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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-22-08, 11:32 AM   #1
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Least Draggy Coaster Brake?

I'm looking to build a new rear wheel for my single speed and I wanted to try out a coaster brake. I'm worried about the supposed extra drag that most coaster brakes have over a normal fixed or free hub. I've rebuilt a couple old Bendixes, both US and Mexican built, but they were too draggy for my liking.

Has anyone in SSFG used a coaster brake on their SS or fixie? If so, what kind, and how easily does it spin? My current dream hubs would be an old Morrow, New Departure, F & S Torpedo, Velosteel, or, to get really crazy, the two-speed kickbacks, either the Bendix Yellowband or the F & S Torpedo Duomatic. These are all older hubs, but I've heard that newer hubs are lower quality, either performance or durability. Anyone have experience with both older coaster brakes and the newer stuff by shimano and KT?

I've read through all of Jimv's posts but I never saw anyone rate the different brands based on hub drag.
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Old 01-22-08, 11:42 AM   #2
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No idea about drag, but I've been having a hard time resisting the temptation of these NOS Sachs Duomatics. http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/torpedo-duomatic-fs/
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Old 01-22-08, 11:51 AM   #3
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i have a Nankai freecoaster hub on my bmx bike. it's very similar to a Suntour coaster, but you can backpedal with it. i took the loose-ball bearings out of the cages and re-packed the hub with extra bearings. now the hub has no bearing cages in it and it is MUCH smoother than a regular Nankai and takes side-impacts better. i dont know if that helps much for coaster brakes.

there is some good info about servicing bmx freecoaster hubs on www.free-coaster.com but i dont know if that helps.

basically, a coaster clutch mechanism needs some resistance for the clutch to engage the inside of the hub. too much resistance and the hub drags. too little resistance and the hub does not engage consistantly, or not at all. you need to take whatever coaster you have and clean the resistance spring and GREASE THE HELL OUT OF every moving part in the hub. all coasters need to be completely taken apart and cleaned/regreased every few weeks/months because grit in the hub zaps performance.
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Old 01-22-08, 02:11 PM   #4
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We have a shop bike with the old bendix 2 speeds and they need a relube every 6 months to keep quiet, otherwise they make a little chatter, though drag is about the same (plus, you know you can leave them untouched for 40 years with no worries).
Both the shimano and sturmey archer coasters are a little better than older bendix hubs, mostly due to the materials used, but the drag is inherent in the design of the coaster brake.
On the street with 700c wheels, you're flying along at such a good clip that you don't really notice the drag, but they will never spin as smoothly as a normal fixed/ss hub.
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Old 01-22-08, 02:34 PM   #5
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We have a shop bike with the old bendix 2 speeds and they need a relube every 6 months to keep quiet, otherwise they make a little chatter, though drag is about the same (plus, you know you can leave them untouched for 40 years with no worries).
Both the shimano and sturmey archer coasters are a little better than older bendix hubs, mostly due to the materials used, but the drag is inherent in the design of the coaster brake.
On the street with 700c wheels, you're flying along at such a good clip that you don't really notice the drag, but they will never spin as smoothly as a normal fixed/ss hub.
I'm glad to hear of someone who's used the bendix two-speeds. From what I've heard online, the F&S Torpedo Duomatics roll a little better but I cant quite bring myself to drop ~$150 for one like on the website streetlightpoet mentioned. (I've been eyeing those too)

As BrooklynMachine and mack turtle mentioned, there is some drag inherent in the design of coaster brakes. What I'm trying to find out is how the different designs minimize it. From personal experience I know that the disc-clutch mechanism of the old morrows and new departures works quite a bit better than the wedge-type Bendixes. I've heard that some designs find a way to lessen the drag of the necessary retaining spring. The velosteels that jimv seems to like use a ramped roller design but I haven't been able to find them for sale in the USA anywhere. I also heard that that the newer hi-stops use the old bendix design but have some sort of spring that lessens drag. Bring on the expert opinions!
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Old 01-22-08, 02:42 PM   #6
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I have an old Ross road bike just waiting for a coaster brake. So I am on the look out for a nice hub as well.
want to do something like this:
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Old 01-22-08, 02:46 PM   #7
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Kogswell is selling new Velosteel coaster hubs now, or at least they were a few months ago. Don't know if they still have them available. They're supposed to be very nice.
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Old 01-22-08, 02:54 PM   #8
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Kogswell is selling new Velosteel coaster hubs now, or at least they were a few months ago. Don't know if they still have them available. They're supposed to be very nice.
They went fast.

We're getting more.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:19 PM   #9
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I want a bike with a duomatic, a schlumpf drive, and a sticker that reads "four ****ing speeds"
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Old 01-22-08, 03:24 PM   #10
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I wonder if they are really going re-release the Sturmey-Archer 3speed fixed hub...
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Old 01-22-08, 05:01 PM   #11
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The old New Departure brakes coast very well - but they don't brake very well. The old Shimano 333 coaster is basically the same design.
The Komet/Sachs/Favorit coasters are all very smooth.
Bendix is ok - at least the pre Mexico ones anyway - however the brake shoes just "float" inside the hub when the brake is disengaged and they'll drag like hell if the grease gets contaminated or dries out (they will also sometimes cease to provide any braking in such cases). The newer shimano coasters are basically the same design - but I've never used them.
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Old 01-22-08, 05:03 PM   #12
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I heard that schwinn is preparing a 2 speed kickback model for the near future. Can't imagine it being quality, but interesting none the less.
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Old 01-23-08, 04:57 AM   #13
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a friend of mine just built up a townie bike with a new 14 doller stermey arher hub on it not to much resistance at al really i loosened the cone nuts a hair and it wasfine probobly not for 30 mile rides but round town and beater perfect if that s what you r makeing it for sag one of those cheap !
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Old 01-01-10, 01:57 PM   #14
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I've built around three or four road bikes with coaster brakes and have used shimano and histop and one other cheap chinese one that I couldn't read the name. The shimano ones have worked the best for me. They seem alot less draggy than any of the bendix hubs I checked out and braked better than new departures. Also most new departures that I've seen have a funky axle thread. I've also found that there are some good quality shimano coasters and some really cheap shimano coasters. I'm sot sure the difference between the two. Like if they have two models or what not, but a quick visual inspection should tell if its cheap or not. One critical mass I rode a shimano coaster 35 miles and it needed a slight adjustment afterwards, but it rolled smooth and braked well all night. I've never tried a Velosteel. Coasters need more attention more often than other styles of hubs, but I love them and will never give them up! Unless some one makes a 3 speed fixed/ freewheel selectable coaster brake hub for a rediculously low price.
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Old 01-01-10, 03:17 PM   #15
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um.................................................................................................. .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .......................................................... year old bump
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Old 01-03-10, 12:46 AM   #16
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sorry, came across it on a google search and got all geeked out excited and had to say something.
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Old 01-03-10, 02:32 AM   #17
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Also,does less drag mean better or worse stopping power,or does it even matter?
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