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Three speed coaster brake hub on road bike?

Old 11-22-20, 11:51 AM
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Sonofamechanic 
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Three speed coaster brake hub on road bike?

Anyone had experience lacing an old Sturmy-Archer 3 speed coaster brake hub into a 700c rim and riding that around as a step between a fixie and a full on derailleur system? Issues: narrow OLD, cable routing gear shift, overall weight, serviceability. Please, no mentioning of Rohloffs...sticking to the IGHs with coaster brakes.
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Old 11-22-20, 01:03 PM
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Done that to an old steel road bike frame.
Immediately bent the chain stay on braking, by the reaction arm.
Doesn’t have to happen though.
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Old 11-22-20, 01:57 PM
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Did that with a Sturmey Archer 2 speed kickback hub, new one though. Doubt I’ll have issues with the brake arm, and chain stay on this old Schwinn. Sorry not a 3 speed, but no issues with 700 rim, or frame spacing.
Tim



SA 2 speed hub

71 Schwinn Sports Tourer
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Old 11-22-20, 02:36 PM
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I saw the kickbacks out there—do they work well enough for daily use? I have three 3-speed hubs...just trying to use what I have
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Old 11-22-20, 02:36 PM
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Clean lines! Nicely done!
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Old 11-22-20, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonofamechanic View Post
I saw the kickbacks out there—do they work well enough for daily use? I have three 3-speed hubs...just trying to use what I have
Thanks! Yeah, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the 3 speed hub, probably more versatile the 2 speed, I just wanted a really clean look, and had no parts except frame, to start with. I put over 100 miles on the bike this week, the lo gear is good for all the hills around me, and about 12-13 mph on the flats, hi is good fo 17-18 mph on flats, any faster and my feet start coming off the pedals, just mountain bike style. Built this bike to just get on and ride, no special bike gear required, this week rode with winter coat, boots, and knit hat.
Tim
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Old 11-22-20, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonofamechanic View Post
Anyone had experience lacing an old Sturmy-Archer 3 speed coaster brake hub into a 700c rim and riding that around as a step between a fixie and a full on derailleur system? Issues: narrow OLD, cable routing gear shift, overall weight, serviceability. Please, no mentioning of Rohloffs...sticking to the IGHs with coaster brakes.
...not sure I understand your concerns ? SA hubs in general, including the AW, were used extensively on road bikes for many years. Most of them did not have integral coaster brakes, but it's not very much of an issue IME. The cable routing is most cleanly accomplished by using some clamp on fittings for running the rear derailleur cable down the downtube and along the chain stay on the drive side, IME. But it's not an issue.


SRAM Automatix 2 spd with coaster brake

Old Carabella track frame with SRAm Automatix.

The venerable Raleigh Sports was, in its day, considered a sort of road bike, as were all the various iterations of British road frames that used SA hubs in lieu of derailleurs back in the 50's, when the gearing range for derailleur equipped bikes was not all that impressive. Look at some of the photos here.

If you are interested in the coaster brake to make the whole setup simpler, the simplest setup is a single speed coaster brake hub. The best ones are the older American Bendix hubs, that were at one time plentiful in the used parts stream at co-ops and shops that kept a scrapyard out back. Most of those places are gone now.
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Old 11-22-20, 07:45 PM
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Great pics! Yep, I had 3 speed hubs back in the day too, but I never put a couple thousand miles on them each year like I ride now so I am trying to see what the forum’s experience with extended use on a road/commute bike set up, specifically with the coaster brake combo—function and service wise. Hope that clarifies?
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Old 11-22-20, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonofamechanic View Post
Great pics! Yep, I had 3 speed hubs back in the day too, but I never put a couple thousand miles on them each year like I ride now so I am trying to see what the forum’s experience with extended use on a road/commute bike set up, specifically with the coaster brake combo—function and service wise. Hope that clarifies?
...I commuted for three or four years in Merced on a Schwinn with a SA three speed and 27" wheels. It held up fine. I don't have that much experience with a SA coaster brake hub, but I did commute around Davis for a while at the U there on a DBS with 26x 1 3/8" wheels and a three speed hub with coaster brake made by Sachs. It seemed to do pretty well, with minimal maintenance. I think maybe I opened it up once in several years of use.

DBS bikes in general are built to resist the elements and get used by people who commute on them. The frames are not real high tech, but the mechanics of them are sound.

If there is a problem with using only a coaster brake, it is that you get a lot of braking from the front wheel due to weight shift. So the DBS also had a front rim brake.




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Old 11-22-20, 09:14 PM
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If you're talking about the no longer produced S3C or TWC hubs then there's no way I would ride one if I had to rely on it's brake for my stopping. When you cut the brake elements in half (to fit along side the IGH parts) there's some loss of brake effectiveness, and SA IGH/coaster brake hubs had a really poor brake performance rep. Not to mention that the IGH cable adjustment range was also pretty much halved. Andy
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Old 11-22-20, 09:15 PM
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Perfect, thanks—that’s the kind of info/experienced input I was looking for. I have an SA and a Shimano Nexus (both bought used) —I’ll open them both up and see which looks to be in better nic.

