Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

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Honda Nighthawk = Front Drum Brakes - Any opinions?

#1 Unread post by gregggyf »

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


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#2 Unread post by Johnj »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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: ... 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 »

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 »

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.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.


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#8 Unread post by paul246 »

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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#9 Unread post by Gnarlyroad »

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 »

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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