the Retro Hydraulic Brakes
As this is being written (September 2004), the rear
and sidecar brakes on the Retro Sidecar model are hydraulic drum brakes
and the front brake is hydraulic disk. With time, changes may be made to
the braking system that may incorporate improvements or design changes.
The rear brakes on the Retro cannot be adjusted at
the master cylinder without inviting lockups - just like a car. For some
reason, the brake shoe wear adjusters were omitted on this model.
I have worked around this with the following
procedure. This is NOT an official factory process so use it with caution.
The first step was to accurately determine the point
at which the pressure release hole was uncovered in the master cylinder. I
did this with the following procedure:
1. Had the wrench that adjusts the master cylinder
2. Deliberately adjusted the master cylinder up (by
3. Drove a short bit with stop/go usage and checking
the brake until it did start to drag when hot. (I made sure it did NOT get
way hot, just enough for it to start dragging.)
4. At the point where it was dragging, I pulled into
a lot and shut it down, in neutral. I could feel the bike drag when I
pushed it back and forth. I loosened the master cylinder adjustment until
the bike's wheel suddenly broke free - the hole was uncovered! Then I
turned it about 1/8 turn more just to be sure.
I never had a recurrence of rear brake drag since
then, it's been 5000 km including Blue Ridge Parkway use.
Now, as to the pedal height - Since the wear
adjusters are missing, the only method left is to tighten the emergency
brake cable. It ultimately pulls on the same mechanism the shoe adjusters
would use, and as the shoes have seated in I have tightened the cable at
the central nut on the emergency brake handle. So far, brake shoe wear
between sidecar and bike is balanced enough that this can be done without
either wheel dragging with the emergency brake off. If the wear on one
side should start to gain, I will either look at a way of tightening one
side more, or, more likely, just trade the shoes from bike to hack.
With the above methods
I have a somewhat better and firmer pedal on the Retro with its hydraulic
brakes than I do on the Tourist, which has cable drum brakes on all three