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Removing the front brakes

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by volcomskater77, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. volcomskater77

    volcomskater77 XS400 Chopophile Top Contributor

    has anyone run their bike without a front brake before? the bike will be hardtailed it so the weight will be down = less to stop. im trying to clean up the front end a bit and i saw a triumph without one and it looked pretty cool. just lookin for info on how much it will hurt the braking and if its really safe
  2. Running no front brake has been a debated issue for a long time. Some people say its not safe to run without a front brake, and some say its fine. I run a drum wheel now, and have always ran the front brake, but I have ridden a few bobbers without one. Are the brakes on the rear of your bike drums or discs? If you have a rear disk, and be careful while riding, especially watching your surroundings, I think you would be fine. If your bike has a drum rear, I would advise against losing the front. Even with the front and rear brakes on my bike, it gets a little scary when having to stop really quick. Again, I have drums on the front and rear. If it were me, I would keep the front, even with rear disks, just to be safe. When you hardtail your bike, and start customizing everything else, the look of the front brake more than likely wont matter as much. Sometimes safety is more important than the looks. That's my opinion at least.
  3. HoughMade

    HoughMade XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    I don't know about your bike, but on my '79 XS400, the back brake, even in perfect working order, is much, much less effective than the front brake. I personally would never run without the front brake. I guess I've grown front brake dependent. Probably 99.99999% of the time, there would be no issues, but that .00001% could be the one that takes you with it.

    My 2 cents.
  4. Travis

    Travis Staff Member Staff Member

    This topic comes up a lot on forums so I took some of this post from one my posts on xs650.com.

    It's all about weight transfer. When you stop the weight shifts forward to the front wheel and that's why having front brakes is so important.

    When the front brakes are strong enough (and tires/road conditions good enough) to lift the rear tire, you are using 100% front braking power. When the rear tire is still on the ground and you are braking heavily, you are probably between 70-100% front braking power.

    What's really most important is stopping distances. Sport Rider magazine did a test with a Bandit 600S of stopping distances from 60-0 mph. Front brake only was 151 ft, rear only was 289ft, and both together was 146ft. What that tells us is that when you have both brakes, the rear does very little.. and when you only have the front brake, it takes 3.4% longer to stop than if you had both; and when you only have the rear brake, it takes 97.9% longer to stop. :yikes:

    It's too bad bikes don't look good with only front brakes!

    Also, having bigger or better rear brakes aren't going to really help unless your current rear brakes don't even have enough power to lock the rear wheel. Better rear brakes may help with the feel of rear brake so you can prevent from locking it up (which would only increase your stopping distance even more). The only thing that is going to help is better tires, a larger tire contact patch, or more weight on the rear tire. Even that won't help much.

    I would also stick with the front brake unless you never plan to never ride it or never ride over 15mph. :twocents:
  5. volcomskater77

    volcomskater77 XS400 Chopophile Top Contributor

    thanks for the advice and yes its a front and rear disc setup

    on a side note, i feel like i get more advice faster on here than when i asked a question on xs650.com lol. maybe its because its a little tighter knit with less mombers, but i like that and hour after i post a query, i have instant advice. great work travis.
  6. Travis

    Travis Staff Member Staff Member

    Thank you. One reason you might be getting more advice here is that it's on topic. A lot of people on XS650.com will skip over the XS400 stuff. That's a good reason to have a site dedicate to the XS400. Also, I think the people that are here want this site to succeed, so they are quick to try to help each other out. :cheers:
  7. drewpy

    drewpy Excess twin Top Contributor

    here here :thumbsup:
  8. HoughMade

    HoughMade XS400 Guru Top Contributor

    ...and to be clear, mine is front and rear disk. BTW- if anyone has any ideas as to how to make the rear disk more responsive, I'm all ears. Seems like a lot of pedal travel to get any decent braking.
  9. Travis

    Travis Staff Member Staff Member

    HoughMade, it's the probably size of the master cylinder for the rear brakes that contributes to that if all else is okay. It wouldn't surprise me if they undersized it some to give it more feel so it isn't just all or nothing. It could also be contaminated brake pads (some cleaners like bug and tar remover are horrible for pads), air in the system, or a poorly designed leverage point from the lever to the master cylinder piston.

    I would bleed the system first, then if the pedal travel is better but it still feels mushy, maybe try new pads. After that your only options are new master cylinder, a new linkage, or a new rear caliper and rotor all together. Considering how little the rear brakes contribute to you stopping quicker if you have front brakes, I wouldn't worry about them so much (unless you don't have a front brake!).
  10. Travis

    Travis Staff Member Staff Member

    Oh yeah, old rubber lines can also cause that spongy feeling and greatly increase the pedal travel before anything bites. You could also try replacing that with a stainless braided line for about $50. Here's my new order:

    1. Bleed brakes
    2. New pads
    3. New brake line
    4. Different brake components (master cylinder, linkage, caliper, rotor)

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