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Brake calipers play a critical role in vehicles equipped with disc brake rotors, but not all calipers are equal – the level of braking performance they deliver will depend on several factors, including how many pistons each caliper is equipped with.

Traditionally, most everyday vehicles had single piston calipers, but more recently, availability of multi piston calipers both as OE fit and as an aftermarket upgrade have increased, particularly for more expensive and performance orientated cars. Today, you can buy performance vehicles with 10 piston calipers and some aftermarket racing brake options can offer even more pistons.

Bendix explains benefits of multi piston brake calipers 1

Multi-piston brake calipers are becoming commonplace fitment on performance orientated and luxury vehicles, and for good reason...

Why are calipers so important within the braking system? When the brake pedal is pressed by the driver, it activates the brake master cylinder which pushes pressurised brake fluid through the brake lines and ultimately to the brake calipers which apply pad pressure to the disc brake rotors, slowing the rotational speed of the disc, wheel and therefore, the vehicle. In theory, a greater number of pistons in the caliper means additional clamping force, but there are also some other benefits.

For vehicles that are equipped with larger disc brake rotors, multi-piston calipers allow the clamping force to be distributed across a larger surface area with greater friction points, courtesy of being able to run larger pads, leading to more consistent pedal feel. Drivers can also expect improved brake modulation leading to more precise braking control.

Bendix explains benefits of multi piston brake calipers 2

On the road or track, multi-piston calipers can deliver increasing pad to rotor clamping force, improved heat dissipation, reduced brake fade and better pedal feel, all which lead to improved stopping power.

More evenly spreading the contact point between the pads and disc brake rotors also improves heat dissipation during braking to reduce the chance of brake fade. For on road use this is an important safety benefit while at the track – as well as the safety aspects – lap times should be better. This even spread can also potentially result in more even pad wear and longer pad and disc rotor life.

Bendix explains benefits of multi piston brake calipers 3

Bendix's 6-piston calipers are available as a component of the front Ultimate 4WD™ Big Brake Upgrade Kit.

Bendix calipers

The superior braking performance of multi-piston calipers has been proven in Bendix’s own local testing of its ADR-approved Ultimate 4WD™ Big Brake Upgrade Kits.

Available for a range of popular dual cab 4x4 utilities and their wagon derivatives, the front kit includes an upgrade to Bendix 6-Piston monoblock calipers, Ultimate 4WD™ Disc Brake Rotors, Brake Pads and Braided Brake Hoses. The rear kit replaces the OE drum assembly with Bendix Ultimate 4WD™ Disc Rotors and single piston hydraulic calipers.

Test results reveal massive braking improvement

During development the Kits, Bendix undertook extensive testing on an unmodified Dual Cab PX Ford Ranger 4x4. Stopping distance from 80 to 0 km/h in this standard, unloaded Ranger was 41.5 metres. When this same vehicle was fitted with both front and rear kits, stopping distance dropped to 32.5 metres, an improvement of 9 metres or around 1.5 car lengths.


  • Bendix Media Release January 2024 PRJ08472
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