Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

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gregggyf
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Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

#1 Unread post by gregggyf » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:31 am

Good Morning,

I was thinking of purchasing a Nighthawk when a fellow forum member informed me that the Nighthawk has front drum brakes as opposed to disc brakes. Considering how so many motorcycles are equipped with front disc brakes:

A) Is it a considerable "problem" having drums for front brakes?

B) If it is such a poor safety decision to have front drums, then why would Honda willfully equip a motorcycle with an inferior design?

Thank you very much

Greg

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#2 Unread post by Johnj » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:52 am

There is nothing wrong with drum brakes on a bike. Some of the double leading shoe designs were awesome in stopping power. Disk brakes are lighter and cheaper to manufacture.
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#3 Unread post by Skier » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:36 am

Drum brakes are fine on a bike with the power and mass of the Nighthawk 250.

A drum brake will haul a bike down from speed just as fast as a disc brake. However, if you're doing a lot of repeated heavy braking, disc brakes are superior.
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#4 Unread post by slimcolo » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:42 am

No real problem with drum brakes as long as they stay dry. I put drums (oem) on the pan last year, and surprise better brakes than the disc (72-77 style) it replaced.
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#5 Unread post by gsJack » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:33 am

A very popular Brit bike of a few decades ago, the Triumph Bonneville 650 had drum front brakes to the end. Motorcycle Consumers News tested one of the last, a 1970 T120R in their 4-01 issue.

After wearing out 4 Hondas that had disc front and drum rear brakes, I bought a GS500 and then another GS both of which have disc brakes front and rear. The GS is like an old Bonnie in size and weight and the most striking difference between the GS and Bonnie is braking performance. I saved those dimensionss and performance figures some time back:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v443/ ... vsT120.jpg

The 60-0 mph stopping distance for the GS500 is about 116 feet and for the old Bonnie 650 it was 177 feet. The Honda drum rear brakes were adequate but I feel the front needs a disc. For a 250 cc first bike to be ridden moderately, the drum front might be adequate. But the Rebel 250 with the same power train will do 80 mph and I wouldn't want to get into a bind with one with a drum front brake at 80 mph, the Rebel has a disc.
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#6 Unread post by mydlyfkryzis » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:28 pm

So if drum brakes are a deal breaker, go for the Honda Rebel 250. It has front Disk's.

I know there was a comparison to an old Triumph with drums versus a newer bike with disks, but drum brakes work fine. The old triumph was a lot heavier than a 250 and that's causes more brake heating. You have as much braking power with drums as disks. The difference is that drums are somewhat less fade resistant as the air doesn't cool them as well. On a 250, you will not be pushing the limits of the drum brake.

I wouldn't sweat it either way.
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#7 Unread post by Sev » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:34 pm

So long as their well maintained they shouldn't be a problem. The nice thing about a disc brake is how easy it is to check the pads. Drums... not so much. They wouldn't be a deal breaker for me on a smaller bike.
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#8 Unread post by paul246 » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:56 am

My '73 Honda CL350 that I sold last year had drum brakes front and rear. They worked very well, no problems whatsoever.
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drum/disc

#9 Unread post by Gnarlyroad » Sat Nov 03, 2007 6:49 pm

Drum brakes are just fine for a bike that size. If you don't like them (fronts)it's not that hard to replace them with discs. Just a ? of changing over the lower part of the front forks.

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#10 Unread post by crazypj » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:54 am

You can fit a complete front end off a later model CB/CM 400 or just about any other Honda with same fork leg diameter (think its either 33 or 35mm). Should be pretty cheap
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#11 Unread post by High_Side » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:57 am

I've never had a drum brake that was as good as my worst disk brake. They really have no place on a modern motorcycle. They will get you stopped with a wooden feel, but for me it would be enough to look at another bike.

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Re: Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

#12 Unread post by paul246 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:02 pm

gregggyf wrote:Good Morning,

I was thinking of purchasing a Nighthawk when a fellow forum member informed me that the Nighthawk has front drum brakes as opposed to disc brakes. Considering how so many motorcycles are equipped with front disc brakes:

A) Is it a considerable "problem" having drums for front brakes?

B) If it is such a poor safety decision to have front drums, then why would Honda willfully equip a motorcycle with an inferior design?

Thank you very much

Greg
Getting back to what the original poster asked. Rather then make comparisons of disc versus drum, consider what bike he is talking about. Its really not an issue, the drum brakes are more than adequate for that light bike and are not a safety issue.

Why Honda choses to use them rather than a disc as with the Rebel is another question.
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Re: Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

#13 Unread post by andyfrobig » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:16 pm

The Triumph Bonneville did NOT have front drums to the end. The '73 Bonneville introduced a front disc, and in '75, when the Bonneville, Tiger and Trident went to left-foot shift/right foot brake, to comply with US standardization, it was cheaper and easier to replace the rear drum with a disc rather than to either redesign the rear hub (of course they did that anyway, but it was a plain spool with no brake drum) or design a crank linkage to go from a right pedal to a left brake plate. This rear disc especially caused problems, first because Triumph didn't get the wheel lacing right on the new hub at first, and second because the rear master cylinder, which was just adapted from the front master cylinder, was mounted close to the road, which made it both very difficult to service and also very vulnerable to dirt and water from the pavement. The '79 T140D Bonneville Special introduced a higher mount for the rear caliper, which had also suffered from its proximity to the road. Every 750 Bonneville and Tiger made in Meriden from 1973 until the factory closed in 1983 had at least a front disc brake; most had front and rear. All the Les Harris "Devon Bonnevilles" made between 1983 and 1988 also had front and rear discs, and of course the Hinckley Bonnevilles do too. The X75 Hurricane triple had the same front drum as the '72-73 650s, because Craig Vetter designed the bike around those bikes' front end.
To me, it doesn't make economic sense that the Rebel and the Nighthawk don't have the same brake. They were both pretty inexpensive, so you'd think that, to keep the profit margin high, more parts sharing would make more sense. But then, I have a VT500 Ascot, and it shares almost no parts with the FT500 Ascot. I also don't agree that it's such a simple answer to switch from the Nighthawk to the Rebel in order to get a disc brake. The riding position and whole attitude of the two bikes are aimed at two different kinds of riders.

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Re: Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

#14 Unread post by Johnj » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:32 am

Hello Andy and welcome to the forum. I don't know if you noticed that you were responding to a post that's nine years old. Anyway I sure would like to see a picture of your VT500. See you around.
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