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Old 04-24-06, 12:06 PM   #1
dynamitemonkey
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Single front break?

Is it safe to ride a bike with only a front break? I'm not touring, just some commuting. Although traffic is a bit of a problem around where I live. I've been riding the bike with just the front break for about a month now with no problems. I'm just wondering if there are any general ideas about having only one break.
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Old 04-24-06, 02:50 PM   #2
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It's primarily the front-brake that does the work, the higher the braking-forces needed, the higher the percentage done by the front. This will be fine under most conditions.

However, braking while leaned over is safer with two brakes as you can balance them so that both tyres slide evenly rather than just the front-end or rear-end. Grabbing only the rear-brake while cornering will bring the back-end around and you do a low-side down into the ground. Grabbing the front-brake only will tend to stand up the bike and you go in a straight line to the outside of the corner.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:05 PM   #3
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Please fix your rear brake ....
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Old 04-24-06, 03:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamitemonkey
Is it safe to ride a bike with only a front break? I'm not touring, just some commuting. Although traffic is a bit of a problem around where I live. I've been riding the bike with just the front break for about a month now with no problems. I'm just wondering if there are any general ideas about having only one break.
When the one fails - that's the problem. All fun and games until someone's cable nut slips.

If it's "black and white", good or bad, one brake on a freewheel is bad.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by huhenio
Please fix your rear brake ....
.....or go fixed....
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Old 04-24-06, 03:54 PM   #6
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Preferably a bike should not have "breaks" anywhere.

Now "Brakes"....those are a whole different story....yes you should have both, just in case the front one fails for some reason.

Not trying to be a prick, but I do feel compelled to point out the wrong spelling was used.
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Old 04-24-06, 05:40 PM   #7
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Yes. Having a single brake system is dumb. Bikes usually come with two, front and rear. Coaster brakes are more reliable than most other kinds, but they're also on bikes that usually don't go quite as fast. Fixed-gear folks running just a front brake still have a second, their legs.

Cars FYI usually have three. Two hydraulic circuits (both activated by the brake pedal, but if one fails the other usually continues to work), plus a mechanical system (the e-brake or parking brake).
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Old 04-24-06, 05:54 PM   #8
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From a safety standpoint, two brakes are better than one just because of the redundancy. Therefore, having a rear brake is, technically, "safer."

It is true, though, that the front brake does 90% (or more) or the actual work except in really unusual situations. That being the case, I rode my single-speed for months with a front brake only. No problems. I ** DID ** check that sucker before each and every ride, though!

I've never had a bicycle brake fail on me, although it is possible. IMHO, having a single front brake is adequate provided you give that single brake the maintenance, attention, and testing that it deserves - your life IS riding on that system!
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Old 04-24-06, 06:12 PM   #9
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there are many many more dangerous things out there than only having a front brake. realize that there are risks, as have been well and accurately described here, and then do whatever you want.
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Old 04-24-06, 06:43 PM   #10
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When I converted my Dahon single speed to a three speed, I went for about a month without adding a rear brake to it (originally it had a stock rear coaster brake). I added a simple Teckro single pivot hand brake to the rear. It does a good job at slowing the bike and being a back up to the main brake, a v-brake stock part from Dahon.

I recommend to add a brake as soon as possible for safety as well as peace of mind.
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Old 04-24-06, 06:46 PM   #11
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In CA, the law states that the bicycle have at least one brake that can skid on dry, clean pavement.

...which is silly, because we all know we can stop quicker if we DO NOT skid!
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Old 04-24-06, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubi
In CA, the law states that the bicycle have at least one brake that can skid on dry, clean pavement.

...which is silly, because we all know we can stop quicker if we DO NOT skid!
I think it's more a way of saying the brake has to be strong enough. Best stopping is accomplished just a hair before skidding, so if your brake can't make the tire skid, odds are good it can't get you close enough to the skid point to be applying ideal braking pressure.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:50 PM   #13
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Skidding a tyre is a requirement in the CA law, eh? Funny... there's been plenty a new rider's that has crashed into things by using the rear-brake only. They lock it up and a locked up rear tyre gives you oh so much braking power.... you can see the skid-mark right up to the point where they hit whatever it was they were trying to avoid... You'd easily have 10x the braking-power from the front-brake by the time it locks up...
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Old 04-25-06, 01:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catatonic
Preferably a bike should not have "breaks" anywhere.

