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Riding single speed with only a front brake?

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Riding single speed with only a front brake?

Old 02-12-14, 09:11 PM
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Drummerboy1975
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Riding single speed with only a front brake?

So, in a week or so I'm getting a Bianchi Posts from a friend. I plan on riding it SS for now until I'm brave enough to try fixed. Until then, there's a local 50+ mike ride I want to do again this year in June but, rather than ride my geared bike, I want to do it on the Pista. It only had a front brake of course so, my question is, how safe will I be with only the front brake? The ride is mostly flat with on three hills to get down. I want to make sure that I can ride with only the front brake and the read wheel on SS, as I'm not yet ready to ride fixed.

Please, let me know from your experience, what you all suggest.
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Old 02-12-14, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975 View Post
So, in a week or so I'm getting a Bianchi Posts from a friend. I plan on riding it SS for now until I'm brave enough to try fixed. Until then, there's a local 50+ mike ride I want to do again this year in June but, rather than ride my geared bike, I want to do it on the Pista. It only had a front brake of course so, my question is, how safe will I be with only the front brake? The ride is mostly flat with on three hills to get down. I want to make sure that I can ride with only the front brake and the read wheel on SS, as I'm not yet ready to ride fixed.

Please, let me know from your experience, what you all suggest.
You should be ok provided the roads aren't wet or otherwise slippery. Most of your stopping power is with the front brake in good traction conditions and the rear brake contributes little under hard braking conditions. Just be careful not to over brake with the front.
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Old 02-12-14, 09:43 PM
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You'll be fine.

However, since this ride is a ways away you've got plenty of time to budget a rear brake setup. Like, all the time. ​Cheap enough where it'd be foolish not to at this point.
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Old 02-12-14, 09:44 PM
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Most of your stopping power is in the front, but your rear wheel has nothing on it to scrub off speed. I've never run SS with only a front brake, but I find myself using both brakes on my Crosscheck fairly often.

If you absolutely have to ride SS and not fixed, I would make sure you know your bike before going on a ride like that with a setup like that. Understand that "oh ****" moments usually result in instinctive ripping of the brake lever, and just be sure to keep your weight back so you don't go OTB.

Is this some charity ride or something? Then it shouldn't be to big of a problem since you shouldn't be expecting to be riding in a tight group at speed. Just be careful.

Last edited by GMJ; 02-12-14 at 09:46 PM. Reason: to =/= too
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Old 02-12-14, 09:52 PM
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#tedshred
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Old 02-12-14, 09:54 PM
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Yes its a charity ride.

So how do I put a rear brake on a Pista?
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Old 02-12-14, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Limpytheduck View Post
I rode a fixie with only a front brake for a while, I eventually changed this to a rear only brake. Easier to control a rear wheel lock up than a front.
This here's what we call ass-backward logic, folks.
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Old 02-12-14, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975 View Post
Yes its a charity ride.

So how do I put a rear brake on a Pista?
You could use one of those somewhat clunky looking Dia Compe kits made for this, or google 'Kimori rear brake adaptor' for a very slick, albeit expensive solution.

…..or drill the bridge…..
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Old 02-13-14, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Limpytheduck View Post
I rode a fixie with only a front brake for a while, I eventually changed this to a rear only brake. Easier to control a rear wheel lock up than a front.
dingus.
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Old 02-13-14, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Limpytheduck View Post
I rode a fixie with only a front brake for a while, I eventually changed this to a rear only brake. Easier to control a rear wheel lock up than a front.
Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
This here's what we call ass-backward logic, folks.
We all need to be on the lookout for Limpytheduck shaped holes in the scenery (so we can laugh).

Seriously, that is really stupid advice. I you're only going to run one brake, put it on the front, for reasons already expressed in this thread.
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Old 02-13-14, 12:55 AM
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With a front brake on my fixed gear bikes (one has dual brakes), I have the ability to brake both wheels and with an SS with only a front brake it is like driving your car with the rear brakes disabled.

As long as the road is flat and dry this can work but for the long term, a rear brake is essential if you are going to ride on less than perfect roads or ride in the rain where a rear brake or ability to modulate / brake with the rear becomes more critical to maintain control.

Maybe it is time to try riding fixed... it is actually less tiring than SS over distances as you cannot indulge in that bad habit we call coasting.
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Old 02-13-14, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Drummerboy1975 View Post
So, in a week or so I'm getting a Bianchi Posts from a friend. I plan on riding it SS for now until I'm brave enough to try fixed. Until then, there's a local 50+ mike ride I want to do again this year in June but, rather than ride my geared bike, I want to do it on the Pista. It only had a front brake of course so, my question is, how safe will I be with only the front brake? The ride is mostly flat with on three hills to get down. I want to make sure that I can ride with only the front brake and the read wheel on SS, as I'm not yet ready to ride fixed.

Please, let me know from your experience, what you all suggest.
Two points.

Why the fear of fg? Once you go that route, you'll almost immediately wonder why you were worried. It's just different, that's all. Fix now my boy, and you'll never look back.

Second. Fit a proper rear brake anyway. I know it's not fashionable but you will find yourself using it to balance the bike while braking. Controlling your speed down hills is also easier by keeping some drag on the rear brake (not continuously - heat ya know). Some will argue that you've got your legs to do this but reverse pressure on the pedal is a good way of hurting your knees. I personally fit both brakes, use them as I would on a freewheel bike while using my legs to control my speed otherwise - brakes are a really blunt tool for controlling speed but excellent for stopping.

