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      01-15-2014, 09:59 AM   #45
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Hi Guys,
I've now had 3-4 forum members message me over the past couple of weeks asking about a direct comparison to the StopTech systems currently on the market. I really appreciate that people don't want to start a mud-slinging brand vs. brand battle in my thread. That said, I'm happy to lay out the facts to those who are interested. I think it's important for people to understand what exactly they're getting when spending thousands of dollars on a brake kit. I don't see any harm in sticking to the facts/specs, and I'll try to leave out conjecture.

I was actually the sales manager at StopTech for roughly five years before taking on my current role at Essex/AP Racing. While at ST I was also involved in just about every part of the process of bringing their products to the market (production, product mgmt., component sourcing, etc.). I doubt there is anyone more uniquely qualified to compare their system to ours. Below is a comparison of the components in our kit vs. those in the StopTech setups, but this info also applies in the same manner to other high performance street big brake kits (painted calipers, aluminum pistons, dust boots, drilled discs, etc.) currently on the market.

Here's the breakdown as I see it comparing our Essex Designed AP Racing Competition Big Brake Kit vs. the StopTech six piston BBK with 15" (380x32mm) discs.

Calipers
Essex version of the AP Racing CP5060 six piston vs. StopTech ST-60 six piston

Anti-knockback springs
AP Racing has them, StopTech does not. People severely underestimate how valuable these springs are. After going through S turns, you'll have a much lower pucker factor in the next brake zone with the AKB springs installed.

Piston type

StopTech= cast aluminum
AP= machined stainless steel, domed back, ventilated
Stainless steel is far superior at keeping heat out of your brake fluid vs. aluminum. The domed back on the AP pistons adds substantial stiffness, which can be felt as a firmer pedal. The ventilation on the piston edges allows for more cooling air circulation. All of these features add up to greater heat rejection around the piston area, ultimately leading to a lower chance of brake fluid boiling and resulting fade.

Weight
StopTech ST-60 is 8.9 lbs.
Our version of the AP Racing CP5060 weighs 6.2 lbs. without pads...approximately 3 lbs. lighter per side than the StopTech ST-60.

Dust Boots
StopTech is a street caliper, and as such uses dust boots. The AP CP5060 has none. If you've ever run dust boots on the track, you'll find that they burn up and cause a big mess almost instantly. Their only value is if you're driving on winter or debris/dirty roads. As soon as they go on track they essentially lose all value.

Seals
Both calipers have quality, high temperature seals.

Pad choice/cost/size
The ST-60 and AP Racing CP5060 use the same basic shape (it was originally an AP Racing shape, implemented many years ago. The D54 radial depth version we use in the CP5060 has an additional 3 mm of surface area along the lower edge, giving a bit more pad volume vs. the D51 pads in the ST-60. Pricing on the two pad shapes is the same.

Stainless Steel hardware
Both calipers have quality stainless steel hardware.

Footprint/size
In addition to weighing much less, the CP5060 has a smaller footprint and tends to offer superior wheel fitment.

Finish
StopTech= painted. Look pretty, but will not look as good after hard use. Red turns maroon/brown, etc. Paint and powdercoat tend to color shift dramatically at track temps. If you're driving through road salt however, they will be better protected than anodized.

AP Racing= anodized. Look 'racier' (like what you see on full-blown race cars like the factory M3 racers) and do not color shift nearly as much. I tell people that they go from grey to ugly grey.

Bracket
Both have high quality anodized aluminum brackets and aircraft quality hardware.

Rebuild Service
Essex offers a lifetime professional reconditioning service. For a $150/caliper you can send your calipers to Essex and have them rebuilt by the same techs who service calipers for NASCAR Sprint Cup and ALMS teams. StopTech can rebuild I believe, but I'm not sure how formalized their procedures, policies, and prices are at this time.

Discs

Design
Discs from both manufacturers are quality castings that are crack resistant and will last a long time under heavy track use. That said, the AP Racing discs are a heavy duty 72 vane internal construction, and patented J hook face slot are the #1 choice at the elite level of motorsports (NASCAR, ALMS, DTM, Super GT, etc.). The StopTech's are only a 48 vane disc with a conventional slot pattern.

