HYDE16 Reviews Forge Motorsport Front Brake Kit (330mm Kit)
This thread is not designed to debate or argue
whether certain brake upgrades are “overkill” for street / high performance driving, which piston designs are “better”, rotor and caliper design differences, hub centricity, the use of dust shields, brake pad choices, who manufactures what or where you believe parts are sourced, etc. This thread is designed to review and discuss the specifics of the braking upgrades I chose for my specific braking applications; the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit (BBK) and also to get feedback from what other’s have used for their specific braking applications. This disclaimer is to keep this thread on track for those that may find it useful for their braking upgrade decisions. To date, I have put the most time into this specific review in order to answer many of the above questions and concerns before readers respond. Read the entire thread before posting your questions, comments or concerns, I bet the majority of them will be answered. Enjoy!
Mike, Sean, Chris, and Peter at Forge Motorsports and Bill at Hosetechnik – for answering my onslaught of manufacturing questions and of course for this impressive front brake kit
Pat & JR at Redline Speed Worx – for yet another professional shop install and your feedback on my braking upgrade choice
Simmsled (Matt) / Jeff43 (Jeff) / Crew219 (Dave) – for our in-depth discussions on the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit
GunKata (John) / Xola3que (John) – for discussing various BBK options
Tecni (Dan) – for your feedback on having this Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit installed on your MK6 GTI
sum41kid861 (Donald) – for your feedback on having this Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit installed on your MK5 GTI and the pictures you took while at Forge UK
Redline Speed Worx
176 Jefferson Street, Washington, NJ 07882
6439 Milner Blvd, Suite 6, Orlando, FL 32809
Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit Product Info & Spec Sheet
Front Brake Kit - 330mm (17" or larger wheels) -$1,800-
Front Brake Kit - 356mm (18" or larger wheels) -$1,900-
-Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit Spec Sheet-
-CNC machined forged billet aluminum calipers
-High strength to weight ratio at 3.46 kg (7.6 lbs)
-Custom CNC machined forged billet aluminum caliper mounting bracket
-Radial mounted caliper for maximum rigidity
-6 pistons per caliper with staggered piston sizes for even pad wear (30mm, 36.5mm. 38.5mm)
-Minimized internal brake fluid reservoir for improved proportioning and bias
-Uses standard pad profile available from many popular pad manufacturers
-2-piece rotor assembly
-CNC machined lightweight forged billet aluminum rotor hats
-Black hard anodized finish on caliper, mounting brackets, and rotor hats
-Proprietary iron alloy rotor discs with directional curved vanes for optimized rotor cooling
-Slotted rotors for dust and gas evacuation adds long term durability
-Pad retaining grooves, pins and clips reduce pad noise and allow for easy pad changes
-Custom stainless steel braided Teflon brake lines
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Rotor Disc Replacements
Replacement Front Brake Rotor Discs and are available from Forge Motorsport and are supplied with new hats already fitted.
Replacement 330 x 32 Discs -$850-
Replacement 356 x 32 Discs -$890-
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Pads
The Forge Motorsport Front Brake Kit comes with supplied EBC “Yellow Stuff” pads but other pads can be used. Cross-referenced part numbers are listed on the -Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit Spec Sheet-
. As an FYI, the pads should not be any more than 17mm thick, otherwise they will require shaving to fit within the caliper housing. For my application I opted for the Hawk HB122 Ceramic compound pads due to the success of my Hawk HPS pads in the past. I also chose ceramic for the lowest amount of daily driving noise and ultra low dust output. Come HPDE-1 “green group” track events, I may swap over to the supplied EBC “Yellow Stuff” pads.
