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Let's chat about coaster brakes

Old 01-20-23, 04:00 PM
  #51  
3speedslow
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I have returned to the coaster brake club as well. Riding a 63 Schwinn Klunker around got me a anting a CB 700 wheel set as well. Lots of 70ís Schwinn road bikes with horizontal drop outs to move it around to.




My hubs of choice are the Shimano CB-110E and Type D.
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Old 01-20-23, 05:26 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by RB1-luvr View Post
there used to be or still is a downhill klunker race called Repack. It's for coaster brakes only. It's called that cuz back in the day, they had to repack the grease after every run.
I do believe the repack riders settled on pre-WWII Morrow coasters as the most effective and reliable of all the brands they tried. You know who would know? BF's own Repack Rider who was not only there, but held the record for fastest descent. He literally wrote the book on it! (excellent book, buy it!!)

I have several old Morrows including one on my 1933 Excelsior. I think their main secret, as to why they're so effective and reliable, is simply mass. They're huge and heavy. But also the hardness, precision, and smoothness of the bearings is exceptional ó these things weren't toys!

BTW the Excelsior (like mine) was also the highest-rated klunker for downhill racing like Repack. In 1979 I turned mine into a Marin-style klunker with drum brakes F&R and derailer gears, rode it everywhere for a couple years (even competed in Trials on it!) until I made my first custom MTB in '81. Then I returned the Excelsior to its coaster-brake glory, though it still sports a drum in front. Since I'm old and fat with bad knees and Seattle is hilly, I don't ride it much anymore. Sorry the only pic I have handy is the dreaded left-side shot:



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Old 01-20-23, 05:29 PM
  #53  
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Definitely buy the book - itís a fantastic read and imo an important historical reference.
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Old 01-20-23, 05:43 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
I do believe the repack riders settled on pre-WWII Morrow coasters as the most effective and reliable of all the brands they tried. You know who would know? BF's own Repack Rider who was not only there, but held the record for fastest descent. He literally wrote the book on it! (excellent book, buy it!!)

I have several old Morrows including one on my 1933 Excelsior. I think their main secret, as to why they're so effective and reliable, is simply mass. They're huge and heavy. But also the hardness, precision, and smoothness of the bearings is exceptional ó these things weren't toys!

BTW the Excelsior (like mine) was also the highest-rated klunker for downhill racing like Repack. In 1979 I turned mine into a Marin-style klunker with drum brakes F&R and derailer gears, rode it everywhere for a couple years (even competed in Trials on it!) until I made my first custom MTB in '81. Then I returned the Excelsior to its coaster-brake glory, though it still sports a drum in front. Since I'm old and fat with bad knees and Seattle is hilly, I don't ride it much anymore. Sorry the only pic I have handy is the dreaded left-side shot:



Mark B
I'm always on the lookout for one of these, but this area (despite being the beach) is where cruisers go to die, apparently. One of the local shops easily sells 500 new cruisers a year, every year...and it seems unreasonable that there are never any used cruisers for sale around here.

There was a lovely old lady who brought an old Schwinn cruiser with a sweetheart chainring (everything skiptooth, with a ND Model D on it, and ND branded front hub) into one of the shops for repair. She said it was her bike growing up, and I 100% believed it...but the chain was broken at a long section. I was the one who broke to her that it wasn't reasonable to replace the chain, and that skiptooth chains came up on ebay every-so-often, but were phenomenally expensive. It shames me to say that I hoped she would sell it or abandon it. A year later, I was rummaging through a toolbox that was shoved in the corner of a local antique store, and I spotted a baggy with a few lengths of roller chain in it for $5. I have absolutely no idea why I kept pawing at the bag, but as I turned it around to look at it, I saw the unmistakable profile of a skiptooth chain. I took it home/cleaned it, and saw D.I.D. marked on it, with bits of bluing poking out. Nobody got her name, and it was long cleaned out of the workorder system there.

That, and a 1x2" Norton clear arkansas stone, are the only two things that, to this day, I can call a bargain hunting through antique/thrift stores.
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Old 01-20-23, 06:20 PM
  #55  
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Here's a NIB 1948 Morrow that sold a year ago on the CABE (click the link for more pics)


The prewar ones had a better finish, bright-polished and nickel plated. Maybe better internals too as in hardness and smoothness, but don't quote me on that, not sure..

