CNW Parts

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I'd love to be able to get just the disc center and caliper adapter. The set up is pretty slick. However, I'm too cheap to spring for the entire setup for 1000 bucks. I could get the rest fairly inexpensive from the go-fast boys that are springing for the six-pot calipers and radial brake masters for their Ducati's. (Or after they wiped out their expensive new toy doing "stoppies"!)
Ron L.
bigger brake, more battery

Just my observation, but I don't have any problem with the original front disc & master cylinder on my '72 combat. If I grab a handfull, I can make the front tire chirp which is enough brake, right?

The closed cell Yuasa battery might have some merit. It says it isn't affected by vibration...that's a good thing. I paid close to $60 for a Yuasa 12N9-4B-1, so the $79 for the closed cell isn't that bad. Cranking power with a kick starting engine isn't an issue. Neither is the need for more lighting current, I don't ride at night. It might be a problem for the RM21 Lucas alternator to send enough current back to a higher current battery for charging.
"Enough" brake is one of those relative terms. It's what you are used to. For 15 years my '73 750 was my only ride. The brake was fine. As you say, if you squeeze hard enough you can make it chirp. However, with the addition of a couple of Ducati's and a late BMW (Brembo brakes), I realize how much better and progressive brakes can be. My Nortons still have the stock set up (except the cafe racer) and I can still stop in a reasonable distance. This is why I can't bring myself to spend $1K to make it better. If I can figure a way to do it for under $500 I might try it on my Interstate "test mule".
Ron L
improved Commando front brake

Hi Ron,

I did a 13mm master cyclinder piston conversion and new brake line on a '74 JPN last year. The reason for doing it was the m/c needed rebuilding anyway. It was less than $100 and probably reduced the amount of force needed. I've been told the Lockheed/Norton calipers flex quite a bit, so increase brake fluid pressure may not improve braking.

There seems to be lots of Brembo calipers on Ebay - at seemingly low prices compared to the Norvil & lightweight Lockheed period calipers.

Has anyone been through the process of fitting a late model Brembo caliper to the Norton front-end? I know there are issues relating to caliper mounting, rotor thickness and diameter, as well as the M/C to caliper size.

And the Norton purest would roll over in his/her grave if they saw it - but I want to live... by being able to stop with confidence.

I am just not comfortable with the Norton disk setup in city traffic.

Someone said that the standard Lockheed caliper makes a great paper weight when polished. I agree.
That is exactly what CNW is using. They have a clever adaptor for the stock leg and then a machined center for the rotor to bolt to the stock wheel. The disc itself is a 300 mm where most Brembos are 320 mm so I'm not sure what the original disc application is. I don't need all the chrome plating personally. A clever machinist should be able to turn out a similar caliper adapter from aluminum stock. The same with the hub center. Then use a rotor from a Ducati or Jap bike fastened with new rotor buttons.

Ron L
You're thinking the same as i have been for the past couple of months. There must be either an after market disc or a stock disc from a salvage yard that could be adapted without too much trouble. The stock discs are not smart looking and they are not very light therefore anything else should be an improvement. As for the calipers there's a guy in England making what appears to be a knockoff of the 4 piston Performance Machine caliper that bolts directly to the Norton fork leg without an adapter. I'll see if i can find the article and post the telephone number. If anyone has the diameter of the bolt pattern for bolting the disc to the hub please advise me, i'll see if i can find a disc that matches.
Personally I think the CNW setup looks really nice, other than the chromed caliper. I like the gold finish as on the Ducatis better. But the CNW parts are priced way out of reach for this lowly peasant girl.

I've been considering an idea that will make the purists among you groan. I have a Suz GS550 and its forks and brake are both a lot better than the Norton's in my opinion. Have been considering replacing my entire Norton front end with old suz parts! The parts are dirt cheap and readily available from ebay and the boneyards. The forks are the same length and diameter (35mm) as my Norton forks. They don't clank either BTW. Haven't figured out what to do about the triples though. The Norton has the fork tubes spaced wider than the Suz triples. Would have to either fit the Suz triple tree to the Norton frame or have a bunch of customer spacers made I suppose, I don't know.

