Is the dual disc front brake upgrade a big improvement?
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Thread: Is the dual disc front brake upgrade a big improvement?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Manzanita's Avatar
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    Is the dual disc front brake upgrade a big improvement?

    Switching back and forth between bikes, now I'm a bit unhappy with the cx500 brake stopping power (single disc, dual piston upgrade with EBC HH pads and stainless steel line).

    Just changed the pads and that helps, but still...

    I'm on a track-day waiting list for next week (Sonoma!) and I remember my last outing on the cx500 I was definitely getting brake fade.

    So had anyone done this upgrade who can tell me if they thought it was worth it?

    Any so basically I'd just need the forks, the calipers, and the front wheel (with discs), right?

    I guess there are a bunch of Honda's of that era that have this setup, I imagine the silverwing is the easiest upgrade, any others bolt-on with no modifications?

    Thanks,

    -Alan
    1981 CX500 Custom
    2014 Zero S

  2. #2
    Senior Member CliffD's Avatar
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    I haven't done the conversion, but I can't help but think it would be an improvement. Plus, it looks cool too

    I'm thinking you would have to change your Master Cylinder too...you're gonna need more volume. Hopefully someone with more experience will jump in for you.

    Good luck and post photos if you would. I'd like to see the modification myself.
    1980 CX500 Custom

    Restoration contributors -- Swervin, ahcolburn and flyinelvis!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanDog View Post
    Switching back and forth between bikes, now I'm a bit unhappy with the cx500 brake stopping power (single disc, dual piston upgrade with EBC HH pads and stainless steel line).

    Just changed the pads and that helps, but still...

    I'm on a track-day waiting list for next week (Sonoma!) and I remember my last outing on the cx500 I was definitely getting brake fade.

    So had anyone done this upgrade who can tell me if they thought it was worth it?

    Any so basically I'd just need the forks, the calipers, and the front wheel (with discs), right?

    I guess there are a bunch of Honda's of that era that have this setup, I imagine the silverwing is the easiest upgrade, any others bolt-on with no modifications?

    Thanks,

    -Alan
    Yes. If you are tracking the bike and experiencing brake fade, then you are exceeding the potential of a single disc.

    Your current setup is a single 276mm disc with better caliper, no give in the brake line (since you are using SS line), and semi-metallic pads for better coeficient of friction. Going to dual discs will double the brake capacity if you do it right. You need to add another 276 mm disc - try to match the discs (thickness). Bikes that come with a single disc are, in general, thicker so don't add a thinner 276mm disc to the other side. A set of GL1100 discs would be good. You can swap to a thicker fork and pick up the mounting point for the other leg. GL500 fork could work, but they are 35mm stanchions. Picking another bike will get you thicker stanchions, 37 or 39mm.

    For the MC, you need to pick one that matches the MC piston to the caliper pistons for good brake feel. Front Master Cylinder Ratio Chart
    For power, you can mod the MC you pick to use a different brake handle to change the leverage ratio/lever adjustability. Mid year Triumph MC (NISSIN) can be used on your Honda (NISSIN) MC.

    POst back what you do.

    Jerry
    Current 7 bikes:
    2012 Can Am Spyder RT-S (spring F/R changed, Corbin, windscreen w/ vent)
    2009 Aprillia SporCity 250 (suspension F/R, brake mods)
    1996 Honda PC800 (NT650V wheels/17" radial tires, CBR 600 F4 fork, rear shock change, F/R discs upgrades, Corbin, givi top case)
    1986 Honda VF700 (stock, to be sold)
    1984 Honda CB700SC (NT700V wheels/radials, VTR front fork/KYB rear shocks, F/R disc brake upgrades)
    1983 Honda GL650 (FJ1200 rear shock, modified comstars/radial tires and front suspension changes coming)
    1981 Honda CM400A (GL500I front fork, GL1100 front brakes coming)

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  5. #4
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    Could also try running 5.1 brake fluid as will take more heat without fading.

