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Beach cruiser hand brake

Old 05-01-11, 07:22 PM
  #1  
ralph12
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Beach cruiser hand brake

I have been cycling for a few years, had a lot of fun and all the usual.

But a few months ago I got hit by a car and my leg was "FUBAR". After surgery, some titanium implants, and months of opiates, hobbling, physical therapy, and worse details I'll spare all of you, here I am.

I'm ready to start cycling again, but my bike was ruined. I picked up a cheap beach cruiser to use instead (I live right near the beach, in fact). It's a nice bike and only cost me $80.

But it only has the rear-wheel coaster brake, and my bad leg is a bit too weak to effectively use it (and I would want a front brake anyway). The fork that came with the cruiser doesn't have the mounting part for a hand brake (it does have that little hole for a fender to screw in though).

I'm willing to get creative to make this happen: How can I add a hand-operated brake to this bike? Would something like this work?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...565#vi-content

Help is appreciated! I want to try to participate in the "Ride of Silence" in my area in a couple of weeks--I probably won't be able to finish but I'd like to be there and ride a little at least.
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Old 05-02-11, 12:49 AM
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A lot of beach cruisers have really oddly styled forks, where the fender mounting bolt may actually be too high for a caliper brake to reach the wheel.
Only 80$? did it come from Target or Walmart, does it say Schwinn on the side? if so I wouldnt bet on the fork being amendable to a brake...can't say for sure without actually trying to fit something tho.
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Old 05-02-11, 09:30 AM
  #3  
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It all depends on the reach needed. Until you measure that it will be difficult to know what brake would work.
Sort of creative, but sort of expensive: rebuilt the front wheel with a drum brake hub, or get a set of those clamp on front brakes made for track bikes.
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Old 05-10-11, 08:37 PM
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If its a pretty standard type beach cruiser, I would think that a BMX caliper type brake could be mounted using the fender mounting hole. What you posted a link to on ebay is just what I was thinking about for a brake kit. I was thinking $20 would be about right for such a thing.

It would be helpful if you posted a picture of your bike and a close-up of the fork and the fender hole drilled through the crown. Then one of us can hopefully verify such a brake would work.
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Old 05-20-11, 01:15 PM
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Is the fender hole parallel to the wheel, or is it the downward-pointed hole between the fork arms? If it's the former, you can buy a caliper brake kit and bolt it on.

Second option is to build/buy a wheel with a front drum brake hub, but this would end up costing as much or more than your bike.

Third option: Find/buy a new fork with the brake mounting hole, like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Cruise...5918612&sr=1-3
Note the brake mount hole. You may need to cut the headset tube to length, and without seeing the bike I don't know if this particular fork is the correct size.
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Old 05-20-11, 02:50 PM
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If it doesn't fit the front can you mount a extra brake in the back. Not perfect for sure, but might get the job done.
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Old 05-21-11, 04:22 PM
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I know it's going to feel weird until you're comfortable with it, but you may want to try to learn and train yourself on braking with the other/stronger leg instead ? But if that's not a solution, you might also want to measure the distance and compare it with a bike that has a fork with a front hand brake ?
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Old 05-21-11, 06:52 PM
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I'd make the guy in the car who hit you figure it out.

That said, save up 300 bucks and order a Worksman Cruiser. It's a fantastic bike, and has a coaster brake AND a drum brake in the front.

They are bulletproof. Super strong bikes and are MADE IN THE USA (Queens, NY to be precise).

But I hear you on the handbrake. I have a trike (that's heavy) with only a coaster brake, and when it gets too hot (from me pushing it on a downhill) it sounds like an 18-wheeler honked its horn.
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Old 05-31-11, 12:19 PM
  #9  
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Best bet would be to swap forks with something that has appropriate mounts. Without pictures or more information, I have no idea how difficult this might be, but my guess is that it is possible.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:39 PM
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Hey Ralph, how's the retrofit going? Did you find something to work? Maybe a bike shop would trade you straight across for an older mountain bike fork with cantaleaver posts on it. You'll get way better braking action from that set up than you will a caliper brake. Good to see you back in the saddle!
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Old 06-10-11, 04:36 AM
  #11  
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I have noticed that a lot of cruiser rims don't have braking surfaces on them. If yours do, you could try the Sheldon Brown trick where he sandwiches two strips of metal & creates a new, lower hole for the brakes to mount. It's a bad example, & you could do something much stronger & better looking, but try here.



Thse pics are from Sheldon Browns (RIP) site.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
dropbolt-r20.jpg (65.0 KB, 29 views)

Last edited by 1FJEF; 06-10-11 at 04:40 AM. Reason: Add Pic.
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Old 06-30-11, 08:33 PM
  #12  
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Yeah, what happened?
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Old 07-01-11, 02:37 AM
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I see now, you injured your leg. New bikes seem to come with a coaster brake and a hand brake, something about federal regulations. Go see a Nirve dealer, they might be able to help you out.

Be good to that leg! Pedaling needs two!
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Old 07-01-11, 11:21 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
I see now, you injured your leg. New bikes seem to come with a coaster brake and a hand brake, something about federal regulations.
I haven't seen many hand brakes on bikes around here, either on the road or in the shops. Would it really be too hard to get a new fork with brake attachments?
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Old 07-01-11, 01:24 PM
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Don't know what the status of this project is, but I thought I would post since I was in a very similar situation (minus the leg injury). I recently picked up a used Schwinn cruiser and decided to add a front brake. I posted questions about it in the Mechanics forum: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/743647

I got a Tektro BMX sidepull brake and a Tektro BMX brake lever, sold as a package deal which included a cable and housing. Installation was pretty easy, and everything fit fine. The brake clears the tire and even the fender. I will add that I had one advantage working for me: The original front wheel would not have been compatible with rim brakes, but at some point, it had been swapped out with a rim brake ready wheel, so the parts were cheap for me (about $25).

The performance of the brake is lackluster compared to cantilever brakes, but it definitely adds a noticeable amount of braking power when applied in conjunction with the rear coaster brake.

Here is a photo of the brake:

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Old 07-04-11, 04:11 AM
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Nice job
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Old 07-04-11, 05:54 AM
  #17  
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Thank you Brennan! That was excellent information.
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Old 07-04-11, 12:32 PM
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Thanks you guys. Always glad to pass on useful info.
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