I have downloaded the brake pad fitment instruction from the ATE site and have discovered the third type of caliper - the Fist Caliper. I know that the Floating Caliper and the Fixed Caliper are. There are a lot information about them on the internet, for example the good demonstration video: Fixed vs Floating Caliper.

But I can't found the good Fist Caliper explanation.

One document I have found - Brake caliper types, but it doesn't explain the difference between Fist and Floating calipers.

I own the Opel Astra H by 2011 year of production, with stock ATE brakes, so I want to understand, what calipers it has (definitely not "Fixed Caliper"), and therefore, what part of ATE manual I should follow.

The questions: how the Fist Caliper works and how it is different from the Floating Caliper?

Instruction from ATE site as an image: enter image description here

2 Answers 2


There are actually two types of sliding calipers. Fist-style calipers are two piece calipers with one part providing the squeezing force and the other holding the caliper in place (and the pads). The second is a floating caliper. Typically there are large pieces of metal that are permanently attached to the spindle/suspension. You mount the pads on these and then the caliper on top. For reference, 1993-1997 Camaros had floating calipers. 1998 on up had fist-style calipers (as did corvettes).


A fixed caliper has two pistons, one on each side of the brake disk. The piston and pad on each side work independently.

A fist caliper only has a piston on one side. The whole caliper assembly slides in a housing to equalize the pressure on both brake pads.

See here for cross section drawings. The drawing shows how it looks similar to a person's fist squeezing the pads on each side of the disk.

A fist caliper and a floating caliper both work exactly the same way. The only difference is the detail of how the caliper is supported. It can slide in a slot, or slide on mounting pins or bushes.

  • 2
    You don't answer the question of the difference between a fist and floating caliper, but instead the difference between fist and fixed. Both the fist and floating are single piston designs (or at least, the piston is on just one side of the caliper). Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 14:48

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