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Front disc brake upgrade

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Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by paul_hignett at February 12. 2012

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by david_evans at February 12. 2012

Yes Paul the Lockheed caliper will fit over the standard disc and give a marked improvement. I have the smaller piston one fitted and along with the smaller diameter master cylinder and braided hose the brake is much improved, How much more does the larger piston caliper cost? I think the least gain is from the larger floating type disc. That's my opinion. (they do look good though)  The screws supplied with the adaptor plate are metric if I recall so you will have to include a metric allen key and open ended spanner in your tool kit to remove the wheel.

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by paul_hignett at February 13. 2012

Previously wrote:

Yes Paul the Lockheed caliper will fit over the standard disc and give a marked improvement. I have the smaller piston one fitted and along with the smaller diameter master cylinder and braided hose the brake is much improved, How much more does the larger piston caliper cost? I think the least gain is from the larger floating type disc. That's my opinion. (they do look good though)  The screws supplied with the adaptor plate are metric if I recall so you will have to include a metric allen key and open ended spanner in your tool kit to remove the wheel.

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by paul_hignett at February 13. 2012

thanks for the reply david

the larger piston lockheed is £190 whereas the smaller type is £154. i think i am going to go with what you have, i am sure as you said this will give me a much improved brake. i will retain the original norton disc as i could always add the 12" one at a later date if i  feel i need to. when you say you have the smaller piston type is that the lockheed. did you use the rgm adaptor, just wondered if it all fit ok, was the spacing with the norton disc ok.

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by david_evans at February 13. 2012

Yes paul the lockheed one with RGM adaptor, spacing is fine, though getting on the nuts to clamp it all up is a bit of a game. You may want to look on ebay for a caliper as they come up on there frequently. As I originally said, you may want to review your tool kit should you be the type to remove your wheel at the roadside to repair a puncture. (does anybody do that nowadays?) The Lockheed caliper has two bleed nipples to do both pistons. the pads tend to rattle a little but at least you know they are not seized. You may also think about filling the system from the bottom with a syringe and a piece of plastic tubing, as this seems to work well, forcing the air out above the rising fluid. Cover your petrol tank before this trick.

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by david_evans at February 13. 2012

Yes paul the lockheed one with RGM adaptor, spacing is fine, though getting on the nuts to clamp it all up is a bit of a game. You may want to look on ebay for a caliper as they come up on there frequently. As I originally said, you may want to review your tool kit should you be the type to remove your wheel at the roadside to repair a puncture. (does anybody do that nowadays?) The Lockheed caliper has two bleed nipples to do both pistons. the pads tend to rattle a little but at least you know they are not seized. You may also think about filling the system from the bottom with a syringe and a piece of plastic tubing, as this seems to work well, forcing the air out above the rising fluid. Cover your petrol tank before this trick.

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by michael_mcvey at February 14. 2012

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

Hi Paul, I up rated my 850 with the rgm sleeve conversion first which was terrible. (it didn't stop at all at the first roundabout when I picked it up in a thunderstorm) until I changed the worn out hose to braided hose and then went the whole hog and got the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM.

Best money I have spent on the bike, as I did it before the Colombres trip and hate to think how the old brake would have coped with me and the good lady on the back on all those descents.

Spoken to 2 others at rallies and the same comments.

ps I am not on commission!

 

Mike

 

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by paul_hignett at February 15. 2012

Previously wrote:

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

Hi Paul, I up rated my 850 with the rgm sleeve conversion first which was terrible. (it didn't stop at all at the first roundabout when I picked it up in a thunderstorm) until I changed the worn out hose to braided hose and then went the whole hog and got the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM.

Best money I have spent on the bike, as I did it before the Colombres trip and hate to think how the old brake would have coped with me and the good lady on the back on all those descents.

Spoken to 2 others at rallies and the same comments.

ps I am not on commission!

 

Mike

 

many thanks for your reply mike, i really do appreciate peoples comments as i am quite new and in-experienced when it comes to owning a commando . i started riding in the 80's and have been motorcycling all my life on various bikes, but i always wanted a classic norton.

when you say you went the whole hog and had the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM and it worked well, have you still got the rgm sleeve conversion fitted to your original master cylinder on your bike or did you buy a new master cylinder as well. interested to know as you seem very pleased with your brake now.

again thanks, paul

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by anthony_williams at February 15. 2012

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.ease, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks paul/read all the advise you,ve been given.i,ve been there over the last 20 odd years/gremica caliper/braded hose re,sleeved master cyclinder/all made some improvements/then i used a second hand master cly of a new triumph 900 and £35 from a scrap bike.and its never been better////tony williams

 

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by anthony_williams at February 15. 2012

paul/just read all the advise you,ve been given/i,ve tried most of them over the laST 20 ODD YEARS,THEY WILL IMPROVE YOUR Brake/but the best[ single] thing i did was buy a second hand master clyinder off a 900 modern triumph and its never been better all for about £35....

