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Commando disk BRAKE PADS


Hello Iam searching for brake pads on my 73 commando which have more soft mix of material for better decelarate.

Thanks Tomas



In my opinion, the best pads for the standard Norton caliper are the Ferodo Platinum FDP 88P.

This is purely a subjective view on my part - they have a similar 'bite' to the old asbestos pads and no other sintered type has ever echieved that for me.

RGM sells them.


A good modification is to sleeve down the master cylinder {if you haven't done so already. This modification will increase the hydraulic pressure in the brake hose. There are several firms that can carry out this mod for you. The Lockheed/Norton disc brake has two major failings

  • The pads are much too small to be effective.
  • The caliper should have been placed at the front of the fork leg {not the rear}

I would imagine a softer pad material will make a marginal difference only.




I use one of those older Lockheed Racing CP3125 'Variable Ratio' master cylinders. I'm quite happy with the standard caliper under normal conditions.



Back in my days as a rally driver, (Mk1 Escorts) my understanding of brake pads was that a standard soft pad would work well, but overheat and fade quite quickly under repeated, hard use, whereas a harder pad, once it was warm, would not. Apart from the need to be warm, the downside of a harder pad was more rapid disc wear. The fact that a harder pad would not work as well as a soft pad if it was cold was the reason given for standard road cars to generally use a softer pad? For this reason I have avoided anything claiming "race performance " in brake pads for my Commando - for which any hard brake use would be occasional at best.

Have modern brake compounds left this simple analysis behind - or are the characteristics of motorcycle brakes (only one calliper and a fraction of the weight) totally different?


I have found that a 2000 era Triumph Thunderbird Lever and master cylinder assy. works OK with the older disc set-up. I bought one off of ebay, it worked fine, just had a pipe made up locally to adapt. Cheaper than original at todays Ferrari prices.

In reply to by tomas_tesar


Crikey Tomas! So long ago now. But racking my brains as hard as I dare it was either Fair spares {Norvil} or RGM up here in Cumbria. I have owned the machine for 30 years now and most of the major work was done so long ago. What I can tell you is that it's worth doing, there are probably people on the forum with a far greater knowledge of these machines than I who will know exactly who can do this job for you nowadays. With the right tools and materials I wouldn't imagine it would be such a difficult task to carry out.


If you just want a smaller diameter master cylinder, the cheap(-ish) solution is to buy a secondhand one: lots of sturdy Japanese units out there, both period (i.e. round reservoir) and modern (rectangular reservoir, dog-leg levers, adjustable levers).

Cheap-ish, because although there are lots of excellent master cylinders, you may have to mess around sorting out a new brake line (some types have outlets facing forward, as fitted to GPz 550s,for example).



hello i want to stay with original parts i know that is easy to change master cylinder pump for another but this is not way for me





Well said Tomas. Keep it original, all those parts fitted at the factory that only needed zinc plating again and were replaced with stainless fasteners. Bikes with the original parts are much better {but harder work}, keep the faith and don't turn it into a .Birthday Cake'

{Electronic ignition and belt drives excepted}




I see this discussion has drifted from pads onto the ever popular master cylinder debate, one in which I am concerned. I've bought a commando with an original m/c and intend fitting a modern Nissin 1/2" m/c off a Honda CB 500 which also has an adjustable lever. I will also fit a HEL braided hose. Now I appreciate and respect the "maintain originality" arguement but I want to believe I will stop when I pull on the lever. However, despite reading endless internet threads on the subject, I  haven't found anybody describing how you can neatly fit an alternative master cylinder and at the same time maintain the original multi functional handlebar switchblock which is integral with the original master cylinder. I have a few ideas but none are entirely satisfactory. Does anybody have a neat solution to keeping the original switchblock while fitting an alternative master cylinder? 



The only way I know is to have an adaptor plate made up, slot for handlebars and 2 sets of holes, 1 set for switch block and another for the new master cylinder. I resleeved the Norton one with an alloy liner to forgo that pleasure.


i found kit on master cylinder here


thanks to all for your informations al will try  Ferodo Platinum FDP 88P

and kit from rgm

Faffing about with adaptors does indeed seem to be the only way to use a "modern" master cylinder with the original switches.

But this points to another reason for getting rid of the standard set-up. I'm deeply unimpressed with the idea of relying on the four stupid little screws threading into alloy of doubtful quality to keep such a safety-critical item attached to the handlebars*.

Like the caliper, the design is a triumph (sorrry!) of style over function. The substantial clamps favoured by the Japanese and Italians are there for a reason.

*or handlebar, singular, as the late Harry Louis used to insist that "Motor Cycle" call them, when he edited it. Only clip-ons were allowed to be plural.


I had arrived at the solution to clamping the right hand switch block while discarding the original master cylinder before I saw the solution in practice on the Commando on display at the Stafford Show and discussing that bike's many modifications with Alan Clarke. The solution is to find yourself a scrap/used or even new clutch lever pivot. Cut off the clutch lever pivot and fettle it to look nice. The remaining part can be used as the back half clamp for the right hand switch block while you mount a modern master cylinder like the very nice 13mm Nissin one with adjustable lever I obtained from a breaker. Apologies to the purists who like origanality but the costs of an Andover 13mm OEM style master cylinder or a sleeving exercise are prohibitive compared with this fix.

Neil Brandrick

Holland Norton Works sell adapters to fit a Brembo 13mm master cylinder to the earlier non Mk 3 switchblocks and looks very nice with a clutch side and both using matching cranked Brembo levers.

The standard Commando setup works well with a 13mm master cylinder, good standard discs and either SBS or Ferodo pads and fresh DOT 5.1 fluid. The AN master cylinder would be a perfect match but out of stock I believe.

It will certainly provide more braking than the standard tyre and rim sizes can cope with despite negative comments here and the callipers are unique.

You can keep the standard master cylinder but it needs two standard callipers at the front which is a lot more work but works and looks even better with decent tyres.




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