Softail rear caliper on a rigid

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Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby ArizonaMike » Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:38 am

Anyone install a stock late-model softail rear caliper (with mount) within the "triangle" on a rigid frame? I was wondering if it would fit there, and clear the axle adjusters, etc. I think it might be more effective than the two-piston Performance Machine caliper I now have.

Mike in Pgh
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby Panacea » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:08 am

How much brake do you really need on the back wheel? Even the drum brake is plenty. But i'm sure the softail caliper could be positioned inboard of the adjuster. Hell I put a late springer caliper on my 49 chop (early springer). Worked way better than the spool it replaced, I did use a late flanged wheel, made my own axel and spacers on dad's lathe. So anything is possible!..Mike
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby Guest » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:25 pm

Never attempted a Softail rear brake installation...BUT...I do believe your two-piston PM SHOULD do the job. Have you tried a re-bleed of the system? Does your master cylinder match the required application (5/8th or 3/4's)? Does the caliper need new pads? Are you using a braided steel line (those old rubber lines expand and decrease brake fluid pressure)? And lastly, if you have a good, the key word here is a GOOD front brake...if so...try using the brakes in tandom when you brake the bike?
The front brake provides the majority of braking power...I've heard as much as 75%. So, using the front and rear in tandom not only provides adequate braking power but keeps the bike straight in a power stop.
I've ridden bikes with drum rears that stop very well, also used the hydraulic style, again good braking, but disc brakes on the rear should provide what you need...The rear brake need only be a fraction of the braking ability of the front brake system.
It could be something in your brake "chain" that is not up to par!
Just tryin g to save you some work from a complete change of brake system...but if that's giving you an itch...I'd say scratch it! Good luck..

Jim in Seattle "1950 Bobber"
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby 57pan » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:52 pm

I'm kind of wondering the same thing as panacea... my stock mechanical rear drum brake will easily lock up the rear wheel. I just don't see the need for a disc on the rear.
Now, the front drum is a 'nother story. I'm in the process of adapting a late model caliper and disc to my star hub on the front.
I am probably getting about 10% of my stopping power from the front drum brake, so overall effective braking power is less than 50% of what it should be.
Say what you will about the looks of the disc brake on a vintage pan, I want more STOP when I squeeze the lever.
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby jlaley » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:14 pm

I'm doing it now on my '54. I don't know how to post the pics here but I have them at home. It took some machining but I think it looks great centered there. Anyone give me a quick lesson on pic posting?
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby jlaley » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:26 pm

Now I see the info on posting so I'll try it tonight.
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby King » Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:03 pm

57 Pan and jlaley

Please keep the info coming. I too want to convert the front to a disk. As noted by others, I can lock the rear with the drum but the front is just not up to par although it is 100% better since I cleaned it up and deglazed the drum and shoes.
All input will be gratly appreciated.

King
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby jlaley » Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:57 pm

I posted a few pics on forum II under the same thread heading. In the pics you'll see that the wheel is the only thing "done" The frame has to go for blasting and powdercoat and the caliper I haven't decided on a finish yet. Jim
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby 57pan » Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:22 pm

King,

Here is a link to some pictures showing my front disc conversion. I'm still in the process of machining the rotor/hub adapter, but this will give you an idea of what's involved.
http://www.57panhead.com/ProgRept3-2.htm
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby Rammy » Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:45 pm

Is there a better front brake shoe to use for better brake performance , like the after market performance auto ind. has done for the ones who like the stock look? like metallic, any brand better that the other in anybodies experiences
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby Panacea » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:04 pm

I sent my front drum in to Vintage Brake in Cal. They re-lined the shoes with a better friction material then arced the shoes to fit the drum.I think the main problem was due to the chrome plated drum, not a very good friction surface. Michael Morse of Vintage Brake turned the drum to make it nice and round and got rid of the chrome. I'm waiting for the maiden voyage to check it out...Mike
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby Kuda » Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:09 pm

Panacea said: "I'm waiting for the maiden voyage to check it out..."

Please make sure to post as soon as you do. I've just about decided to do the same with my front brake, so please post any info you have, i.e. cost, turn around time, and most of all, end results. Thanks,

-Kuda
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby Panacea » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:48 am

I just looked in my panhead file for the receipt, couldn't find it, It did take a while , about eight weeks, I guess Mr. Morse is a one man show, with other ventures as well in the motorcycle parts bizz. I did find a sheet he sent me with detailed "bedding in" procedures to get the most out of the new brake; heat cycles,checking for high spots, making sure no solvents or grease comes in contact with the friction surface. I did a rolling test just in the garage and she locked up for me. Granted, at speed that won't be the case but it can't be any worse than it was! I think you could do the same thing much cheaper on your own. Just find a shop that is capable of turning the drum, put some new shoes in and if you can, find someone to arc the shoes to fit the drum .010 under the drum dia. Remember to have someone hold the brake on while you tighten the axel to help center the shoes in the drum. I think keeping the drum is important. Yeah I had a disk on my 49, but that was a chopper...Besides, you can always drag yer feet! Mike
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby pzokes » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:42 am

The words "Lock-Up" is the problem. With a disc rear brake you can have more control over the amount force applied to the rear brake. Also disc brakes don't fade. I tried to run the "Tail of The Dragon" on a rigid Pan with drum brakes and lost brakes about halfway through. Cost is another factor. You can buy used Softail rear calipers on Ebay for $50.00. The '84-99 is a single piston unit and the '99 and later is a dual piston unit. You only need to weld a piece of flat stock on the lower frame rail to use them. If you tell me how to post pictures here, I will post pictures of both early and late brakes adapted to rigid frames. I'm currently using an '84-99 rear caliper with a 230X15 rear tire on my Kraft-Tech rigid frame bike.
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Re: Softail rear caliper on a rigid

Postby King » Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:02 pm

Hi Dave 57 Pan

Thanks for the pics of the front end disc conversion and all the others on your site. A lot of good step-by-step info there and the result is one fine bike.
Your lights are real beauties. Definitely enough lights on the rear end to let them know you are there. What are you using for a generator, is it a 6 or 12 volt system?
Have you gotten in any test rides with the new brake?
Keep us posted

King
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