Custom Stainless Steel Braided Teflon Brake Lines
As per Forge, every complete stainless steel braided Teflon brake line included with the Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit is manufactured in-house by -Hosetechnik-
using only the highest quality 95PVC coated stainless steel braided Teflon brake hose and custom machined stainless steel end fittings. Hosetechnik recently acquired the specialized equipment necessary to produce their own line of DOT and TUV approved stainless steel braided Teflon brake lines. The manufacturing process of the stainless steel braided Teflon brake lines is shown here on -Facebook-
Researching Your Braking Upgrade Options
Braking upgrades can be an exhausting topic. Factors such as cost, required braking level (pad/rotors/lines/fluid vs. Big Brake Kits), rotational mass, unsprung weight, overall weight savings or addition, caliper and rotor design (1 piece, 2 piece, slotted, drilled, both, etc.), piston count, braking bias, hub centricity, material quality, durability, etc. can have us spending countless hours scouring the net for reviews, checking product websites, calling manufacturers with questions, and testing systems by driving someone else’s car. There are an abundance of choices on the market today for us to think long and hard about which options would suite our specific driving applications and car setup. Some forum reviews are decent, providing up-close pictures after install but the performance is based on that user’s perception of braking. What I wanted to provide was an in-depth review of this big brake option to show the comparisons and differences between other systems for those in the market in addition to comparing my previous braking upgrades.
My Specific Braking Applications
My 4-door 2011 MK6 GTI is a daily driver to work, daycare, grocery shopping, errands and my weekly Garden State Euros club meets. Occasionally I will attend NASA or ACNA High Performance Driving Events under the HPDE-1 “green group” to put all of my upgrades to the test with a certified instructor. During my commute to work I’m very fortunate to have a route that really allows me to put the car through its paces on a daily basis through all sorts of Northeast New Jersey weather and traffic. I enjoy congested and wide-open highway runs, freshly paved on and off-ramps, long down-hill and up-hill windy back roads and plenty of stop and go intersections. I feel that with the changes in weather, I have almost the perfect testing grounds for braking power and durability. As far as safety is concerned, I felt completely confident using the OEM VW calipers with any choice of aftermarket pads. Regardless of the company, changing to a completely new caliper design that will be mounted to your car’s OEM hub with a bracket had me somewhat worried. Being that this was my first Big Brake Kit, I needed the same safety factor and confidence since my car also serves as a daycare shuttle for my daughter (have kids and you’ll understand how safety becomes a forefront for everything in your life, ha).
My Braking Upgrade Progression
In the past, my “level 1” braking upgrades included front and rear Stoptech Street Performance pads then front and rear Hawk HPS pads, both tested with ATE Super Blue DOT 4 brake fluid, OEM rotors and OEM brake lines. The pads alone definitely provided a better bite with initial brake pedal input and I was happy with them for daily driving and my first HPDE-1 “green group” event. Still, at full or close to full stops from high speeds I felt brake fade or a lag after depressing the brake pedal fully and waiting to come to a complete stop. I always hoped that a Big Brake Kit would shorten that lag between driver input and the car actually coming to a complete stop. The other major complaint I had with this level 1 braking upgrade was the overall pedal feel, or lack thereof. To me, whether you have the OEM brakes or upgraded pads and fluid, the brake pedal felt linear in terms of feedback from initial input to completely depressing it. It felt spongy and not very proportionate to the rate of stopping power needed and applied. Overall though, level 1 braking upgrades will more than suffice a large percentage of daily drivers, street enthusiasts and “green group” weekend warriors with OEM cars or bolt on modifications + software. As I’m building my project car for APR’s K04 kit, I knew I needed something to balance out high speeds and clean up the slop I feel with the OEM braking system or level 1 braking upgrades.
Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit Initial Impressions and Results
I am not one to just say “I have a Big Brake Kit, braking is amazing”. I wanted to provide more than that in terms of pedal feel, braking deceleration feel, controllability, bite onset and comparisons to OEM and “level 1 upgrades” (pad/rotors/lines/fluid). As we know, braking sensation and experience is all relative and based on individual user perceptions. To further complicate a user’s explanation, there are contributing factors and other upgrades to take into account. Wheel weight, choice of tires, suspension modifications, bushings, road conditions, weather and temperatures, etc. all play a part in how brakes react. My 4-door 2011 MK6 GTI has -18x8 Avant Garde M310 wheels-
at 23.5lbs each wrapped in Continental DWS tires with roughly 10K miles on them, VW Driver Gear Springs, H&R 26mm front, H&R 22mm rear, Audi subframe bolts and shims and an Autotech Engine Mount Insert. With all of these factors I will try my best to walk the readers of this thread through how the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit feels and reacts with my car’s setup
I had the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit installed on a Friday along with new Stoptech rear slotted rotors with black hubs and Hawk HPS pads. With sunny mid-70 degree weather and dry roads, we were ready to test these braking upgrades. Once finished, JR from Redline Speed Worx took me out to bed the brakes in (covered below with pictures). He looked at me from my driver’s seat, smiles and says “are you ready?” Excitedly I grunt “let’s do this!” The first hard application of the brakes had me grasping the door handle to stop myself from eating the dashboard. The next few hard stops I was more prepared but still nearly had the wind knocked out of me as the decelerating G-force squeezed me like a squeak toy. Just kidding, seriously though the continual hard stops during the bedding process had absolutely thrown me forward harder than the OEM braking or my level 1 braking upgrades.
