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Rear Drums vs Discs...& riding to Design Specs...

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by BlackVeeTwo, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Seriously, if your cruiser has a rear drum brake, does it really matter? I know you rely on the rear a bit more on a cruiser, and most sub-1100cc cruisers only have one front disc anyway - but if you're thinking a C50/M50/XVS650/Vulcan/Shadow etc are underbraked due to front single disc and rear drum, could it be that folks are riding them outside their design specs?
    I mean, drums do have a good feel, but are prone to fade with excessive use. I like 'em, particularly in the wet - much better feel. IMHO, if you cook a rear drum on a cruiser, on the road, you should perhaps be riding a sports-tourer or sportsbike?


    PS - I've been riding for nearly 30yrs & had all sorts of sports bikes and sport-tourers. The cruiser will do me nicely and take me well into the future. Can't imagine owning a sporty bike again thanks to knee injuries making them just too uncomfortable on longer trips & as I commute, don't want a luxo-barge tourer either. Cruisers fit the bill for me and I just ride them within their design-specs and don't seem to have a problem. I can still get from A to B on the open road just as quick as an ST and find the ride relaxing and enjoyable, without being boring, as it can be on a 260+ sports-tourer - they're fine for Europe, but not here (where in Oz can you sit on 180 all day in a bike's sweet-spot without a "lose your license immediately" penalty anyway?). I find cruisers engaging at the speed limit or just a bit over, and haven't had a problem with handling or brakes since I switched over from ST's...
  2. I always liked the 'feel' of the drum rear brake on the bikes I owned that had one.

    I guess if you buy a cruiser with a drum rear brake you're either going to ride it within what limitations that imposes, or eventually be forced to.. :LOL:.
  3. Had a M50 for a year, and managed to be able to lock up the rear at will.
    So I guess that they were quite capable?

    Dont have any issues as long as they are serviceable.

    The 109 has two discs up front, and a disc at the rear. Braided lines help, but you need to be able to feel the brakes to ensure you dont lock em up.

    But, on a racetrack, fade would be an issue for drums.
    Cant see it being an issue on the road the way a cruiser is ridden.!
  4. Nowt wrong with drums, ridden within their capabilities. Try some of the early British and Japanese attempts at discs if you really want to scare yourself.

    I certainly wouldn't be influenced by whether a bike I otherwise liked had a disc or drum rear. Then again, away from the track, I don't use my brakes hard anyway so maybe I'm biased. Riding an MZ for a while does that to you :grin:
  5. I push my M50 pretty hard through the hills, using a lot of rear brake to stabalize it through the corners and have never had that drum fade out.
    Keep it adjusted correctly and it'll lock up at the slightest hint of over-pressure.
  6. A good disc will always be better than a bad drum and a good drum will always be better than a bad disc. Drums have the advantage that you can improve them with attention to detail. I have gone from a drum that will do nothing to being able to lock it up at will with just a few adjustments.
    For ease of use I would prefer a disc but there is little performance difference away from the track.
  7. being able to lock up the wheel isn't really a good measure for whether drums are okay though...eg my four-wheel-drum mini, or even my rear-only drum mini. When they would lock up one side at a time!! :eek:
  8. The drum on the XVS650 is very good. You can easily apply the slightest of pressure or progressively lean on it for plenty of stopping power. I've no problems with drumbrakes on the rear. The single disk on the front does require a firm hand though. It would be hard to lock up ( accidentally ) on the other hand riders with small or weaker hands won't be able to pull the 250kg classic up in a hurry.

    I agree with the OP about riding within limits - and how comfortable and pleasant a well set up cruiser can be.
  9. Cruisers have a stronger rearward weight bias, which makes the rear brake more usable. Don't bring those rear brake biased techniques to sports bikes in the twisties unless you want to dice with things going pear shaped.
  10. I had a rear drum on my Z900 in the day but only ever used it when it was snowing or icy (in the UK that is), and that was only because I didn't want to lock the front discs (very easy at low speed).

    As with most other things mechanically related, a rear drum brake will work fine within its own limitations.
  11. The drum on my XVS650 does what it is supposed to do. Plenty of feeling in the braking and plenty of stopping power for my needs.

    I'm not a fast rider anyway, always leave a big enough buffer. Never had the brakes lock up, never had any fading. They just work.
  12. Just such a pity that the front disks on the Z900 were not that great, but I still wish that I had one now. 8-[