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  1. #1
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    Front drum brake...

    So I'm building up a fixed-commuter bike and want to run a front brake. The fork is a round-bladed lugged steel track fork and is un-drilled. A front drum brake, like the Sturmey-Arched X-FD seems like a nice, cost-effective, and viable option. Im wondering if anyone here has any experience with such a setup, and in particular can speak to the following two concerns/questions:

    1) Given that the forks were not designed for a drum brake, what (if any) are the negative consequences of running a drum brake? For example, will the forks flex undesirably during breaking? Could this potentially damage or break the forks?

    2) What kind of lever is ideal for drum breaks? I want to run Avid Ultimates, but am concerned that these are designed for linear-pull and canti breaks, and so may not work optimally with other systems. Road levers are designed to exert high tension over short travel, while linear pull levers like the Avids are meant for mid/low tension and long travel. I'm just not sure where drum brakes fit into this rubric...

    Any other issues for those of you who run drum brakes?

  2. #2
    bum style sneaky viking's Avatar
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    2. Linear pull and disk take one kind of lever. Dual pivot/ road brakes and canti's take the other. Linear pull + canti = not the same.

    I ran a drum brake up front on a lugged Univega for a while, just to match the Nexus internal hub/ drum brake set-up in back. I think the brake was SRAM or Sturmey. Can't remember. Sachs before they were Sram? Too many S's. Anyway, it didn't work that well. Like, not as good as a dual pivot brake. The Shimano in back was worse tho. I never had trouble with it flexing the fork. It just didn't stop that well.

    You see them on old tandems, so I guess used to be considered pretty good when single pivot brakes were your only other option. Personally, I will avoid drum brakes entirely in the future.

  3. #3
    Boooga BOO
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    Drum brakes are handy for stopping bicycles that are what many consider excessively heavy, like a tandem for instance. You also see them on cargo bikes and pedicabs.

    Heat & torque. can no use the rim brake on a big bike loaded. is no good as drum. ideal is a disc in front and a drum in back

  4. #4
    Velocipedist
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    I have the SRAM VT5000 on a Keirin frame. It's always been highly effective.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    a new modern sturmey drum(get the dyno for lighting too)work great.Med or lone pull work--I modified a raleigh Sport brake so as to have an extra cable adjuster.Any steel fork should be fine--track forks are as a rule a bit stronger than average road bike forks.

  6. #6
    bum style sneaky viking's Avatar
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    Good to know. Maybe I just had the wrong one.

  7. #7
    Senior Member abeyance's Avatar
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    Sheldon advises against using them on the front, as they are designed to not be very powerful.

    /too lazy to link
    not banned anymore

  8. #8
    Senior Member brooklyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corey View Post
    I have the SRAM VT5000 on a Keirin frame. It's always been highly effective.

    what kind of fork are you using?

  9. #9
    Boooga BOO
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneaky viking View Post
    Good to know. Maybe I just had the wrong one.
    They stop plenty well and are very reliable, they just don't stop and aren't intended to stop in the same manner as say a dual pivot. Having a brake that doesn't easily lock up is very advantageous on the proper bicycle.

  10. #10
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    All: Thanks for the lively discussion. My original questions were not about how effective a front drum brake would be (they've been used effectively on many brands of racing motorcycle for decades; i.e. Norton, AJS, Matchless, Triumph etc. etc.) My main concern is that use with a road or track fork is not a good idea because of potential damage to the fork. I've heard rumors (I can't seem to find the internet link now) that front drums on steel road/ track forks will bend the blades after a while.

    Frameteam2003: You've had no problems with your forks in this regard? Does braking "feel funny" in any way (i.e. noticeable frame flex etc) Certainly track forks are designed to be laterally stiffer; I'm only concerned that they generally are not designed to receive the forces of a drum brake reaction arm, which (it seems to me) differ quite a bit from the usual forces on the velodrome or road...

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
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    Some thoughts .

    -Rob.

  12. #12
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    I've got a Sturmey XFD on my Steamroller. No noticeable flex with the stock Surly fork. It is a very good modulating, slowing down brake, not a stopping suddenly brake.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  13. #13
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    Sturmey X-FD on stock Surly fork

    Quote Originally Posted by lz4005 View Post
    I've got a Sturmey XFD on my Steamroller. No noticeable flex with the stock Surly fork. It is a very good modulating, slowing down brake, not a stopping suddenly brake.
    Hello, i'm interested by this way: drum brake on classical fork.
    how did you adapt the brake arm on the fork ?

    BR
    Franck

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Might not get a reply from the poster seeing how it was four years ago - just saying... Someone else might have some info though.

  15. #15
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    I would try a new thread in classic & vintage

  16. #16
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fdevil View Post
    Hello, i'm interested by this way: drum brake on classical fork.
    how did you adapt the brake arm on the fork ?
    I run front and rear drums on one of my bikes. I use p-clamps to attach the reaction arms. It's worked fine that way since 1987:




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