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MF Review: JCW Brake Kit

Quite a bit has been written about the various upgrade paths one can take with the stock MINI brakes. On one end of the spectrum you have your stock calipers and rotors with upgraded pads. Then on the other (much more expensive end) you have your $2500 Brembo kits that may or may not be plated in gold. And right in the middle is the JCW Sport brake kit.

Now regardless of which you choose, most of us can agree on one thing: the stock set-up is in need of some type of upgrade if you plan on hitting the track. This is especially with the higher output of a Cooper S. When I was looking at my choices, my sights were planted firmly in that intermediate category between the pad upgrades and the gold plated $2500 brake kits. What swayed me into the JCW camp was the performance I got used to while autocrossing a JCW MCS last spring and the OEM benefits that cause many of us to go for JCW products in the first place.

After a long day at the track last summer with my own MINI, it was evident that my stock brakes were one of the weaker points of the car. While I was surprised at the lack of epic fade I had been expecting, the stock brakes simply didn’t give me the confidence that I would have liked. Leaving the track that day, I knew I had to make a change. After a bit of research, I had the JCW brake kit on the way via the fine folks at Morristown MINI.

It’s probably worth mentioning that there are a couple of kits out there that offer as much bang for the buck (if not more). For instance both Detroit Tuned and Webb Motorsports have kits in a similar price range that offer the benefits of larger size rotors with standard pad sizes (which allow more freedom to choose replacement brake pads) and lighter weight calipers and rotors. All very important things for heavy track use.

However the JCW brake kit holds it’s own in one important area; price. Somewhat surprisingly the JCW brake kit is a competitively priced alternative to aftermarket kits. Add to that performance that is on par (or close enough for 95% of us) with many of those same kits and you have a JCW product that may just be one of the better buys out there.

Installation is very straightforward if you’ve done brakes before. However, be prepared to use all of the 200 break-in miles to get them up to proper performance. In fact, it wasn’t until I had just about 200 miles on the brakes that they started to feel like other JCW equipped cars I had driven. Once broken in however, the stopping power was addictive.

But it wasn’t until the first track day that I felt the full benefit of the kit. Turn six at the Autobahn Country Club’s north track is known for being a little tricky. With my stock set-up I was a little reluctant to push and go deep into the corner. With the JCW brake kit I was able to brake much later and still feel completely confident. Best yet, at the end of the day I had very little fade. The brakes felt almost as good as they did going into the track eight hours before.

Yes, there are a couple of downsides to the kit. First off, the pad sizing is not entirely standard. That means for the near future aftermarket pad choice will be about…. zero. That said, I’ve heard from several tuners that will be offering something soon.

Another check in the not-so-good column is the weight of the calipers. Instead of making them out of aluminum (as with some aftermarket kits), the JCW brake kit is crafted out of the same heavy steel that the stock kit uses. While the weight certainly isn’t noticable while driving and shouldn’t be considered a major downside, it’s still there nonetheless. Because of this, if you’re doing more than one or two track days a year I’d not recommend the JCW Brake kit.

Despite this, I would recommend the kit to anyone who wants to go one step further than a stock pad or rotor upgrade. The JCW brake kit combines increased stopping power, reduction in fade, and OEM peace of mind that nothing else can quite match. All with a price that is hard to beat.

MotoringFile Rating: 4.5 (out of five)

Where to Buy

You can find the JCW Sport Brake kit at several MotoringFile sponsors:

Knauz MINI (mention MotoringFile and get a discount)

MINI of Manhattan

Morristown MINI (mention MotoringFile and get a discount)

Outmotoring

Patrick MINI

What comes in the kit

  • Front rotor: 34 11 6 768 933
  • Left front caliper: 34 11 6 770 191
  • Right front caliper: 34 11 6 770 192
  • Backing plate/mounting hardware: 34 11 6 770 414
  • Caliper rebuild kit: 34 11 6 769 277
  • Replacement front brake pads – Jurid 612 HA: 34 11 6 770 251
  • Replacement rear brake pads – Jurid 180 HA: 34 21 6 770 252

Full JCW Brake kit: 34 11 0 393 455 = $ 1,065.00

Cost:

The brake kit tested comes from Morristown MINI and was priced around $800 with the MotoringFile discount. This makes the JCW Brake kit one of the lowest-priced full brake kit on the market. More info can be found here.

OEM wheels that fit the JCW Brake Kit

Due to the larger sized calipers the JCW Brake kit only fits specific wheels. For one the only 16″ OEM wheel MINI recommends is the Bridge Spokes. For a full list click here.

Related

[ JCW Sport Brake Kit Reader Review ] MotoringFile

[ JCW Sport Brake Kit in Detail ] MotoringFile

Written By: Gabe

  • Enzo

    Good writeup!!!

    Back in February I was starting to modify my 05 cooper s, had bought new flik wheels and yokohama tires from racingedge, and was looking to upgrade my brakes. Just before I pulled out the money to buy the JCW brake kit, I traded my car in for an 06 WRX STI.

