Improved front braking

Forum rules
Please do not start new topics here, but here: New Panhead and Flathead topics
Post Reply
panhead_jim
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:48 pm
Bikes: 1964 FLH
1972 R75/5
1996 XL1200C
2001 R1200C
2007 FXSTB
Location: NC
Been thanked: 1 time

Improved front braking

#1

Post by panhead_jim » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:25 am

Right now, my front brake can barely hold the bike once it is already stopped. I figure I'll go ahead and service/adjust the front brake and wanted to get input on the best brake shoes available. I have a '72 BMW with front and rear cable operated drums, so I know they can stop a bike when set up right.



speedking1949
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:37 pm
Bikes: 49 FL

Re: Improved front braking

#2

Post by speedking1949 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:00 am

To get the most out of the stock brakes, send a set of shoes with a drum to Mike Morse at Vintage Brake. He will reline the shoes with quality materials re-arc the shoes, if necessary, so that they fit the drum: http://www.vintagebrake.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Richard M.

108
Posts: 180
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:12 pm
Bikes: 1948 FL 74in Panhead Chopper , 1958 Zundapp Citation 500
Location: Indianapolis

Re: Improved front braking

#3

Post by 108 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:35 am

Richard is right, the shoes must be ground (or sanded) so that the curve of the drum and shoe match and every square inch of lining contacts a very smooth drum surface. I can ride my '48FL around all day on nothing but the front brake.

panhead_jim
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:48 pm
Bikes: 1964 FLH
1972 R75/5
1996 XL1200C
2001 R1200C
2007 FXSTB
Location: NC
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Improved front braking

#4

Post by panhead_jim » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:12 am

I'd like to find a solution I can do myself, I'd hate to send off my brakes in the middle of prime riding season. Should I just get some new pads from HD? I figured by now someone would make better pads, but I haven't been able to find anything searching on the net.

RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5138
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 503 times

Re: Improved front braking

#5

Post by RUBONE » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:15 am

Should I just get some new pads from HD?
Now that's funny! :lol:
Robbie

panhead_jim
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:48 pm
Bikes: 1964 FLH
1972 R75/5
1996 XL1200C
2001 R1200C
2007 FXSTB
Location: NC
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Improved front braking

#6

Post by panhead_jim » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:37 am

Thought you would get a kick out of that...

steinauge
Posts: 521
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:05 pm
Bikes: 1938U,1949FL,1961FL,1968XL,1979FL ,1958 FL, 1965 BMW,1975 Honda CB750
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: Improved front braking

#7

Post by steinauge » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:04 pm

This may help? Line the inside of the drum with 80 grit sandpaper cut to fit .(the kind that is adhesive on the smooth side)Install the backing plate and shoes,rotate back and forth while gradually applying pressure to the arm.This is a poor mans arc grinder.Keep it up until you get full contact.When you reinstall the wheel leave the anchor nut loose and have someone turn the wheel by hand as you gradually apply the brake until they cannot turn the wheel anymore.Then tighten the anchor nut while the brake is on.This centers the shoes in the drum.Note-if your drum is not round none of this will help.

panhead_jim
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:48 pm
Bikes: 1964 FLH
1972 R75/5
1996 XL1200C
2001 R1200C
2007 FXSTB
Location: NC
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Improved front braking

#8

Post by panhead_jim » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:11 pm

I'll give that a try. If my shoes are shot, who makes the best replacements?

Panacea
Posts: 1867
Joined: Fri May 24, 2002 1:00 am
Bikes: 64FL 99FLHR 01FXSTD
Location: Mpls. MN.
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 57 times

Re: Improved front braking

#9

Post by Panacea » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:56 am

Kinny! I found a set at a swap and had them re-lined by vintage brake. They also arced them to fit the drum which they also turned( to remove the chrome,Duh!) Mercury Morse also built a special spacer to center the shoes in the drum. They do stop a tad better than before, no stoppies however...Mike

partshunt
Panhead Register Member
Posts: 305
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:04 am
Location: "Big Timber Country" Western Canada
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Improved front braking

#10

Post by partshunt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:37 am

On my 54 I had lousy brakes with repo brake shoe linings. Adjusted, centered and all that with no improvement. So, I ended up calling Dave at Harbor Vintage and got a set of used but original OEM shoes with lining. They have some miles on em but they are great now. I can spile the front brake now and dive the front end to near bottoming out...I would also like to know who produces lining like the original OEM Harley of the fiftys.....Joe

speedking1949
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:37 pm
Bikes: 49 FL

Re: Improved front braking

#11

Post by speedking1949 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:09 pm

I suspect that the magic ingredient in those old OEM brake shoes was asbestos!


Richard M.

SFMike
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:25 pm
Bikes: 68 Bonneville
48 EL
65 FLH
03 Road Glide
A few others over the years.
Location: Midwest

Re: Improved front braking

#12

Post by SFMike » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:29 am

I've owned a '49, 3 '65s, a 66 and 67. All stock.
I have ridden many others over the years with stock setups.

I never was really happy or confidant with any of the front brakes and heard the same from others.

Might have inspired development of discs.

I have had beemer, trumpets and beezers.
The brakes were better.

RUBONE
Moderator
Posts: 5138
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:09 am
Bikes: Multiple H-D, Ducati, BMW, Triumph, BSA,...
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 503 times

Re: Improved front braking

#13

Post by RUBONE » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:24 am

Boy, ain't that true! Knuckles , Pans , Shovels, the front brakes all pretty much suck! But in the mix an occasional one will work! And who knows why?? I have tried every technique over the years and never found a consistent cure. But most of the Brit or Euro bikes are much better. I am sure mass has a lot to do with it as well, a big lump is hard to stop! My modern bikes with brakes are a revelation, but I find myself not using them as much as the younger guys. i suppose it is from growing up on bikes with poor brakes, you learn to compensate in other ways. :roll:
Robbie

hogboy52
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:59 am
Bikes: 52FL, 62 BMW R60
Location: New Old Lompoc
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Improved front braking

#14

Post by hogboy52 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:28 am

If you check out your Beemer brake, you will see:

1. An 8 in. drum.
2. A finned aluminum drum. And!
3. The most important of all, a twin cam brake or "double leading shoe" (DLS) brake.

The last all by itself nearly doubles the braking power.

I have seen Harley twin cam front brakes, but was that an option, a factory special, or just user mods? As they seem to be more common on Euro HD's, maybe the last.

,

Ohio-Rider
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:04 pm
Location: North-East Ohio
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Improved front braking

#15

Post by Ohio-Rider » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:25 pm

If you have a lathe handy, maybe you could do your front the same as I did to my rear brake. Don’t assume the new brake pads you get will be concentric to the c/l of the axle. Most are not and I've seen them as bad as 1/8" off location to the c/l.
l18x6yw7.jpg
Another good tip not mentioned yet would be to make certain your cable is well secured. When you pull the brake lever and can see the cable move, that is wasted braking power. Good Luck
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Post Reply

Return to “Brakes”