    If you're going to swap front ends, do it with something more modern. Hard to beat radial brakes!
    Current rides:
    79 Cx500 (blown)
    80 Cx500 deluxe (parts bike)
    00 Aprilia Mille (street)
    07 Daytona 675 (street)
    06 GSXR-750 (track)
    00 KX125
    01 CR250

  6. #5
    Super Moderator Sidecar Bob's Avatar
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    So called "radial brakes" are actually more or the less the same as ordinary calipers with the bolt holes oriented radially (in other words "radially bolted). In the early days of "inverted" forks, their big shortcoming became quickly obvious - since you couldn't put a brace between the ends of the sliders there was more flex at the axle. The stanchions could "tilt" slightly in the sliders, sliding a bit farther into one than the other, especially when the wheel hit a bump while leaned over.

    In any disc brake, the pistons are retracted somewhat by the action of the rubber piston rings, but mostly they are pushed back into the bores by the disc wobbling slightly. Too little wobble and the pads could drag. Too much wobble and you have to pump the master cylinder before the brakes grab. When an "inverted fork" flexes the wheel is pushed out of parallel to the fork legs and pushes the pistons in to far.

    It was found that, by changing the orientation of the bolts that fasten the calipers to the sliders so that they were parallel to the faces of the discs instead of perpendicular and, more importantly, rotating the caliper location so that it was closer to the same height above ground as the axle, the effect of the wheel (& disc) tilting was greatly reduced.
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    Truth be told, moving the caliper probably had more effect than changing the orientation of the bolts but "radial brakes" became a buzzword and they became fashionable.

    BTW: Even if it was possible to mount radially bolted calipers on conventional forks (sliders on bottom, stanchions on top), it would have less effect than a good fork brace.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Manzanita's Avatar
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    Jerry, thanks, great info, very helpful. I had read about matching MC pistons to calipers but the info was not all in one spot...
    1981 CX500 Custom
    2014 Zero S

  8. #7
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    They give far greater feedback due to better flex properties at extreme breaking. The placement helps as well. Putting a brace on a modern fork would take away a lot of feedback as they're stiff enough to start with. Would low side with no warning. Switching between the mille with full Brembo and Daytona/GSXR with nissin radials it becomes apparent immediately that it's better tech.

    Is probably overkill on a CX... but I'm doing it anyway.
    Current rides:
    79 Cx500 (blown)
    80 Cx500 deluxe (parts bike)
    00 Aprilia Mille (street)
    07 Daytona 675 (street)
    06 GSXR-750 (track)
    00 KX125
    01 CR250

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanDog View Post
    Jerry, thanks, great info, very helpful. I had read about matching MC pistons to calipers but the info was not all in one spot...
    AlanDog - this post may help you in picking and setting up the MC. http://cx500forum.com/forum/cx-custo...-cylinder.html

    Jerry
    hotsauce likes this.
    Current 7 bikes:
    2012 Can Am Spyder RT-S (spring F/R changed, Corbin, windscreen w/ vent)
    2009 Aprillia SporCity 250 (suspension F/R, brake mods)
    1996 Honda PC800 (NT650V wheels/17" radial tires, CBR 600 F4 fork, rear shock change, F/R discs upgrades, Corbin, givi top case)
    1986 Honda VF700 (stock, to be sold)
    1984 Honda CB700SC (NT700V wheels/radials, VTR front fork/KYB rear shocks, F/R disc brake upgrades)
    1983 Honda GL650 (FJ1200 rear shock, modified comstars/radial tires and front suspension changes coming)
    1981 Honda CM400A (GL500I front fork, GL1100 front brakes coming)

  10. #9
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    Last edited by murrayf; 10-07-2014 at 04:50 AM.
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  11. #10
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    Good article, thanks Murray!

    As long as you can lock/chirp the front wheel, you have good brakes. It's the feeling near that point where radials help. Overkill on the street? Kind of, until someone pulls a U-turn right in front of you... then you're glad you can stop.
    Current rides:
    79 Cx500 (blown)
    80 Cx500 deluxe (parts bike)
    00 Aprilia Mille (street)
    07 Daytona 675 (street)
    06 GSXR-750 (track)
    00 KX125
    01 CR250

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