By 1928 most cars and motorcycles had front brakes, even Ford had them, but there was still room for variety in the method. My 600 cc Douglas is a lovely 1928 motorcycle, very smooth, effortless cruising, good handling….really crappy brakes, here is a photo of the terrible idea that is a vintage Douglas brake.
Yes it is an expanding band brake and on top of that it is reversed so no servo action, earlier models at least had the servo action but they must have worked too well (or maybe locked) hence the brake in the photo. You may notice the nice new “green Gripper” linings, they did not improve things, with the brakes on fully I could still (with some effort) turn the wheel by hand, when riding there was no discernible retardation.
Some will say you should not fiddle, that they should be left original, if we still had “original ” traffic that would be OK. I would rather live to enjoy it, so to the next photo:
First off I bought another backing plate and put the original one in a safer place than the front forks of the Douglas. As it happens 1950/60s Triumphs had 8″ drum brake shoes so I milled down some of those and waded my way through Ebay and found a Royal Enfield (Famous Indian Brand) cam and lever then managed to bugger about the workshop for 3 days making it OEM 1928 Douglas. Test ride to follow when it stops raining.
Lastly how many Famous Graffitists can you name from this great piece of motoring history hidden away in inner Melbourne?