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Old 10-02-07, 04:59 AM   #1
pengyou
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Roller brake?

Is a roller brake the same thing as a drum brake? How do roller brakes compare to disk brakes? Performance? Cost? Dependability? Simplicity?
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Old 10-04-07, 11:32 PM   #2
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A roller brake is a specific kind of drum brake. I beleive these are mainly intended to be used on utility bikes and similar where little maintenance is desired. They probably do not perform as well as ordinary rim brakes, and I have a feeling they could be bad news in some situations, such as long downhills.

Disc brakes go in the opposite direction. Generally, they give better performance than rim brakes, particularly in poor conditions where the rim gets wet or dirty. But if you don't have a specific reason for disc brakes, you probably don't need them, unless you want improved performance over rim brakes.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:39 PM   #3
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Advantages:
Long life
Low maintenance
Weatherproof

Disadvantages:
Weight
Brake fade on long descents


Sheldon seems to be fairly anti roller brake, you can look at some of his articles. I whole heartedly trust what he says but I think I'm going to dabble with the whole roller brake thing for a simple utility bike that won't be seeing nary a hill.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:26 AM   #4
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Sheldon is against front rollerbrakes, not rollerbrakes in general.

If I'm wrong, point me to the relevant article.
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Old 10-05-07, 05:22 AM   #5
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Thanks! Most of the bikes sold in China these days have this roller brake. There are two kinds of these "roller brakes". One has a band inside that is shortened or tightened around a disk to slow the bike down. The other kind of "roller brake" looks like a drum brake.

The reason for my question - the bottom line: I live in a city that is constantly undergoing construction and always has a fine layer of dust on everything - maybe not so fine in some cases. The roads are not very smooth, even shortly after being paved. It gets below freezing about 50 days a year. I am trying to find the safest brake to use. I am trying to stay around from rim brakes here because the environment is so dirty, which seems to me diminishes the effectiveness of rim brakes. Disk brakes are a little out of my budget right now but if that is really the safest way to go I will save up my rmb. The city where I live is very flat but has an inordinate number of long overpasses and bridges to get you over railroad tracks, rivers, canals or in general some area that is just not very pleasant to be in.

Opinions? Suggestions?
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Old 10-05-07, 05:41 AM   #6
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Mine works fine, in fact it's the ONLY brake on the back wheel of a heavy stretch cruiser. If I lift off the seat I can do hockey stick skids like the old coaster brakes. I also road it around Salt Lake City without worry, and I was in the mountains above the main part of the city. Long descents were no problem for it in my experience? This is a Nexus Shimano brake on a 7sp. hub of the same model name.,,,,BD
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Old 10-05-07, 09:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
Thanks! Most of the bikes sold in China these days have this roller brake. There are two kinds of these "roller brakes". One has a band inside that is shortened or tightened around a disk to slow the bike down. The other kind of "roller brake" looks like a drum brake.

The reason for my question - the bottom line: I live in a city that is constantly undergoing construction and always has a fine layer of dust on everything - maybe not so fine in some cases. The roads are not very smooth, even shortly after being paved. It gets below freezing about 50 days a year. I am trying to find the safest brake to use. I am trying to stay around from rim brakes here because the environment is so dirty, which seems to me diminishes the effectiveness of rim brakes. Disk brakes are a little out of my budget right now but if that is really the safest way to go I will save up my rmb. The city where I live is very flat but has an inordinate number of long overpasses and bridges to get you over railroad tracks, rivers, canals or in general some area that is just not very pleasant to be in.

Opinions? Suggestions?
I think a drum brake is exactly what you are looking for, but it also depends on how fine the dust really is. Rollerbrakes are not hermetically sealed, so if the dust is really very fine, it might seep in, slowly, inside.

What I would suggest to you, if you're open to the idea, is coaster brakes. They are, indeed, hermetically sealed and nearly indistructible. If you're not used to them, it'll take maybe a quarter of an hour, but then it will be the most natural thing in the world. You still have to put a V-brake in front, though. Just in case.



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Mine works fine, in fact it's the ONLY brake on the back wheel of a heavy stretch cruiser. If I lift off the seat I can do hockey stick skids like the old coaster brakes. I also road it around Salt Lake City without worry, and I was in the mountains above the main part of the city. Long descents were no problem for it in my experience? This is a Nexus Shimano brake on a 7sp. hub of the same model name.,,,,BD
Well, actually, your brake model is probably "Nexave". Sorry for being pedantic.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
Sheldon is against front rollerbrakes, not rollerbrakes in general.

If I'm wrong, point me to the relevant article.
I recall him speaking poorly of the combination of a rear roller brake with the Nexus gear hub. Something to the effect that it just wasn't worth it (the weight I am assuming)




I like roller brakes over coaster brakes because you can stop independent of the position of your feet on the pedal. You can also continue to break if your chain happens to break
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Old 10-05-07, 12:33 PM   #9
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I recall him speaking poorly of the combination of a rear roller brake with the Nexus gear hub. Something to the effect that it just wasn't worth it (the weight I am assuming)
I had a nexus gear hub with a Nexave rollerbrake. It worked fine. But I now plan on building a singlespeed with a Nexave splined freehub (have you seen those?) and a rollerbrake. I'll put a singlespeed conversion on the freehub, and a Nexave rollerbrake.

