Brembo Brake India has pioneered the deployment of hydraulic disc brakes for the Indian two-wheeler market that for many decades has witnessed the usage of mechanical-based drum brakes.
The Indian two-wheeler braking space has been witnessing significant advancements. Over many decades, two-wheelers across the country have been deploying mechanical-based drum brakes (front as well as rear drum brakes), which were subsequently replaced by disc brakes. Pune-based Brembo Brake India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Italy-headquartered Brembo SpA, has carved out a massive reputation as a two-wheeler hydraulic brake system supplier since it kick-started India operations in 2008, under the BYBRE brand. Auto Tech Review caught up with Sudhir Nirantar, Executive Director & CEO, Brembo Brake India on the sidelines of the Auto Expo 2020 to get more details.
On the global front, Brembo SpA manufactures hydraulic brake systems for two-wheelers, passenger cars, light trucks and racing cars. As far as the Indian market is concerned, Brembo Brake India only focusses on serving the hydraulic disc brake needs of the country’s two-wheeler market. “Brembo SpA globally offers hydraulic disc brakes for the premium and mid-premium cars. We are not catering to this space as the market for such premium cars in India is very small, and therefore it only makes sense to offer hydraulic disc brake solutions for two-wheelers as India is the world’s largest two-wheeler market,” Nirantar offers an overview of its offerings.
Brembo Brake India offers braking solutions through its wide range of BYBRE products (brake systems of callipers, master cylinders, discs and hoses) for two-wheelers in the 125 cc and above segments and enjoys around 40 % market share in this space. The size of the Indian disc brake market is estimated to be around 7.5 mn sets. If market estimates are anything to go by, 80 % of that market is estimated to be front wheel disc brakes, while 20 % is estimated to be rear wheel disc brakes.
Brembo Brake India operates a state-of-the-art facility at Chakan, Pune, where it manufactures callipers, master cylinders, discs and hoses that comprise the complete two-wheeler hydraulic brake systems. Brembo Brake India also has a satellite unit for carrying out the Docking and Bleeding process, wherein the calliper and the master cylinder are connected by a hose and a vacuum bleeding is performed, which sucks out the air and fills the brake air so that it is ready to operate.
Around 70 % of the company’s domestic business comes from the complete bled system, which can be offered as a ready-to-fit solution for OEMs. “OEMs do not need to take the trouble of carrying out the bleeding on the line or on the bike, as the calliper and the master cylinder are attached to each other with the hoses with vacuum bleeding done,” explained Nirantar.
The company also launched a dedicated plant at Oragadam near Chennai primarily for carrying out docking and bleeding of the entire brake system by integrating the ABS modulator for Royal Enfield. “Transporting callipers and master cylinder is easy, but when they are joined with the hoses, they can turn inefficient during transportation,” said Nirantar justifying setting-up of the Oragadam plant.
Of course, the government’s move to make ABS mandatory in two-wheelers in the 125 cc and above segments threw up challenges, as the company had to integrate the ABS modulator with its own brake-system before it was delivered to the OEM. “Brembo Brake India does not undertake the responsibility of choosing the ABS modulator as it was the OEM’s call which modulator they want to use. The onus was on us to integrate, test it and offer a ready-to-go system,” observed Nirantar.
Besides catering to the two-wheeler braking requirements of Royal Enfield, Brembo Brake India offers its braking solutions to various other two-wheeler OEMs such as Baja Auto, Suzuki Motorcycle India, Yamaha Motor India, Hero MotoCorp and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI).
NEWER INNOVATIONS IN CALLIPERS
The growing attraction for disc brakes in the country’s two-wheeler space is largely driven by the proliferation of high-powered motorcycles over the last two decades or so. The presence of larger engines motorcycles has necessitated the need for more strong and reliable brakes. This is how hydraulic disc brakes are starting to gain market acceptance in India, wherein the disc brakes replaced the mechanical drum brakes first in the front wheel and later in the rear wheel. Typically, the front wheel disc brake is adequate enough for motorcycles in the 125 cc and 150 cc segments, but in bikes above 150 cc, front and rear wheel disc brakes are imperative, Nirantar pointed out.
The advent of high-performance bikes in the Indian two-wheeler space also triggered newer innovations in the area of two-wheeler callipers that are available in various diameters. The company started-off manufacturing single-piston callipers and based on market demands subsequently moved to manufacturing two-piston and four-piston callipers. Brembo Brake India currently manufactures single-piston floating callipers in sizes of 32 mm and 34 mm, two-piston floating callipers in sizes of 2 x 24 mm, 2 x 26 mm, 2 x 28 mm, 30 x 32 mm and four-piston radial callipers in size 4 x 24 mm.
As far as manufacturing master-cylinders are concerned, the company manufactures master-cylinders having pistons ranging from 11 mm to 17 mm. Brembo Brake India also manufactures fixed discs with size ranging from diameter 190 mm to 320 mm. The company has also been a pioneer in introducing steel braided hoses in the Indian two-wheeler space. These steel hoses have much lower expansion characteristics, are sleek and deliver a higher performance as compared to rubber hoses that have higher expansion as compared to steel braided hoses, Nirantar noted.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are steadily generating buzz across the country and the company is cautiously evaluating opportunities in this area. Brembo Brake India currently supplies disc brake solutions to Bengaluru-based electric vehicle start-up Ather Energy and is engaged in discussions with half a dozen EV start-ups. The Indian automotive industry is going through a prolonged slowdown and the two-wheeler market has also bore the brunt of the same in 2019. Despite the slowdown blues, Brembo Brake India clocked a growth of over 9 %.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua