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#645188 - 03/21/16 9:43 pm Front Brakes  
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Stephen Hill Offline
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Victoria, BC,
I recently bought a 1956 DB34. The 190 mm front brake was installed, and a finned 8 inch front brake came with it.

I haven't ridden the bike so I can't comment on how either brake works. Every reference to Gold Star front brakes I have seen say the 190 mm brake is inferior to the 8 inch brake.

I could skim the drum on the 190 mm, install new linings, arc the lining, and ride the bike. Do the same thing to the 8 inch brake. Then compare the results.

Or maybe I can get some advice on which brake to go with.
I have two questions:
1. Which brake is superior: the 190mm front brake or the 8 inch?
2. What can be done to make the 190 mm more effective?

Thanks,
Stephen Hill
Victoria, BC

Last edited by Stephen Hill; 03/21/16 11:46 pm.
BSA Gold Star eBay items

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#645199 - 03/21/16 11:55 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Kerry W Offline
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Middle East,
Convert either to twin leading shoe and do as you have described..the 190 will then work well and the bike will appeal to the purists more than with the (effective) 8" brake.


No generalisation is wholly true, not even this one.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
#645200 - 03/22/16 12:58 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Orygone
I've always heard that most GS riders prefer the 8" over the 190mm but I ran the 190mm for the 10 years I raced my GS'r with much satisfaction. I have to admit I never used the 8" in racing. I got the chance once to ride a '56 Clubman that was in the IOM Clubman race that the owner that rode it there said Ferodo relined his brakes in the pits. I got it to squeal the front tire and it was almost like a disk brake . Worked really good. I've seen where some racers have rotated the backing plate and the brake arm lever was actuated from the front and this is supposed to improve the leverage on brake.

Dave Hagan from Oregon City, Oregon at the IOM 1956.



On the starting grid alongside a couple of the only Triumphs entered. 32 entries and 23 were Gold Stars.




I know where this bike is. Wonder what that's worth?


Bill B...


Boomer
#645210 - 03/22/16 4:47 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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stubbicatt R.I.P. Offline
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I don't know if this will help or not, but I have found the 190 on my bike to be adequate around town.

Once I get it heated up on a mountain road, it is a fantastic brake. Very light touch to get it to work. Miles and miles of smiles. smile


Hate is a poison which one consumes hoping for another to die.
#645216 - 03/22/16 7:02 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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With any drum brake skimming the drum and machining the shoes to the same radius (while fitted to the brake plate) and using a suitable lever/brake cam ratio will result in a powerful brake.
The big problem is heat, drum brakes do not give up their heat easily. A friction material that works well when cold will not work when hot and vice versa. Another heat related problem is the drum diameter, as the drum heats up the drum becomes bigger resulting in the lever travel increasing


1955 BSA B31 400cc "Stargazer"
1962 Greeves 200cc "Blue Meanie"
1962/67 Greeves 350cc
1967 Greeves 360cc Challenger
1984 Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
Modified Nu-Trak GM500cc sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
2003 Aprilia RSV Mille "Lo Stregone"
#645261 - 03/22/16 12:26 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Stephen Hill Offline
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Victoria, BC,
I have both brakes, and want to put the time and money into one that can be made to function well.
It sounds like the 190 mm can be made to work, with thorough prep and setup. Plus it looks cooler, IMHO.
I would like to keep the bike as stock as possible, so a TLS conversion is out, not to mention pricey.
The bike is a 1956, and I think the 190mm was an option at that time. Correct?

My regular ride is Norton Commando's, both disk and drum brake.
It will be interesting to compare the 190 mm to the Norton TLS drum.
I am prepared to be disappointed, but you never know. Seems like every drum brake has its own "personality".

Stephen Hill
Victoria, BC

#645280 - 03/22/16 2:56 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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John Alexander Online content
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I've heard the 8inch front brake is better than a 190 but a 190 can work really well, mine can squeal the front tyre but he 8inch is good too. Simply your choice. Before classic bikes pre 1960 were exempt from the M.O.T. in England i took it for it's test and the dial gauge reading i was told was higher than the ZXR 750 Kawazaki that was tested previously.
Goldie John.

