Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > All Miscellaneous questions > Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else

Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 24 Sep 2005
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Nowra, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1
86 XL600 Drum to Disc Brake Conversion

I am looking for somone that might know what the cheapest and easiest way of converting the drum brakes on this old beast to disk brakes. I am an amputee rider and canot use the rear brake pedel. This bike has a bit of sentimental value so it was my intention to convert the drum brakes if possible to disk brakes and run them (intergrate) both off the front brake level. This 86 Model XL600 RMG has 17 inch wheel with cush drive. I am thinking that i may be able to find a wheel that will slip straight. I have looked at a few on the newer model bikes to try and get an idea of how i might be able to do it. I have also exausted all my local wreckers tring to get ideas. The closest thing i can find that i think may slot straight in is the new KLR650 cushion drive 17 inch wheel. Has anyone out there done the conversion or have any hints on how i might be able to get it done.
Reply With Quote
Old 25 Sep 2005
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Toulouse, France
Posts: 231
Hi, it won´t be easy but not impossible, you need to respoke the backwheel and get a new compatible part fixing disc, then you need to attach cylinder with swingarm: usually one bolt and wheel axle.
Maybe you can divide front break lever in 2 giving 50% brake front 50% back, though it can be dangerous as backwheel will slide if braking much.
You'll need to regulate brake pressure, lets say 30% back and 70% front, but I'm no expert.
Regulation can be made with a valves of different sizes.
Make sure master cylinder is ok.
Your best option is to go see a braker who has parts and is mechanically knowledgable, he is capable of adapting something to your bike.
An easier solution is to create a 2nd comand on gearshift side pulling drum brake, like on old bikes behind shift lever.

Good luck,

Reply With Quote
Old 25 Sep 2005
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: cardigan,wales
Posts: 251
As far as the mechanical bits at the back end are concerned,if you can find a 1986-on XL600LMF in a breakers,they are disc braked on the back.The swinging arm,wheel and caliper assembly will fit straight on(only reason why you need the swinging arm is for the caliper bracket lugs....maybe get something made-up to do this job then you only need caliper and wheel).I have done this conversion before and for what you are going to do,should work out fine.The biggest problem i had was mounting the brake master cylinder and reservoir to keep it away from the exhaust heat.But if you're going for a linked system this won't be a worry.As for the braking effort,most motorsport suppliers will have quite a few brake balancing/limiting devices to choose from,and with a bit of patience in setting-up you should be able to get it spot on.Even better,if you need to abjust the front/rear ratio(in wet/muddy conditions for example) it's only a fiddle with the adjuster away.Only thing i can't remember about is the rear sprocket of the LMF,if it's the same number of teeth as yours.The conversion i did was on a sidecar outfit and i fitted a special bigger sprocket to gear it down.The standard LMF one has 40 teeth.The pitch is the same though(520).
Good luck,and if i can help,please mail me.

Just going for a short ride on my bike....
Just going for a short ride on my bike....
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Oct 2005
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 29
BY far the easiest way is to go to a MC recycleyard and by the whole front end off of a bike. Triple clamp forks everything. Then all you have to do is change the head bearing in your frame.

Cheers, Bill

Reply With Quote
Old 20 Oct 2005
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,027
Originally posted by AZBill:
BY far the easiest way is to go to a MC recycleyard and by the whole front end off of a bike. Triple clamp forks everything. Then all you have to do is change the head bearing in your frame.

Cheers, Bill

I think only the rear is a drum on the 600?

Buying a complete disc brake rear wheel assembly is the easiest way to go - Dominator / XR series etc?

I converted a DR600 with a drum rear to disc rear using an RGV250 rear wheel, sprocket carrier, disc & caliper.

Once I'd machined out the spindle slots in the swingarm from 17 to 20mm, I measured the overall width of the RGV wheel assembly, which happened to be about 10mm wider than the stock DR measurement. I took 5mm off the l/h spacer & 5mm off the outside off the rear caliper carrier. This allowed the wheel to slide in to swingarm whilst retaining wheel alignment.

I welded a lug on to the underside of the DR swingarm & drilled a hole in the stock RGV caliper carrier, connecting them with a Rose jointed torque/brake arm anchor. A bit of messing about was req'd to convert the drum brake lever to operate a rear m/cylinder although you won't have this problem.

I spaced out the front sprocket a little to maintain chain alignment.

Don't be tempted to go too big on whatever front m/cylinder you choose to use or you could end up with brakes that lack feel - smaller can often be better.

Differing wheel bearing size issues can also be overcome by fitting new bearings with the same OD but a smaller or larger ID, bearing stockists can help.

My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Nov 2006
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1
I realise this is an old thread but...

I have done this conversion using a Suzuki DR650 rear wheel and caliper.

Fairly easy to do but you will need to weld a bracket on the frame to mount the rear master cylinder.

Spacers may need adjusting on the back (can't remember exactly) but it is fairly simple overall.

Reply With Quote
Old 15 Nov 2006
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: N.Yorkshire
Posts: 338
rear brake

It is quite feasible to operate the rear hydraulic brake off a thumb lever on the left handlebar, some of the racing boys do this. speak to any motorcycle sports specialist.
Harley Davidsons,
The most effective way of turning petrol into noise without the side-effect of horsepower
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 12:12.