The ride home was mainly highways but the first thing I noticed when shifting lanes was that I felt much more in control of my brake pedal. Without a doubt the sponginess I experienced in the past was gone. One of the easiest ways I can explain this would be to compare it to anyone who has had a full aftermarket clutch replacement in their car. The pedal provides much more feedback and is more progressive in terms of how increased pedal input correlates to a harder pedal feel which then correlates to the car slowing progressively faster. It’s very hard to explain this through words but with the OEM braking it almost felt as if you depressed the brake pedal with the same amount of pressure until you reached the dead zone and waiting for the car to come to a complete stop after the max amount of driver input was provided. With the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit, the driver input is completely realized and modulated with direct feedback and braking response in a progressive manner.
Over the rest of the weekend there were two rainy days where I immediately took the car out to test its braking capability in the rain. Short and sweet, from being caught in a full downpour to light rain, the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit was unaffected by wet weather. Final Thought:
overall the initial bite is great, pedal modulation feels way better in terms of control and feedback and when you need to stop for real, depressing the brake pedal fully brings everything to a halt immediately. Around town the brakes are very easy going, you are not thrown forward with the intial bite or general input to the brake pedal but when you need to stop, you will for sure.
Forge Motorsport Manufacturing Questions, Customer Service and Ordering
Working with Mike and Sean at Forge Motorsport US was a breeze, they were very quick to address my concerns about choosing a an aftermarket braking system with a high level or quality and safety. When questioning Forge’s involvement in manufacturing this 330mm Front Brake Kit, they sent me a ton of information on their manufacturing processes and specifics (more below) and were always available to talk over email and phone.
As per Forge, these Big Brake Kits are manufactured at the Forge UK plant and the only parts that are outsourced are the EBC brake pads, the piston seals which are custom and proprietary, and the rotor discs. Forge has gone on record to say: “These kits are manufactured at our facility in the UK. The only parts we don't make in-house are obviously the pads, which are produced by EBC, the piston seals which are custom and proprietary, and the rotor discs which are standard blanks that we outsource. These are not a rebranded Asian-made kit that are sold under numerous name/off brands. These kits are entirely ours, and you will not find them available anywhere else.”
Forge UK Pictures
Courtesy of sum41kid861 (Donald)
Courtesy of Forge UK
Courtesy of Forge UK
Shipment, Packaging and Unboxing
The nuts used on the assembly are rattle-proof k-nuts which are self-locking nuts that do not require checking
As per Forge, the 330mm kit should come in at almost the exact same weight as the OEM GTI brakes. From my testing, replacing the front calipers alone saved 5lbs while the rotor weights were exactly the same. While not rotational mass, it’s still a small reduction in unsprung weight for the front end when upgrading to larger rotors, larger calipers with additional pistons and stainless steel braided Teflon brake lines. The 356mm kit would be heavier than the OEM GTI brakes, but are still lighter than OEM brake upgrade options such as the R32, S3, TTS, TT-RS and Golf R brakes by exactly 10.6 lbs per side. Regardless of the weight, both kits will obviously offer better stopping performance.