#646647 - 04/01/16 5:30 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Kerry W Offline
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Middle East,
To believe that any SLS drum brake is as good as a modern ZXR kawasaki brake is not logical. They are not, and that is all there is to it.

The belief that the BSA brakes can be very good, when properly setup, is correct, though: in the 1950's there was a BSA advertising movie featuring Geoff Duke warning a new buyer that the 8" brake on his new B33 was perhaps more than he was ready for - the next scene was of the new owner with his bent bike having locked-up the front brake...some advertising hype and some truth..

The reason the 8" brake (and others) were rotated clockwise (compared to stock fitment), viewed from the right, and had the lever reversed is not for better leverage, but to overcome a basic design flaw in the operation of a SLS brake, with one cam operating both brake shoes: put simply, the trailing show moves further, for a given lever movement and comes up against the drum before the leading shoe really has a chance to do its 'leading shoe thing'. This will always be the case on this type of bike where the direction of rotation of the brake lever around the cam is in the same direction as the forward rotation of the wheel: reversing the lever means that the lever travel is now opposite the wheel's direction of rotation, allowing the leading shoe to meet the drum before the trailing shoe.

This 'mod' can be seen in photos of 'factory' BSA's ridden in the 50's. The mod is simple: the hole in the end of the torque arm just needs to be bored out to fit over the cable mount for the lower end of the front brake cable outer and the brake plate rotate so that the cable fitting now sits in the end of the torque arm. The lever is then reversed on the cam. Connect cable. Adjust. Enjoy.

AJS/Matchless knew this (and the others): note how many of their brakes on the heavyweight singles and twins, with the lever on the drum facing forward on the left side of the wheel.

Proof of all this is simple: have you ever noticed how much more effective the front brake is when moving the bike backwards? It's not just the relative lack of weight on the wheel..plus, how much more effective the rear brake is, for a given input? Note that the stock BSA rear brake setup has the actuating direction of the rear brake arm opposite to forward rotation of the rear wheel..it's not just a greater foot force/leverage thing..

Kerry

PS, I probably have a spare torque arm, surplus to requirements, to do the mod but allow the owner to reverse the process iff they desire. It's in the UK and I am not, but can retrieve it next time I'm there if anyone wants to have a go.

Last edited by Kerry W; 04/01/16 5:33 am.

No generalisation is wholly true, not even this one.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
#646653 - 04/01/16 6:18 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Bodger Offline
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Santa Barbara, Cal.
Phil Pearson sells a 2Leading Shoe brake plate that fits both the 190mm full width with the 2" wide shoes and the 8" single sided ..and there are A65 front brakes that have wider shoes, about 1.75' vs 1.625", and an extra cooling fin. And the A65 front brake is cheaper and more common to find, sorta.

The Eddie Dow catalog had a 2 Leading shoe brake plate for the 190mm and I think the 8" single sided he called the 'Duetto'. It had an air scoop and looked the business, and since Eddie Dow was one of the pioneers of racing BSAs I bet it worked dam good too.

I think that the 2LS brake plate Phil Pearson sells is the Eddie Dow 'Duetto' design.

I wish someone could confirm this for me..I have asked and get crickets.

There is a picture of this 2LS plate, made by whom I don't know, on the front wheel of this luscious 1963 RGS.
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20930/lot/265/

click on the picture and a bigger version of the pictures appears in a slide show.

I am pretty sure this is the Eddie Dow Duetto brake plate, and it could be the Phil Pearson plate...or a Norton 2LS brake entirely with a period aftermarket 2LS plate modification...but my guess is...well look at it.., also a not unknown Rocker fitment.

Anyway, there some cool options, and period stock too.

#646657 - 04/01/16 6:36 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Bodger Offline
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In the thread 'rear hub collar ID' right now

http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=646656&#Post646656

see also Kerry W.s answer that yes this is a more refined version of the Eddie Dow bits that Phil Pearson sells, also the Dave-NV recommendation that he has one and likes it.

also there is where Dave NV describes the A65 front single sided brake.

so there you go...or stop.

let us know what you get up to.

