In these tough economic times, companies are being forced to diversify as a means of staying a float. Over the last several years, we've seen a number of companies shift the bulk of their production from ATV products to UTV products and a handful have developed completely new product lines all together. Case in point Streamline Brakes.
Streamline has been in the business of aftermarket brake components for a number of years. While brakes aren't necessarily as flashy as an exhaust or a bumper, they are consumable; sooner or later they're going to wear out. While creating a durable product that lasts is very important, items such as brakes and tires will eventually wear out and Streamline has been a leading choice for top professionals for a number of years.
While "brakes" is in the name, in recent years Streamline has added other products to the mix that are becoming increasingly more popular. We recently received a little box of goodies from Streamline and thought we'd help illustrate the fact that it is much more than just a braking company by testing all of the products that Streamline manufactures here in the United States.
Anyone that's ever laid an ATV or a dirt bike on its side has more than likely bent, or even broken, a control lever. While not overly difficult or expensive to repair, it's more of a nuisance and if you happen to be in a race, something as simple as a broken clutch lever could easily cost you a win. Streamline has engineered what it claims to be an unbreakable lever system that has the ability to flex in the opposite direction in the event of a crash.
Using a billet aluminum pivot bolt coupled with a silicone coated tension spring, each lever is able to flex almost 90 degrees in the opposite direction. To keep clutch and brake pull smooth as well as eliminate any loosening of the lever, a stainless bushing is inserted at the contact point of the lever and the "knee." The billet aluminum knee acts as the anchor point between the lever and the perch.
The Reflex Pro clutch perch assembly features a billet aluminum perch as well as bar clamp with an optional hot start button. Rather than mounting metal to metal, the perch assembly comes with a nylon sleeve to fit between the bar and the bar clamp. Thanks to the sleeve in the event of a crash or other hard impact, the entire perch will rotate on the bar rather than bend or break.
Both levers offer a large range of adjustment via a bolt and lock nut located behind the lever. The Reflex Pro clutch perch assembly is offered in a single "universal" size but with the available range of adjustment, should easily adapt to any rider's preference. An oversized aluminum adjuster knob makes on the fly adjustment of the cable tension a simple compared to the stock set up.
Installation is quick and easy and we were able to do away with the bulky plastic headlight/killswitch assembly since all we were using it for was the hot start button. The only small mounting issue we had was the inside contact point of the brake lever with the stock perch. All the mounting holes line up fine; however, the lever was hanging up slightly on the outer edge of the perch. After taking about a 1/16 of an inch off the perch with a grinder, the lever moved freely without binding at all.
It's the little things
Hand grips may seem like a simple thing to get excited about, but the Pro Lock Series handgrips from Streamline take an otherwise dull and purely functional product and give it a little flash. Not to mention they install in just a fraction of the time of traditional grips without the mess of grip glue or the need for safety wire.
The Pro Lock grips from Streamline feature a medium compound half waffle pattern, designed to keep your hands from developing blisters over long periods of riding while remaining firm enough to provide excellent grip. An anodized aluminum lock ring with a stainless clamp bolt keeps the inner portion of the grip secure while an aluminum end cap clamps the outer portion of the grip to the bar.
Where other locking grips use an insert that expands to press the grip to the bar from the inside of the bar end, Streamline employs a relatively simple shim and set screw clamp system. Inside the end cap, a small shim is inserted into a machined notch and is pressed against the bar by a small setscrew located on the underside of the bar. Just be mindful of the shim as it is small and can easily fall out of the notch when sliding the grip onto the handlebar.
The advanced synthetic rubber compound is definitely durable as we discovered when trying to trim off a portion of the grip that was causing the thumb throttle to snag. A sharp knife did almost no good as the material is plush enough to flex under the blade without tearing or cutting. We finally trimmed it with a pair of wire cutters to give it a nice clean edge that would allow the thumb throttle to move freely.
People often make jokes about how unnecessary brakes are, but any racer would tell you that slowing down under control is almost as important as speeding up. Streamline has been in the braking business for over 10 years and its components have been used by just about every top professional ATV racer during that time.
Unlike traditional round rotors, Streamline's "blade" rotors are machined with several grooves to help dissipate heat and keep dirt from collecting in the pads while reducing weight. The rotors are made of a heat treated high carbon stainless steel which is then diamond ground to increase durability. It's too bad they're not more visible because the saw blade look is pretty eye catching.
We mentioned before that things like brake pads are consumable in that they're going to wear out more quickly than the majority of components on an ATV. For that reason, racers and weekend warriors alike will want a product that is as durable and long lasting as possible. Streamline's extreme duty brake pads offer extra long life and perform in both wet and dry conditions. While there was a fair amount of life left in our stock brake pads, the new Streamline pads nearly doubled the amount of pad that was available so we are confident we won't be replacing the brake pads anytime soon.
As a final touch, Streamline included a set of its steel braided brake lines to round out the complete braking package. Steel braided lines reduce the swelling that can occur with the stock rubber hoses and eliminate the "soft" feeling you can get when grabbing a hand (or even just a finger full) of the front brake. Streamline offers its brake lines in a variety of colors thanks to the protective PVC coating that helps protect chrome, paint or anything else on your ATV that the line might come into contact with.
We had a chance to test the new streamline products on a private MX track and before even getting to the track our test rider immediately noticed the comfortable feel of the pro lock grips. The half waffle grip design is much less abrasive than some of the other grips on the market and the medium compound kept his hands from developing blisters.
Clutch pull was smooth and easy, allowing our rider to operate the clutch with just two fingers. While not necessarily performance enhancing, the added bonus of the flexing lever as well as on the fly adjustment makes this whole setup a worthwhile improvement over the stock system.
The combination of new brake pads and steel braided lines allowed our test rider to easily operate the front brakes with a single finger. Braking was immediate and firm and the adjustment screw gave him the option of setting the lever up exactly how he wanted it.
Although we were just turning laps on a motocross track, we experienced no brake fade from the rotors or the pads heating up. It would take racing an endurance race to test the long-term durability of the products as well as the true likelihood of the brakes fading, but based on the materials, workmanship and the obvious improvements over the stock pads, rotors and brake lines, we're comfortable in saying we've made some great gains.
All in all, the products are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. From the rider's perspective, the new perch and levers give the handlebars a clean look and all the anodized aluminum makes otherwise dull components really pop.
You can purchase all of the same components from your local dealer or directly from Streamline by visiting its website at http://www.streamlinebrakes.com/.