Disc hats
Both have a quality design and are made from high grade, anodized aluminum. Both are optimized for weight and airflow.

Weight
Essex/AP Racing hat/disc=17.6 lbs.
StopTech hat/disc= 21-22 lbs.

When you combine the caliper and disc weights, our system weighs 9-10 lbs. less per side vs. StopTech or 20 more lbs. off the nose of the car.

Disc Size
Each customer will have to decide if they want to go with a 15" or 14" disc. I addressed the 'size issue' earlier in this thread. I believe a smaller diameter AP Racing disc can outperform most larger discs from other manufacturers. A 380mm disc does offer more thermal mass, but design is just as important as size.

Spare Disc Price
Even though the AP discs offer far more features, pricing is almost the same as StopTech's recently increased price per disc. Replacement iron prices per disc are as follows:

$359 Essex/AP Racing Sprint Kit (355x32mm)
$360 for the StopTech 380x32

Other Items

Wheel Fitment
Our Essex Comp kits sit inboard of the StopTech setup a bit, offering superior clearance. I'd need to check to find the specific difference. Obviously with a smaller diameter disc, our kit will fit many/most 18" wheels, whereas the StopTech kit will not.

Brake Lines
Both systems came with a high quality set of brake lines. The Spiegler lines in our setup use all stainless steel fittings made in Switzerland (assembled and tested in Ohio). The fittings on the ST lines are not quite to the same spec.

StopTech Trophy Kit
The other option to go with for a StopTech six piston on a 15" disc would be their Trophy system. The differences in that system vs. their standard setup are: Caliper weighs about a pound less than the standard ST-60 roughly 7.9 lbs...it has more material removed during the machining process, caliper is anodized, available with no dust boots, washers can be flipped on discs to offer more float, disc hats are anodized. AKB springs are available at an additional charge.

Overall Kit Prices
StopTech ST-60 Trophy= $4145
Essex Designed AP Racing Competition Big Brake Kit= $3,599
StopTech ST-60 BBK= $3,395

Our complete kit pricing falls between the two StopTech six piston kits.

Racing Pedigree and Brand Equity
While I'm far from a brand snob, I'd say it's safe to say that AP Racing gets the nod in terms of brand equity, racing heritage, and pedigree. StopTech has had good success in the lower ranks of racing (World Challenge, Grand Am, etc.), but AP dominates at the elite level. Virtually all of the factory BMW race cars use AP Racing (as noted earlier in this thread), DTM, etc. Not to mention AP dominates many of the 'money-no-object' markets when teams have a brake choice (non-spec) such as NASCAR Sprint Cup, Super GT, ALMS etc. (which btw are extraordinarily tough on brakes, even though they're typically going in a circle!).

Which Kit to Choose?
Compared to the ST Trophy kit, I'd call it a no-contest. The Trophy Kits are modified street components designed to work better on track. They have more 'race-like' features, but they are still limited in their capacity by the aluminum pistons, a low disc vane count, and heavier weight vs. our purpose built race caliper and disc. The Trophy base price is over $500 more than our kit, and the specification on the components aren't as high as they are in our kit. As such, I don't expect the components will last quite as long at track temperature vs. the ones in our kit (pads, discs, etc.). I believe our system is a significantly better value.

While our system is a bit more expensive than the standard StopTech ST-60 kit, you're getting a lot more technology for your money. If you peruse the list above, you'll see that every component in our kit meets or exceeds their specification, and is more closely aligned with professional-level race components. That is intentional. When you factor in the fact that the higher specification components will need fewer replacements, the running costs over a year or two will balance out quickly, essentially negating the initial price difference. You'll also be saving about 9-10 lbs. unsprung weight per front corner with our kit!

If you can't live without a giant 380mm disc, then obviously the choice is also clear.