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by John McNicoll at February 15. 2012

Previously wrote:

paul/just read all the advise you,ve been given/i,ve tried most of them over the laST 20 ODD YEARS,THEY WILL IMPROVE YOUR Brake/but the best[ single] thing i did was buy a second hand master clyinder off a 900 modern triumph and its never been better all for about £35....

I have also done as Anthony has said and replaced the master cylinder with one from a Triumph(Speed Triple) from eBay which cost less than £40 and the braking is almost up to modern standards. A friend with a MK3 Commando replaced his master cylinder with a Brembo item from a Ducati and gave excellent results, however these normally go for over £100 second hand. The only problem is it doesn't look original but it doesn't bother me I would rather be safe with good braking!

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by paul_hignett at February 15. 2012

Previously wrote:

paul/just read all the advise you,ve been given/i,ve tried most of them over the laST 20 ODD YEARS,THEY WILL IMPROVE YOUR Brake/but the best[ single] thing i did was buy a second hand master clyinder off a 900 modern triumph and its never been better all for about £35....

thanks anthony and john

just to clarify, when you say you added a modern triumph master cylinder and it gave excellent results, was this with the original commando disc and brake caliper as that would save me a lot of money. i am commited to having my master cylinder re-bored as RGM already have it, but i could just shelve that for another day and source a modern master cylinder.

many thanks

paul

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by joe_seifert at February 16. 2012

Ever considered our Norton Disc Brake Upgrade Kit? Developed by Commando riders, uses the original caliper and brake disc. Amazing result.

See http://www.andover-norton.co.uk/Accessories.htm. And not a backyard modification that lets hydraulic specialist's hair fall out either.

My son rides it, my friends have it, only I don't have it on my current everyday Commando because that is a drum brake model- the only possible excuse!

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by graham_parker1 at February 16. 2012

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

A very affective mod is to used a Brembo Caliper off many eighties bikes (BMW, Harris Bonnie etc) I and a couple of mates have these fitted along with the RGM 13mm conversion they work well you can pick up a new caliper for less than 80 quid and make a small bracket to mount it let me know your email and I'll send you a picture etc. Graham

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by allan_walker at February 16. 2012

I'm planning to buy the modified master cylinder from Andover Norton, to fit to my Mk3 850 (as mentioned in Joe's reply.) It's possibly not the cheapest option, but at least it means the original switchgear is retained. I'm not a total originality freak, but the AN option seems a good compromise between 'classic' appearance, and good performance

I already have a RGM Grimeca caliper (used with the standard Norton m/cylinder, and standard Norton disc) and this combination is far better than the original set-up. However, it's still not up to 'modern' standards, and that's why I'm considering the AN m/cylinder.

I recently picked-up (from Ebay, where else?) a 12" Lockheed floating disc, which I'm going to fit in place of the standard Norton item. The RGM caliper mount is slotted to allow for a larger disc, so it should be an easy swap.

Some dry roads would be welcome, so that I can really 'test' the modifications!

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by paul_hignett at February 16. 2012

Previously wrote:

Ever considered our Norton Disc Brake Upgrade Kit? Developed by Commando riders, uses the original caliper and brake disc. Amazing result.

See http://www.andover-norton.co.uk/Accessories.htm. And not a backyard modification that lets hydraulic specialist's hair fall out either.

My son rides it, my friends have it, only I don't have it on my current everyday Commando because that is a drum brake model- the only possible excuse!

 

hi joe, unfortunately i have had a call today from RGM to say my master cylinder is ready so i am too far down that road to back out now. i must admit i didn't know about the andover upgrade, if i had i would have considered it.

thanks for the pointer anyway, i may well do that if my RGM mod is useless

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by John McNicoll at February 16. 2012

Previously wrote:

Previously wrote:

paul/just read all the advise you,ve been given/i,ve tried most of them over the laST 20 ODD YEARS,THEY WILL IMPROVE YOUR Brake/but the best[ single] thing i did was buy a second hand master clyinder off a 900 modern triumph and its never been better all for about £35....

thanks anthony and john

just to clarify, when you say you added a modern triumph master cylinder and it gave excellent results, was this with the original commando disc and brake caliper as that would save me a lot of money. i am commited to having my master cylinder re-bored as RGM already have it, but i could just shelve that for another day and source a modern master cylinder.

many thanks

paul

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by gordon_milburn at February 16. 2012

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

You can get a similar effect to the reline by using a yamaha 250LC master cylinder.  I tried one on my commando in the 1980's and it worked well.  The master cylinder had a larger effect than the Lockheed caliper conversion, but both are best.  The improved brake will twist the forks and so you will need a fork brace.

