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Jun 14, 2003
Hi Matt,

I, too, am concerned about front brake lockup. The front wheel serves as a gyroscope, providing stability to the bike as it travels down the road. Now if the gyroscope suddenly stops spinning, as in the case of a locked front brake, the bike will crash quicker than you can blink.

Performance is quite easily enhanced on older motorcyle braking systems. For example, as Derek pointed out, decreasing the pressure area in the master cylinder by mere fractions of an inch dramatically reduces the amount of effort at the brake lever. Stainless steel brake lines, different rotor material, different brake pad material, etc. all will have a very noticeable affect on Norton brake performance.

So, for every modification you make to the brake system, you get instant positive feedback and gratification; unlike tuning carburetors, which can often be frustrating.

Tinkering with brakes is a fun and satisfying experience. But having said that, I don't plan to change the stock brakes on my old Commando; as you said Matt, I'll just bear down a little harder when I need to.


I apologize for posting this in the wrong place; it really seems irrelevant and out of place. I meant to post it just beneath Matt's latest response in the "seriously infected" thread.

Hi Jason!
I think you don’t have to worry at all because the topic’s getting mixed up anyway…
If should I think of fiddling about with the front brake, I’d rather go tls…
I’d fancy a grimeca or ceriani tls drum brake. Not talking about money, are we? As these are pretty expensive, if you can find one.
I’ll just drive my Commando all summer and then start thinking about altering components. As long as the front brake doesn’t lock, I’m fine.
What I’m thinking of is switching to primary belt drive, as at 200 Pounds Sterling it’s quite a reasonable investment (according to Norvil Motors).
I cannot wait til I got my Commando parked up in my garage…! Just sold my BMW 75/6 and I’m just about to get rid of my BMW R 100 GS. Space is needed, spud!
Just recceived the Norman Hyde-catalogue… quite some interessting stuff in there as well.
Let’s just see if my engine is not lesking any oil… it would piss me off big style. Tghtening up all them screws frequently should give the engine less chance to bleed, really.

We’ve got a beautiful piece of motorcycle!
Hi Matt,

Regarding the belt drive you may want to read the "Norvil belt drive" thread. It started out talking about belt drives :)

oil leaks - hmm. Well, I'm told there's an occasional Norton here and there that's oil tight. Mine certainly is not. But cross your fingers, offer prayers to your favorite deity, and who knows. You just might get a dry one.

Also, I'd hang on to that R100 if I were you. Nice to have another bike to ride when the Norton is torn down. I've spent more time working on mine than riding it. At the moment it's down, waiting for parts...

good luck,
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