For commuting, what size front sprocket did you end up preferring?
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Old 11-22-20, 09:18 PM
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((I’ll factor in keeping a front brake as part of the build))
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Old 11-22-20, 09:42 PM
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My winter bike has a S3C but also a front hand brake, and it also has studded tires for brakes.

I would not rely on any rear coaster brake as my only brake. You definitely need a front. I've put thousands of miles on non-coaster AW hubs made in the early 60s.
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Old 11-23-20, 01:48 AM
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I have 3 drum brake hubs, SA XL-FDD with 27,000 miles, XL-RD5w and X-RD3. All flawless.
For a 3 spd, there is only the RD3, IMO. Mine is only 3 years old with 3,838 miles. I did a century on it this year, it is a 1973 CCM 590/ 650B frame. It's not as fast, but it still feels easy to ride. Drum brakes do NOT need adjustment or wear out. Last summer I had it in the big cities of eastern Canada. Hundreds of miles with no problems with hills.

I have seen a blog on CGOAB, where a guy bought a cheap girl's bike with a coaster Nexus 7 and rode half way around the world, 12,330 miles.

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Old 11-23-20, 09:01 AM
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So, with this thread, there are a bunch of us here that are older right? People who rode bikes with just coaster brakes as kids, mine was a Schwinn racer that I rode everywhere for 8 years, It was bullet proof, never failed to stop the bike immediately, when I wanted it to, and you never had to worry about going over the handlebars, cause all the braking was from the rear wheel, nothing in front.
3alarmer, nice bike by the way, but could you please explain your last sentence about getting a lot of braking from the front, using just a coaster brake? How could a weight shift, noticeably slow a front wheel, with no type of braking mechanism. Definitely not adding a front rim brake, something I’ll never need, on to my build.
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Old 11-23-20, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
So, with this thread, there are a bunch of us here that are older right? People who rode bikes with just coaster brakes as kids, mine was a Schwinn racer that I rode everywhere for 8 years, It was bullet proof, never failed to stop the bike immediately, when I wanted it to, and you never had to worry about going over the handlebars, cause all the braking was from the rear wheel, nothing in front.
3alarmer, nice bike by the way, but could you please explain your last sentence about getting a lot of braking from the front, using just a coaster brake? How could a weight shift, noticeably slow a front wheel, with no type of braking mechanism. Definitely not adding a front rim brake, something I’ll never need, on to my build.
Tim

Tim....I had the same response on my memory of stopping power....then I remembered I also only weighed about 65 pounds and had a big slick rear tire .
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Old 11-23-20, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
So, with this thread, there are a bunch of us here that are older right? People who rode bikes with just coaster brakes as kids, mine was a Schwinn racer that I rode everywhere for 8 years, It was bullet proof, never failed to stop the bike immediately, when I wanted it to, and you never had to worry about going over the handlebars, cause all the braking was from the rear wheel, nothing in front.
3alarmer, nice bike by the way, but could you please explain your last sentence about getting a lot of braking from the front, using just a coaster brake? How could a weight shift, noticeably slow a front wheel, with no type of braking mechanism. Definitely not adding a front rim brake, something I’ll never need, on to my build.
Tim
Just a guess, but 3alarmer was probably trying to say that a front brake stops better than any rear brake, since weight shift will work hard to keep the wheel from locking up. Think of how easy it is to skid a rear wheel with a coaster, and remember why ABS systems were developed for cars: The static coefficient of friction is higher than the dynamic coefficient of friction for tire rubber compounds, which means a tire that doesn't skid can resist more force than a skidding tire.
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Old 11-23-20, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Sonofamechanic View Post
Perfect, thanks—that’s the kind of info/experienced input I was looking for. I have an SA and a Shimano Nexus (both bought used) —I’ll open them both up and see which looks to be in better nic.

For commuting, what size front sprocket did you end up preferring?
I use the default setup for most 3 speeds of the era: 48t x 16t. It's pretty flat here so I can cruise in high gear. If you know your route well with a derailleur-equipped bike, you can get a feel for how you like the ratios on your hub by comparing ratios. The AW hub by Sturmey Archer has a low gear of 75% of the full development, and 133% in high.

I found these pages helpful too.
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Old 11-23-20, 10:19 AM
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Yeah guys, I get braking, was a military and commercial pilot for 40 years. Brakes stop wheels, tires stop planes, cars, bikes, etc. My comment was was his statement prefaced by, “using only a coaster brake” Been riding my coaster brake bike quite a bit, no way a front rim brake only bike, is gonna out stop a a coaster braked one, same bike, same rider. It would be fun to do a side by side test though, I guess after a complete stop, the front rim braked bike could be behind mine, but the riders body wouldn’t, No ABS on bicycles yet, and if it gets here, it will be on discs.
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Old 11-23-20, 10:44 AM
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tkamd73 You are mistaken about the effectiveness of F vs R (or coaster) brakes. Maximum deceleration of a bike occurs when the front brakes are applied such that the weight of bike & rider has shifted 100% to the front wheel, just before the rear wheel lifts off the ground, leaving the rear wheel with zero braking power. With a coaster brake, the same weight shift occurs (your body's mass doesn't know where the deceleration is coming from), but only to the point where the weight on the rear wheel has decreased enough to allow it to skid. THis is always at a lesser deceleration than the maximum deceleration possible with using only front brakes.

