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Coaster brakes.. the good, the bad?

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Coaster brakes.. the good, the bad?

Old 05-11-21, 09:39 AM
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Coaster brakes.. the good, the bad?

Just curious which coaster brakes are decent quality and what is trash? Building a budget MTB coaster and I'm looking for a 26" coaster wheel at the moment but don't want junk.
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Old 05-11-21, 10:45 AM
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One wheel I'm currently watching on eBay has a KT-305ra coaster hub. Any good?
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Old 05-11-21, 11:07 AM
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I'm not sure there are any special, super-new, or fancy coaster brakes on the market now...or ever. The terms: "high quality" or "high performance" are very rarely applied to coaster brakes.

In all honesty, you might inquire at Worksman Cycles. Find out what they use, then just use that. Worksman is known for their indestructability & long abuse/neglect tolerant life.

Have you considered roller brakes? They're sort of like a hand-operated coaster brake & dissipate heat considerably better. Both will need regular service intervals to re-pack if you do any mountain biking. Steep terrain & frequent braking will mean higher heat loads more frequently than an urban ridden bike. Greasing a roller brake is easier. It doesn't require disassembling the whole hub; Just the brake assembly.
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Old 05-11-21, 11:10 AM
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It's pretty flat where I live.. it's mostly gonna be used on the MUP and hardpack dirt trails along the MUP
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Old 05-11-21, 11:59 AM
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I’ve found There’s not a lot of quality difference in single speed coaster brake hubs anymore. Used to , if it said Bendix or Shimano you could depend on it lasting .
Recently I think I read somewhere that KT was making the Nexus single speed coaster brake hubs for Shimano.
I have a rim brake installed on the front of my single speed bikes , so I don’t have to depend on using the coaster brake . I only use it like an emergency brake .
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Old 05-11-21, 01:19 PM
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Alrighty.. I just wasn't sure if one was more reliable than the other. Thanks
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Old 05-18-21, 02:56 PM
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Squidpuppet used to say the best was the Shimano CB E110.
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Old 05-18-21, 10:14 PM
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The most important thing to consider if you plan on only having Coaster Brakes is that should the chain come off -or- should the chain break(snap) while riding down even the slightest of hills, you are gonna get hurt! Other than that, in normal slow speed ( 9 to 12 mph) bicycle riding it really does not matter in 98% of all situations as long as the chain doesn't pop. DO REMEMBER THAT IT CAN BE NEARLY SUICIDAL TO RIDE ANY COASTER BRAKE-ONLY BICYCLE DOWN A STEEP HILL BECAUSE OF THE RISK SHOULD the chain pop off and YOU LOSE THE BRAKES!!!!! In situations where steep hills exist, you may want to Walk The Bike DOWN them!!! It ultimately is your choice but do know the risk....... So yeah, with a Coaster Brake only beach cruiser, you will likely be WALKING YOUR BICYCLE UP STEEP HILLS because pedalling becomes too difficult--------------You will likely also be WALKING YOUR BICYCLE DOWN STEEP HILLS ALSO because of the increased risk of Death should the chain pop off.
I do remember an old ditty from 60+ years ago all of us bicycle riding kids would sing.... "She was comin' down the mountain really fast, she was riding down the mountain super fast, when the chain on her bicycle broke.....
Well, just say it was a sad song about a tragic coaster brake bicycle accident.
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Old 05-23-21, 11:54 PM
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In the early days of Klunker/Mountain biking I used a Schwinn Varsity Klunker with 26" x 1.75" tires to race with in Northern California. I equipped my bike with a Favorit rear coaster brake and a Mafac tandem cantilever front brake. Had a builder braze the cantilever studs to the indestructible Schwinn forged fork. On long steep downhills I used the coaster brake to slide the rear wheel for speed control. You can not use a coaster brake for any length of time as a modulated drag brake. They will get hot enough to cook on and quit working as a brake. Not good. However if you lock the rear wheel up there is no real heat buildup and you just slowly sacrificed the tire instead of losing your brake to heat. Keep in mind that you don't lock up forever. One has to let the rear tire rotate every once in a while to maintain balance and direction control. When more deceleration was needed I'd add the front brake. Vintage Schwinn is absolutely right about having an independent front brake that can stop you when coaster brake equipped. That said one speed non suspension bikes really don't have chain breakage or falling off the sprockets issues. One speed chain is heavier duty and very durable. Riding off road in real bumpy racing conditions I never lost a one speed chain in a race or any other time due to chain failure or coming off the sprockets. I geared my race bike on the slower end of the system in order to ride up moderate grades. I used to tell people a coaster brake one speed is actually a three speed off road bike. 1. Pedaling the bike. 2. Running while pushing the bike uphill. 3. Walking the bike uphill by pushing or carrying. Also you are never in the wrong gear to tackle the trail. It is always full out all the time. I never felt at a disadvantage using a coaster brake bike in off road racing and did well in all the races I tackled. Today I would use a full suspension bike with disc brakes and modern derailleur system. We got beat to death by those non suspended race bikes of yore
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Old 05-24-21, 12:43 PM
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I've got to agree with SquidPuppet . As much as I like Bendix, to get something that is more easily serviceable and you can buy as a complete wheel. I would be looking for a Shimano CB110-E.

