Here's another interesting take on motorcycle brakes that give you an almost unobstructed view of your wheels while still providing excellent stopping power. Called the 360 Brake from Baldwin Wilson Development Corporation, they work on the same principle as a clutch and pressure plate, in this case two full circumference brake pads squeeze the rotor and all parts fit inside a slotted hub assembly that keeps everything out of sight while allowing cooling air to take away heat.
The 360 Brake is designed to work on wider forks and can also be used in the rear, including applications on single sided swingarms, but the system takes up a fair amount of space around the hub and seems aimed more at the custom market where size or space issues are not the problem they would be on more standard street bike applications. The company website does say they they are working on a smaller version for narrow forks which should fit most metric cruisers.
According to the company, tests show shorter stopping distances than with standard brakes and less fade, however, I think you need to remember what type of bike and riding these are designed for, these are not for any high performance sportbikes, so keep that in mind before everyone jumps in to say they're no good because they're not used in MotoGP. As even the company states, the brake "performs well within the design parameters it is engineered for."
I think they are an interesting variation on current setups and may work very well but if you're looking for a brake free view of your wheel and still want high performance, perimeter brakes might offer a better solution.
Thanks for the tip, Jim!
Links and more photos below:
Link: 360 Brake