Summary

Ultimately both companies make a great product. I had an ST-60/ST-40 14" BBK on my Z06 while I worked at StopTech (and an ST-40 kit on my 350Z). Both were solid products made by good people. I'm also still friends with a number of their employees (since I hired and trained most of their current sales staff). When we put our Essex Competition Kits together however, I tried to look at every piece of the StopTech system and produce something that eclipsed its performance, all while keeping the costs at a level that the average enthusiast could afford. My past employment there put me in a perfect position to accomplish this task, and I believe we have succeeded...more technology borrowed from pro racing, higher specification, lower running costs, better fitment, etc. I believe what we're doing is taking things to the next level for the average club racer, HPDE student, and autoX'r, and giving them access to previously unobtainable technology and performance.

Last edited by jritt@essex; 01-15-2014 at 02:53 PM.
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      01-15-2014, 01:07 PM   #46
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Great post Jeff. One point of clarification though. The ST60 kit comes with 380mm rotors. Their ST40 kit comes with the 355's.

Can you list the piston sizes of your kit and the st60 (380mm) kit? I'm asking because I'm curious if your kit will have less sensitivity than my 380mm stoptechs. I'm happy with the heat capacity of my stoptechs and I added anti knockback springs to mine (a must for track driving), but if I was to be overly critical, I might say that they're a touch too sensitive and harder to modulate. This is why I use the lowest mu track pads I can find (along with ceramic street pads).
Can you comment on the pedal feel of your kit?
Thanks.
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      01-15-2014, 02:40 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyBobby View Post
Great post Jeff. One point of clarification though. The ST60 kit comes with 380mm rotors. Their ST40 kit comes with the 355's.

Can you list the piston sizes of your kit and the st60 (380mm) kit? I'm asking because I'm curious if your kit will have less sensitivity than my 380mm stoptechs. I'm happy with the heat capacity of my stoptechs and I added anti knockback springs to mine (a must for track driving), but if I was to be overly critical, I might say that they're a touch too sensitive and harder to modulate. This is why I use the lowest mu track pads I can find (along with ceramic street pads).
Can you comment on the pedal feel of your kit?
Thanks.
Thanks...ah well, there you go...shows what I know! Thanks for note. I had Corvette on the brain...while there we had both a 14" and 15" six piston kit for those cars.

Our setup runs a 31.75mm, 34.92mm, 38.1mm on a 355mm disc.
You can see a technical drawing of the caliper here.

I don't have the piston size info on the StopTech 380mm kit.

I haven't driven our setup on an M3 yet. Frankly it's so new, I only have a about a dozen customers who have driven our front Corvette kit using this caliper, which was released a couple of weeks ago. Every one I have spoken to is thrilled with the feel and performance of the kit. One of my vette customers has four races this coming weekend (two 20 mins. and two 40 mins.), so I should have some good feedback from him next week.
All of that said, the core AP Racing CP5060 caliper has been around a long while, and has been used in all types of racing around the world. Our version is a bit upgraded vs. the standard version, but overall the caliper has a very solid history in racing. Sorry I can't give you more concrete feedback at this point. By late spring I expect there should be a lengthy list of reviews to read however.

Last edited by jritt@essex; 01-16-2014 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Corrected piston sizing
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      01-16-2014, 10:23 AM   #48
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The Essex Designed AP Racing Competition Big Brake Kit for the E90/E92/E93 is now live on our site. We expect to start taking and filling orders within the next two weeks.

Here is the wheel fitment template if you'd like to check wheel clearance. Our kit will clear the OEM front wheels with plenty of room to spare.

Almost ready...
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      01-16-2014, 01:41 PM   #49
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Thanks for sharing the piston sizes. The st60's have 36 36 30 for comparison sake.
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      01-16-2014, 04:17 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jritt@essex View Post
The Essex Designed AP Racing Competition Big Brake Kit for the E90/E92/E93 is now live on our site. We expect to start taking and filling orders within the next two weeks.

Here is the wheel fitment template if you'd like to check wheel clearance. Our kit will clear the OEM front wheels with plenty of room to spare.