If you can lace and true wheels, get an old Bendix and an aluminum rim.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:06 PM
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I will also mirror everyone's sentiments about the Shimano CB110-E. Its a good hub, and if you look hard enough, there are simple modifications that anyone can do to make it even better. All this considered, a coaster hub is pretty much a hammer. If you got one and it is serviced correctly, and living in a flat area like you say, I think that ANY coaster hub will do ya.

Check this out:

https://vimeo.com/133813843
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Old 06-01-21, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Vintage Schwinn View Post
The most important thing to consider if you plan on only having Coaster Brakes is that should the chain come off -or- should the chain break(snap) while riding down even the slightest of hills, you are gonna get hurt! Other than that, in normal slow speed ( 9 to 12 mph) bicycle riding it really does not matter in 98% of all situations as long as the chain doesn't pop. DO REMEMBER THAT IT CAN BE NEARLY SUICIDAL TO RIDE ANY COASTER BRAKE-ONLY BICYCLE DOWN A STEEP HILL BECAUSE OF THE RISK SHOULD the chain pop off and YOU LOSE THE BRAKES!!!!! In situations where steep hills exist, you may want to Walk The Bike DOWN them!!! It ultimately is your choice but do know the risk....... So yeah, with a Coaster Brake only beach cruiser, you will likely be WALKING YOUR BICYCLE UP STEEP HILLS because pedalling becomes too difficult--------------You will likely also be WALKING YOUR BICYCLE DOWN STEEP HILLS ALSO because of the increased risk of Death should the chain pop off.
I do remember an old ditty from 60+ years ago all of us bicycle riding kids would sing.... "She was comin' down the mountain really fast, she was riding down the mountain super fast, when the chain on her bicycle broke.....
Well, just say it was a sad song about a tragic coaster brake bicycle accident.
Originally Posted by tallbikeman View Post
In the early days of Klunker/Mountain biking I used a Schwinn Varsity Klunker with 26" x 1.75" tires to race with in Northern California. I equipped my bike with a Favorit rear coaster brake and a Mafac tandem cantilever front brake. Had a builder braze the cantilever studs to the indestructible Schwinn forged fork. On long steep downhills I used the coaster brake to slide the rear wheel for speed control. You can not use a coaster brake for any length of time as a modulated drag brake. They will get hot enough to cook on and quit working as a brake. Not good. However if you lock the rear wheel up there is no real heat buildup and you just slowly sacrificed the tire instead of losing your brake to heat. Keep in mind that you don't lock up forever. One has to let the rear tire rotate every once in a while to maintain balance and direction control. When more deceleration was needed I'd add the front brake. Vintage Schwinn is absolutely right about having an independent front brake that can stop you when coaster brake equipped. That said one speed non suspension bikes really don't have chain breakage or falling off the sprockets issues. One speed chain is heavier duty and very durable. Riding off road in real bumpy racing conditions I never lost a one speed chain in a race or any other time due to chain failure or coming off the sprockets. I geared my race bike on the slower end of the system in order to ride up moderate grades. I used to tell people a coaster brake one speed is actually a three speed off road bike. 1. Pedaling the bike. 2. Running while pushing the bike uphill. 