Installation and Testing at Redline Speed Worx
Being that Redline Speed Worx is the premier European tuning shop in the Tri-State area, I had them install this Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit while I worked on this review. Due to their shop rules and insurance policies I was unable to assist in the install but I was allowed to take pictures after each step of the installation process. Installation was very straight forward; remove the OEM brake lines and calipers together on each side, remove the rotor set screws and rotors, install the new 2-piece rotors and set screws, bolt on the caliper bracket with two supplied bolts, bolt on the calipers, connect the new stainless steel braided Teflon brake lines, remove the caliper pins and clips to install the new brake pads, re-install, bleed the brakes, mount the wheels and you’re done! The bolts for mounting the caliper brackets to the hubs and the calipers to the caliper brackets were installed with blue loc-tite and tightened to 90-100 ft/lbs. of torque. After the install was complete, JR commented that the install was very straightforward and that the included hardware bolted right on without any issues. Overall, Redline Speed Worx was impressed with the quality and design of the Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit.
Audi TT-RS Brake Ducts
I had plans for one additional braking upgrade to compliment this entire Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit but unfortunately the control arm sizes between the MK5 and MK6 GTIs are very different. From the following threads below I pieced together parts from the Audi TT-RS Brake Ducts which will work on the MK5 GTI only, not the MK6 GTI as I found out. TT RS Brake upgrade news
/ Audi brake cooling mod TTRS
/ RS3 / TT upper strut mount + brake ventilation element
Since these parts do not fit on my 2011 MK6 GTI control arms, I have a brand new, complete MK5 GTI -Audi TT-RS Brake Duct Package For Sale: $100 Shipped-
The Completed Look, Fit & Finish
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Calipers
As per Forge, the CNC machined forged billet aluminum calipers and CNC machined forged billet aluminum caliper mounting brackets are manufactured in-house at Forge UK using 7075 high-grade billet aluminum and heavy duty weather seals to make them a genuine road-friendly kit in any weather conditions (see above pictures of Forge’s CNC machine). Anodizing is outsourced to a local ISO:9001 company whose primary customer is a leading UK Aerospace manufacturer. The same caliper is used in both the 330mm and 356mm kits, however the internal dimensions of the underside of the calipers are designed to accommodate both rotor diameters. The circumferences of each respective rotor size are such that the same pad profile/shape can be used as well. While this is obviously done to minimize the total number of differentiated parts between the kits (only the caliper carrier bracket and rotor disc), and to keep costs down, there was consideration given to designing the single caliper to meet the needs of both kits, while still providing differentiated levels of braking performance between them based on the rotor size, surface area, heat dissipation, etc.
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Pistons, Seals, Dust Boots
As per Forge, each caliper contains 6 proprietary, staggered piston sizes for even pad wear (30mm, 36.5mm. 38.5mm). The pistons within the caliper are designed such that the fluid cavity inside the caliper itself is kept to a minimum which will not adversely affect pedal feel or brake bias. These staggered pistons do not contain piston seals or dust boots as this decision was taken following a long development process and the study of brake caliper assemblies from other leading manufacturers. These calipers and staggered pistons are genuinely ok for street and track use and there are no planned piston seals or dust boots at this time.
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Braking Bias
As per Forge, the MK5 and MK6 ABS systems are not so sensitive as to be dramatically affected by the change from a single piston caliper to their 6 piston caliper design. The reason for the increased number of pistons is to apply more even pressure distribution across the back of the larger pads, which results in more consistent clamping force on the rotors. As per my testing I have not noticed any major shift in braking bias, I will know more once I bring my car out on the track for testing.
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Rotors
As per Forge, the rotor disks are track-spec and utilize separate rotor hats for optimum heat dissipation (2-piece rotor assembly), meaning that they can cope with repeated hard applications without fade. The rotor disk ring holes are oval thus taking thermal expansion and the joining of different materials (rotor disk and rotor hat) into account. The wear rating is entirely dependent on individual driving applications and the degree of use they are exposed to. The Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Rotor Disc Replacement Kits are available in two disk sizes with new rotor hats already fitted; 330mm for cars running a minimum of 17-inch wheels and 356mm for vehicles running a minimum of 19-inch wheels or bigger.
Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Rotor Hats, Bolts and Nuts
As per Forge, the CNC machined forged billet aluminum rotor hats are manufactured in-house at Forge UK using 7075 high-grade billet aluminum while the nuts and bolts are outsourced and the anodizing is outsourced to a local ISO:9001 company whose primary customer is a leading UK Aerospace manufacturer. The nuts used on the 2-piece rotor assembly are rattle-proof, self-locking -K-Nuts-
which Forge assures does not require checking or tightening and are as effective as spring washers which may be used on other 2-piece rotor assemblies. Forge does not advise that owners separate the rotor disks from the rotor hats as they are dynamically balanced and changing the orientation of one to the other could result in uneven pad wear and vibration through the brake pedal in extreme circumstances.
As per Forge, the fully assembled 2-piece rotors ARE
hub-centric to the stock hub size (exactly the same at the OEM rotors). These fully assembled 2-piece rotors also include the mounting hole for the set screw to secure the rotor to the hub prior to wheel mounting. I made it a point to have my front wheels re-balanced at a local ETD shop which uses a laser balancer and low profile balancing weights on my -18x8 Avant Garde M310 wheels-
to eliminate any clearance issues. Since the installation and testing of this Forge Motorsport 330mm Front Big Brake Kit I have not experienced any steering wheel vibrations or negative feedback from the front wheels.
The OEM dust shields can be retained and do not interfere with either of the Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kits in any way. Forge removed the dust shields on their Audi TTS track car purely to save every ounce of weight possible. That’s roughly 1 lb of unsprung weight for each dust shield which can definitely make a difference when removed from all 4 corners. I decided to leave all 4 dust shields on for my daily driving application. Come HPDE-1 “green group” track events, I may pull them off to test.
I asked Forge if they had a recommended break-in procedure to which they replied that standard bed-in procedures vary and will depend on what school of thought and background the user comes from. They stated that the user should follow the recommended bed-in procedures for the specific brake pads being used. In this case I opted to use the tried and proven -Zeckhausen Racing bed-in process-
which I have used many times before.
Above picture is how the new Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake 2-piece rotors looked after the -Zeckhausen Racing bed-in process-
Sourcing Replacement Parts (Caliper Bolts, Caliper Mounting Bracket, Pad Retaining Pins and Clips)
All replacement parts can be obtained from Forge UK or via the Forge US office after they receive the parts from Forge UK. If replacement parts are needed, Forge states that the general turnaround time after requesting the parts from Forge US would be 5-10 days (conditions dependant). To date, Forge has assured me that they have not determined the need for any replacement of parts on their Audi TTS track car or other test vehicles although they advised that wear and tear is entirely dependent on individual driving applications.
The Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit was used on their Audi TTS track car in the US at the Eurotuner Grand Prix and at Nurburgring earlier this year. This Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit was also used on the Volkswagen Scirocco track car on their drive to Austria and at the Forge UK track day in September. They are very much OK for track use.
Final Thought From Forge Motorsport
Forge priced this Front Big Brake Kit to fit within the market demographic so as to offer great function, performance and value for the money. The Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit is part of an overall braking system. It effectively accomplishes only one part of an entire system that will directly affect the braking ability/performance of a vehicle. It is up to the user to ensure that all components of their braking system work together with synergy to achieve the overall desired effect. Driving applications, skill level, vehicle weight and balance, suspension parts used, suspension settings used, wheel weight, tire compounds, tire sizes, tire pressures, power level, track/road conditions, etc. will all affect the performance of any braking system.
and -Redline Speed Worx-
invites you to check out their products and services online or in person. If you are in the Northeast area, come check them out at -Waterfest 18-
on July 21st and 22nd at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. I will be at Waterfest as well with my my 4-door 2011 MK6 GTI with this Forge Motorsport Front Big Brake Kit.
Just circling back to show everyone how I threw my 17” ET37 snow shoes on here in NJ. Tight fit but the wheels and wheel weights clear the calipers on this 330mm 6 piston kit without an issue.
I pulled the pads out to check for even wear and to regrease the backing plates, inspected the rotors then put everything back together. Some of the rotor hub allen screws took a little tightening just to snug them up. I’d say 25% of the overall screws from both front rotors took a little tightening up. We’re not talking full turns here, just a tiny adjustment.
Overall the kit is holidng up very well, from what I can tell, on a daily driver rotor and pad wear is very slow. I don’t drive this as aggressively as I should for having a BBK, when I need them they are there but they hold up great so far for daily driving.