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Old 11-26-2012, 01:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Switch front & rear softail brakes

Hi folks,

I have a 2003 Fat Boy I've converted to a trike. Did this because I have a developing handicap and can't get my feet on and off the floorboards anymore. Left foot still works for shifting, but my right foot and leg is pretty much useless. When I rode two wheels I almost exclusively used the front brake. This is bad for a trike because on extreme front braking the rear end tends to want to come around to the front.

I'm looking for a way to do my rear braking using the brake lever instead of the brake pedal. Is there anyway I can basically switch the front and back brake lines or set up some sort of linked brake system using the brake lever?
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TufBoy View Post
Hi folks,

I have a 2003 Fat Boy I've converted to a trike. Did this because I have a developing handicap and can't get my feet on and off the floorboards anymore. Left foot still works for shifting, but my right foot and leg is pretty much useless. When I rode two wheels I almost exclusively used the front brake. This is bad for a trike because on extreme front braking the rear end tends to want to come around to the front.

I'm looking for a way to do my rear braking using the brake lever instead of the brake pedal. Is there anyway I can basically switch the front and back brake lines or set up some sort of linked brake system using the brake lever?
I have heard that there is a " linked braking system" already on some imported bikes.





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Old 11-26-2012, 04:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know of a gentleman who is handicapped & in a wheelchair for the most part each day. He has a converted trike/sidecar that allows him to wheel his wheelchair up a ramp where the sidecar would be, he then manouvers his wheelchair behind the bars & locks his wheelchair into a cage to operate the trike. He has no control over his legs & therefore has all the controls at hands reach.
I remember seeing where they incorporated a proportioning valve into the brake system very much like an automobile set up. I have seen the plumbling ... ya Man its extensive but the point is, it's doable.
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Last edited by Rollmeaway; 11-26-2012 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, theoretically, it can be done. Just off the top of my head (I haven't tried it), you'd have to add a T to the front brake line, probably somewhere around the triple trees, and connect a flexible brake line to it. The other end of the flexible brake line would go to the frame's right down tube towards the rear brake master cylinder. Remove the rear brake master cylinder and connect the line from the frame tube to the existing rear brake line. Boom... Your done. When you pull the front brake lever, the front master cylinder will push brake fluid down to both the front & rear brakes, extending the piston in the brake caliper and therefor slowing you down. You might need to get a heavier duty front master cylinder to flow more fluid, but it should work. Its all just hydraulics.

However, I'm willing to bet a company makes a kit of some kind.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petrock View Post
Yeah, theoretically, it can be done. Just off the top of my head (I haven't tried it), you'd have to add a T to the front brake line, probably somewhere around the triple trees, and connect a flexible brake line to it. The other end of the flexible brake line would go to the frame's right down tube towards the rear brake master cylinder. Remove the rear brake master cylinder and connect the line from the frame tube to the existing rear brake line. Boom... Your done. When you pull the front brake lever, the front master cylinder will push brake fluid down to both the front & rear brakes, extending the piston in the brake caliper and therefor slowing you down. You might need to get a heavier duty front master cylinder to flow more fluid, but it should work. Its all just hydraulics.

However, I'm willing to bet a company makes a kit of some kind.
I think you have to look at the auto braking system, duel reservoir for front & rear, if one fails there is the other, but it can be done, but done safety wise.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Tufboy

Personally I wouldn't try to link the two systems together. It would involve a lot of back yard engineering with proportioning valves and such. If you want to go that route probably the best way to go would be to cannibalize a proportioning valve off a Euro. It might be hard to make it all work together but maybe worth it if you're up to the challenge.

The problem with the tee idea is that it would send the same amount of pressure to both front and rear calipers. Most likely, without a proportioning valve, the rear may lock up prematurely which will also bring the rear around on you. Also You would need a master cylinder that was able to provide the right amount of fluid and pressure to the additional caliper. If you have a single caliper on the front ( which I think is the case) you would need a MC made for a dual caliper system to feed both front and rear calipers. If you have a dual caliper front brake system you would need a MC capable of delivering fluid and pressure to three calipers (two in the front and one in the rear). I don't know of such a beast. Not a Harley part for sure but maybe you could adapt one from some other vehicle.

In the end, however, it wouldn't be worth the hassle to me. I would just switch the hydraulic line coming off the front master cylinder to the rear caliper. That would put all the stopping power to the rear. If your front brakes have dual calipers then you have an 11/16" diameter MC piston which is made to provide the right amount of fluid and pressure to a dual caliper system. Since you have a single caliper on the rear, you would need to get a master cylinder made for a single caliper. That MC has a piston dia. of 9/16" and is a stock Harley part you might find on Craigslist or FleaBay. Of course this would eliminate the front brake from the equation totally if that's OK with you but, hey, a lot of Harley riders have gone rear brake only for years. Yer call Tufboy.

Last edited by Unca Mike; 11-27-2012 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here are a couple examples of the hand controls that are out there. They are for riders who need to control the bike from the handlebars.

http://www.gripace.com/
http://www.bikernettrikes.com/pages/...ed_Riders.aspx

There is some good reading here & alot of trick ideas
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