#646686 - 04/01/16 9:29 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Kerry W Offline
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Middle East,
The A65 brake is visually identical to the GS 8" brake, to the uninitiated - I recall the same number of cooling fins, though as mentioned, the shoes are wider - the identifying feature is that the unpinned portion of the inner side of the drum protrudes further towards the centre of the heel by 1/4" or so. Once seen, it's obvious.

A well set-up '\narrow 8" brake is probably better than an 'average' A65 unit - that's my relatively recent experience anyway, but logically, the A65 wider shoes should slow things up a bit better.


No generalisation is wholly true, not even this one.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
#646806 - 04/02/16 6:17 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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stubbicatt R.I.P. Offline
In Remembrance
stubbicatt R.I.P.  Offline
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Westminster, Colorado
Wow. Went to Phil Pearson's page, 675 British Pounds for that backing plate. I want one... but wow!


Hate is a poison which one consumes hoping for another to die.
#646815 - 04/02/16 8:03 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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M Shearer Offline
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Perth. Wild West Downunder.
Originally Posted By Stephen Hill


My regular ride is Norton Commando's, both disk and drum brake.
It will be interesting to compare the 190 mm to the Norton TLS drum.
I am prepared to be disappointed, but you never know. Seems like every drum brake has its own "personality".

Stephen Hill
Victoria, BC


I'd be interested in hearing the results of your comparison Stephen. When you're ready.


Mark F.
'52 ZB34 Gold Star.
'65 Lightning Rocket.
'74 Roadster Commando.



#646868 - 04/02/16 2:58 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: M Shearer]  
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Magnetoman Online content
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Fifteen years ago when preparing my C15S to ship to Ireland I had new linings installed in the stock SLS front brake by Vintage Brake. Their range of lining materials has changed somewhat since then, but I picked the one that at the time offered "excellent first stop performance in the wet." Hey, it was going to Ireland, so excellent performance in the wet was essential, while fade resistance was secondary (although that hasn't been an issue at all). He turned the shoes to size based on the ID measurement I supplied of the drum.

The braking on the C15S is unlike anything I had ever experienced up to that point on a British bike, requiring only two fingers on the brake lever just as on my dual disk modern machines. After ~10 years and ~5000 miles the front brake started exhibiting a slight pulsing indicative of the drum being a little out of round. However, that issue isn't necessary solved by a disk brake since many of them also warp with repeating heating/cooling cycles and also require skimming to return them to shape.

Bringing this to Gold Stars, 20 years ago I lucked into an Eddie Dow TLS for my DBD that I also had Vintage Brake reline (along with rear brake). I can't imagine being able to use more brake than this gives me on the fastest riding I do on twisty mountain roads. That is, even if it had dual floating front disks I wouldn't be able to ride any faster on the street. If I were (or behaved) 16 when riding on the street, or if I were a better rider, maybe I would run into the limits of the Eddie Dow brake, but I'm not, so I haven't.

As for stock (but relined) 8" vs. 190 mm SLS, I have no experience with the latter. However, I do have to wonder how much of the criticism of the 190 mm is based on possible small performance differences that might have been exhibited at the time under racing conditions, that have been "knowingly" repeated so many times since then that they are now taken as gospel. The question for people who do have experience with the 190 mm, if someone is not 16, or they're not going to race on the IoM, would they experience any difference in braking performance between the two in vigorous, but not lethally-risky, riding on the street? Assuming both have been properly relined and arced.

