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Old 07-21-10, 09:48 AM   #1
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Coaster brake 3 speed on a road bike?

Anybody ever done it? Just wondering if it would be weird or impractical.

I'm just throwing some ideas around about what I want my next project to be.
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Old 07-21-10, 10:24 AM   #2
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Why not? Your biggest issue will be dealing w/ road bike rear spacing and the corresponding spacing on the hub--unless you use one of the newer Sturmey Archer hubs, spaced for 120mm dropouts and up.

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Old 07-21-10, 10:31 AM   #3
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Would the riding position of a road bike versus a more upright position make it harder to get sufficient force for braking? It seems like you could use your weight more easily with an upright position.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:08 AM   #4
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Would the riding position of a road bike versus a more upright position make it harder to get sufficient force for braking? It seems like you could use your weight more easily with an upright position.
Can you add a caliper brake on the front? Coaster brakes can be inadequate at times.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:33 AM   #5
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If you're asking me, then NO, because I hate coaster brakes! But if you like them, I guess it's possible. I don't think the riding position should be an issue for braking; you just have to learn where the brake is most powerful.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:36 AM   #6
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Were there ever any bikes that came stock with coaster brakes that weren't kids bikes or beach cruisers?

Another option is to put it on my Raleigh Sports.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:41 AM   #7
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Were there ever any bikes that came stock with coaster brakes that weren't kids bikes or beach cruisers?

Another option is to put it on my Raleigh Sports.
Yes, the balloon tire bicycles of the 1930s-50s all were coaster machines with a high build quality. These weren't your modern, run of the mill beach cruisers, but quality machines that both youths and adults could ride (and did).

Many of the Army's bicycles during WWII had coasters on them, including the Compax paratrooper bikes.

The Motobikes and Motoballoons of the 1920s and 30s were coaster machines with a high quality build.

Most of your full sized bicycles from the early 1900s up to the 1920s were also coaster machines (e.g., the early Mead Rangers from the 1910s).

Coaster brakes were the norm in the US for about 50 years or so, and gave good service across many platforms.

I've ridden a number of different types of coasters and generally really like them. The modern Shimano/Hi-Stop/KT offerings are so-so, but the vintage New Departure, Sturmey Archer, Morrow etc offerings are usually solid.

If you're commuting or using it in an urban or hilly environment, a front hand brake should be added. Coasters are fine for gentle terrain, but long and steep hills tend to cause them to heat up and fade. You can and will cook off the grease inside the brake if you're relying on it alone in a mountainous area.

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Old 07-21-10, 11:41 AM   #8
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Were there ever any bikes that came stock with coaster brakes that weren't kids bikes or beach cruisers?

Another option is to put it on my Raleigh Sports.
A lot of adult bikes in Europe have coaster brakes. I'd venture that most bikes in India, China, etc. are single speed coaster brake bikes.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:46 AM   #9
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A lot of adult bikes in Europe have coaster brakes. I'd venture that most bikes in India, China, etc. are single speed coaster brake bikes.
In researching my Durkopp I read that Germans had a thing for Coaster Brakes on their city bikes.

My '51 Durkopp is a real bicycle (not a kids bike or cruiser) that came with a 3 speed w/ coaster brake and a front caliper.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:55 AM   #10
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Cool, well I want a bike with a coaster brake if for no other reason than to see if I like it. I loved my coaster brake as a kid.

