Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Japanese Patient

STOP 'n' Go, is as important as Show 'n' Go, but Drogo's pretty XS650 wasn't even slowing down without the aid of a hill. No fault of it's recent rebuild, those single sided 1 pot calipers are about as useful as a wooden anchor. Does anybody out there have an immaculate XS-1? Were the brakes shite as standard? The fork leg lugs suggest this 1978 bike would have originally had twin front brakes, so who ever junked one along the way hadn't helped.
During a lunch-break from editing ROOSTER, I casually said I would check out his bleeding banjo, and ended up stripping the caliper. But as Drogo's toolkit comprised of a selection more useless than that of my Aunt's kitchen draw, human knees (wearing best up-town trousers) were used as a vice, fingers as spanners, and much swearing acted (but failed) as penetrating oil. We bought some transparent rubber aquarium tubing from the pet shop and I sucked at the Dot4 like it was snake venom after failing to get the bastard to bleed in the usual manner - is brake fluid the worst taste on the planet? Even a high-pressure airgun failed to fire out the seized piston.
It's demoralizing to be beaten by hypercondriac motorcycles, but here was a case for out with the olde and in with the new, so I recommended an up-grade to 4 pot gold Brembos as fitted to Ducatis throughout the 90s and 00s. But a modern Yamaha R6 caliper seemed like a more obvious; and probably cheaper, choice, so Drogo bid for one on eBay. Sods Law, there was zero clearance due to the wire wheels. Balls. So back to eBAy and a 2006 Ducati Monster 4 pot Brembo that does have clearance - and with a simple chunk of tailor-made aluminium as an adaptor, fit, but...

D: Cocking hell, the Brembo fits like a glove, loads of room between rear of caliper and spokes, trouble is it fits like a kids glove on an adult hand! Bloody ancient Yam disc is 3mm thicker than modern discs....So now I have to change the disc as well....but the alignment of the bolt holes will be guaranteed Not to match that of the Yam hub...WILL THIS NEVER END?!

B: Yes but in a galaxy (not so very) far away...How about skiming the Yam disc? It's thick plain steel, you could safely skim a milimeter off each face and you'll end up with a better braking surface than even modern stainless-steel. True to their 70s origin they are chromed, which has the grip of a frying pan. People laugh at my Guzzi discs that rust even if the sky is just overcast, but they have great stopping power.


And this is the result. BPD: Ben I've an idea for another film, well more like a day time TV teleplay...
So, two main characters, Dr Ogo: Nigerian gynecologist (gay, played straight). A bombastic self promoting moron, oft mistaken for the real deal. However he is a retard and unable to perform the simplest of tasks......
Nurse Ben: quiet genius (straight, played gay) who forever saves the day by steadying the ship and making sound, practical suggestions.....

Which is all a roundabout way of saying thank you for the nursing the Japanese patient back to life with your wise words.... 0.5mm skimmed off both faces of the disk, original Cyberman master cylinder updated to a Yamaha Fazer one. It stops like a progressive lover the moment I have just the thought of stopping, let alone go pulling levers!
Cheers man
Drogo

7 comments:

Nick said...

Did I miss something?????????

Diplomate said...

Sweet - sounds like love to me ....

Milo said...

great post!

Anthony Brown said...

Ben you have excelled yourself this week!

Harley said...

Don't you love it when a plan comes together? One note of caution though before there's a mass rush to dechrome early Jap discs, the steel underneath the chrome is very coarse (relatively speaking) and hence doesn't allow the pads to grip the full surface area and it destroys the pads (I tried it on a Morini and the pads fell apart inside 3,000 miles). Skim the disc first and braking bliss will be yours.

Father Ted said...

Hi Drogo, going through similar issues on mine. Have a look at 650central, some nice looking brembo discs. Just need to figure out what model as not sure they post to UK it'd cost big bucks anyway if they did.

JBB2 said...

Fun's fun, of course, and I'd hate to stop a guy from modifying his way to happiness, but -- the crap front brake on my XS650 street tracker, a lot like wood, was improved 2-3 times by the replacement of the stock pads with new Vesrah pads, and then the performance was improved by an order of magnitude or two by swapping for a Brembo 11mm master cylinder and SS line from 650Central.com. Panic and four fingers has been replaced by real two-finger braking with low effort and excellent modulation, still using the stock caliper and disc.