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Old 10-17-10, 06:16 PM   #1
grantblevins8
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Can you put hand brakes on a single speed bike with coaster brakes?

Hello guys,

I have a 1963 Murray Skybolt and it has coaster brakes. The other day I was riding down the street and my chain fell off... leaving me with no brakes! Luckily I'm fine but it was an eye opener.

I was wondering if there is any way I can put on hand brakes or something else for emergency situations.

If you have any ideas let me know

Thanks,
Grant
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Old 10-17-10, 06:19 PM   #2
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I just put my foot on the front tire right behind the fork in emergencies.

If your bike has a hole drilled in the fork crown or seatstay bridge, some calipers or centerpulls would be very easy to mount.
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Old 10-17-10, 06:36 PM   #3
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Rim brakes could be added but it would likely be simpler and cheaper to take steps to ensure that the chain won't fall off.
Any idea why the chain fell off?
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Old 10-17-10, 07:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Rim brakes could be added but it would likely be simpler and cheaper to take steps to ensure that the chain won't fall off.
Any idea why the chain fell off?
chain too slack, or worn. bb loose
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Old 10-17-10, 07:15 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help. Ill try that out.
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Old 10-18-10, 11:50 AM   #6
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Photos would help, particularly of the front of the fork crown and the seat stay bridge above the rear wheel. If no holes there then the caliper brakes cannot be readily mounted.

Many old coaster brake cruisers such as the OP's have chromed steel wheels with a profile that is not designed for caliper brakes and calipers work poorly on chromed steel wheels anyway. Upgrading to aluminum wheels and caliper brakes, if mountable, would cost far more than the bike is worth IMO.
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Old 10-18-10, 01:09 PM   #7
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Even if the forks don't have a hole to allow mounting a fender or brake caliper it is but a few moments of work to drill it. And Tektro makes very nice dual pivot calipers that come in models that have any amount of reach you could reasonably ask for. And even if the bike does have chromed rims ANY brake is better than no brake. Although I agree that a swap to an aluminium rim wheel would be a nice companion change.

There is still the shoe sole on the front wheel but that method takes a moment or two for setting up before effective stopping can occur. Moments that may not be available if something big and hard is in the immediate way. And it's something you'd want to practice a lot to avoid doing it in a way that just jams your foot in the wheel to crown gap and injures you even more than not being able to stop would do.

I'd say get a front brake on that puppy so you have an alternative at immediate hand.
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