Rollerbrakes are not very heavy, actually. Here, I just measured my Shimano BR-IM 31-R, and it's only about 470 g. About as heavy as a discbrake calipers + rotor combo. Maybe a few grams more, but the fact that you don't have to adjust brakepads, or replace brakepads - EVER - is a big plus in my book.

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I like roller brakes over coaster brakes because you can stop independent of the position of your feet on the pedal. You can also continue to break if your chain happens to break
You are right, but if the OP's riding conditions are such that there is fine (abrasive?) dust everywhere, a coaster brake is better. It's sealed.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:55 PM   #10
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I had a nexus gear hub with a Nexave rollerbrake. It worked fine. But I now plan on building a singlespeed with a Nexave splined freehub (have you seen those?) and a rollerbrake. I'll put a singlespeed conversion on the freehub, and a Nexave rollerbrake.

Rollerbrakes are not very heavy, actually. Here, I just measured my Shimano BR-IM 31-R, and it's only about 470 g. About as heavy as a discbrake calipers + rotor combo. Maybe a few grams more, but the fact that you don't have to adjust brakepads, or replace brakepads - EVER - is a big plus in my book.
I completely agree, just saying Sheldon seems to think otherwise. Found this Questions on Nexus-8 hub and Roller Brakes
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Old 10-05-07, 02:05 PM   #11
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I completely agree, just saying Sheldon seems to think otherwise. Found this Questions on Nexus-8 hub and Roller Brakes

Thanks for that link.

Well, I understand Sheldon's POW, but don't necessarily agree with it. For me the weight of the rollerbrakes is a non-issue, and I personally have never had any troubles with their reliability on descents. However, note that Sheldon Brown is a much bigger guy than I am. He's big and strong, and probably at least 40 Kg heavier than I am. He's also big on toruing, so he loads up his bike and backpack pretty good. All in all, his bikes carry about twice the weight mine do, and consequently, his experience with brakes is different from mine.
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Old 10-05-07, 02:50 PM   #12
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How would a roller brake in the front be for a winter commuter? No big hills involved, but plenty of snow and muck. I'm planning on rim brakes in front and either fixed gear or coaster in the rear. I'm thinking of changing the plan up front, but I'm pretty sure I'll go with one of the aformentioned options out back.
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Old 10-05-07, 03:07 PM   #13
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Just the other day, I think Monday, I saw a bike parked in front of one of the uni buildings, which had a rollerbrake in front. So, this being Helsinki, I guess they're good for winter, in the front. I know it worked fine in the back on my (now sold) Nexus-8 commuter.

I never cycled fixed gear in winter, but from what I've heard, it's good to have a brake in the rear, for slippery conditions (wet, ice, wet ice etc.).
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Old 10-05-07, 04:55 PM   #14
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I never cycled fixed gear in winter, but from what I've heard, it's good to have a brake in the rear, for slippery conditions (wet, ice, wet ice etc.).
I'm thinking about a 3 speed coaster, that way I have a low enough gear to get through the nasty snow and a high enough one for when the snow is packed or plowed. I could always flip flop if I go FG though.
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Old 10-05-07, 04:58 PM   #15
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One has a band inside that is shortened or tightened around a disk to slow the bike down.
Sounds like a band brake, generally used on 'cheap and nasty' kids bikes.
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Old 10-05-07, 05:21 PM   #16
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Is a roller brake the same thing as a drum brake? How do roller brakes compare to disk brakes? Performance? Cost? Dependability? Simplicity?
A Rollerbrake is a particular type of drum brake made by Shimano.

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Thanks! Most of the bikes sold in China these days have this roller brake. There are two kinds of these "roller brakes". One has a band inside that is shortened or tightened around a disk to slow the bike down.
No, that's a "band brake." These are rarely seen in the U.S. They're fairly powerful, but grabby and difficult to modulate.

The rear Rollerbrake is OK, aside from the weight. Since I rarely ever used the rear brake when I rode bicycles, I never felt the weight was worth it.

The front Rollerbrake is fundamentally flawed, because the hub it mounts on has one of those evil Power Modulators built into it. Some front Rollerbrakes also make a very annoying rattle.

The combination of a rear Rollerbrake and a good rim brake in front works well, if you have good braking habits (that means using the front brake alone almost all of the time...see: http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn )

Rollerbrakes also make flat tire repair somewhat harder. You need to disconnect the brake cable and unbolt the reaction arm from the chainstay before you can get the wheel off.

Disc brakes are generally superior to Rollerbrakes .

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Old 10-05-07, 10:39 PM   #17
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The combination of a rear Rollerbrake and a good rim brake in front works well, if you have good braking habits (that means using the front brake alone almost all of the time...see: http://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn )
I have those "good" braking habits in the summer, and, I guess what you'd call "bad" braking habits in the winter - the slippery roads and paths that include ice covered with a thin layer of loose snow (among many, many others) make it necessary to use the rear brake a lot.

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Rollerbrakes also make flat tire repair somewhat harder. You need to disconnect the brake cable and unbolt the reaction arm from the chainstay before you can get the wheel off.
You don't have to disconnect the brake cable just to repair or replace a flat tire!
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