Alongside those 100% fake Brembo parts, then there are partially fake Brembo braking systems, or what we call “semi-fakes,” but which are no less dangerous than them.
The idea of a semi-fake might strike some as a contradiction in terms—either it’s fake or it’s not fake! So how can a Brembo braking system only be semi-fake? The answer lies in the fact that a Brembo braking system is made up of various components (disc, caliper, pad, and movements), each of which can have a different origin.
A semi-fake is a Brembo braking system where some original components (usually the brake caliper) are packaged together and sold with other non-Brembo components. Brembo has always been opposed to such practices, in the firm belief that the performance of a braking system is determined not just by the quality but also by the perfect integration of each of its components.
Here our forgers adopt a slightly different, but no less risky strategy, which almost always involves the purchase of Brembo calipers sold as spare parts for vehicles fitted with Brembo brakes as standard. Where the calipers come from is another story, though, as sometimes they’re not new but sourced from stolen or wrecked vehicles, so you have no idea of their history.
The calipers usually bear the logo of car makers like Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, BMW or others, but are repainted with the Brembo logo and sold in kits with other components, such as suspect discs and pads.
In this case, although the calipers are effectively manufactured by Brembo, and so would appear to present no problem, the final kit can be risky. There are three reasons why we prefer to recommend you beware of these fake kits.
The first is that it’s rather unlikely that a Brembo brake caliper designed to fit a certain car (and therefore made and tested on the basis of the specific characteristics of that car, such as its weight, the type of master cylinder matched, the ABS, etc.) will work smoothly on a different car.
It’s like with performance brake upgrade kits—it’s totally wrong to think that just because they’re more powerful, they are better than the original equipment. A combination of braking system elements that is perfect for one car may prove oversized for another, generating excessive braking force and constantly activating the electronics, making for a frustrating driving experience.
The second danger risk is given by the painting process used to repaint the caliper, often done by amateurs. Painting brake calipers is a delicate task, one not without its pitfalls. That’s not to say there aren’t professionals out there who can do the job correctly, but increasingly we receive reports of malfunctioning calipers due to “half-baked” paint jobs.
Obviously it’s not the paint in itself that damages the caliper, but the preliminary work done on the hydraulics. Often, the disassembly and reassembly of the pistons isn’t done right, or in some cases it’s not done at all. In that case, if the caliper is then painted and baked, the heat can damage the piston seals and impair the caliper’s performance.
Last but not least, the third element of danger is the questionable origins of the other elements in the kit wherewith the caliper is sold - we are talking about discs, brake pads and adapting brackets not crafted by Brembo – on whose quality Brembo cannot guarantee. In a braking system, each component plays its part in making the overall system work perfectly. If just one component is of shoddy quality, the proper functioning of the system as a whole can suffer.
So that’s why we talk about
SEMI-FAKES—it’s not the individual braking component that is bogus and dangerous, but the mixed up kit using Brembo originals. Even if they’re only partially fake, from a performance and safety point of view they are still 100% dangerous and unreliable.
Every Brembo braking system, including upgrade kits, is designed for a specific vehicle, on the basis of in-depth analyses of that vehicle’s characteristics, including its weight, the arrangement of the elements in the wheel side, the electronics, tires, and the original master cylinder.
Brembo braking system upgrades are therefore designed, sized, made, and tested to work perfectly for the vehicle they’re destined for. As such, even using a completely original Brembo braking system on a different car to the one it’s been designed for can be risky.
That’s another reason why Brembo always recommends going to an authorized and certified Brembo dealer, as besides providing technical assistance, they only sell Brembo Kits exclusively for the cars they’re designed for. That way, besides the guarantee of finding a genuine original, you can be sure you’re purchasing the right Brembo braking system for your car, and not some wild adaptation.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RETRO-FITTED AND "HALF-COOKED"
In the world of automobiles, it's normal to make little modifications – some more creative than others – to your vehicle with parts from others, adapting them to different purposes than they were designed for. This goes by various names (retro-fitting, personalization, cannibalizing, tuning, and so forth), but it's a whole different ballpark from what we like to call "half-cooking".
At Brembo, we believe that mixing different braking components that are not designed for specific cars, is not an ideal solution, and can in some cases be dangerous. We therefore strongly advise against it. But of course, everyone is free to do what he thinks is best for his car and with the Brembo products he has bought, regardless of where they've come from or the car they were originally designed for.
Using a brake caliper fresh out the Brembo factory, designed for another car, with components of a different character and origin, does not mean you are mixing and matching with it (although, as we've said, we at Brembo advise against it).
However, selling your homemade contraption by passing it off as an original, 100% Brembo system, as if it was a Kit tested and approved by Brembo, and taking advantage of the innocence and good faith of someone who thinks he really is buying a Brembo Kit, is illegal.
So, what we call "half-cooking" is not when a car lover decides to personalize his car's brakes with a mix of components of different origins, in full awareness of what he's doing and taking on all the consequences. It's when a braking system that's only partly original and made with Brembo pieces, is passed off and sold as a 100% Brembo original.
At Brembo, we consider it our duty to point out the differences between this kind of thing, and an upgraded Brembo braking system, designed and tested for a specific automobile. We must protect buyers of Brembo braking systems who cannot spot a completely original Brembo Kit from a homemade one, made with Brembo pieces but without any production engineering, testing, or guarantee of proper functioning.