3. Walking the bike uphill by pushing or carrying. Also you are never in the wrong gear to tackle the trail. It is always full out all the time. I never felt at a disadvantage using a coaster brake bike in off road racing and did well in all the races I tackled. Today I would use a full suspension bike with disc brakes and modern derailleur system. We got beat to death by those non suspended race bikes of yore
Both of you.make riding a cruiser down a hill sound complicated and dangerous. I just rode mine hill or not with the same laxidaisical thinking of any other bike, I didn't treat it like some special needs kid because of a hill. I don't even use those horrid things anymore, my cruisers end up single speeds with a front brake.
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Old 06-01-21, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jax Rhapsody View Post
Both of you.make riding a cruiser down a hill sound complicated and dangerous. I just rode mine hill or not with the same laxidaisical thinking of any other bike, I didn't treat it like some special needs kid because of a hill. I don't even use those horrid things anymore, my cruisers end up single speeds with a front brake.
Jax in my case I was racing in what was called the Ironman class at most races because it only allowed one speed bikes. If you have ever raced off road you know what a beat down that is on equipment and man. The speeds downhill were ridiculously fast. On the old solid bikes the jarring would blur your vision so bad that you really couldn't pick the best line. The coaster brakes could not take coming off a hill at high speed unless you employed a strategy like mine. They would stop being a brake and just become something about to catch on fire. I tried racing a derailleur bike one year and spent all my time stopped putting the chain back on the sprockets. Over the years lots of things have changed. I only ride in the mountains with derailleur equipped bikes with either V brakes front and rear or disc brakes. I love full suspended bikes for off road. But when I'm just riding off road for pleasure I don't even get close to the speeds I did when I raced. If things get a little dicey I can stop and figure it out, or cool down the brakes or take a drink of water. Two different types of riding. I agree with you about the coaster brakes for casual off road cycling. If you notice that the brake has gotten too hot to work properly you can stop and cool it off. You can plan your downhills so they don't burn up your brake. However the advice I have offered for safe off road operation of a bicycle with a coaster brake still stands. Good luck with your off road riding.
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Old 06-01-21, 08:54 PM
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Luckily for me, it's flat here.. built my klunker mainly for the community group rides and such.. got some dirt trails that run along side the dried up river bed that'd be pretty fun on it.
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Old 06-02-21, 01:43 AM
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The bad about coaster brakes in my experience?

