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Old 10-31-11, 08:04 AM   #1
mikeybikes
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Brakes for a Kids Bike

I've been looking at all of the kids bikes that come into the local co-op, and many of them have rear coaster brakes with a rear hand brake.

Why is that? I would think you would want a hand brake on the front and a rear coaster brake.

I just put together an older 20" wheeled bike for my eight year old step brother-in-law, and it only has a coaster brake. Wondering if I should put another brake on it...
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Old 10-31-11, 08:07 AM   #2
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I survived for much of my childhood with a "dirt bike" that just had a coaster brake on it. Did well enough for me. Maybe they don't want to put brakes on the front because they're afraid of a kid doing an endo and getting hit with a lawsuit?
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Old 10-31-11, 08:11 AM   #3
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With my daughters and nieces, and many other kid's bikes, I have moved the hand brake to the front on their coaster bikes as the time to learn how to use a front brake is sooner, and not later.

It allows them the opportunity to develop proper braking skills and control and it is amazing to see how fast kids can pick this up.

In looking at my daughters commuter bikes and watching them ride can see that they use the front brake as their primary brake but also know when to use the rear and double up on the brakes.

We also do drills in the parking lot practicing panic stops as when we are riding and I call "STOP" I don't want them thinking about the why but rather, know they need to make a quick stop.

Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 10-31-11 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 10-31-11, 09:45 AM   #4
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Hm. Neither the fork crown nor the seat stay bridge are drilled for a brake anyways. Moot point.
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Old 10-31-11, 09:57 AM   #5
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Have you found any hand brakes that have a particularly small reach, for small hands?
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Old 10-31-11, 11:36 AM   #6
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Have you found any hand brakes that have a particularly small reach, for small hands?
I found some that we took off of kids bikes that have been scrapped. Took a little bit to find a metal handled brake that didn't bend. Most of them are cheap.

The other option I thought of was to take a regular lever and turn in the reach screw.

Here's the bike in question:


I got it for practically free. I just had to put it together. It is in fine shape now. I like it because it is something he can thrash on. His family lives out in the eastern plains of Colorado and the town is flat as a pancake. The coaster brake should be fine.

Also the rear cog has the three notches that SA hubs have and I have a few cogs of different sizes around. As he gets stronger, I can put a smaller one on it.
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Old 11-10-11, 10:18 AM   #7
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On a related note, this bike: used bike
has just come up on Craig's list an hour from here, for $20. It's a 20" specialized hotrock. I haven't been able to match it to Specialized's bike archive to see how old it is. I would want to add a hand brake and gears (a 3-speed internal gear hub, most likely). I don't have the necessary skillz to do the work myself, but there are various bike shops around here that could help me scavenge parts. Like this place (http://www.businessweek.com/ap/finan.../D9QND0601.htm). Any idea how much this kind of project might cost?
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Old 11-10-11, 09:48 PM   #8
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Sorry to hijack the thread. This reply is to the previous poster.

Any idea how much this kind of project might cost? Probably more than finding a different used bike with gears already on it. New 3 speed internal hubs with shifter and cables cost a lot and then you have to rebuild the wheel with new spokes because they are a different size from what is already on the bike. I have occasionally seen complete rear wheels for sale on recumbent bike sites as they are used on some 20 inch wheel recumbents (BikeE comes to mind). Adding brakes should not be a problem as the frame already has the mounts for V-brakes. You just need to find someone with a set in their parts bin.
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Old 12-01-11, 04:14 PM   #9
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If the coaster fails, you have another option.
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Old 12-03-11, 01:05 PM   #10
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One thing I noticed about kids bike with brake... they are so damned hard to squeeze for the kids of the age... (I am talking below 6 years old)
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Old 12-03-11, 08:47 PM   #11
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Any idea how much this kind of project might cost? Probably more than finding a different used bike with gears already on it.
Try this.

Quote:
New 3 speed internal hubs with shifter and cables cost a lot...
Three speed hubs have been sold for 108 years and used ones are practically give away items.
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Old 12-11-11, 07:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
We also do drills in the parking lot practicing panic stops as when we are riding and I call "STOP" I don't want them thinking about the why but rather, know they need to make a quick stop.
I always yell "BRAKE" because if I say "STOP" their first rxn is to STOP doing anything (like pedaling or steering).
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Old 12-24-11, 07:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I survived for much of my childhood with a "dirt bike" that just had a coaster brake on it. Did well enough for me. Maybe they don't want to put brakes on the front because they're afraid of a kid doing an endo and getting hit with a lawsuit?
Trust me, the front brakes they put on coaster-brake bikes aren't strong enough to endo anyone big enough to ride the bike. They're all cheap, stamped-steel side-pulls that barely lock up a wheel on ice.

It's all dollars; $3 of brake parts gets a $10-15 price hike.

The best way to go is with the screw-adjustable lever, and adjust the brake itself a little looser; not so loose that they can pull it back to the grip, but just enough room for fingers.

If your fork isn't drilled to take the brake, then you either have to be REALLY good with a drill (press), or do without.

Last edited by DX-MAN; 12-24-11 at 07:23 PM.
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