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View Results: Disc OR Drum???
Drums front and rear? 8 33.33%
Single disc front and rear? 11 45.83%
Dual disc front and disc rear? 5 20.83%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:55 AM   #1
Calkins OP
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Question Drum Brakes OR Disc Brakes???

I am going to start building a gravel road only bike soon. One big hold up for me right now is trying to figure out how I want to do brakes. I will be using a Yamaha XT500. I have a disc brake XS650 swing arm (which will add about one inch to the wheelbase), and I have XS650 forks to do single or dual front disc. So, do I go for discs or drums front and rear? I will not mix and match. I want the same front and rear. If I go drum, I could find a twin leading shoe front hub. Basically, what I want to end up with is my flattracker with nasty knobby tires. Yea, the current rage right now, I know...
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calkins View Post
I am going to start building a gravel road only bike soon. One big hold up for me right now is trying to figure out how I want to do brakes. I will be using a Yamaha XT500. I have a disc brake XS650 swing arm (which will add about one inch to the wheelbase), and I have XS650 forks to do single or dual front disc. So, do I go for discs or drums front and rear? I will not mix and match. I want the same front and rear. If I go drum, I could find a twin leading shoe front hub. Basically, what I want to end up with is my flattracker with nasty knobby tires. Yea, the current rage right now, I know...
I'd go with drums front and rear for riding in the dirt, even though I do have a modern dual sport with disks at both ends.

You just don't need that much braking power off the pavement.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:01 AM   #3
gravityisnotmyfriend
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If you want to keep them the same, I'd go with drums front and back too. It'd be far simpler and for that light of a bike, the drums will work just fine. The only time you'd find drums insufficient is in a racing situation when you are on the brakes hard and frequent. They'll heat up and become useless.

For real world gravel riding, the drums will work just fine and be far simpler to install and maintain.

Of course, this is coming from a guy with a '71 CB 350 with a 360 front end so I could have a front disc brake.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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I had a '90 XT350 that I rode on pretty much only gravels for 1k miles last year. I rode it pretty hard. I rode it like a flattracker, trying to slide every corner I came to, then topping it out until the next corner. I guess, it was a mixture of flattrack and road racing.

I will have a nasty engine on this bike too. I think I will run the same Dunlop D606 tires that my 350 had. I love those!
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:30 AM   #5
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If it's gonna be mostly dry, go with drums but if you are in a lot of water maybe the disks will be better.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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Wicked

This is similar to what I want to build. But, with knobbies and probably mid-level exhaust...

http://www.bikeexif.com/yamaha-sr500-3





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Old 11-21-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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Disc front and rear. So much more predictable off road. I have a 2003 CRF450R (disc F&R) and 1980 YZ465 (drum F&R) and the CRF is much less tiring to ride even though it's more high strung.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:32 PM   #8
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I'd go discs.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:35 PM   #9
muschelschubser
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Discs for braking, drums for style?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:03 PM   #10
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Why worry about having the same at both ends.
Most bike that had disc on them in the seventies only had them on the front. It works fine , they're seperate systems anyway.
If you are going to ride some asphalt , go with a front disc. On the rear as long as the brake has good feel , a drum will be fine.
The bike you show as your inspiration has a disc/drum combo.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:19 PM   #11
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If you are riding offroad, the XT drum brakes are light and have decent stopping power. Why change?
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:56 PM   #12
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I've never needed more braking power on or off road on my '77 XT500. Plenty of power, good feel, very little fade. Stops better than my riding buddies KLRs...
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:46 PM   #13
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Where is the disc front drum rear choice?
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muschelschubser View Post
Discs for braking, drums for style?
Exactly my thoughts!

I really like drums. I had a '90 XT350 that I rode gravels with last year. I rarely used the front brake.

As I stated before, I have stock Yamaha parts to go with each of the ideas. My next project will be a XS650 which will get the same treatment. With that, I am leaning toward disc on both ends. That gets me excellent braking on pavement, if I get bored with dirt on any given day. Now, dual or single disc up front?
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:42 PM   #15
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Given the choice I'd go with single disc front and rear. I use a lot of rear brake on gravel, not for stopping but rear wheel control....and I notice on rear disc bikes my rear disc gets pretty hot. Single disc only on the front, enough stopping power and light enough.
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