I feel like if my kids started on freewheels they would have learned a little faster. If they could have just spun the crank to get a pedal forward to start off.
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Old 06-04-21, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by tallbikeman View Post
Jax in my case I was racing in what was called the Ironman class at most races because it only allowed one speed bikes. If you have ever raced off road you know what a beat down that is on equipment and man. The speeds downhill were ridiculously fast. On the old solid bikes the jarring would blur your vision so bad that you really couldn't pick the best line. The coaster brakes could not take coming off a hill at high speed unless you employed a strategy like mine. They would stop being a brake and just become something about to catch on fire. I tried racing a derailleur bike one year and spent all my time stopped putting the chain back on the sprockets. Over the years lots of things have changed. I only ride in the mountains with derailleur equipped bikes with either V brakes front and rear or disc brakes. I love full suspended bikes for off road. But when I'm just riding off road for pleasure I don't even get close to the speeds I did when I raced. If things get a little dicey I can stop and figure it out, or cool down the brakes or take a drink of water. Two different types of riding. I agree with you about the coaster brakes for casual off road cycling. If you notice that the brake has gotten too hot to work properly you can stop and cool it off. You can plan your downhills so they don't burn up your brake. However the advice I have offered for safe off road operation of a bicycle with a coaster brake still stands. Good luck with your off road riding.
I wasn't aware you were talking about offroading, a mistake on my part. Somebody on ratrodbikes I think it was made a heatsink for their coaster brake. I'd say your advice is great for offroading a bike with any braking system. I haven't done too much offroading, but I am thinking about taking this cranbrook and making a clunker. After my lil incident a few years ago with a beach cruiser at the skate park, I stopped using coasters. I dropped down in a bowl, locking the wheel up.
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Old 06-09-21, 05:33 PM
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Best? Always arguable, but a good case can be made for the MONē.

The Czech-manufactured Velosteel is a modern build of the old roller-actuated Fichtel&Sachs. A bit hard to come by in the USA these days.

I'm fond of the Sturmey-Archer S1C with its anodized alloy hubshell:




Fun fact: in 1908, a rider set a new record on the ~900 mile Lands End to John o'Groats open road course riding a bike equipped with a Sturmey-Archer coaster hub. This record stood for 20 years!
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Old 06-12-21, 03:10 PM
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Any thoughts on how to add a front brake to a fatty cruiser? Looks like the reach would be 125mm without a drop of some type. Do they make caliper brakes for that width 50mm rim?

Riding as an around town bike and at the beach, but a huge upswing in tourist traffic has brought about the need for better brakes to go with the coaster (or maybe add two hand brakes)
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Old 06-17-21, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WC53 View Post
Any thoughts on how to add a front brake to a fatty cruiser?
Sturmey-Archer X-FD:
https://www.sturmey-archer.com/en/products/detail/x-fd
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Old 07-14-21, 08:40 AM
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One wheel I'm currently watching on eBay
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Old 09-06-21, 11:37 AM
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Agree that quality in coaster brakes does not have a huge range. Fairly simple bomb-proof mechanics. Though I have seen the results of a coaster brake completely failing when used in demanding situations. My favorite I've ever torn apart was an old Perry. I would trust those sturmey archers though. Those look awesome. What I wanted to say is the harder part for me was always finding a coaster hub that was laced to a decent rim. For my own builds I would start with a any old decent coaster hub I could source, but spend my money on a quality allow rim and good spokes.
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Old 09-15-21, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Jax Rhapsody View Post
Both of you.make riding a cruiser down a hill sound complicated and dangerous. I just rode mine hill or not with the same laxidaisical thinking of any other bike, I didn't treat it like some special needs kid because of a hill. I don't even use those horrid things anymore, my cruisers end up single speeds with a front brake.
I'm amazed I'm not dead then from all the dumb stuff I did as a kid on our old Schwinn Stingrays and Cruisers.
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Old 09-15-21, 02:33 PM
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WC53 I don't think you will find a brake that bolts directly on with a fat front tire. Even the longest reach caliper brakes will not have room for a 3"+ tire. Solutions I can think of are: Either a drum or roller brake (meaning build a new wheel with a hub with brake built in), a disc brake (new wheel + new or modified fork) or cantilever brakes (modified fork at least).
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Old 09-15-21, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ceelint View Post
Luckily for me, it's flat here.. built my klunker mainly for the community group rides and such.. got some dirt trails that run along side the dried up river bed that'd be pretty fun on it.
OP been gone for awhile. But since the thread is opened back up.

He said itís all flat. If heís not going down big hills and doesnít mind not being able to backpedal, then I guess almost any brake would work.
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Old 10-04-21, 02:52 AM
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nice!
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