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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    single speed with front brake only?

    good idea or bad?

    i'm thinking about getting a flip flop. most of the time i'll be fixed and would like to avoid adding another brake just for those few times when i'm going SS. i think front only should be ok but i remember someone here saying it's not a good idea.

  2. #2
    Danger! Danger! Rugen's Avatar
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    I would say bad idea. It's too easy to get going faster with a freewheel (no back pedal on the downhills) especially since for me personally it's easier to run a higher gear ratio freewheel... I find I need the extra stopping power. Especially in winter.
    The extra digit is crucial to my success.

  3. #3
    Run What 'Ya Brung bonechilling's Avatar
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    I've seen a few people around town doing this and
    yeah, I have to say it's probably not a very good
    idea, although maybe no smarter than running
    brakeless and fixed.

  4. #4
    hmm..
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    I used to run a front brake only on my single speed MTB. I run front and back now, and couldn't be happier.
    The preceding information is strictly opinion. The following information is incorrect.

  5. #5
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    yeah, you're safe riding fixed i think than riding ss with just a front. you can very easily over hit the front and fly over.. not to mention it'd be harder to stop with the front rather than a rear.

  6. #6
    tarck bike.com exile 666pack's Avatar
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    who cares? whatever makes you happy.

  7. #7
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    Actually, the front brake alone if appropriately configured applies all the stopping power you can use. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

    The only use of the rear brake (if you're on the road, with reasonable traction, and not braking into turns) is with a light application - most of your braking is with the front brake. The rear wheel skidding (owing to the rear wheel braking) is the sign that you're unweighting the rear wheel too much and are about to go over. But really, that's the only purpose of the rear brake. This situation is why you shouldn't rotate tires on a bicycle, since you need the tread on the front wheel to be good because you can't recover easily from a front wheel skid.

  8. #8
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    From my personal SS'ing.. I'd go with a full brake set, I like the control. But that's just me, do what makes you smile.

  9. #9
    Danger! Danger! Rugen's Avatar
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    If you read Sheldon's article (linked above) he makes a pretty good list of instances where the rear brake is good to have... among them, failure of the front brake or its cable, wet weather conditions, road surface, etc.
    The extra digit is crucial to my success.

  10. #10
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    ..and when you want/need to break the arse end out to carve around something.

  11. #11
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    I rode a SS front brake only for about 3.5 years and counting as a messenger off and on mixed with fixed gear riding too. I had the brake cable snap while I was riding twice, both times I wasnt going very fast and managed ok. Now I change that thing at regular intervals, problem fixed.

    As far as slick conditions, dont jam on the brake when in a turn, but hey, when its slick going round turns real fast is a good way to do a pavement density test anyway isnt it?

  12. #12
    Senior Member gwhalin's Avatar
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    I only ever used my front brake when riding a geared bike. I would occasionally use my rear, but only for fun (skidding or goofing off).
    Take back the bikelane!
    http://www.mybikelane.com/

  13. #13
    elite
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    yeah..for singlespeed i would have to say bad idea. ive seen people do it, but they just look like they dont know what they are doing. rear brake helps just so you have braking control over both wheels. plus its more symetrical and takes less getting used to.

  14. #14
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    SS is gonna make you want to see how fast you can really go, flat-out, teeth gritted, no other thought. Especially since slowing/stopping is not an issue. Unless your single break fails, then issue. Get both, it's a nice symmetry. Kind of like the human face, prior to being made one with the back of a truck.

  15. #15
    señor member seaneee's Avatar
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    Go 70's. Banana seat, front brake and rear coaster. Don't forget the sissy bar.

  16. #16
    perspective distorts killsurfcity's Avatar
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    you only need one. prefferably the front. there's a lot of safety weenies on this list. they'd run a third if there was room. i ran only a front of 3 or so years with no issue, and that was on a total scrap bike i never once took a wrench to. maintain your **** and one is fine. if it fails ****ing jump off or run into something that won't kill you for ****s sake.

    ps- of course, i don't ride like a complete ******. if you have a propensity too, by all means use two brakes and may god have mercy on your soul.
    the sound of life

    "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry." - John Cage

  17. #17
    Paste Taster Retem's Avatar
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    I do it but I wouldn't say it is safe
    I am dyslexic so bear with my posts.... [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  18. #18
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    Never mind the idea of a "backup" brake (if all else fails there's always the ol' shoejam), the possibility of losing the front wheel in bad traction braking is the best reason for running some kind of back brake. Going down lowside on your hip is a relatively mellow way to crash but it still hurts.

  19. #19
    :jarckass: deathhare's Avatar
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    Front only with a freewheel is fine.

  20. #20
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    Are you sure most of the time you will ride fixed? Are you sure your SS activity will only be those few times. Otherwise is unacceptable you know. You flip that hub and you might ruin everything. Another brake and you're lost. Please think about this. We are here to help.

  21. #21
    Asshat skingry's Avatar
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    Heel of your foot makes a good rear brake.... don't do it too much or you'll get hot foot.
    Ride bikes, listen to SLAYER.

  22. #22
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    I'd go for it. No real need for a rear as long as you know what you're doing.
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
    Bike on flickr and on FGG

  23. #23
    ʇɥǝqıƃpǝɐpʍɐlʇz thebigdeadwaltz's Avatar
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    You'll be fine. I did this for longer that I'd care to admit and I'm still here. DO WHATCHA WANT

    Just make sure your break pads aren't ass-old. That screwed me over once.

  24. #24
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    the front break has something like 75% of the bikes stoping power. in a bad jam you could throw your foot on to the rear wheel and slow it down that way. but on the other hand iv seen a few bad crashes with guys who were just rocking the front break. look inside yourself and ask and feel out what your more comfy with.

  25. #25
    No cud for foil. DasProfezzional's Avatar
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    Get a rear brake for God's sake. You're not any less of a man if you do, I promise.

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