I was considering putting it on my Takara 731, but it's a 21inch which is just a little too small for me at 5'10". I think I'd rather find something my size to put it on. Which got me thinking about putting it on my Sports, but I don't know if I want to do that.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:58 AM   #11
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I feel like I could get damn close to the simplicity/minimal maintenance of a SS or fixie by going with a 3 speed coaster hub and no front brake. I know it would be safer to have a front brake as well, but I never had one on my bike as a kid and I survived. Certainly if you don't ride very fast it could be doable.
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Old 07-21-10, 12:30 PM   #12
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You might consider a kickback two speed hub... all the simplicity of a one-speed coaster brake hub, but with an additional gear. Only disadvantage is price and availability.
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Old 07-21-10, 12:32 PM   #13
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You can get an even cleaner look by using a 2 speed kickback hub. That way there is no shifter or cable. Look for a Fichtel and Sachs Duomatic and let me know if you find one with 36 spoke holes!

rhm beat me to it

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Old 07-21-10, 12:35 PM   #14
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That sounds great too! Main reason I'm only discussing SA 3 speed hubs is because I've never seen a 2 speed kickback hub in person, much less had an opportunity to buy one.
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Old 07-21-10, 12:50 PM   #15
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That sounds great too! Main reason I'm only discussing SA 3 speed hubs is because I've never seen a 2 speed kickback hub in person, much less had an opportunity to buy one.
I know where there are a couple, with bikes attached...http://mmrbstore.com/
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Old 07-21-10, 12:55 PM   #16
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In researching my Durkopp I read that Germans had a thing for Coaster Brakes on their city bikes.

My '51 Durkopp is a real bicycle (not a kids bike or cruiser) that came with a 3 speed w/ coaster brake and a front caliper.
My German '48 Torpedo-Werke has the same set-up. It's a great combination.
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Old 07-21-10, 12:57 PM   #17
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That sounds great too! Main reason I'm only discussing SA 3 speed hubs is because I've never seen a 2 speed kickback hub in person, much less had an opportunity to buy one.
Right, there was a guy who had a stash of them, but he sold the last one a few months ago.

Well, there's always ebay. Is there a bike coop where you can volunteer? Sooner or later one is sure to wander in through the front door.
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Old 07-21-10, 12:57 PM   #18
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The quintessential 2-speed kick back would be a Bendix from the early 1960s. Remember that some have a normal-high combo and some have a low-normal combo. I believe yellow is normal-high and red is low-normal. These turn up on ebay still. Also look for an old bike shop that has been around awhile. Ask if they have any old stock parts laying around in back. In shops that have been around awhile, you can still find these 1960s era Bendix hubs. They were the common "high performance" upgrade for middleweight bikes in the early and mid 1960s. Beware the "made in mexico" Bendix hubs though, by most accounts the quality on those is very low. Look for a "Made in USA" Bendix.

New Departure also made a 2-speed coaster brake with a metal stick shift that went on the top tube. They actually began making these long before the Bendix 2-speed. These are very high in quality but also very, very expensive now.

The two speed kick back is an acquired taste too. Remember that when you kick back to go for the brake, it'll often try to change gears on you too.

If you want something different for a front brake, look for a front hub brake. Many of the classic American bikes from the 30s-50s actually had an upgrade you could do where you'd put a front hub drum brake in to augment the rear coaster.
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Old 07-21-10, 01:01 PM   #19
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Yeah, I looked on ebay and the prices are pretty high.

Actually there is a Coop in town now. I just donated some stuff last week. I've been meaning to ask about how these bike coops work.

I hear about people on here getting things they'd been looking for at the coop. Being a charity type organization I would feel bad if I went in there to donate stuff and asked if I could have something. Is it common to for them to let you take stuff or trade/buy stuff you need?
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Old 07-21-10, 01:03 PM   #20
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Sorry for the double post-- I'll also add that some brakes are shell-shoe type (Bendix style) and some are clutch-disc style (New Departure Type C and Type D). Most modern brakes are shell-shoe models (KT, Hi-Stop, Shimano being the ones you see most frequently). These tend to have a little bit higher drag, but a little bit higher braking power and perhaps a touch more heat resistance. They do have a different "feel" from each other too. I thought I'd just throw that in on top of what I mentioned above.
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Old 07-21-10, 01:07 PM   #21
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A friend of mine who plays around with bikes put a coaster brake on a road bike just to see how it would work. He reports that it was a bad idea. And he actually likes coaster brakes.

