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Coaster brakes on adult, road bikes?

Old 02-15-10, 07:34 AM
  #1  
Cully_J
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Coaster brakes on adult, road bikes?

Hello,

I remember having coaster bikes on my first bicycle (a huffy bmx). I quickly got rid of them as soon as I could though. For some reason, I was embarrassed by them.

I wonder if any cyclists here have coaster brakes on their everyday, utilitarian bikes? How about a road bike?

Regards,
Cullen
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Old 02-15-10, 07:53 AM
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Some internally geared hubs have coaster brakes. The big drawback is that they are much, much harder to service, and less reliable, than external brakes.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-15-10, 07:55 AM
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Also, you don't have to post the same question in multiple forums.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-15-10, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Also, you don't have to post the same question in multiple forums.
You also don't have to answer the question with the standard baloney about "difficult servicing", since most coaster brakes seldom, if ever, need "servicing", and keep working reliably in all weather conditions without any servicing. I'd be surprised if any other component on a bicycle takes less servicing/tinkering or adjusting than coaster brakes.

OP, I have been using coaster brake equipped bikes for daily riding for decades and am quite happy with their maintenance free, all-weather, all road condition, 100% reliability.
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Old 02-15-10, 09:13 AM
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I've seen old road bikes converted to a coaster. I've thought about doing it to an old early 70's schwinn i have laying around. If your in a flat area it seems to make sense cant get much simpler. I have no probs. maintainig and adjusting a coaster, deraileurs how ever tend to drive me insane
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Old 02-15-10, 01:01 PM
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You can actually buy a roadbike with coaster brake- the Osobike, if I remember correctly?

And cruisers of various kinds typically have coaster brakes.

My take- riding 12 mph on reasonably level ground, coaster brake is great.
Riding at 18 mph or down long hills or mountains, you need something better.
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Old 02-15-10, 01:10 PM
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I do not like coaster brakes for a safety issue. First they take a bit more time to engage than hand brakes and in braking speed of response is important. The other consideration is they are rear brakes. On a bike, the front brake is by far and away the stronger. So they fail on two counts. For very laid back cycling though where a fast and effective braking response is not really a consideration, coaster brakes could work very well.
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Old 02-15-10, 01:14 PM
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Virtually every IGH made by Shimano, Sturmey Archer and SRAM is available in a coaster brake version as the coaster brake is widely used in Germany, Japan and Holland on IGH bikes I understand. Electra 3 speed bicycles normally use the Shimano 3 speed coaster brake IGH.

A rear brake only setup does not stop as quickly in an emergency as a bike with brakes on both wheels so some users also fit a front wheel brake. This also provides a backup as a chain failure or dropped chain leaves a coaster brake only bike brakeless. Uncommon but it can happen. Based on some photos I have seen I believe that brakes for both wheels are mandatory in Japan.
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Old 02-15-10, 04:59 PM
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Years ago (early 70s) my sister had a Raleigh Sports variant (was it an LTD? I can't remember) that was equipped with a front caliper and in the rear a Sturmey-Archer three-speed coaster brake hub. It made a lot of sense, given that those bikes came with steel rims that rendered caliper brakes useless in wet conditions.
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Old 02-15-10, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
You also don't have to answer the question with the standard baloney about "difficult servicing", since most coaster brakes seldom, if ever, need "servicing", and keep working reliably in all weather conditions without any servicing. I'd be surprised if any other component on a bicycle takes less servicing/tinkering or adjusting than coaster brakes.

OP, I have been using coaster brake equipped bikes for daily riding for decades and am quite happy with their maintenance free, all-weather, all road condition, 100% reliability.
Maybe with better quality hubs it's not a problem, but my LBS complains about the X-Mart bikes that get brought in with non-functioning coaster brakes. If this doesn't apply to better equipment, then I retract that remark. It wasn't standard baloney; it was what I believed to be true based on what I've heard at my LBS.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 02-15-10, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Maybe with better quality hubs it's not a problem, but my LBS complains about the X-Mart bikes that get brought in with non-functioning coaster brakes. If this doesn't apply to better equipment, then I retract that remark. It wasn't standard baloney; it was what I believed to be true based on what I've heard at my LBS.
Uh oh, you mentioned "the LBS" to ILTB......

