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Aluminium brakes

Chris Launders

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
They are simple things to make if you have a decent size lathe, the alloy drums are easily turned and I've made liners from either old bike drums or new car drums, I've made a couple of alloy back drums for Broughs which are almost the same as an 8" Vincent drum would be and I've made and fitted liners in a couple of Manx replica alloy rear hubs. At £400 it doesn't seem too bad if you take into account the cost of materials and machining time, we obviously don't take into account the latter when doing it for ourselves do we.


Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Erich's method is quite nice. When we discussed this in an earlier thread, I thought his method was the best. Back then, I looked into the Alfin process done in the UK and priced an aluminum brake, but it was in the thousands of Pounds Sterling, as I remember. Not bad if you are a rich vintage racing car owner, but a little salty for cheap Vincent owners.

One of the issues is that Irving said he had made a mistake on the diameter of the stock Vincent brake--7 inches was too small for the large diameter wheels he was mating the brakes to. That has certainly proved to be the case with the racing machinery. The 8 inch brakes improve the braking out of the box. As the rim diameter is lowered the braking improves considerably and the handling also becomes much quicker. Combining the larger brakes with the smaller rims is a double boost.

The old Ford Fiesta rear brake drums are 7 inches. When you make new drums, like Bernd, going to 8 inches gives you the ability to enlarge the shoe and take advantage of the larger surface area as well as the better leverage ration of the brake diameter to tire diameter.

Bernds cast iron rings are mechanically locked into the aluminum drum by pouring the aluminum around the cast iron ring that has cleats on the exterior of the cast iron ring.

This is an excellent way of locking the cast iron ring into the aluminum.

Finally, Bernd has used a rather clever internal linkage to make the action of the shoes twin leading shoes. All that is left is the testing. It might take a while to tune the brake for the correct coefficient of friction. That is always time consuming.

Bernd has done a great job designing in some features to his brake that are very unique.


Black Flash

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Thank you for the kind words David,
Yes you can calculate forces and design a brake, but you cannot design the feel of a brake. What I am trying to achieve is a brake that needs little force on the lever with a nice progressive brake action and a lot of braking power.
Something not so easy to achieve with a drum brake, especially when you are doing it in your spare time.
At the moment I am testing two different compounds fitted in two different positions on the brake shoes, giving different servo actions and feel,so four combinations in total.
Despite turning them within 1 thou of the drum ID they still need time to bed in as well.
I am just finishing a second front wheel for quicker changes and faster side to side comparison while the memory is still fresh.
I intend to market the brake, but as it is THE safety feature of our beloved bikes, I want to be certain to have done my homework best I could.
My local test rider is on the Isle of man at the moment, he will get my favourite combination for a second opinion when he is back.

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