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In September, I went through and bought new brake pads, rotors and brake lines for my Miata. Since I’ve only had the car for just over two years, used OEM-equivalent replacement rotors, stock lines and Axxis Metal Masters pads for those two years, I figured I’d get some advice on a good brake set up for daily driving, autocrossing and occasional track use.

What I wasn’t expecting, however, was the lack of usefulness of asking for opinions. Even on two different Miata forums, I got no closer to an answer than just going from what I already knew and some reviews on Tire Rack.

What I went with:

Eventually, I settled on buying the brake components individually through Tire Rack. I looked at various brake packages, mainly the one from Flyin’ Miata. However, I wasn’t sure of how the overall package would work… I’d heard of some of the company names, but not all. I tend to get nervous when I don’t hear a lot about something as common as brakes. Plus, with some better stuff, it was getting expensive. The total came to just shy of $500, including all the shipping.

So what’d I get exactly? Hawk HPS pads for the front and rear, ATE slotted rotors all around and Goodridge stainless steel brake lines.

Eventually, I got so confused with opinions that I just got what I thought was best in the end. I should have done that all along, and won’t question myself as much in the future. I got so much confusion with each piece that it just wasn’t worth it in the end, and I waffled back and forth a lot before finally settling on what I decided to get.

Brake pads

These were the easiest part to figure out. Yeah, I liked my Axxis pads, and people still run them on their cars. However, I wanted to expand and try something new… And very few pads come as highly recommended for autocross as Hawk HPS, plus we have them on our S2000 and they’re rather nice on that car. While I got a lot of opinions for other pads, I went with what I knew the most about. (HPS = high performance street.) They’re also big with the SCCA, which made me more comfortable with my decision.

Brake lines

For some reason, there were two camps: one who lives by SS lines, the other who sees no point in them. I was shocked by this, as I thought it would have been the easiest bit of all!

Apparently, some people see them as useless. They see no difference in stock rubber lines compared to the stainless steel ones, and claim that the group advocating the SS lines only liked them for looks/show. Ooooooooookay then.

For me, I went with them anyhow. I have no idea if my brake lines were ever changed, and rubber doesn’t last forever. I don’t feel like going to a track and having possibly 12 year old brake lines fail there. No thank you.

Plus, coincidentally, Modified ran an article comparing rubber lines to the stainless steel ones right before I purchased my stuff. After reading the article, I was completely sold on the SS lines. Even if I couldn’t feel a difference in braking, they’d be a great way to replace my rubber lines anyways.

Brake rotors

Now this generated huge debates. Plain, cryo-treated, slotted or slotted and drilled?

For most cars, plain do just fine. If you want a slightly better rotor, you can get cryo-treated. (More resistant to warping and excessive wear.)

But it’s the slotted and the drilled rotors that get people all up in arms. Which totally confused me more. I sure wasn’t a brake expert before, and I still am not. So the lack of consensus was not helping me at all.

As I said before, I went with ATE slotted rotors. They were fairly cheap, and are an upgrade… No matter how much some people want to argue with them. I’m sorry, but if drilled and slotted rotors weren’t better in some ways, why do Ferrari’s and Porsche’s have them stock??

Really, I’m not here to debate the merits of rotors… But it seemed that some people thought slotted rotors were ricey, and that if I were to get them, I’d be a ricer.

Excuse me??

So…. Now that I have slotted rotors on my car, am I a ricer?

I know, there are ricers who get them. Idiots who throw wheels on a car, do nothing to suspension but maybe cut springs, buy the wrong sized tires and act all cool. Who also put slotted, or heaven forbid, slotted and drilled rotors on mechanically-unmodified Civics.

But because some idiot bought slotted rotors for his barely driven economy car, I shouldn’t get them for my autocrosser? Seriously?

So one part, that isn’t exactly a ricer part, makes me a ricer because it’s donned by ricers?

So if there’s a ricer who has a Civic hatchback, who gets his hands on a Spoon steering wheel by some sort of magic, means that having a Spoon steering wheel is ricey, right? Because that’s the same sort of logic that I’m seeing here. Highly improbable, but not impossible by any means.

Others don’t matter as much, it’s your opinion that counts most.

Really, I’m still confused by the whole thing. However, I’m happy with my end choice. My car is built for performance, and that is definitely obvious now…. If someone wants to say my entire purpose-built autocross/track car is ricey because of brake rotors, go ahead. I’m not going to listen to your opinion anyhow; first because one bad apple doesn’t ruin the whole bushel, second because I like them and I like the added look and performance. My RPF1′s show right through to the rotors, and shiny slotted rotors look kinda menacing behind black, light-weight racing wheels.

It was a great lesson to me in doing what I feel is right, despite what everyone else says. Too often I wonder about what other people think… I need to stop.

If my car makes me happy and conveys a message close to what I’m aiming for, nothing else matters.

And by the way…

The set-up handles great! Both on the track (where it was definitely put through its paces) and off.

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