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Old 09-06-04, 03:39 AM   #1
jefe
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Brake swap

Hi all. I am new here so forgive me for not knowing the correct terminology here.

I recently moved out to California and my partner and I are in the market for some nice cruiser bikes to ride around town on.

We are searching for bikes now, but we seem to be running across the same problem. Every bike we find that we like, they always have the pedal brakes. Not sure if they call those coaster brakes but the kind of brake you push backwards on the pedals to stop. We don't necessarily like this style and would prefer to have hand brakes, but also have the pedals and chains be able to rotate freely backwards and forwards.

So I have 2 questions really:

1. Is it possible to buy the hand brake set up seperately and install them on a bike that did not have them originally?? I am not concerned with difficulty because I am willing to put the time in or take it to a shop if I don't have the right tools.

2. Is it possible on a bike that only has the pedal type brake, to get rid of it?? To fix it so you can pedal backwards freely without applying the brake??

Thanks for any help. - jefé
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Old 09-06-04, 07:03 AM   #2
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There are cruiser style bikes made with handbrakes and derailers. If I recall correctly, they are not cheap.

The bikes with coaster brakes usually have steel rims which are not suitable for use with hand brakes. The frames of the coaster brake bikes would lack pivots for cantilever/direct pull brakes which would give you only the option of side pull caliper brakes. Cheap side pulls are not worth buying. Good side pulls are expensive.

If you really want the cruiser style bikes, you will need to find a lbs that has the better grade ones. Also, you may want to consider mountain or hybrid bikes.

Good luck,
Doc
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Old 09-06-04, 12:37 PM   #3
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I am not looking for anything hard core though like disc brakes or anything like that. We are wanting some simple bikes that we can cruise around town in. I am asking if we can swap the pedal brake to a simple hand brake that you find on most bikes at Kmart or Target.
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Old 09-06-04, 12:54 PM   #4
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Have you visited your local bike shops? It's almost impossible NOT to find what you're looking for. I assume you're looking for a singlespeed cruiser with hand brakes.
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Old 09-06-04, 12:58 PM   #5
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You can by removing the brake shoes from the internals of the coaster brake hub, but it will never freewheel. If you're looking for a single speed crusier with hand brakes, you'll have to talk to a bike shop about biulding a rear wheel for one. I don't know of a crusier speced like you want. You can buy crusiers with a seven speed rear derailliuer with rim brakes from several sources.
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Old 09-06-04, 01:12 PM   #6
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anyone else?
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Old 09-06-04, 01:44 PM   #7
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Why not a hybrid bike?
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Old 09-06-04, 01:51 PM   #8
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Or just build one....
http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/chasteen.htm
This one's a fixed gear but you'd be installing a freewheel cog instead....so you can coast....and even pedal backwards without applying the brake as you wish.
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Old 09-06-04, 02:19 PM   #9
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see...the last bike I had was when I was in my teens and it was a bmx bike. I haven't ridden a bike in years until a week ago when my partner and I rented some for the day and had such a blast, we want to get some of our own.

Therefore, we don't really know anything about the latest bikes, like what a hybrid bike is, and we know what we want to get in our head and what we want its function to be. Simple, inexpensive cruiser bikes that we can customize down the road if we wanted to. ie: last night, we found a great looking huffy cruiser bike at a local store that is exactly what she had in mind. It's $80 and the one thing she would want differently is to have hand brakes instead of the pedal brake. My thought was that this really can't be all that difficult or expensive to change. It's just mechanics, right??

So the reason we don't go for hybrids, is that for one, we don't know the real differences between a hybrid and any other kind of bike, and that we already know what we want. But most of them that we find is what we want, only without hand brakes. Upgrading to a simple set of cantilevers can't be too hard, can it?
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Old 09-06-04, 02:28 PM   #10
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While it isnt a hard undertaking, it is an expensive undertaking, requiring the use of brake plates at a minimum to fit proper brakes (ie. not sidepull) onto the frame and most likely the purchase of a new rear wheel, easily doubling the initial purchase cost of the bike. I would say the best bet here is to go to a local bike shop and find some inexpensive mountain bikes that fit the bill.
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Old 09-06-04, 08:27 PM   #11
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anyone else have some say-so info?? thanks.
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Old 09-06-04, 08:34 PM   #12
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Backtracking to my earlier post #4, I've seen coaster brake cruisers equipped with cheap front and rear brake levers and calipers at my LBS.
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Old 09-06-04, 10:23 PM   #13
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If you are going to spend $80 on a Huffy, and then turn around and add cable brakes to it, you will spend nearly as much on the conversion as you spent on the bike. You will also still have the coaster brake, which sort of defeats the point of having hand brakes. To remove the coaster brake is an entirely different issue, although you used to be able to get freewheel conversions. Again more money spent on a bike that's not likely to wear very well, and certainly won't be sized correctly, and also has limit potential for later upgrades...and again you'll be spending more on the upgrades than the bike is worth.

Visit a couple of local bike shops. You'll spend a little more, but you should find what you are looking for and have much higher quality bikes, which will result in less maintenance requirements and more satisfaction with riding. You may find that a hybrid bike or a comfort bike works well for you and you'll get the proper size rather than a "one size fits all" bike. Beach cruiser type bikes with the long handlebars also seem to be increasingly popular. The Raleigh Bikes come to mind as being the style you seem to want with the features you want, although you'll have to go to the 7 speed to find the hand brakes, at an affordable entry level price.
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Old 09-07-04, 12:16 AM   #14
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alright. I very much appreciate everyone's info. I've learned alot and know to just look for a bike with what we want already on it instead of swapping things. I just assumed it would be an easy fix but I was wrong.

The Raleigh bikes are super super nice. Thanks for the link.

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 09-07-04, 05:59 PM   #15
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There are all sorts of off the wall stuff in bike shops in the LA area. Look around.
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