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  1. #1
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    Coaster brakes on adult, road bikes?

    Hello,

    I remember having coaster bikes on my first bicycle (a huffy bmx). I quickly got rid of them as soon as I could though. For some reason, I was embarrassed by them.

    I wonder if any cyclists here have coaster brakes on their everyday, utilitarian bikes? How about a road bike?

    Regards,
    Cullen

  2. #2
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    When I lived in Seattle I commuted on a 3 speed + Coaster brake. I chose the coaster because it doesn't lose any braking power in the rain (unlike rim brakes) - which is important in a city with hills where it rains a lot. Using a front brake meant that I could use the coaster brake to slow down, but then bring the bike to stop with the front brake, allowing me to position the cranks for an easier start.

    A front brake is also a good precaution anyway since if your chain breaks or slips off, or the coaster malfunctions for any reason, you can still safely stop the bike.

    When I lived in Savannah, I used this old Murray which had a coaster brake:
    .

  3. #3
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    There's a number of threads in the SS/FG forum about coaster brakes on road bikes, including my Steamrollercoaster:
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  4. #4
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    I built this up last year with a frame and some parts I got for free because it seemed like it would be fun.

    It is.



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  5. #5
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    I've got a UO-8 that I swap between fixed gear 27" wheels and a coaster braked set of steel 26X1-3/8 rims occasionally. I like the coaster brakes. That wheelset is now on a mixte with two rear fenders (for extra length in the front)
    1951 Raleigh Lenton Sports
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    Master of the low end garbajj!

  6. #6
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    One of may main bikes is a former 70s 10 speed Motobecane, which has been a single speed coaster brake for a while now. I rode it with just the rear brake for a couple years, simply because I didn't have a caliper that would fit the front. It's like an anorexic beach cruiser. Perfectly functional. The addition of a front brake makes it a bit more of a sure stopper and adds safety redundancy.

  7. #7
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Skinny tire and coaster brake is not the safest thing in the world in an emergency situation--if you're skidding, you're not stopping... Physics of braking says that when you brake, you unweight the rear wheel by a bit or a lot. On an upright road bike, with your weight forward anyway, there's not much sticking the rear braking wheel to the road. I had a skinny tire, drop bar, coaster brake setup for a while. Fun, but sub-par braking performance. Best left on cruisers, even if you're cruiser is a skinny tire bike.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  8. #8
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Skinny tire and coaster brake is not the safest thing in the world in an emergency situation-
    That applies to any skinny tire rear brake only setup, its in no way unique to coaster brakes.
    Now go be a troll somewhere else.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  9. #9
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Best left on cruisers, even if you're cruiser is a skinny tire bike.
    What?

  10. #10
    The Fred Menace! RI_Swamp_Yankee's Avatar
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    I lived car-free in college using a single-speed Fuji beach cruiser with a coasterbrake. Admittedly, it was Florida, which is about as hilly as a pane of glass, but there was a pretty severe incline going up and down the bridges over the Intra-coastal Waterway, and I am a big dude - nigh on 260 at the time. Coasterbrake worked fine for me and my Wald wire panniers full of school books... and 50 lbs of camera gear (art-school books. Large format cameras are heavy... well the ones an art-student can afford are.) Rain or shine, they stopped me pretty well without any maintenance of the brake in particular. (The wheels, tires, pedals, chain, fork and bars are another story.)
    Last edited by RI_Swamp_Yankee; 03-04-10 at 09:27 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Best left on cruisers, even if you're cruiser is a skinny tire bike.
    Translation: Disregard everything I just said.

  12. #12
    Raving Madman deathshadow60's Avatar
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    My daily rider is coaster brake - with a 3 speed internal.


    Click for Larger


    Been riding it hard for two years, never had a problem.

    I wouldn't say it's something to be embarrassed about - I prefer the cleaner lines and lower maintenance. It's why I'm thinking my next major change might be to go chainless; Though at least I got rid of that 'jumping a chain from sprocket to sprocket in mid-air' nonsense. Sorry, my engineering background makes me go "Who the devil thought this was a sound design" when it comes to derailers.

    But then, I can't seem to go more than 50 yards without dropping the chain on one or somehow managing to wedge the chain BETWEEN the sprockets so...
    Last edited by deathshadow60; 03-18-10 at 02:51 AM. Reason: updated image link

  13. #13
    meb
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    Senior Member meb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
    When I lived in Seattle I commuted on a 3 speed + Coaster brake. I chose the coaster because it doesn't lose any braking power in the rain (unlike rim brakes) - which is important in a city with hills where it rains a lot. Using a front brake meant that I could use the coaster brake to slow down, but then bring the bike to stop with the front brake, allowing me to position the cranks for an easier start.

    A front brake is also a good precaution anyway since if your chain breaks or slips off, or the coaster malfunctions for any reason, you can still safely stop the bike.

    When I lived in Savannah, I used this old Murray which had a coaster brake:
    .
    The benefits of hill and rain articulated above are even more emphatic in snow and ice wherein brake cables may freeze.