Before you all start flaming, I'd rather do the brembo setup. But can't afford. I guess I'll be using my drum brake and dragging my feet for a while longer.

BTW, for those of you complaining about the stock norton disk - have you ever tried the drum brake? Talk about pathetic braking. I think I could stop about as quickly with just the rear brake.

my two cents,
71 750 Commando
Being creative is a good thing. On our last group run I saw a Combat Interstate that had GT 750 front end graffted on to it. He used the entire Suzy front end including triple trees, twin calipers / rotors and wheel.
I think he shortened the tree stem to fit the frame. I am not sure about the bearing set up. It looked trick and worked great.
CNW Brembo

The $1K is a bit of money for a front brake, so I have asked the owner (Matt) if I can purchase a part at a time & he is happy to sell one this way.

So over a 2-3 month period you can get the bits & then have a great brake that also looks good.

The extra stopping power of the brembo & the fact that it looks great has won me. It just may save me & my wife from t-boning some person in a car that hasn't seen us coming as they do :cry: Coming downhill through a range will also be a lot less stressfull.

For those people that MUST have the original Norton disc brake, mine will be up for sale on ebay once I have brought all the CNW Brembo bits.
Here's the name and telephone number for the guy in England selling a six piston caliper that bolts directly to the Norton fork leg:
name; Mike Ryan at 01242 680995 you probably need to add a country code to this number to direct dial. otherwise you may need an operator to help. The city he lives in is Cheltenham. The article where this brake was shown is the May 2003 "Classic Bike Guide". It has several photos and the set up looks very good but the article didn't mention how it worked :roll: The set up appeared to use the Norton master cylinder and possbly a Norvil disc. Even if you aren't interested in the brake the bike it's on is interestng.
Thanks for all the input on this discussion.

The local Ducati shop sold me a "hard to shift brembo caliper" for $150 AUS which is about $105 US
This was really just being in the right place at the right time, as they retail at around $520 AUS normally.

A good friend machined up the "spacer"

One of you guys gave me the inspiration for drilling the Norton disc and the end result was a very reasonable cost.

As this setup is going on an 1974 850/920 I am currently building, it has yet to be tested.

If you are interested enough to view the setup go here
I have grafted a GT750 front end on my Commando project. Actually it was a machinist friend that did the work.

He simply turned down the GT 750 stem and made a couple spacers.

I need to do some grinding on GT750's fork stops.

I did not want to make any changes to the Norton frame. I use the stock bearings.

If I find a cheap GT750 speedo, I'll us it. But then I'll have to get a small Fairing to hide it. It's too bad Norton didn't put the speedo drive on the front wheel.

And horror upon horrors, I'm putting a GT 750 rear wheel on the same bike.

Gotta figure out a way to get the left side brake pedal to operate the right side brake lever. :?:
How has the GT750 front end affected the rake and trail? This can seriously affect the handling.

Are you using the Bremo caliper with the stock Norton disc? The Brembo discs are much thinner than the Norton and when I had both in my hand I was concerned if the caliper was too narrow for the disc for proper operation. Let us know how this works.
Better Brakes

I have made an adapter plate that works with a stock fork leg and a stock disc. Like you I was spoiled by my Ducati and knew that there had to be something better. I was not able to source a Brembo Caliper at a price that I considered reasonable, so I found a 4 piston Nissin caliper that is pretty much a Brembo clone. I am also using a Nissin 1/2" master cylinder. I stayed with the stock disc as the cast iron material actually has better friction charateristics than the modern stainless steel ones. I drilled and slotted the stock rotor for a better appearance, but it's not mandatory.

I now have a brake that is actually more powerful than my Ducati's, but is very progressive and controllable. The front tire can be easily chirped with 2 fingers.

If you are interested in it, let me know. Picture are available on request. I can sell you the whole thing or only the adapter plate, if you wish.

Ron L,
I have machined the stock Norton Rotor down to suit the Brembo Caliper.
The inner circle has also been widened so that there is only enough left on the outer circle to suit the "nerrower brembo caliper. I hope that makes sense. There is a Laverda Concourse on this Sunday in Brisbane, Australia. I may put it on my rider this Friday just to see the reaction!!

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