I used to have a T-shirt with that "Morrow - Sturdy, Sure" logo on it, my fave shirt until it was too 'holy' to wear.

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Old 01-20-23, 06:26 PM
  #56  
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Ooh more Morrow ephemera I just found


The oldest Morrow coaster ad I found was 1899.

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Old 01-20-23, 06:45 PM
  #57  
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OK last one, I promise! (...unless I find some more...)



The Morrow Dirt Club gets mentioned a couple times in Seekay's Fat Tire Flyer book. Ironically, some members of MDC had bikes with derailers and drum brakes — the first time Charlie, Gary Fisher and that gang had seen them. The rest is capital-H History! (ironic that a club named after a coaster should be the inspiration for the derailer klunkers that eventually gave us the modern MTB)

More cool ephemera, a hang tag for putting a price on a bike on the showroom floor. Want!!


-mb

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Old 01-21-23, 01:13 AM
  #58  
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That is an exceptionally nice Excelsior @bulgie .

Back when these Morrow Coaster Brakes were being made coaster brakes were high-tech. Nowadays, they are anything but. It is a bit of a shame. There seem to have been attempts at making better coaster brakes, however the newer ones don't seem to compare to the old Morrow benchmark.

Often someone will claim that a particular coaster brake is great because it can lock up the rear wheel easily. While braking force is a good thing, so is control or modulation. This is what the old coaster brakes seem to do better at. Another considerationis drag. Coaster brakes have some drag when coasting and pedaling.

When I was looking for a Shimano CB-E110 hub with 36 spokes yesterday, I came across a Wheel Master Coaster brake that doesn't look like a Shimano knock-off like KT and others. This looks like it has a machined one piece hub, rather than the three piece of the Shimano and Bendix. The left side seems to have a bigger diameter than the center and right side of the hub. Not that that is better in any way, just different than the Shimano and Bendix. And the hub is ALUMINUM according to the specifications! The price is $50. Could this be a decent coaster brake?

It looks promising.

Wheel Master Coaster Brake Hub

Does anyone have any experience with this hub?
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Old 01-21-23, 09:18 AM
  #59  
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My interest was piqued when I saw the picture, and was about to say, "why not?" and order one, having never heard of the brand...but I 1) recognized the label as being a 'distributor brand', and 2) did a quick bit of googling. https://bmxmuseum.com/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=7453751 After seeing the arm, I realized it was probably just an upscaled KT, and that's apparently what it is.

My contribution to the Morrow party, courtesy of the CABE. I stitched it back together as a PDF, but PDFs aren't uploading correctly here, either (must be a xenforo thing...)









I like the reference to hubs drilled for 10g spokes. Practically motorcycle territory!
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Old 01-21-23, 02:55 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
That is an exceptionally nice Excelsior @bulgie .

Back when these Morrow Coaster Brakes were being made coaster brakes were high-tech. Nowadays, they are anything but. It is a bit of a shame. There seem to have been attempts at making better coaster brakes, however the newer ones don't seem to compare to the old Morrow benchmark.

Often someone will claim that a particular coaster brake is great because it can lock up the rear wheel easily. While braking force is a good thing, so is control or modulation. This is what the old coaster brakes seem to do better at. Another considerationis drag. Coaster brakes have some drag when coasting and pedaling.

When I was looking for a Shimano CB-E110 hub with 36 spokes yesterday, I came across a Wheel Master Coaster brake that doesn't look like a Shimano knock-off like KT and others. This looks like it has a machined one piece hub, rather than the three piece of the Shimano and Bendix. The left side seems to have a bigger diameter than the center and right side of the hub. Not that that is better in any way, just different than the Shimano and Bendix. And the hub is ALUMINUM according to the specifications! The price is $50. Could this be a decent coaster brake?

It looks promising.

Wheel Master Coaster Brake Hub

Does anyone have any experience with this hub?
Aly usually means alloy, not aluminum. Sorry, no experience with it .
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Old 01-21-23, 03:22 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Aly usually means alloy, not aluminum.
Yeah but alloy usually means aluminum, to bikies anyway. Not technically correct but a verbal shortcut.