IOW, Braking will increase the downward force on the front wheel and decrease the downward force on the rear wheel, so the rear wheel will become less effective at stopping the harder you brake.
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Old 11-23-20, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
tkamd73 You are mistaken about the effectiveness of F vs R (or coaster) brakes. Maximum deceleration of a bike occurs when the front brakes are applied such that the weight of bike & rider has shifted 100% to the front wheel, just before the rear wheel lifts off the ground, leaving the rear wheel with zero braking power. With a coaster brake, the same weight shift occurs (your body's mass doesn't know where the deceleration is coming from), but only to the point where the weight on the rear wheel has decreased enough to allow it to skid. THis is always at a lesser deceleration than the maximum deceleration possible with using only front brakes.

IOW, Braking will increase the downward force on the front wheel and decrease the downward force on the rear wheel, so the rear wheel will become less effective at stopping the harder you brake.
...you might have s point with Tim on F v R stopping power, but his point was inclusive of controllability and we have all had scary F brake experiences....you might not stop shorter every time, but you’ll never faceplant with a rear only...
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Old 11-23-20, 12:53 PM
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No I don’t think so you guys haven’t ridden a coaster brake ever, or in a least in a very long time, I’m about to do a 20 mile ride with one today. For those of you that have, has the rear wheel ever lifted on you during max braking, simple answer no, physically impossible! Also impossible to go flying over the handlebars unless you hit something.
It just so happens that that my body mass does know where the decel is coming from, so does yours, it called a brain, and that can also cause you to adjust your mass according. The rear wheel skids, because the coaster brakes stopping power is way in excess of the grip, or friction the small area of the tire, imparts on the road, the weight coming off the rear wheel is way less significant.
Assuming braking surfaces are equal, they are not, look at the mechanical advantage of me standing on the pedal, vs you squeezing a lever connect to a cable with your hand. I do get the theory, it just does’t always play out in the real world. Why don’t one of you build up an old steel frame, with just a front rim brake only and we’ll compare. Funny, but I don’t ever recall any bikes marketed with just a front rim brake. I get that you can stop the wheel faster, but you might go over the bars, I’m not. Another advantage, if you do stay on the bike, and say the road is wet, or lose gravel, then skid the tire, you’ve lost your direction control, not really an issue if the back tire skids.
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Old 11-23-20, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
3alarmer, nice bike by the way, but could you please explain your last sentence about getting a lot of braking from the front, using just a coaster brake? How could a weight shift, noticeably slow a front wheel, with no type of braking mechanism. Definitely not adding a front rim brake, something I’ll never need, on to my build.
Tim
Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
Just a guess, but 3alarmer was probably trying to say that a front brake stops better than any rear brake, since weight shift will work hard to keep the wheel from locking up. Think of how easy it is to skid a rear wheel with a coaster, and remember why ABS systems were developed for cars: The static coefficient of friction is higher than the dynamic coefficient of friction for tire rubber compounds, which means a tire that doesn't skid can resist more force than a skidding tire.
...this, pretty much. If you look up the chapter on this topic (braking) in Bicycling Science, it goes into a lot more detail about why you get more braking power on the front wheel than the back on a bicycle. But I was not talking about using only a coaster brake, I was talking about using one with a front rim brake added to the mix. Which I have on everything except that track bike, because I didn't want to drill the fork, and I don't ride it in difficult/wet conditions. If I did that, it would have fenders on it anyway.

I'm fine with coaster brakes, and it's fun to skid the back tyre. But I have no illusions about that being more stopping power than a coaster brake with a front rim brake added to it.

And like I said, I have zero experience with a SA coaster brake. They might work great, or they might not, for all I know. The single speed Bendix ones were impressive performers.
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Old 11-23-20, 01:22 PM
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This is a weird hill to die on.

What's your brake modulation like when you're shifting your weight over the back wheel, you know, to avoid the skid? And since braking isn't always done in a straight line, how do you keep the locked back wheel from sliding out from under you if you're cornering and need to stop (you know, low-siding it)? Which brake gets mounted on fixed gear street bikes that use one? Why don't the pros eschew a front brake to save weight and drag?
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Old 11-23-20, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
Funny, but I don’t ever recall any bikes marketed with just a front rim brake.
Tim
...Bianchi did exactly this for a few years with their pseudo-fixie, the Pista. Here is a picture of one.


Pista with rear flip flop hub in freewheel position

The single brake required to be street legal
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