  14. #14
    Member foodman's Avatar
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    I have a coaster brake on my commuter bike. I love it, frees up the bars to have nothing but a gripshift for my sram super 7 hub. For me simplicity is key, especially on a bike that i ride all winter. Regular brakes get all full of snow and grit during winter riding.

  15. #15
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    AlmostTrick - Your Raleigh has be jealously drooling! I love the color!

  16. #16
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    my friend has an old shwinn frame coaster with a front brake and fat tires he smashes on it and hes able to stop quickly

  17. #17
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    I was considering buying a bike with drum brakes because in my area the streets are riddled with potholes. Every year I hit one in the spring and I warp my rim causing the brake pads to stick and slow me down.
    Pisses me off. I heard the front and rear setup that comes with the 5 speed Torker Graduate are pretty good.
    If I decide to buy a new bike this is the one I'm getting.

    http://urbanvelo.org/wordpress/wp-co...raduate_04.jpg

    http://www.torkerusa.com/bikes/commu.../2010-graduate

  18. #18
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  19. #19
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cully_J View Post
    AlmostTrick - Your Raleigh has be jealously drooling! I love the color!
    Thanks Cully. It's a two stage powder coat... gold sparkle clear coat on orange base.


    More picx here
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  20. #20
    Raving Madman deathshadow60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foodman View Post
    Regular brakes get all full of snow and grit during winter riding.
    Which pretty much makes them not work.

    ... and I think you kind of hit on a difference - you might have your fair weather mountain bikers poo-poo-ing them, or your fair weather competitive riders also laughing at the concept of just a coaster brake...

    But you get a year round rider from a northern clime, and you'll find that ANYTHING we can do to reduce the amount of mechanism exposed to the elements we'll do, who cares if it weighs more, isn't trendy, etc, etc... It's why I prefer internal gear hub, and keep looking at going to shaft drive getting rid of that pesky 'chain' nonsense

    Quote Originally Posted by fullyfixed View Post
    my friend has an old shwinn frame coaster with a front brake and fat tires he smashes on it and hes able to stop quickly
    More contact area == more traction. That simple. If you're gonna go coaster brake as a larger adult, don't put it on flimsy thin sub 2" width tires; No doubt it's 26x2.125 "For the Win". Well, that an my fat ass usually bends the rims on anything smaller

    @AlmostTrick - love the sparkle and as many people here point out about using a coaster brake, clean lines. I'm eying picking up an old Shwinn Cantilever frame for a summer "alt" build, and was thinking on going metallics and candy coats, though I'm trying to track down the best way to give it a late 70's metal flake effect on a bike frame... especially since I'm thinking on doing it all myself in the garage so a powder coat base is right out.

  21. #21
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    More contact area == more traction. That simple. If you're gonna go coaster brake as a larger adult, don't put it on flimsy thin sub 2" width tires; No doubt it's 26x2.125 "For the Win". Well, that an my fat ass usually bends the rims on anything smaller
    A coaster brake doesn't give any less traction for a given contact patch than any other rear brake.
    That being said, its always safer to have brakes on both wheels.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  22. #22
    Raving Madman deathshadow60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lz4005 View Post
    A coaster brake doesn't give any less traction for a given contact patch than any other rear brake.
    That being said, its always safer to have brakes on both wheels.
    More traction at the tire the less likely you are to 'lock up' the brake and start skidding; and coaster brakes ARE more prone to locking up since they are a bit less delicate/accurate about pressure/control than a handbrake. Human hand gripping something is going to have a heck of a lot more accuracy and ability to ease up on pressure if necessary than a 220 pound adult male using his weight on the crank.

    You do lock it up more surface area == more likely to stop than you are to skid.

  23. #23
    Designer steppinthefunk's Avatar
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    VInceb's bike from the C&V forum. The Little 500 is a coaster brake bike race!


    And here's my wife's bike:

  24. #24
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Coaster brakes are quite commonplace around here, in utility /errand bikes with IGH rear hubs. We have one in the household. They're usually (but not always) equipped with a front brake too.

    This thread reminded me of a neighbour's bike, several years (20-25?) ago. The bike had a two speed IGH with coaster brake that changed gears by braking. Every time you brake, you also change from one gear to another. Anyone here familiar with such contraption? It seems weird from practical point of view (going uphill, you need to brake in order to change to low gear), but the design did keep moving parts at minimum.

    --J
    Last edited by Juha; 03-23-10 at 06:31 AM.
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  25. #25
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    The bike had a two speed IGH with coaster brake that changed gears by braking. Every time you brake, you also change from one gear to another. Anyone here familiar with such contraption?
    They used to be fairly common; made by Sachs, Bendix and others; but aren't made anymore as far as I know. They were called kickback hubs.

    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    coaster brakes ARE more prone to locking up since they are a bit less delicate/accurate about pressure/control than a handbrake.
    They are not more 'prone' to locking up than other kinds of brakes. People skid with them more often than others because it is easier to mash on them and lock up the wheel on purpose. A properly adjusted coaster hub used by someone who knows how to use one correctly will not lock up more often than any other rear brake unless they want it to.

    You do lock it up more surface area == more likely to stop than you are to skid.
    Locking up is skidding.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

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