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How to make an old bike stop and handle

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by rc36, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. Anyone who's ridden an old early model Honda will remember that, while they had wonderful revvy engines and sweet gearboxes, they were severely hampered by their braking system.

    My 1978 500/4 was such a bike. It was in excellent condition, but the single, pivoted caliper front brake coupled with a stainless steel disk, meant that braking in the wet was diabolical. There was always that "heart in the mouth" couple of seconds after you applied the brake before the caliper squeegeed the water off the disk and the pad started to bite.

    Honda and the other manufacturers knew that stainless disks weren't as effective as cast iron ones as fitted to the Pommie and Italian bikes, but persisted with them because they didn't rust and so didn't spoil the look of the bike. SERIOUSLY, this is fact.

    Here is a picture of a 500/4 with the standard front end.


    Anyway, I devised a novel and cheap solution to my braking problems.

    A friend in the roadracing club was madly into Suzuki GT750's, the so-called "water buffalo" A 3 cylinder, water-cooled triple. He had just wrecked one and offered me the whole front end, including wheel which was a nice, Boranni, triple spoked item in alloy, for $80. I did some measurements and found that the fork diameter was the same as my bike only the axle length was a few mils longer. A few spacers solved that problem and the forks bolted right up.

    Now, that meant I would have two disks instead of one, but they were still stainless, solid disks. So Allen, the guy I bought the gear off, took the disks to work (he worked in the nuclear lab at the ANU in Canberra) and had the disks drilled according to the pattern that was then being used on the "works" TR750 Road Racers running in the World Formula 750 Championship.

    He removed around a kilo of metal from each disk by this process.

    When he'd finished and I put it all together it looked like this


    And, close-up


    For just over $100 I now had a 500/4 that handled heaps better, courtesy of a fork brace that I had fitted underneath the mudguard, and stopped better, wet or dry.

    Pretty good investment in my book.
  2. That's some nice work there Phil. I love seeing pictures of the old bikes people used to ride that were considered top stuff back then. My dad has quite a few of his plentitude of bikes he used to ride. He has some nice ones of his Ducati GT750 and Suzuki Triple.
  3. My pleasure
    If I get a knock on the door in the dead of night, I'll know who dobbed me in!!!
  4. ummm.mate
    they are called 'water bottles'...not buffalos
    I know...I had one (got off a MachIII to buy one)
    and the brake fix...?
    done by every Suzi waterbottle rider, who cared for his life... :shock:
    its an old fix that one.....
    the Suzi 750s actually stop well after you drill 20-30 holes in each disk

  5. Have heard them called "water buffaloes" many times, though "water bottles" and "water buses" is also familiar.

    As for drilling the disks, it wasn't that which was innovative, it was grafting the front end onto the 500/4!!!

    And you can imagine that doing the same thing to a bike that weighed considerably LESS than a GT750 would make the result even more impressive.
  6. My fix was done for me before I bought the bike. I had a 750F1 which someone had customised by fitting a Gold Wing front end. Double discs instead of single, Borani alloy front wheel, and 38mm fork staunchions (stockers were 32mm I believe)
    Made a good bike a great one.
    (Sorry, no pics)
  7. I've been thinking about getting this done to the twin front disks on the SR500. I don't trust myself to do it at home (a geometric pattern only needs one small mistake to leave it looking awful), so can anyone recommend a shop that can do it (and has a track record of getting it right)?
  8. Guys guys, you're both wrong. They were actually called 'kettles' in my day :?

  9. So many experts, so few facts...:)


    :) :)
  10. So we were all correct :)
  11. warm fuzzies all round on a Sunday night, awwww
  12. Well, I KNEW that I was correct.....

    *ducks for cover in record time*

  13. Awesome Disks in Ringwood.

    The disks they make are drilled, so I guess they could drill yours for you....
  14. There you go. Netrider answers every question. Thanks, moike.