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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would like to use a front drum on my '73 Sporty which is currently equiped with a later model 39mm fork and disc. Been told the H-D drum isn't worth a shit and might as well use rear brake only.

As there any Brit or metric front drums/wheels that look good and perform as well? I expect some fabrication and adaptation to get such a thing to work. Whether its an entire non-Harley wheel or lacing a drum hub into my 21" hoop, I'd rather see a cleaner drum than that damn caliper hanging there!

Pardon me if this has been covered, I've never been good at searches!
 

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The stock '64-'72 drum was at least as good as the '73 disc. Be aware that good drums brakes go up in price along with efficiency. Some of the best (Fontana, etc) are worth about what your sporty is. You would be money ahead putting on a better disc set-up!
 

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one of the best--late 70s GT750 suzuki 2-stroke--4 leading shoe--but hard to find and not cheap. they are used in historic road racing. g
 

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Like the "best" of anything, opinions are like... well you know the rest. A 2 leading shoe brake works better than a single. There are a lot around. Late '60's Triumphs for example, and pre disc Nortons. And a lot of Japanese ones. Here's a link to a page with comments on a few. It's slanted toward AMHRA road racing, but there's a lot of good information there. In fact back up a little once you get there are look around the whole site. A lot of great info.

http://www.vintagebrake.com/drumspec.htm

Their point, in part, is that it's a lot about the setup as well.

Also consider this. Some of the Jap ones come with 36 spokes. If you want to run a narrow (WM1 1.60") 21" front rim, they're a whole lot easier to find with 36 spoke holes than with 40.
 

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GT750 drums are huge and heavy and probably gross overkill. Even a Honda CB350 drum with the right linings (see the vintage brake link. Try stock pads before you pay his crazy prices for relining) should run rings around the stock Sportster drums. Plus, they very common and cheap.

Here are both sides of a CB350 hub laced to an XS650 18" aluminum rim (36 spoke) using stock Yamaha spokes. Holes are optional. The arms and hardware are missing, as they were crusty and I was looking for better stuff. No comments on the f'd up stay arm, please.



 

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The GT750 front drum was a one year only deal. '72 was the first year for the GT750 and the only year they ran a front drum. By '73 they already switched to discs.
 

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I ran a xs450 or 400 front drum on an iron head I had and it worked better than the stock rear drum, and looks super cool laced to a 21" rim. It did take some work though, the hub needs to be altered to accept the 3/4" axle and one of the fork legs needed a brake stop welded to it
 

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Sporticus mentioned a CB350 drum, but the early CB450 is an inch larger in diameter, also twin leading shoe, and even better 40 spoke and no weird lump for the speedo drive. They look damn pretty all shined up and drilled and such. I'll shoot a picture of mine tomorrow and post. They used them until '72 or so.
 

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Yeah, the 450 is better, but I had a 350 drum in front of me. I laced both wheels on a 450 racebike for a friend and I remember either the front or back was 40 spoke and the other end 36 spoke. Count carefully. Another brake to consider is the Suzuki T500, though they're getting kinda pricey because vintage racers like them.

Sporticus mentioned a CB350 drum, but the early CB450 is an inch larger in diameter, also twin leading shoe, and even better 40 spoke and no weird lump for the speedo drive. They look damn pretty all shined up and drilled and such. I'll shoot a picture of mine tomorrow and post. They used them until '72 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys, good info here.

Wow that xs450 has a lot of arms and levers all over the left side! Seems like its a feasable mod with real results anyways.

Any others with suggestions? I'm all ears!
 

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Want 4 leading shoes? Look into Grimeca, Ceriani, Fontana and Oldani...but then you're stepping into some really big bucks haha. Man are they good looking though.
 

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I've got a complete 40 spoke CB450 wheel with axle that I'd sell cheap. I haven't got a use for if anyone needs one.
 

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This is a bit hard to see, but it is a Suzuki t500 drum with a Honda C.B. 450 brake. This one is 36 holes and laced into a typical dirt bike "sun" type aluminum rim. Super minimal machine work was needed to do the do. For some reason I never took a close up of the drum.
 

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Look for old Benelli front drums - off the early 70's tornado would be the best brake - they are gorgeous and from what I've been told, bolt up to HD front ends with little drama (I've seen them on 45 springers so I know they work with some HD spacing fairly easily)

 
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