#646870 - 04/02/16 3:10 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Magnetoman]  
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I remember many years ago (when I had hair) I was reading a road test of the "new" Triumph T140. this was in an American magazine, possibly Cycle World?
The road tester desdribed the bike as being "over braked" with the disc brake !!!???WTF???
One of the great advantages of discs over drums is the almost linear relationship between lever pressure and braking effect. Drum brakes can be made very powerful but they lack progression are prone to locking at low speed


1955 BSA B31 400cc "Stargazer"
1962 Greeves 200cc "Blue Meanie"
1962/67 Greeves 350cc
1967 Greeves 360cc Challenger
1984 Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
Modified Nu-Trak GM500cc sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
2003 Aprilia RSV Mille "Lo Stregone"
#646879 - 04/02/16 4:04 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Andy Higham]  
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Originally Posted By Andy Higham
One of the great advantages of discs over drums is the almost linear relationship between lever pressure and braking effect. Drum brakes can be made very powerful but they lack progression are prone to locking at low speed
I'm puzzled by what you wrote. I hope I don't jinx myself by writing this, but unless the shoes are seriously worn the self-servo action isn't large enough to cause them to lock up. I've certainly never experienced this.

Also, as for progressive action, again I'm puzzled. Yes, the force on a disk puck is strictly linear with force on the lever, but whether or not it is perfectly linear with a drum brake isn't an issue. The human brain is quite capable of dealing with nonlinear stimuli. For example, our eyes are sensitive to light intensities varying by more than 109x in ways that are more complex than an exponential, and our hearing is roughly logarithmic with changes in sound pressure. No two drum brakes on my bikes behave the same, but all have stopping forces that increase "linearly-enough" with how hard I squeeze the lever that my brain doesn't have trouble quickly figuring out from the feedback of G-force how much harder or softer to tell my hand to squeeze the lever to slow down at the rate I want to slow down.

#646883 - 04/02/16 5:03 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Magnetoman]  
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The important word I wrote (and maybe should have emphasised) is CAN
The more self servo action, the more powerful the brake at the expense of "feel".
When I had my A10 with 8" half width hub and the arm fitted t'other way round It was a pretty good brake with Ferodo woven linings. However riding round the Isle of Man circuit a really big stop at Creg ny Baa followed by another at Hillberry and my lever was back to the bars and severe brake fade


1955 BSA B31 400cc "Stargazer"
1962 Greeves 200cc "Blue Meanie"
1962/67 Greeves 350cc
1967 Greeves 360cc Challenger
1984 Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
Modified Nu-Trak GM500cc sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
2003 Aprilia RSV Mille "Lo Stregone"
#646884 - 04/02/16 5:34 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Andy Higham]  
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Magnetoman Online content
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Originally Posted By Andy Higham
... Ferodo woven linings. However riding round the Isle of Man circuit a really big stop at Creg ny Baa followed by another at Hillberry and my lever was back to the bars and severe brake fade
How long ago was that? Even back in the day Ferodo made a variety of linings for different purposes so one intended for the street wouldn't have had good fade resistance. However, continuous progress has been made with linings, not only as a result of having to find alternatives to asbestos, so the trade-off between stopping power when cold and fade resistance isn't nearly as great as it used to be.

There's no doubt a disk brake is superior to a drum. However, for me, and probably for more than a few others reading this, the issue is whether a drum can be made to work well for the most spirited riding on the street I'm likely to do. Everyone's skill level and idea of pushing the limit is different so no one answer can apply to everyone. For me, though, a modern lining arced to a SLS 8" drum would suffice for how hard I feel safe pushing my DBD on public roads, so the TLS on my DBD more than suffices. Lacking clip-ons and rear sets, I use my BB in a more gentlemanly manner for which its 8" SLS does just fine. The answer well could be different for someone younger/faster/better/fearless.

#646887 - 04/02/16 5:46 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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That was back in the early '80s.
The linings were probably a high % asbestos, they were great for day to day riding but not up to the (no speed limit) Isle of Man roads


1955 BSA B31 400cc "Stargazer"
1962 Greeves 200cc "Blue Meanie"
1962/67 Greeves 350cc
1967 Greeves 360cc Challenger
1984 Suzuki GSX1100 EFE "Sorcerers Apprentice"
Modified Nu-Trak GM500cc sprint/LSR bike "Deofol"
2003 Aprilia RSV Mille "Lo Stregone"
#646908 - 04/02/16 9:17 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Lining material can make all the difference to the initial bite and feel of a drum brake - Yamaha two stroke road-racers, from the late 60's though to 1975 came with a big 4LS drum. The drum (BIG) size was apparently chosen by yamaha to give the required braking from the linings available to them at the time.