Now "Brakes"....those are a whole different story....yes you should have both, just in case the front one fails for some reason.

Not trying to be a prick, but I do feel compelled to point out the wrong spelling was used.
I am so glad I wasn't the one who posted the above (I am trying not to be the Grammar/Spelling Police), but come on!!!
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Old 04-25-06, 02:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by baj32161
I am so glad I wasn't the one who posted the above (I am trying not to be the Grammar/Spelling Police), but come on!!!
Is it just me or do 50% of the posters (on this and any other online forum) make frequent spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors? My formal education ended in 1974, and although I've forgotten more than I've remembered, I still spot errors...

Is it because online communicators feel that typos and errors aren't worth going back to correct, or is it a symptom of a diminished educational system?
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Old 04-25-06, 02:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Is it because online communicators feel that typos and errors aren't worth going back to correct, or is it a symptom of a diminished educational system?
Both.



As long as your front brake works really well, then you're fine. I have more bikes without rear brakes than with rear brakes. I never miss it. The only times I use a rear brake is when mountain biking and if I get a front flat on my roadie.

If I get a front flat on my other bikes, I go into a ditch. Works fine for me.
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Old 04-25-06, 02:59 PM   #17
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there seem to be a lot of people in dc riding SSes that they try SOOOOO hard to make look like fixies.

a)you should always have two safe ways of stopping your bicycle, in case one craps out on you
2)really, riding a fix isn't all that impressive. lots of people have been doing it for over a hundred years, including grandmothers and republicans.
g)as soon as you get on your bike, people can tell, and you become the guy who doesn't know what he's doing.

there are some things worth dying for, fashion is not one of them
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Old 04-25-06, 03:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtyphotons
there seem to be a lot of people in dc riding SSes that they try SOOOOO hard to make look like fixies.

a)you should always have two safe ways of stopping your bicycle, in case one craps out on you
2)really, riding a fix isn't all that impressive. lots of people have been doing it for over a hundred years, including grandmothers and republicans.
g)as soon as you get on your bike, people can tell, and you become the guy who doesn't know what he's doing.

there are some things worth dying for, fashion is not one of them

I'm confused about when this became a discussion of SS people looking like fixed?

I do have two ways of stopping my bicycle. More, even. The ditch just happens to be second most convenient.
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Old 04-25-06, 03:40 PM   #19
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when i brought it up, i believe. that situation is when i most often see single brakes on freewheel bikes. i brought up said ssers so I could mock them without hurting someone's feelings. oh well, i tried.

by all means equip and ride how you like.
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Old 04-25-06, 04:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachS
there are many many more dangerous things out there than only having a front brake. realize that there are risks, as have been well and accurately described here, and then do whatever you want.

Read up on the vehicle code in relation to bikes in your state before doing "whatever you want"....many state mandate that a rear brake capable of skidding a wheel is REQUIRED.

Last thing you need is getting hassled or getting a fine over not having a rear brake. Plus a lever, tektro caliper, and some cable/housing is not very pricey at all.
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Old 04-25-06, 04:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by baj32161
I am so glad I wasn't the one who posted the above (I am trying not to be the Grammar/Spelling Police), but come on!!!

I know my grammar and spelling sucks (well the spelling is just typos), but I couldn't help it...brake/break set off my inner smarta--. I was so close to making a post that was uninformative, and probably irritating to boot, but at the last second decided to be somewhat behaved.
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Old 04-25-06, 06:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Is it because online communicators feel that typos and errors aren't worth going back to correct, or is it a symptom of a diminished educational system?
I think it is both of these, but moreso the former. It is the attitude that says "well you knew what I meant." It really doesn't take anymore effort to just get it right in the first place. It is just another example of people thinking "just good enough" is good enough.

I am now descending from my high horse.

Cheers,

Brian
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Old 04-25-06, 06:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catatonic
I know my grammar and spelling sucks (well the spelling is just typos), but I couldn't help it...brake/break set off my inner smarta--. I was so close to making a post that was uninformative, and probably irritating to boot, but at the last second decided to be somewhat behaved.
No worries...you're still okay in my book. How's THAT for an honour?
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