Re: 1951 Schwinn Panther - maybe?
Vgirl, I myself am a big proponent of drum brakes, due to them being less expensive than disc setups in general and easier to install. In order to convert to disc, you will either need a fork with a tab for mounting the calipers, or an adapter plate that allows you to install the caliper on a non-disc fork. Then you will need the caliper, rotor, and a wheel that will accept the rotor. Now, if you want to purchase all those items because you just feel that disc is the way to go for you, there is nothing wrong with that. However, you will probably spend $200 or more on a quality disc brake conversion setup. You can get a brand new wheel with a drum for about half to three quarters of the price of a disc setup, and you don't need a special fork or an adapter to install a drum. Some forks have a stud on them for the brake arm and yours may possibly have that. But if your fork doesn't, all you need then is a bracket that straps around the fork and holds the brake arm in place. I have a 98cc minibike engine on a cruiser that probably weighs about 120 lbs, I weigh close to 300 lbs, and my bike goes 30+mph. I have a front drum and a rear coaster, but the front drum is usually plenty of stopping power for me. The speed and range of an electric bike is dependent on the size and capacity of the batteries (bigger batteries=faster), so unless you plan on doing 40 or 50 mph, I would think a drum would be adequate for you as well. In fact, I have a friend who has a bike that does almost 50 with a more powerful engine than mine, and he runs a front drum on that bike as well. Just be careful applying the front brake in the rain. I've taken 2 spills on my bike using the front brake too hard on a wet street (learned my lesson for sure now lol). But its your decision whether to go with disc or drum. I just wanted to give you some advice on drums to think about.