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Old 04-16-09, 09:05 PM   #1
AlmostTrick
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Single Speed Coaster Brakes Good for Beginners?

I have a co-worker who is interested in getting bikes "for cheap" for himself and his wife. They have not ridden in years, and would only be cruising the neighborhood. He also mentioned adding a child seat, to bring the kid along. I will suggest to him that they practice riding without the kid aboard for a while.

I have two single speed coaster brake bikes I would be willing to let them use/have. Considering that I would like them to have a good experience, would these bikes be a good choice? They are both in perfect working order, and even look pretty nice. Should I offer these bikes to them? If I did, I would set them up and go out for a ride with them. Any other suggestions?
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Old 04-16-09, 09:18 PM   #2
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If you live in a flat area, that sounds like a good plan. If it's hilly, probably not- taking a single speed bike up hills can be a major challenge even when you've been riding a while.
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Old 04-17-09, 09:39 AM   #3
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I rent single speed cruisers with child seats, trailers, and trailercycles en mass on Hilton Head Island with minimal issues, but HHI is flat save for the Cross Island Bridge.
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Old 04-17-09, 09:50 AM   #4
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ss coaster is definitely the traditional bike for beginners. They also engender a true appreciation of gears down the road, if there is much in the way of topography.
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Old 04-23-09, 01:39 PM   #5
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What did they ride before? If the bikes were coaster brakes then yes I would definetly start out on them again. Getting used to riding again can be difficult enough without having to learn to use hand brakes as well.
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Old 04-23-09, 04:29 PM   #6
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My very first bike back in the early 1980's was a coaster brake bike. I think that in comparison to hand brakes, they may be a tad easier to master. You learn pretty fast how much 'back pressure' to apply so that you don't leave tire marks on the cement . New riders have a much simpler platform to learn things like safe riding techniques. And I don't remember the transition to hand brakes being a big issue unless they were calibrated to be REALLY touchy - if you're not used to touchy hand brakes, you could end up going over the handle bars in an emergency situation (worst case scenario).

I agree with a previous poster that a bike with one gear will definitely make them appreciate derailleurs. My neighborhood is very hilly, and necessitates at least a good low range gear.
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Old 04-23-09, 05:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tornado60 View Post
What did they ride before?
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Originally Posted by J_Taylor
My very first bike back in the early 1980's was a coaster brake bike.
I don't remember him mentioning what they rode before, but everybody I know started out with coaster brakes like J_Taylor, so I'm guessing that's all they ever had. Any way, he stopped over yesterday and we went for a spin. He of course looked a little wobbly, but managed to pull out his cell and answer a call without crashing before we even rode a quarter mile. He said he liked the bikes, but had no way to take them home at that time.

Today he asked me what I thought of some $89 "full suspension" 24 speed pseudo mountain bike he found at Walmarty online. I did my best to explain why getting it would not be a good idea, so we'll see how it goes.
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Old 05-09-09, 08:10 AM   #8
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I ride a couple hundred miles a week on coaster brake bikes - one is SS and the other a 3 speed. We have a few good sized hills around town, and somedays the knees tell me to leave the SS hanging, it can be some work if I'm not really in the mood for it.


As far as cruising the neighborhood or local paths with the kids, as long as there are no major hills, SS coaster should be plenty of fun for someone just looking for plenty of fun.


The toughest part with new riders is convincing them they really do need the saddle up that high.
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Old 05-11-09, 08:13 AM   #9
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The bikes I offered to my co worker...





Both had a complete rebuild / repack, and ride very nice.
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Old 05-11-09, 09:03 AM   #10
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those bikes rock
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Old 06-05-09, 06:45 PM   #11
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After not hearing anything from my co worker for several weeks I sold the Murray cruiser to a buyer on CL, and brought the Free Spirit to work just to have an extra bike around for anybody to use on lunch or breaks. As soon as he found out he jumped on it and wanted to take it home. Since then he has riden several times, and even found a trailer at a garage sale for his 2 1/2 year old to ride in. He got stopped in the neighborhood by people excited to check out his kid and trailer set up. He's having a blast!

Proof that one doesn't need to spend big $$$ to have fun on a bike!
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