As for the other issues, I think it all depends on how strong of a cyclist you are and how hilly your terrain is. If some ride a single speed as their roadbike, then why not a 3-speed?
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Old 07-21-10, 01:13 PM   #22
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The quintessential 2-speed kick back would be a Bendix from the early 1960s. Remember that some have a normal-high combo and some have a low-normal combo. I believe yellow is normal-high and red is low-normal. These turn up on ebay still. Also look for an old bike shop that has been around awhile. Ask if they have any old stock parts laying around in back. In shops that have been around awhile, you can still find these 1960s era Bendix hubs. They were the common "high performance" upgrade for middleweight bikes in the early and mid 1960s. Beware the "made in mexico" Bendix hubs though, by most accounts the quality on those is very low. Look for a "Made in USA" Bendix.

New Departure also made a 2-speed coaster brake with a metal stick shift that went on the top tube. They actually began making these long before the Bendix 2-speed. These are very high in quality but also very, very expensive now.

The two speed kick back is an acquired taste too. Remember that when you kick back to go for the brake, it'll often try to change gears on you too.

If you want something different for a front brake, look for a front hub brake. Many of the classic American bikes from the 30s-50s actually had an upgrade you could do where you'd put a front hub drum brake in to augment the rear coaster.
Why to you consider the Bendix to be superior to the Fichtel and Sachs? I have no personal experience with either hub, but from what I've read I get the impression that the Fitchel and Sachs is considered to be superior. It's certainly a better looking hub.

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Old 07-21-10, 01:15 PM   #23
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My '51 Durkopp is a real bicycle (not a kids bike or cruiser) that came with a 3 speed w/ coaster brake and a front caliper.
Hey, update that Durkopp thread already! That thing is cool.
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Old 07-21-10, 01:33 PM   #24
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A friend of mine who plays around with bikes put a coaster brake on a road bike just to see how it would work. He reports that it was a bad idea. And he actually likes coaster brakes.

As for the other issues, I think it all depends on how strong of a cyclist you are and how hilly your terrain is. If some ride a single speed as their roadbike, then why not a 3-speed?
Thanks for the input Veloria. I think I am a strong enough rider. I commute on my 3 speed now with north road bars. I'm mainly wondering if the leaned over drop bars position changes how easy it is to use the coaster brake.
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Old 07-21-10, 01:46 PM   #25
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Why to you consider the Bendix to be superior to the Fitchel and Sachs? I have no personal experience with either hub, but from what I've read I get the impression that the Fitchel and Sachs is considered to be superior. It's certainly a better looking hub.
Very true, F+S and Velosteel clutch-cone and roller-clutch hubs are among the best. I do think they're all around better than the old Bendix 2-speeds, though they tend to be a little harder to find and more expensive than used Bendix stuff, in my experience. I ran a F+S Komet single model for quite a long time in an old Higgins middle weight I had and loved it. The Duomatic/Torpedo, for example-- good hubs. I wouldn't hesitate to use them.

When I talk about braking power above I'm mainly talking vintage common American hubs: New Departure Type D vs Bendix. The New Departure clutch-disc design is somewhat similar to F+S, but it doesn't have the same braking power that the newer F+S or Velosteel hubs do.

Where the clutch designs shine also (F+S/Velosteel and ND) are in pedaling forward: they really do have low drag compared to the shell-shoe hubs. With Bendix/KT/Shimano/Hi-Stop, if the shoes don't always fully release, so you get a shoe what will drag a little. This is when the shoes "float" in the hub and can rub and clunk some.

The only hubs I generally "avoid" in general now are the later Made in Mexico Bendix hubs and stuff like KT/Hi Stop/Shimano coaster hubs. Unfortunately this is the stuff you run into most commonly. A local shop here immediately will order you one of the KT/Shimano hubs if you ask for a "coaster brake".
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