    I finally understand now what the fuss is all about when people talk about big brake kits like the brembos on my car. They just give you a feeling of confidence that the stock brakes on the mini were lacking.

    Glad to hear you like them. Enjoy!!!

  • Nathaniel Salzman

    Forget brake dust, I’ve got brake LUST! Awesome review, Gabe. I’ve been really looking forward to this one. I love that JCW has a big-brake kit for the MINI and it’s great to hear that the performance and price are competitive with the after-market. The non-standard pads are a bit of a worry, but I suppose one could easily enough stockpile pads – buy a set of fronts once a year whether you need them or not.

    I was surprised not to hear you say anything positive about that little flash of red in between the front wheel spokes. ;-)

  • http://www.alldigitalnyc.com drew

    been running these for just a year now, and the performance is still there. no problems. awesome stopping power. and goes great with the jcw suspension kit.. ; )

  • http://Motoringfile.com Mark Hendrie

    Brilliant review – I wonder if anyone has opted for the Brembo kit – your eye-balls would be through the front windscreen!

  • http://www.jwardell.com/mini/ Josh Wardell

    It is very important to mention that the JCW brake kit will not fit inside many smaller wheels, including most (all?) 16-inch wheels and certainly 15s. That’s one reason why I would never consider it, unless you don’t mind chaning your brakes out with your wheels in the winter.

  • ScottinBend

    Great review Gabe !

    Just an additional note tho…..these are not meant to be a brake kit for someone who has a number of track days they like to do. For the autocrosser or “spirited” driver they are great, but will let you down if you are going to do a few track days. There have been a couple of folks that I know that got these and had to upgrade to a different aftermarket system so they could really attack the track.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Just an additional note tho…..these are not meant to be a brake kit for someone who has a number of track days they like to do.

    Very valid point. I updated the review to mention that.

    It is very important to mention that the JCW brake kit will not fit inside many smaller wheels, including most (all?) 16-inch wheels and certainly 15s.

    The JCW Brake kit will technically fit with the 16″ x-lites but MINI doesn’t recommend the combo due to cooling issues.

    The new for 2006 Bridge Spoke 16″ wheels fit perfectly however and in fact we’re designed with this kit in mind. More importantly they look the business with the big discs and tha flash of red behind them.

  • http://mini2.co.za timmee
    The new for 2006 Bridge Spoke 16″ wheels fit perfectly

    Are those the wheels pictured third from the top (second from the bottom) in your review?

    If not, what are they?

  • Edge
    Are those the wheels pictured third from the top (second from the bottom) in your review? If not, what are they?

    Those are the Web-Spokes, also known as the R98s. They are two-piece wheels, and are offered from the factory in the US as a $500 upgrade from the Sport package since the 01/05 builds, as option code 2RE. :)

  • Edge

    I bought with my MINI last year. They look MUCH nicer than the S-Lites, IMO… and they are lighter too, so BONUS!

  • nervous

    Thanks! This review could not have come at a better time. I’m ordering my next S this Friday. Aside from other options, I’m sold on the LSD (thanks, motoringfile!). I’m sold on the JCW air intake (thanks, mortoringfile!). I’m sold on the JCW suspension (thanks, motoringfile!). I’ve been on the fence regarding the JCW brake kit. My car is unlikely to ever see a track. Although, I love spirited driving. My consideration of this brake package stems from my appreciation of the safety benefits of increased stopping power & my insatiable vanity over those totally hot JCW red calipers. Most reviews of these brakes talk about feel – are there any hard numbers regarding braking distance differences between the JCW brake kit & the standard brake kit?

  • Mark

    This thread from NAM discusses some replacement Carbotech pads somebody had made to fit them:

    http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67458&highlight=carbotech

  • stephen

    i know someone who recently but a set of brembos on a 2001 M3…. and talk about stopping power…. that thing stops like no other…. i think that a set of brems on a mini would really be overkill….. but what do i know

  • O(=^=)OCapn

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned that Tony Nuzzo runs stock brakes on his setup. He deemed Stock brakes as Sufficent and as for Track days, nobody knows them better than Tony!

  • snid

    [blockquote]Most reviews of these brakes talk about feel – are there any hard numbers regarding braking distance differences between the JCW brake kit & the standard brake kit?[/blockquote]

    Panic stop stopping distance will almost always be limited by the tires, not the brakes. Once you engage ABS, bigger brakes do not stop the car faster.

  • http://www.motoringphotography.com Dave
    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned that Tony Nuzzo runs stock brakes on his setup. He deemed Stock brakes as Sufficent and as for Track days, nobody knows them better than Tony!

    I believe he deemed them required by the rules for the grand am cup.

  • http://www.myminiparts.com Pete

    FYI… the 16″ 40th Anniversary and 17″ Minilites also fit the JCW brake kits.

    Pete MyMini

  • http://www.bluegrassminis.com Jason

    I suppose I can’t find the Bridge Spokes on any dealer’s site is because they are part of the Checkmate package for the Cooper. Does anyone know what they cost and if a dealer would sell them to me?