Of course, if you've no way of elegantly adding a rear brake to your Pista, don't, it's not that big a deal (unless you insist on SS where inelegant is fine).
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Old 02-13-14, 02:54 AM
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some pretty poor advice here. sixty-fiver is spot on the money though. if you have a freewheel you NEED two brakes to operate a bicycle effectively.

its true that the front provides the most stopping power, but it also needs to be used with gradually increasing pressure so the front wheel doesnt lock. this can be a big problem if something pops out in front of you which gives you little oppurtunity to react. youre relegated to either using your brakes and flying over the handlebars, or not using them and swerving/crashing.

the rear on the other hand is the exact opposite where you can slam them on and the worst that will happen is that you skid. in case of emergency like mentioned above, using a front and rear brake in tandem is far superior than just a front, and can effectively prevent a disaster where having only a front brake may not.

Last edited by zazenzach; 02-13-14 at 02:59 AM.
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Old 02-13-14, 07:48 AM
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I'd like a Kimori adapter but $200 is way to much.

I can make two adapter plates.
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Old 02-13-14, 08:57 AM
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I'd add to this debate that braking systems can truly be a life or death situation. A bit of redundancy is not such a bad idea. I wouldn't want to be trying to brake to a stop with a front tire that had just punctured, or find out that the cable was compromised when a truck cuts you off with no alternate way of slowing.
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Old 02-13-14, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by zazenzach View Post
its true that the front provides the most stopping power, but it also needs to be used with gradually increasing pressure so the front wheel doesnt lock. this can be a big problem if something pops out in front of you which gives you little oppurtunity to react. youre relegated to either using your brakes and flying over the handlebars, or not using them and swerving/crashing.

the rear on the other hand is the exact opposite where you can slam them on and the worst that will happen is that you skid. in case of emergency like mentioned above, using a front and rear brake in tandem is far superior than just a front, and can effectively prevent a disaster where having only a front brake may not.
Thing is that using the rear brake in an emergency is no better that not braking at all. People should practice hard front braking so that they can react to emergencies w/o going OTB. Ever watch motorcycle racing ? Those guys brake so hard in the front that they lift the rear wheel off the ground w/o high siding.
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Old 02-13-14, 09:21 AM
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On my road bike, pretty much the only time I touch the rear brake is when I'm signaling and slowing at the same time.

You'll be fine. If you're really worried, switched to fixed. Front brake only + fixed = pretty standard.
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Old 02-13-14, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by zazenzach View Post
the rear on the other hand is the exact opposite where you can slam them on and the worst that will happen is that you skid.
I'm not trying to be a dick, honest, but this is literally the stupidest thing I've ever read on this site (even after having read Limpy's post). This is liable to get someone killed.
If your rear wheel locks, and you aren't vertical moving in a straight line, you're going down. If you've got any kind of lean your rear wheel will no longer be under you.


And by definition, the better your front braking skills, rear braking becomes less and less effective. They are inversely proportional.
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Old 02-13-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
an SS with only a front brake it is like driving your car with the rear brakes disabled.
Well put.
A fixed gear bike can be operated safely on the road with a front brake, although two are better in my experience.
A freewheel bike, whether it has one cog or 11 requires front & rear brakes, period.
Considering riding a FW w/ only a front brake on a group ride puts others at risk, not acceptable.

If one purchases a "track" style frame w/ no provision to mount a rear caliper running it FG is the only rational choice, that's what it is designed to do. If you purchased a frameset that does not meet your requirements replace it w/ one that does and proceed.

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Old 02-13-14, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
I'm not trying to be a dick, honest, but this is literally the stupidest thing I've ever read on this site (even after having read Limpy's post). This is liable to get someone killed.
If your rear wheel locks, and you aren't vertical moving in a straight line, you're going down. If you've got any kind of lean your rear wheel will no longer be under you.


And by definition, the better your front braking skills, rear braking becomes less and less effective. They are inversely proportional.
+1 This thread is full of derp, thanks for setting things straight.

To the OP: There's nothing brave about riding fixed with a front brake. It's only a minor learning curve and I'd take it any day over SS with only a front brake.
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Old 02-13-14, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
I'm not trying to be a dick, honest, but this is literally the stupidest thing I've ever read on this site (even after having read Limpy's post). This is liable to get someone killed.
If your rear wheel locks, and you aren't vertical moving in a straight line, you're going down. If you've got any kind of lean your rear wheel will no longer be under you.


And by definition, the better your front braking skills, rear braking becomes less and less effective. They are inversely proportional.
Rear wheel skids are controllable... It is just that braking with the rear wheel is really inefficient.
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Old 02-13-14, 02:08 PM
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skidding the rear wheel is not an effective way to stop relative to grabbing a front brake
i ride fixed w front brake, and free with dual brakes on the road. i rarely use my rear brakes on my freehub'd bikes.

just keep your butt firmly planted on the saddle when you grab the front brake hard. unless youre like 80lbs or going down a 20% grade, you wont get thrown off the bike.
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Old 02-13-14, 02:46 PM
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I'm more confused now than I was before I started this topic.
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Old 02-13-14, 02:54 PM
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here's the real answer to your question:

yes

however, its better if you have a rear too.
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Old 02-13-14, 04:31 PM
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I've had many single speeds with only a front brake and I've never had any problems stopping. Yeah 2 is better than 1 but you'll be fine.
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