The problem with those bikes in not a problem inherent in the design of the brake, but rather that most leave the factory with too little grease to function properly for long. Just repacking them usually solves any problems.
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Old 02-16-10, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
Uh oh, you mentioned "the LBS" to ILTB......
You better not say anything to ILTB...
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Old 02-16-10, 09:45 PM
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I think the Trek Lime has coaster brakes as well.
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Old 02-16-10, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat View Post
I do not like coaster brakes for a safety issue. First they take a bit more time to engage than hand brakes and in braking speed of response is important. The other consideration is they are rear brakes. On a bike, the front brake is by far and away the stronger. So they fail on two counts. For very laid back cycling though where a fast and effective braking response is not really a consideration, coaster brakes could work very well.
All bikes should be equipt with a front and rear brake, even with coaster brakes its simply not enough to only have one method of braking, its just simply asking for a broken chain and complete loss of speed control without a front brake.
Coaster brakes are just as reliable as rim brakes, and just like rim brakes you can't only have a back brake.
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Old 02-17-10, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cnnrmccloskey View Post
All bikes should be equipt with a front and rear brake, even with coaster brakes its simply not enough to only have one method of braking, its just simply asking for a broken chain and complete loss of speed control without a front brake.
Coaster brakes are just as reliable as rim brakes, and just like rim brakes you can't only have a back brake.
Cant disagree with your thoughts but the fact is bikes (children's and cruiser in particular) have had that single rear coaster brake for decades upon decades and all the high-browing (although intellectually sensible) about the detriments of having a bike in such a fashion doesn't deflect the fact that this particular setup has demonstrated (as in honest to goodness fact) that it is a safe and reliable system to employ.

I would suspect that is isn't the best idea for bikes with high speed aspirations tho, the low, slow and 'uprights' (weight bias) seem to be the kinds that have worked best for the coaster brake all these year.

These all tend to be the brake system of choice for the most vulnerable of the cycling demographic; the very young and the very old, new and "purely fun and recreational".

As the OP was inquiring, something like the OsoBike seems to fit the bill but a race frame is sorta meant for and capable of going at a good clip, getting it with the front brake option sounds a prudent thing to do if you dont intend to ride it like a beach cruiser.
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Old 02-17-10, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Moozh View Post
Cant disagree with your thoughts but the fact is bikes (children's and cruiser in particular) have had that single rear coaster brake for decades upon decades and all the high-browing (although intellectually sensible) about the detriments of having a bike in such a fashion doesn't deflect the fact that this particular setup has demonstrated (as in honest to goodness fact) that it is a safe and reliable system to employ.
Children also tend to cycle along at about 1/2 mile an hour. And actually, except the smallest bicycles which would be operated by children with hands too small and weak to use a brake lever - childrens bikes with coaster brakes are also fitted a front rim brake.
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Old 02-17-10, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Maybe with better quality hubs it's not a problem, but my LBS complains about the X-Mart bikes that get brought in with non-functioning coaster brakes. If this doesn't apply to better equipment, then I retract that remark. It wasn't standard baloney; it was what I believed to be true based on what I've heard at my LBS.
The self interest of LBS owners/employees who make generalized complaints specificallyabout X-mart bikes should be recognized, before considering their complaints too seriously. Especially when they survive on the concept of selling "better equipment."
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Old 02-17-10, 01:13 PM
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Coaster brakes are fairly reliable, by the way, and cheapo rim brakes tend to be terrible, so that's not really a reason to choose one over the other.

By whatever arguments you can show that two brakes are better than one, you can show that three are better than two. And yes, I have had a bicycle with two brakes that could hardly stop, so it's not a hypothetical issue.
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Old 02-17-10, 01:21 PM
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If you like to pedal backwards to adjust your foot position (as I do), then a coaster brake is not a good idea.
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Old 02-17-10, 03:07 PM
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Coaster brakes are reliable and dead-simple to use, but they are only about half as powerful as a good front brake. 70% of your braking capability is with your front wheel. I suppose there are situations where the reliability or ease of use would trump the power factor.

Coaster brakes are actually recommended for small kids' bikes, because kids may not have the coordination or hand strength to use lever-activated brakes.
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Old 02-18-10, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
Uh oh, you mentioned "the LBS" to ILTB......

The problem with those bikes in not a problem inherent in the design of the brake, but rather that most leave the factory with too little grease to function properly for long. Just repacking them usually solves any problems.
100% true !! There is not a 1/2 teaspoon of grease in the entire bike.

Coaster brake was all that we had growing up. I still like them, but with a front hand brake as well.
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