 

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by michael_mcvey at February 18. 2012

Previously wrote:

Previously wrote:

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

Hi Paul, I up rated my 850 with the rgm sleeve conversion first which was terrible. (it didn't stop at all at the first roundabout when I picked it up in a thunderstorm) until I changed the worn out hose to braided hose and then went the whole hog and got the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM.

Best money I have spent on the bike, as I did it before the Colombres trip and hate to think how the old brake would have coped with me and the good lady on the back on all those descents.

Spoken to 2 others at rallies and the same comments.

ps I am not on commission!

 

Mike

 

many thanks for your reply mike, i really do appreciate peoples comments as i am quite new and in-experienced when it comes to owning a commando . i started riding in the 80's and have been motorcycling all my life on various bikes, but i always wanted a classic norton.

when you say you went the whole hog and had the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM and it worked well, have you still got the rgm sleeve conversion fitted to your original master cylinder on your bike or did you buy a new master cylinder as well. interested to know as you seem very pleased with your brake now.

again thanks, paul

 

Hi Paul, I still have the the rgm conversion on the master cylinder as I wanted to keep the original switchgear etc.

I have seen some impressive twin rotors on some Commandos, especially at the Donnington event, but both of them were immaculate and on trailers and I didn't see them moving! They must work though but a good friend who runs a bike shop I use, reminded me that if you do go down that route on an old bike, you may just move the problem to somewhere else on the bike, like someone on this thread has mentioned about twisting forks, fork braces, tyres overwhelmed etc.

I just wanted a better brake, and if I want modern performance I would buy a modern bike. I would have a look at the Andover version as well, but to paraphrase an old advertising saying, if you asked 10 Norton or Commando experts/riders what to do, you would get 11 opinions, it's just getting the solution that fits you and your wallet and why we all ride slightly different bikes.

Mind how you go and keep upright!

Mike

 

Re: Front disc brake upgrade

Posted by michael_mcvey at February 18. 2012

Previously wrote:

Previously wrote:

Previously wrote:

hi everyone. i have a 1974 850 commando and i am in the process of upgrading the front brake. i love riding the bike, it has such character and the missus and i enjoy camping trips on the bike, but i must admit i am finding the brakes are a bit lacking for our safety.

i have sent my master cylinder off to RGM for re-line and reduce bore. i have read this is an effective mod as i would like to retain the master cylinder. i have goodridge hoses fitted, but i am looking for any advice on replacing the brake caliper. the calipers i am looking at are the lockheed racing calipers. i am leaning towards the road use lockheed cp2696, but would i be better spending the extra money and getting the larger piston one cp3697 from RGM motors. i was hoping to keep the standard norton disc, but will these calipers fit the standard norton disc. i know i will need the rgm adaptor for the fork leg but will the calipers fit over the norton disc.

please, any help or advice on whether i am going the right way about this would be much appreciated, thanks

Hi Paul, I up rated my 850 with the rgm sleeve conversion first which was terrible. (it didn't stop at all at the first roundabout when I picked it up in a thunderstorm) until I changed the worn out hose to braided hose and then went the whole hog and got the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM.

Best money I have spent on the bike, as I did it before the Colombres trip and hate to think how the old brake would have coped with me and the good lady on the back on all those descents.

Spoken to 2 others at rallies and the same comments.

ps I am not on commission!

 

Mike

 

many thanks for your reply mike, i really do appreciate peoples comments as i am quite new and in-experienced when it comes to owning a commando . i started riding in the 80's and have been motorcycling all my life on various bikes, but i always wanted a classic norton.

when you say you went the whole hog and had the grimeca/floating disc conversion from RGM and it worked well, have you still got the rgm sleeve conversion fitted to your original master cylinder on your bike or did you buy a new master cylinder as well. interested to know as you seem very pleased with your brake now.

again thanks, paul

 

Hi Paul, I still have the the rgm conversion on the master cylinder as I wanted to keep the original switchgear etc.

I have seen some impressive twin rotors on some Commandos, especially at the Donnington event, but both of them were immaculate and on trailers and I didn't see them moving! They must work though but a good friend who runs a bike shop I use, reminded me that if you do go down that route on an old bike, you may just move the problem to somewhere else on the bike, like someone on this thread has mentioned about twisting forks, fork braces, tyres overwhelmed etc.

I just wanted a better brake, and if I want modern performance I would buy a modern bike. I would have a look at the Andover version as well, but to paraphrase an old advertising saying, if you asked 10 Norton or Commando experts/riders what to do, you would get 11 opinions, it's just getting the solution that fits you and your wallet and why we all ride slightly different bikes.

Mind how you go and keep upright!

Mike

 

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