How to modify your Vincent brake

A brief list of the most common brake upgrades for Vincents


  • The Standard Vincent Brake: much praised in it’s day (during Vincent production) for it’s excellent performance in the prevailing road conditions. This despite flimsy brake-plates and shoes subject to flex.
  • The Finned Drum: introduced for Black Shadows and provided extra stiffness and extra (alleged) heat dissipation, albeit with a weight penalty.
  • Stiffening of the Brake Plate: undertaken by owners to tack-weld triangular steel plates to the Brake Cam Housing giving some extra rigidity. Followed quickly by internal stiffening plates too. (More weight gain).
  • The Lightning Alloy Brake Plate: Many variants exist and most provided some extra rigidity with some weight loss. That said, some were poorly cast and inaccurately machined.
  • Bert Weisz Mod – Semi Floating “Servo” Brake Shoes: The two brake shoe pivot pins are redesigned to allow a degree of movement in any direction within the plate.
  • Different Braking Compounds:The factory tried a few different compounds and so have many owners over the years. AM4 racing compound became an owner-favourite for many decades but it was not without it’s problems on a street bike – including the asbestos content. David Dunfey is currently doing rigorous testing a variety of modern compounds for use on stronger brake shoes – mainly for racing use.
  • Length of Brake Linings: There is said to be some gain in braking effectiveness if one third of the lining is removed from the brake-cam end of the trailing shoe. This is a popular mod with Yamaha SR500 owners.

Important. For legal reasons, I can neither recommend nor endorse any of the above modifications; I have simply listed them as historical fact. Other brake modifications may well exist too.