Many tricks were used by people to try and make the bikes more progressive, but many riders' last recollection, before picking themselves up of the ground, was of reaching for the brake lever!

These days, those brakes can be made to work well and predictable, but at the time prompted many to fit the forks and disc off the then current 250/350 street Yamahas.

Just a minor anecdote..


No generalisation is wholly true, not even this one.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
#646917 - 04/02/16 9:43 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Kerry W]  
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Magnetoman Online content
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Originally Posted By Kerry W
road-racers, ... Many tricks were used by people to try and make the bikes more progressive, but many riders' last recollection, before picking themselves up of the ground, was of reaching for the brake lever!
Ah, to be young and immortal again, when the answers to many questions were different than they are today.
Originally Posted By Magnetoman
The answer well could be different for someone younger/faster/better/fearless.

#646936 - 04/03/16 1:20 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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I have a 250 Ducati that at some time in the past has been "hopped up" and has certain features that suggest it was raced at some time. In normal riding the front brake feels pretty poor and I have thought to change the linings.However the bike now gets little use except when taken to the IOM and given a real thrashing ,I was amazed how good the brake became after some heavy braking at the end of the fast straights at the Jurby track. It must have racing linings to behave in this way. On other machines I swap the shoes around as the leading shoe wears faster. Not sure it really helps.

#646985 - 04/03/16 10:13 am Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Kerry W Offline
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Middle East,
If the brake in the Ducati was last fiddled with some time ago, I bet the linings are green...the performance sounds just like the old Ferodo AM4 linings..

Last edited by Kerry W; 04/03/16 10:14 am.

No generalisation is wholly true, not even this one.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
#647333 - 04/05/16 11:07 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Boomer]  
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Blue Mountains, Sydney Austral...
Originally Posted By Boomer
I've always heard that most GS riders prefer the 8" over the 190mm but I ran the 190mm for the 10 years I raced my GS'r with much satisfaction. I have to admit I never used the 8" in racing. I got the chance once to ride a '56 Clubman that was in the IOM Clubman race that the owner that rode it there said Ferodo relined his brakes in the pits. I got it to squeal the front tire and it was almost like a disk brake . Worked really good. I've seen where some racers have rotated the backing plate and the brake arm lever was actuated from the front and this is supposed to improve the leverage on brake.

Dave Hagan from Oregon City, Oregon at the IOM 1956.




On the starting grid alongside a couple of the only Triumphs entered. 32 entries and 23 were Gold Stars.




I know where this bike is. Wonder what that's worth?


Bill B...


I know its a bit of topic but here is a program for 1956 IOM TT see entry list page 64 bike 25 D Hagan http://daveriley.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/4/5/4845046/tt1956.pdf


58 goldstar
74 commando
70 Thunderbolt
81 Darmah
#647457 - 04/06/16 4:32 pm Re: Front Brakes [Re: Stephen Hill]  
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Bodger Offline
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Santa Barbara, Cal.
Interesting at the San Jose show last weekend, Dave-NV was selling some A65 front brakes and expounding about the differences in the front brakes, he showed the 3 fin A65 single sided plate has two edges, sharper and squarer vs a more rounded off later? version.
There was a GS in the show almost right in front of Dave's that had the telltale three ribs...I didn't ask the judges if they knocked it down, haha...

I was too stupid from driving all night and packing the day before, so I never did click awake enough but to mutter around. Also all that 'So Shiny..So Chrome' is pretty dazzling there. I didn't remember that Dan/Brit Twit was there, maybe that was his bike or was it the other one. dunno...very nice tho!..in spite of the horrid three fin affair, haha.

On the topic of cool 2LS front brakes for your speedy cafe racing whatever..ok, Gold Star, why not go for 4LS??...there was a spiffy 4LS Suzuki front wheel sitting amongst a huge pile of stuff, finally after a few hours someone bought it..$300!... a deal if it was good, it looked ok.
Or you could buy the sweet Norton Manx 4LS from Molnar for well over $2000, and worth every penny.

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