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Adaptive Cycling: Handcycles, Amputee Adaptation, Visual Impairment, and Other Needs Have a need for adaptive equipment to ride to compensate for a disability or loss of limb or function? This area is for discussion among those of us in the cycling world that are coming back from traumatic circumstances and tell the world, "No, you are not going to beat me down!"

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Old 04-06-14, 03:46 PM   #1
fotooutdoors
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Brakes without stong grasp

Greetings all! I normally am on other portions of the forum, but thought I would bounce a question off the collective wisdom of this sub-forum. My mother-in-law is wanting to get a bike, but she has avoided biking for a number of years due to arthritis. Specifically, it is difficult for her to use brake levers (the grasping motion is painful/weak).

At this point, I am planning on getting her a bike with an internal gear hub that has a coaster brake (or buying a hub or wheel and building it into a current bike) and installing at least a front brake as an emergency option (I don't believe in installing just 1 brake on a bike; call me paranoid). My questions are...
1) If I go this route, is there a specific hub I should be looking for? Cost is a factor, since she won't be riding that much, but I want something reliable/good quality.
2) Is there an alternative system that I should consider? I am not aware of other ways to avoid hand brake levers, but am open to learning new things.

Thanks!
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Old 04-06-14, 08:33 PM   #2
Bezalel
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I'd look at the Shimano Nexus 3 or 8-speed hub with coaster brake (SG-3C41 & SG-8C31) There was a 7-speed hub with coaster brake but it's not listed in the current lineup.

For some reason I'm not seeing any fully built up bikes with the 8-speed hub. Possibly because coaster brakes are often associated with cheap single speed bikes.

Edit: I found a company Firmstrong that makes cruisers with the 3-speed hub.

Last edited by Bezalel; 04-06-14 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 04-09-14, 07:48 AM   #3
fotooutdoors
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Thanks! I will check them out, as well as the Nexus. Depending on cost and the frames available on completes, I may just purchase the hub and a used cruiser, since many cruisers already are set up for the brake arm on a coaster hub. I didn't realize Shimano made a coaster version of the Nexus line; I had just come across Sturmey-Archer (but that was what I went looking for, since it seemed like something they would produce).
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Old 04-09-14, 12:12 PM   #4
Al Criner
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An alternative is hydraulic discs - She would still need to use her hands, but you can operate them with a finger and get amazing response.
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Old 04-10-14, 12:36 PM   #5
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I thought about discs, but that starts getting a bit more pricey. Plus, I think she wants a step-through frame, so then there aren't any (to my knowledge) bikes that would do that off-the-shelf, and thus, zero chance of finding something used. If it were me, I would be on that in a heart beat. However, my mother-in-law probably won't be moving that fast, and this is Madison Wisconsin, so hills are pretty small and brake fade is not really a concern.
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Old 06-09-14, 03:14 PM   #6
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Probably over half of bikes in northern Europe are coaster brake so something like a Dutch city bike should work well for her. If you're not far from Chicago check out JC Lind. Otherwise you can order one from Workcycles.
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