Almost ready...
Great setup! Just wanted to clarify something: Looking at the template and the one from brembo for their 365 kit, your kit will easily clear the 219M 18 inch wheel with more than 13mm to spare around the barrel. I know this because I did fit (and actually drive) a 18x8.5 219M wheel around the brembo 365 kit with low profile weights. This is a great 6 piston 14 inch kit that was missing a year ago unfortunately.

Also, your piston sizes are spot on: Quick calculations shows that the fronts provide the same leverage (=same brake force given same pads/discs/tires) as the stock brake system. So a front only upgrade is provably doable.


Last edited by r53s65e90; 01-17-2014 at 03:18 AM.
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      01-17-2014, 09:14 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r53s65e90 View Post
Great setup! Just wanted to clarify something: Looking at the template and the one from brembo for their 365 kit, your kit will easily clear the 219M 18 inch wheel with more than 13mm to spare around the barrel. I know this because I did fit (and actually drive) a 18x8.5 219M wheel around the brembo 365 kit with low profile weights. This is a great 6 piston 14 inch kit that was missing a year ago unfortunately.

Also, your piston sizes are spot on: Quick calculations shows that the fronts provide the same leverage (=same brake force given same pads/discs/tires) as the stock brake system. So a front only upgrade is provably doable.

Thanks for the kind words. Yes, we did a special run of the CP5060 calipers specifically sized for the e90 M3. The brake bias shift is at approximately 0.3% towards the front vs. stock, so it is about as dead-on as you can possibly get. You would get substantially more of a bias shift by simply installing race pads in your front OEM calipers than you would by installing our BBK and holding all else equal.
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      01-17-2014, 09:16 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyBobby View Post
Thanks for sharing the piston sizes. The st60's have 36 36 30 for comparison sake.
No worries...thanks for the data point!
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      01-21-2014, 08:42 AM   #53
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Hi Gents,
Here's a pic that we took yesterday of "What's in the box?" when you order one of our kits:


Here are a few detail pics as well:











And some of the bits for the rear kit:




Last edited by jritt@essex; 01-21-2014 at 02:31 PM.
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      01-21-2014, 10:46 AM   #54
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Awesome!
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      01-21-2014, 08:42 PM   #55
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Stainless steel pistons are definitely nice.
Doesn't AP have the strap drive system on their rotors? Why was that not used?

Price is very reasonable, but to be fair, you can usually get the Stoptechs at a discount.
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      01-21-2014, 11:09 PM   #56
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I'm surprised nobody seems familiar with AP Racing's own Competition Kit (not to be confused with their strap-drive BBK, which is more geared towards road and occasional track use). Their competition kit features full bobbin-float 368mm x 36mm - 72 vane front discs, and 352mm x 26mm - 48 vane rear discs. The calipers are similar to the ones in the Essex kit in that they are meant for the race track, i.e. S.S. pistons, knockback springs, no dust boots, and unpainted.

Below are links to AP Racing's description of the kit.