  • O(=^=)OCapn

    Hey Gabe, Why can’t I remove comments that I say after the fact? Maybe because it isn’t my website.

  • Siddhartha

    I concur, Doctor. I would just like to add that I do 2-3 track days a month and have yet to experience any brake fade with my JCWs. I changed out the front pads at the beginning of the year and so far have turned to dust only 3mm. Good feel, good stopping power, good wear; what’s not to like? Oh yes, and the girls on the Avenue get all weak in the knees when I flash my red calipers behind my white wheels!

  • Bill H.

    Nothing wrong with fitment using the R99s (I have this combo). The R99s are MINI approved for use with the JCW brakes.

  • katmeho

    Im running R99’s on my 06 JCW car with JCW brakes.

    And I have serious fade at the end of track sessions…

    odd that I have such a different view of this kit..

  • O(=^=)OCapn

    Sid, what happened to your Neon orange wheels?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Nothing wrong with fitment using the R99s (I have this combo). The R99s are MINI approved for use with the JCW brakes.

    Yes the R99s fit just fine.

  • Siddhartha

    “Sid, what happened to your Neon orange wheels?”

    Those are my track shoes.

    “And I have serious fade at the end of track sessions…”

    Hmmm, that is odd. We’ll have to discuss it at the track, maybe ride around a bit.

  • Charles

    Hi

    could anyone let me know the password?

    regards, Charles

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Charles – if you’re referring to buying the Brakes from Morristown MINI and getting the MotoringFile discount – there is no password. Just mention MotoringFile in the notes when you order and the total will be adjusted. Or better yet give them a call.

  • Charles

    Thanks Gabe

    regards, Charles

  • http://whitemaleconsumer.com Zeke

    Nice write-up, and these were the one JCW bit that I seriously considered. The only thing that made me shy away was the price (which, as you pointed out, isn’t that bad in the scheme of things) and the fact that they don’t fit very many OEM 16″ wheels. I decided to replace the brakes with a better kit down the road, whenever it’ll require pads / whatever (and hopefully when I have some aftermarket 17″s).

    But, I would like to read some write-ups about the alternative kits out there (like the mentioned Detroit Tuned / WMS). That’d be a great comparison read for Motoring File readers. ;-)

    And a little semantics quibble.. Halfway through, you said that it’s worth mentioning that the aftermarket kits provide as much “if not more” bang for the buck. But then in the next paragraph, you say that the price of the JCW is “competitive.” The reader understands what you’re saying, but the wording almost makes it seem like a contradiction……..

  • IanF

    Are “Bridge-spokes” the R88’s listed on the MINI USA site?

    I’d love to know if these would fit inside 16″ Panasports.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Bridge-Spokes are R94s.

  • tsukiji

    The JCW brake kit is not-too-spendy bling that doesn’t hurt your resale value, and looks great at the custard stand — way better than painted calipers!

  • http://www.bluegrassminis.com Jason

    Ah hah! I found the R94 wheels in a recent “Youification” catalog for $205. They look pretty good in the picture.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Jason – there’s a link to a picture of the wheels in the story above as well.

  • Melanie

    Nice review, Gabe! I’m especially happy because I just received mine from Morristown Mini!! (and especially bummed because I forgot about the MF discount – shoot!!)

    So, for now I am whiling away the miles, waiting for my RFs to die, so I can get the JCW R95 wheels (sitting in my garage for about a year now) and the JCW BBK installed! It’s getting hard, and with 23K on my car (since 12/05) I am beginning to lose patience. I may just order some new, non-RF tires and be done with it.

    In the meantime, I am going to try and remove my rear wheels so I can paint the rear calipers to match when the JCWs get on the car…

    Can anyone tell me – are stops and spacers necessary to use the R95 wheels with the JCW BBK?

    Thanks!

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » 2006 » December » 31

  • -=gRaY rAvEn=-

    QUOTE FRM ARTICLE ABOVE: Yes, there are a couple of downsides to the kit. First off, the pad sizing is not entirely standard. That means for the near future aftermarket pad choice will be about…. zero. That said, I’ve heard from several tuners that will be offering something soon.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    WHAT ? The Pads are not standard size….? It’s merely the R56 Front Brake Calipers painted red…are you saying there are no companies which make brake pads for the R56 ?

    Where did this info come from for this article…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1232156929 Mike Roberts

    The info is 3 years old, dude. Simmer.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    @-=gRaY rAvEn=-: You do realize that this article was written before the R56 was even out. So yes, at the time the sizing of the pads was not standard.

  • Dave

    Sadly, this $600.00 brake upgrade kit is no longer available from MINI for the R53. Sold out and NLA.

    But the 2nd gen MINI has two upgrade kits available.

    The bigger Brembo 4 piston kit and a kit which looks EXACTLY like this one except it’s about $800.00 dollars more…..

    Go figure……


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