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I know neither is as good as a disc. That said, here’s my situation.

I am collecting parts for a period correct ’55 Panhead project, in a ’48 wishbone. I have found both a mechanical drum(would still need to find the plate, shoes, etc.) and a complete hydraulic rear brake. This bike was run before with a juice drum, so the cross shaft for the mechanical has been cut off. I have another tube and shaft I can put on there. Will not have a front brake. I know the mechanical will look a lot cleaner, so I’m leaning that way, but how much better will the hydraulic stop? This bike will be mostly for show and cruising around, no high speed blasts on the freeway or lane-splitting in heavy traffic.
 

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On the '56 I had a drum in the back and ( later ) a sportster drum on the front . It stopped pretty well , considering it was a stroked and very fast motor , with only the rear break . I did a lot of freeway fast riding and lots of light to light terrorizing and never had many situations that I thought " boy I sure would like to be able to stop better " .

Obviously I never needed it so it was never a problem . Hard to say when you're going to need it though . I'd say if you only plan on round town cruising and putt putting , either should be fine for you . The juice would be a little more effective by design , but probably not noticeably so . I'd say either would do what you want them to do in the end .
 

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my pops has the juice brakes on his 65 pan and they stop much better than the mechanical and in my opinion look just as well on a period correct build as a mechanical brake does
 

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I am collecting parts for a period correct '55 Panhead project, in a '48 wishbone.
Period correct? What period are you talking about! Juice on a rigid is a '70s thing. Never saw one set up that way before. I did one in '73 and people thought it was weird!
Robbie
 
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I say mechanical. It will stop great if you work on it to get it centered. Once the back wheel locks up how much better is a juice brake or disc going to stop??
 

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Period correct? What period are you talking about! Juice on a rigid is a '70s thing. Never saw one set up that way before. I did one in '73 and people thought it was weird!
Robbie
From Richards other threads, it is a 70's style scooter--raked, twisted springer, molding, etc. Looks good to me.

If you've got the juice brakes and the bike is set up for them then use 'em. Here's mine, but it has some modern stuff on it. Most folks don't notice.

Mid 70's would more than likely use a Wagner style master cylinder.
Larry T
 

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From Richards other threads, it is a 70's style scooter--raked, twisted springer, molding, etc. Looks good to me.

If you've got the juice brakes and the bike is set up for them then use 'em. Here's mine, but it has some modern stuff on it. Most folks don't notice.

Mid 70's would more than likely use a Wagner style master cylinder.
Larry T
Thats Clean!
 

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Advantage of disc: Won't fade, easy to modulate the point between braking hard and locking up.

Advantage of juice drum: Easy to modulate the point between braking hard and locking up.

Advantage of mechanical drum: Simplicity, clean looks, still stops really well.

I use mechanical drums on my chopper.

-Craig
 
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Advantage of disc: Won't fade, easy to modulate the point between braking hard and locking up.

Advantage of juice drum: Easy to modulate the point between braking hard and locking up.

Advantage of mechanical drum: Simplicity, clean looks, still stops really well.

I use mechanical drums on my chopper.

-Craig
That's a good point on fade. I have mechanical brakes on my Pan and Knuckle. If you hear the back wheel locking up, back off the brake a little bit -- it works real good, just like juice. I've never had my mechanical brakes fade if they are set up right. I live where there are a lot of mountains and curves, and I ride up people's ass all the time with late model bikes. Haven't had any late model disc brake bike pull away from me yet. I'll take a mechanical over a juice drum any day, and personally I think a disc looks stupid on a rigid Pan or Knuckle bike unless it's an S&S motor - that's different if you're building a look-alike.
 

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Period correct? What period are you talking about! Juice on a rigid is a '70s thing. Never saw one set up that way before. I did one in '73 and people thought it was weird!
Robbie
It wasn't just a "70's thing...", chopper guys were swapping out juice drum assemblies in place of their mechanicals long before the '70's came around. It was a pretty common swap. Here's Dick Allen's juice setup on his rigid chop, circa 1967. He was far from the first guy to do it, too.......

 

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Wheel cylinder: Wagner Lockheed. By the way, now made by Wagner in China I'm told! There are different Wheel Cylinders configurations depending on year of hydraulic rear brake setup.

Master cylinder: Wagner again, which is a 3/4" bore.
 

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I don't think there's anything wrong with the juice brakes. It's like running a flathead; you KNOW it's not gonna beat a Ninja, so you "ride accordingly".

I really, really like my juice brake. If you've got all of the parts (INCLUDING the correct drum bearings and the seemingly elusive internal spacer), I think they're a good compromise between mechanical coolness and disc stopness. When I actually think.
 

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I think the juice drum brakes work as well as some of the early single pug banana disk calipers.
+1 with what Trent said about shoes arched correctly, my 67 front aren't (maybe fallen arches?!) and it's no bueno on stopping.
Are you runnin a front brake?
 
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