When you hear "alloy rims", you don't think they're alloy steel, or bronze or anything but aluminum alloy, right?
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Old 01-21-23, 10:37 PM
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Although today the coaster brake is only associated with "non-serious" bicycles, most bicyclists do not realize what a breakthrough it was for bicycling when in first appeared early in the 20th Century. The first coaster brakes appeared on expensive bike owned by fast riders.

In the 19th Century all bikes were fixed gear, because how could they be otherwise? The coaster brake allowed the rider to... coast, without putting his feet on pegs mounted on the fork. It was by far the best brake then sold.

Before the pneumatic tire appeared in 1893 you could brake by pressing a spoon against the solid rubber, but the new tires didn't respond well to that.
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Old 01-22-23, 01:46 PM
  #63  
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My first hub, as I acquired it:



The left side of the axle was broken off, but it came with two dropstand nuts! (mangled, but still).

Made in Elmira, NY:



Old-school bearing retainers, open to the backside. I thought they looked cool, but I did replace the balls:



Apparently you needed both a 1.5'+ chainwhip, as well as access to a machine lathe with a hefty brake to reliably remove the sprockets from drivers. Morrow used to recommend just replacing the driver. Afraid of breaking the hub internals by hooning on them, I wound up having to scribe through most of the sprocket, and split it using a cold chisel. It still required a 2 foot piece of angle iron screwed to the teeth of the sprocket to remove it.

Check out that machining--a serious brake shoe assembly. You can see the 'ghosts' of the pins that hold each section of bronze on the shoe. It's nearly the entire width of the shell.



I thought I took a picture of the insides of the Velosteel, but other than being shinier on the inside (and using a track sprocket instead of a 3-lobe sprocket), it's identical to a F&S. Big minus is not having an oil/grease port, though.
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Old 01-22-23, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
Yeah but alloy usually means aluminum, to bikies anyway. Not technically correct but a verbal shortcut.

When you hear "alloy rims", you don't think they're alloy steel, or bronze or anything but aluminum alloy, right?
All good points. I sometimes default to the literal sideÖ I was raised by a Judge.

like said, I have no experience with this particular hub. Might be a case of implied aluminum but CYT, with alloy in the description.
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Old 01-22-23, 02:43 PM
  #65  
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as a pretend-grown up, I came back to coaster brakes using a Surly Steam Roller. Seemed like the perfect solution for muddy dirt road riding. No derailleur. No exposed braking surfaces.
The Surly was a bit small, so I sold everything but the wheels, so I built the wheel on to a Schwinn **** 12.2.
Presently I'm running a S-A 2spd on my Miyata One Thousand.

I need to read all the threads here still - but seems like I kept breaking spokes. -- Any suggestions on what kind of spokes to re-build the wheel with to avoid such a problem?

some pics:



powder coated and re-decaled by me



Campy & Coaster

headwind gear. tailwind gear.
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Old 01-22-23, 05:57 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post

I've also had and killed one of the Sturmey-Archer two-speed kickbacks. It didn't survive a Boston winter commuting season in that it stopped shifting. I opened it up and cleaned it out, but didn't fix the problem. Eventually sent it along to a BFer for the cost of shipping.
That's a little sad. My first F&S Duomatic started life on this Hercules rebrand in 1998. It still runs like a clock 25 years later with nothing but oil (and new rims) and the occasional wipe down. My wife has put a lot of miles on it.

1998 and 2016 and still no second brake required. The coaster brake remains very effective.


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Old 01-22-23, 07:02 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by mrv View Post
[snip]
I need to read all the threads here still - but seems like I kept breaking spokes. -- Any suggestions on what kind of spokes to re-build the wheel with to avoid such a problem?
[snip]
Depends where they're breaking/how even the tension on the build is. Assuming no other information (ie: perfect wheel), I assume that you used 14g spokes in a hub drilled for 12/13, with steel flanges (a "worst case" scenario). If so, rebuilding it with spoke washers should help with breakage.
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Old 01-22-23, 10:06 PM
  #68  
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I call your attention to the penultimate line. 'Pikes Peak' and 'coaster brake' in the same sentence. Uh...huh?

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Old 01-24-23, 02:01 PM
  #69  
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^^ there's a book about Musselman; "Wheels in His Head; Father and His Inventions" if anyone's interested.

and if you're on the West Coast, there is this:

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