they weren't available last December.
 

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Nice write up Brian. I just had the fronts done with the 6-piston Wilwoods. Here is what they look like with the stock rims.
What disc size is that? It fills the wheels nicely.
 

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Thus, for track customers still a good idea to thermally balance front and rear, but this chassis has enough built in bias control to balance the braking with big front setup for street customers without excessive dive issues. Our Fiat 124 below with stock size rotors, changed to our two-piece rotors to drop weight, and our caliper conversions to drop more weight. For street use this setup is great, rides better than stock thanks to much less unsprung weight, modulates better too. Nobody needs bigger than stock for street use or autocross and we were working on dropping as much of the extra weight in the Fiat 124 as possible to get it closer to performance of ND Miata. But installing roll bar soon and hitting some of our sponsored track events and will likely move up to at least our 12.1 inch front setup because I have exceeded the thermal capacity of stock size rotors in track day testing on the lighter ND.
Brian, just wondering what the complete brake set up was on the ND when you cooked the brakes?
 

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Good question, got an email about whether I cooked our two piece with meaty race vane ...or the super light. Answer is: our 2 piece with Race vane rotor at THIS LINK, not the Superlight two piece at THIS LINK.

Thus, would have cooked the superlight rotors even easier. Our ND had gotten faster, faster, faster...and had simply outgrown stock size rotors of even increased thermal capacity and needed to go bigger. Not an issue for autocross or street. Also not an issue for cars that are anywhere near stock, which is essentially too floppy to be fast. Once coilovers get added and more wheel and tire then trap speeds start to climb a lot, when I nail turn 11 my ND can touch 120mph through turn 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and then needs to shed about 100 mph for turn 2 in a very short distance. I cannot imagine now having less than our 12.88 front setup with the 6 piston calipers, the confidence in that brake zone is far better than with the smaller setup.
 

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That's actually pretty good going all things considered.
That's the way I see it too. The stock brakes are actually pretty good, and it takes some serious motorsports action to overheat them. For most street or light track duty good pads and fluid will be all most people need. However that Wilwood setup is top notch, it looks good, and isn't too expensive, at least not for what it is.

Greg
 

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What are the best street brake pads for stock braked you think? I tried yellowstuff but I tracked it.
 

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I recall reading something about the rear Wilwoods (or maybe another brand) not having a parking brake. If that is true, changing only the fronts seems a sensible option.
 

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I will second these with a few caveats. The Powerlites are the calipers used in the Flyin' Miata LBBK 4 wheel kits that I currently have, using 7912 pads. It is a good upgrade for street use and a little track if used as a 4 wheel kit. If you are more serious, the rear is fine as Steve posted above and identical to mine. I will probably upgrade the fronts to 6 piston Wilwood at the minimum or StopTech on the upper end depending on where I am at that point.

The parking brake bracket works on the FM kit, it engages well with full adjustment. I am brainstorming some other ideas for it now while I am reworking everything else. I am thinking part of the problem is popping the cable retainers loose to get the parking brake cable installed but then that leaves more slack to be taken up that the adjustment nut can't make up for.

As far as pads, I only used the Wilwood BP20 up front and BP10 rear in 7912. Worked well for what I needed at the time but were a bit squeaky in the rear. I bought the EBC Yellow Stuff 7912 set but never got them installed before the meltdown.
 
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