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Beach Cruisers Do you love balloon tires and fenders? Do you love riding the simplicity of a single gear and coaster brakes or a single gear cluster? Do you love the classic curves in the tubing of a cruiser that takes you back to the 1950's and 1960's, stylistically? Here's your home! Welcome to the Beach Cruisers and Cruisers forum!

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Old 04-29-17, 06:34 AM   #1
GaIslander
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Install Disc Brakes on a Townie

Has anyone experimented putting disc brakes on a Electra Townie? Like using those inexpensive caliper adapter brackets available online? It would allow the use a much wider selection on higher-end wheels.

I ride mine quite a lot and have made some upgrades which have been well worth it, like 11 speed components, better wheels, and brakes.
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Old 05-05-17, 08:30 AM   #2
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I've added discs to a few steel bikes, but can't weld aluminum. interested in any answers though, as I'd like to add a disc brake to an aluminum girvin fork myself.
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Old 05-05-17, 11:25 AM   #3
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Simplest and best solution is to get a frame made for discs in the first place.
Disc brakes do change the load distribution in the fork, I don't know if the bike designers actually do anything different for that, though.
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Old 05-05-17, 01:39 PM   #4
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.... those inexpensive caliper adapter brackets available online?
I've never understood how those are able to work well enough to keep selling.
Best I can tell, they have to go on the outside face of the dropout. Which would make the caliper position dependent on DO thickness. But calipers and rotors take their reference off the inside face. And caliper sideways adjustability isn't that big.
Is there really that little spread in DO thickness?
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Old 05-06-17, 07:06 AM   #5
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Perhaps you should look into upgrading to drum brakes. they aren't as common in the US as disc, and are a bit more expensive. However, they should offer good, all weather, stopping power and be easier to add than disc.
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Old 05-09-17, 05:58 AM   #6
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Perhaps you should look into upgrading to drum brakes...
+1. Modifying a fork to take a caliper just isn't worth the effort, IMHO, and I would not trust any bolt on caliper mount especially if the forks you're using aren't equipped with a good strong method of locking the axle into place and keeping it from getting torqued out during braking... lawyer tabs aren't really adequate enough. I think you should either get new forks that were designed and made for disc brakes or go with drum brakes. In my experience disc systems are more of a hassle than drums to keep adjusted properly and a drum brake is sealed from the elements, has larger friction surfaces so shoes don't need replacing as frequently as pads and they are more than powerful enough for most cyclists.
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Old 05-09-17, 09:55 AM   #7
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For your Safety either A) get a new fork with the disc brake mount on it, Or,

B ) the other hub brake is the Drum brake hub from 1) Shimano their Roller Brake,

Or 2) Sturmey Archer Drum brakes.. I have been using the Latter for 35 years..

mine is a retrofit. Old MTB..



....
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Old 05-12-17, 10:15 AM   #8
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Unless you need oodles of power or considerably better wet weather braking, I think there's not amazing gain to be had here--the V brakes on Townies work really well, and if combined with quality pads (Koolstop Salmon) can also stop very well in wet weather. 26" rim brake wheels of very high quality are still readily available.

If you really want you can change the fork to accomodate disk breaks, but you'll have to make sure they have the same steerer (easy, normal 1 1/8" threadless) and sufficiently similar axle to crown and rake as your Townie. Possibly some of the disc break forks for some of the Attitude series cruisers could work. This would all also cost a lot.

You may be interested in Electra's recently released Townie Commute line, which has 700c wheels and comes stock with hydraulic discs, a dynamo front hub, and integrated lighting, racks, and fenders.
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Old 05-14-17, 06:00 AM   #9
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There's a video out comparing rim versus disc brakes on a road bike. The difference is very small except when wet. I duplicated the test myself. Unless you regularly ride in the rain or constantly descend steep hills, it's not worth the expense and effort
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Old 05-15-17, 12:15 AM   #10
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There's a video out comparing rim versus disc brakes on a road bike. The difference is very small except when wet. I duplicated the test myself. Unless you regularly ride in the rain or constantly descend steep hills, it's not worth the expense and effort
But that's in sheer stopping power only.
Admittedly an important feature, but not the only one.

Once there were cars w/o power steering and servo brakes too. Not much call for those these days.

Apparently lots of people like the feel of discs, regardless the amount of actual improvement for their particular ride requirements.
"Expense" pretty much only is a factor if someone is using discs as a reason for buying a new bike.
And I don't understand what you mean by "effort". Once on the bike, discs are less maintenance than rim brakes.
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Old 05-15-17, 06:42 AM   #11
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"Expense" pretty much only is a factor if someone is using discs as a reason for buying a new bike.
And I don't understand what you mean by "effort". Once on the bike, discs are less maintenance than rim brakes.
What is meant by expense and effort referred back to the OPs question about a beach cruiser conversion. That involves new wheels, brakes, and a fork.

I agree with your comment that some people like the feel of discs. I've got both kind of brakes on bikes that are pretty similar and the ability to "feather" applying brakes, especially at slow speeds is nice
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Old 05-15-17, 11:15 AM   #12
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What is meant by expense and effort referred back to the OPs question about a beach cruiser conversion. That involves new wheels, brakes, and a fork.
Ah, gotcha!
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Old 05-19-17, 08:06 AM   #13
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There's a video out comparing rim versus disc brakes on a road bike. The difference is very small except when wet. I duplicated the test myself. Unless you regularly ride in the rain or constantly descend steep hills, it's not worth the expense and effort
I ride regularly in these conditions on my Townie and have found the salmon kool stops that cpach recommends to work great. My new townie's stock pads are about done and I'll be purchasing these next. On my last Townie they seemed to last a long time too.

Also to the OP, any pics of this upgraded Townie?
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Old 07-09-17, 02:21 PM   #14
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Another option is to upgrade the V Brakes. The older XT/XTR brakes with the parallel push style were pretty capable. I had an older Marin MTB and replace mine and it was enough to almost toss you over the bars, Granted the hydro disks I had on a DS were really awesome these came a close 2nd.
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