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Drum Brake Front

Drum Brake Front

Front wheel drum brakes

Harley-Davidson motorcycles have only had front wheel brakes since 1928. What might make us frown today was simply standard at the time. Even the Indian competition and Excelsior motorcycles didn't have front brakes before 1928. How come? Front brakes were considered superfluous or even dangerous. In the opinion of many riders, it was too risky to actively brake the front wheel, which could cause the wheel to slip or the vehicle to roll over. Both fears could not be dismissed, of course, given the condition of many roads at the time, because a front wheel slips away quickly on loose or slippery surfaces, and immature pavement material could naturally cause the drum to lock. Nevertheless, in 1928 the time was ripe for this technical advance.

Progress and further development

In the beginning, there were spoked half-hub brakes whose drums were stamped from sheet metal. Then came drums bolted to the hub made of cast iron and full-hub drum brakes. Incidentally, the half-hub brakes continued to exist in parallel with the cast drums: in the singles (A, B, C) and the small model series of V-twins (D, R, W, K, XL) until 1963. As technology progressed, deceleration values continued to improve, adapted to the increasing power of the motorcycles.

Brake adjustment

All front drum brakes on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, however, require meticulous adjustment to function properly. From the factory the brake cables were routed along the fork dip tubes through steel tubes, wherever possible these should also be used. The sheath of the Bowden cable is clamped to the handlebar and fork at several points along its length. The reason for both measures is that the flexible sheath of the cable can otherwise deflect too much to the side. This eats unnecessarily valuable hand power, which would otherwise benefit the braking process.

The W&W Cycles range

W&W tries to cover the complete range, from 1928 to 1972. Wherever possible, we try to offer complete kits, because especially the first and oldest front brakes are often in a pitiable condition. These are high quality reproductions of the original brake systems. All single, spare or wear parts are reproductions of the same quality level. Installation sometimes requires reactivation of older techniques: riveting, drilling rivet holes, bending brake pad material. To bring a little order to the matter, we present the parts and kits sorted by year of manufacture and model group. When looking for parts, it is always best to compare the original spare part number with the parts manual.

Have any questions?

Our service team will be glad to help out: Mondays - Thursdays 08:00-17:00 CET, Fridays 08:00-16:00 CET, Phone: +49 / 931 250 61 16, eMail: service@wwag.com