http://www.apracing.com/product_deta...60-1001np.aspx

http://www.apracing.com/product_deta...02-1003np.aspx
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      01-22-2014, 11:40 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aus View Post
Stainless steel pistons are definitely nice.
Doesn't AP have the strap drive system on their rotors? Why was that not used?
AP uses strap-drive in some kits, but not in racing. The bobbin/float system we are using is identical to what we sell to pro race teams, and has been proven time and again. It has less moving parts/components, it has a great amount of float, it's easy to service, and it's reliable and not prone to failure when it counts most (at the end of a 24 hour race with the championship on the line). That's why we're using the standard race setup.
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      01-22-2014, 12:06 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.lecram View Post
I'm surprised nobody seems familiar with AP Racing's own Competition Kit (not to be confused with their strap-drive BBK, which is more geared towards road and occasional track use). Their competition kit features full bobbin-float 368mm x 36mm - 72 vane front discs, and 352mm x 26mm - 48 vane rear discs. The calipers are similar to the ones in the Essex kit in that they are meant for the race track, i.e. S.S. pistons, knockback springs, no dust boots, and unpainted.
I'm glad you brought that up. We designed our kit primarily for the North American market, and how our customers use their cars. The major differences in our kit vs. the kits you mentioned would be:
  • our kit weighs less by several pounds per corner
  • has 4 lb. vs. 7lb. anti-knockback springs
  • uses a slightly smaller disc and thinner pad (offering better wheel fitment)
  • has the float in the disc instead of in the hat (iron is harder than aluminum, and less costly to replace)
  • has ventilated, domed back SS pistons (vs. standard SS pistons)
  • a machined logo (vs. painted)
  • J Hook slot pattern on discs vs. straight slot
  • Initial purchase price is at least $700 lower
  • Replacement iron disc pricing is considerably lower
  • Our kit and spares will ship same day vs. a 6-8 week lead time
Ultimately those kits are excellent products. The components were designed by the same folks as those in our kit, and they have a little more thermal mass in the pad and disc than our kit. But as mentioned throughout this thread, it's just dead weight to drag around if you don't need it. Our kits will be more cost effective, more readily available, and more optimized for the needs of the North American market, which typically means 20 minute track sessions, 40 minute sprint races, autoX, etc.
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      01-22-2014, 06:24 PM   #59
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Is that little stainless retaining tab held in by the allen head screw the standard for retaining the pads in caliper? I'm sure hope it's red lock-tighted because if one side ever gets loose and comes off suddenly your pad is hanging down onto the hat or even out and it's not going to be very effective there.
Am I missing something?

Looks like a nice kit though.
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      01-23-2014, 09:01 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorH View Post
Is that little stainless retaining tab held in by the allen head screw the standard for retaining the pads in caliper? I'm sure hope it's red lock-tighted because if one side ever gets loose and comes off suddenly your pad is hanging down onto the hat or even out and it's not going to be very effective there.
Am I missing something?

Looks like a nice kit though.
Thanks. Yes, that is exactly what that little stainless tab is for. In my ten years of selling brake kits, you're literally the first customer to ever ask that question...good one! Yes, that little sucker is loaded with Loctite. Sometimes when we're rebuilding calipers for the race teams, we actually have to machine them out because they are so tough to remove. They definitely aren't going anywhere, and I've never heard of anything like you described happening. I just went back to our warehouse and snapped a pic of a NASCAR Sprint Cup caliper that was being rebuilt...they use the same feature:


That type of pad retention is pretty standard (although not everyone uses durable stainless steel like AP does). Below are a couple of our competitors' calipers that use the same type of feature. The screw that holds the pad retainer in place is in a different location on each of the calipers, but they all are doing the same thing. You can argue all day about the merits of each design, but the bottom line is that they work, and we've never seen any failures on this feature across the full range of AP Racing competition calipers.

Brembo

Alcon

StopTech




Here's a bonus shot that struck me as cool when I went back to get that first pic...a bunch of AP Racing Sprint Cup calipers waiting for rebuild. When you buy our big brake kit, you'll have full access to our caliper rebuild program. The same guys that rebuild these will rebuild yours as well. No need to drown yourself in brake fluid...send them to us and we'll send them back to you good as new.
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      01-23-2014, 02:36 PM   #61
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This kit reminds me of pure sex. Anyone that thinks this isn't bling must be crazy. Thanks for the detailed information.

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      01-23-2014, 02:38 PM   #62
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I will also say that when I come to getting a BBK the AP is my first choice. I was seeing them all over the racing events in Germany and now all your information has really sealed the deal.
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      01-24-2014, 09:22 PM   #63
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You have been pm'd!
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      01-24-2014, 09:57 PM   #64
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Wow...this is a pretty competitively priced kit for what it is...looks like a step above my Stoptech BBK. I'd look at these but I already have stoptechs. Definitely next time though!
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      01-24-2014, 11:42 PM   #65
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Wow, great looking piece of kit you've developed. This may be a bit of a poser question but have you considered anodizing in different colors? Like it or not even guys that order racing BBK's often do so for looks as much as performance...and I would love to see you guys as successful as possible in offering such a great alternative to what's already out there.
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      01-25-2014, 03:11 PM   #66
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perfect!! absolutely perfect.
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