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Front Brake 850 MK3, improve braking

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by click, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. click

    click VIP MEMBER

    Dec 27, 2008
    Hi Lads,

    When I purchased my Norton it already had a 'better' front brake installed. (see pic below)

    It says on the caliper bracket Norvil, Fair Spares would I be correct in saying that this came from the USA & not the Norvil company run in the UK?

    I haven't measured the master cylinder but I think it's stock.

    Overall the feel of the brake is very wooden, it slows you down but nowhere near front stoppies or wheel lock (I know wheel lock does not improve your braking distance! but it is an indication that your brake has plenty of stopping power, how you apply this power is up to you/your skill at braking)

    With the floating disc & the Lockheed caliper + stainless brake lines I would of expected a more 'robust' braking experience.

    I can only think of two things to do to improve the braking:

    1. Replace the standard master cylinder with a 13mm master cylinder from Andover Norton (I want to keep all the standard switches etc.)

    2. Replace the disc, not sure what options I have with the existing caliper bracket?

    Has anybody else got a similar setup?

    Front Brake.jpg
  2. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Nov 20, 2004
    Probably not, as Norvil (The Norvil Motorcycle Co.) was originally called Fair Spares.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  3. kommando


    May 7, 2005
    Its all relative but what has already been done should have improved the braking leaving only the ratio of master to caliper to get to the 27:1.

    3. Resleeve existing master cylinder to 13mm using Madass's kit.
  4. bill


    Jun 1, 2003
    i have only one experience with a madass kit and would not use or recomend it. it was not used but replaced with the RGM kit. the madass kit was such such a sloppy fit and retained with glue it scared me where with RGM kit it is a threaded fit wit a seal at the bottom looks like a much better solution. the best way to go would with a properly sized master cylinder over any resleeve kit.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  5. NorCat


    Feb 26, 2015
    I have the madass resleeve master cilinder kit, it works perfectly, in my Mk3 it is conected to his 6 piston caliper and rotor.

    I am very satisfied.
  6. marinatlas


    Nov 4, 2007
    Which pad have you ? I had the same as you on different bikes : one with 5/8 ap MC and ebc FA16HH pads as said woody but good bite , one with 12.7mm grimeca (good feeling ) and Norvil green pads still good bite , and one with ? mm (may be 11mm,not enough strong pressure for me), and basic (emgo?) , ok for slow cruising ..........
  7. Holmeslice

    Holmeslice VIP MEMBER

    Sep 27, 2009
    Click, sir,

    This caliper/rotor setup is similar to the brakes we use on all our NYC Norton racers and high-end customer bikes. The "Norvil" 11.5" rotor and Lockheed (AP Racing) caliper is fantastic, and vintage - the design taken from the original Production Racer designs. It's all in the master cylinder. For our racers we use a 13mm Brembo when running a single disk (which we do on all but the fastest tracks), and a 16mm Brembo for a twin disk. I do believe the Brembos to be superior to the stock Norton masters in all aspects, particularly lever ratio, but reducing your stock master down to 13mm would get you a lot better, progressive feeling brake than what you're describing. This setup should do stoppies.



    (p.s. Don't forget the Ferodo Platinum pads - street compound)
    Lineslinger and Fullauto like this.
  8. kommando


    May 7, 2005
    My sleeve was not sloppy in the bore and have used the Loctite product on other fixes with no failures but as added insurance I dimpled the back of the sleeve and drilled and tapped the master cylinder handlebar bore for a 3mm grub screw that engaged the dimple.
  9. JimC


    Oct 12, 2007
    As for sleeved brake cylinders I would apply the old adage pertaining to food. If in doubt, throw it out.

    Why introduce a potential catastrophic problem?
    Lineslinger, MexicoMike and jimbo like this.
  10. acadian

    acadian VIP MEMBER

    Mar 5, 2010
    Clubman sells a floating disc/AP caliper kit very similar to that
  11. jaydee75


    Jul 2, 2012
    I've done 4 steps in my upgrade: 1) Sleeve MC to 1/2" (or 13mm) 2) Replace hoses with non-ballooning types, 3) Replace pads with Ferado, 4) Best of all replace the rotor. See my thread here on keeping the stock caliper with a larger, lighter rotor:
    (Shown in my avatar)
    I've got thousands of miles on the combination and couldn't be happier.
  12. Peavey Jeltz

    Peavey Jeltz

    Jan 12, 2019
    Click, I have the same brake setup on my Commando along with an AP CP3179 which is 5/8" bore and while it works well enough, it is as you say "wooden". Someday I'll try out a 13mm MC.
  13. click

    click VIP MEMBER

    Dec 27, 2008
    Thanks for all the comments, as always really useful.

    I'll check later what pads are in the caliper.

    Kenny, many thanks for the reply. Good to know the brake setup I have is vintage! Also thanks for the recommendation on the brake pads.

    I see Andover Norton has the 13mm MK3 master cylinders back in stock, I'll have to break open the piggy bank . . . . . . . . again!!!
  14. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    I used a chromed Suzuki GS1000 disc with on Lockheed calliper and tried a fewest of pads - I could not get it to work. I now use two smaller and lighter high speed steel discs off a different Suzuki, two Lockheed callipers and the same master cylinder, and the same old asbestos Ferodo pads which were used in the 1970s. The brake is excellent. I can lock it with one finger, and it needs to be like that for racing. I've tried carbon racing pads - did not work.
  15. click

    click VIP MEMBER

    Dec 27, 2008
    Just checked the pads I have are: Ferodo 4004F

    Got this from Vintagebrake.com:
    4004F: A discontinued compound in a non-asbestos, semi-metallic material. A high friction co-efficient of .44mu offering excellent modulation and control. Requires somewhat longer bed-in period than above compounds and provides noticeably stronger braking when hot. Very kind to rotors with good anti-fade properties and excellent wet weather control. Excellent compound for use on stainless steel rotors. Rich Oliver’s compound of choice for 3 years!

    I'm trying to track down FERODO PLATINUM pads for the Lockheed caliper I have, RGM don't have them nor do Andover Norton. Anybody know of a supplier in the UK?
  16. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Mar 15, 2009
    +1 on what Kenny said. The original Production Racer with that disk setup had a 9/16" (14.3 mm) bore master cylinder and worked very well. Norton also offered a twin disk conversion, which I used for a while with the 9/16" master, and it gave a very light pull. After locking up the front and crashing braking into a corner, I switched to the 5/8" (15.9 mm) master cylinder that Lockheed recommended for that setup, and it also worked well.

    Fullauto likes this.
  17. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Nov 20, 2004
  18. MexicoMike


    Jan 31, 2010
    You can retain the stock switches and get great braking if you install the Brembo master cylinder and their adapter plate (to accept the OEM switchgear) from CNW. That master cylinder and a good set of Ferodo pads/braided SS brake line will make the front brake feel and stop like a modern system. The limitation on braking performance will be totally based on the traction of the tire itself, as it should be.

    OF course, the master cylinder itself won't look stock so if you demand that the MC be stock-appearing, the CNW option won't work for you. :(
  19. click

    click VIP MEMBER

    Dec 27, 2008
  20. click

    click VIP MEMBER

    Dec 27, 2008
    Thanks for replying.

    I think the CNW master cylinder adaptor only works with the MK2 switchgear and not the MK3, I’m sure I looked at it before and there was a reason I didn’t get it. My bike is a rider, I’m not that bothered about originality, as long as it works.

    I’ve decided what to do! Get the 13mm MK3 master cylinder from AN and a set of Ferodo Platinum pads.

    I’ll post some pics of the swop over & give some feedback on the setup.

    More anon.

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