Brakes Coaster Brakes - New Build at a loss on what to do.

Discussion in 'Bicycle Repair' started by PhoobarID, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    Came back from the maiden ride a couple of days ago of getting the tank filled up with $1.00 worth of gas. Everything was going great until it threw the drive chain from being too loose. Pedaled home and moved the tensioner down the frame to give me more room to take the slack out of the chain.

    Took it for a ride in the parking lot of the apartment & when I try to use the coaster brake with the engine running...I have no brake and it feels like the engine is grabbing the pedals to keep them from going backwards. I can almost stand on the pedals trying to use the brake...but it feels like the engine is kicking the pedals forward with about the same force as a mule kicking you. With the engine off...there is a coaster brake.

    Checked the arm...still attached. The bike chain is still there and attached.

    Before the drive chain flew off...I had a coaster brake...but not now. Any suggestions and/or fixes???? Have never had this happen before and the guy who usually would be able to help me locally moved away.

    NOTE: I do have a set of side pull brakes installed on the front and back...but can't seem to get the dual handle I bought to work. Am going to use the two handles until I can find a way to make this dual handle work. Either way...I will have some brakes once I get the shoes replaced with better ones from the bike shop.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2011

  2. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Coaster Brakes

    Hey phoobarID,
    Coaster brakes are not a very good idea at anything over 15mph anyway. You have the right idea about the dual pull brake, it's just a touchy thing to set up.
    First, Just get the rear brake and cable set up so it works perfect. You want most of the braking power applied to the rear wheel. The other way around and you'll wind up over the bars in a hard braking situation.
    Next, simply adjust the front so it grabs well but not TOO well. Again, you don't want to go over the bars. The front brake only helps out the rear brake in your stopping power.
    I've set up about 30 of the dual pulls and when set up right they are really the only way to roll. Well, except for disc brakes.
    Big Red.
  3. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    Tried to get both sets set up with the new lever...but either it too tight and neither would do anything or too loose and same thing.

    Not much chance of that happening...since these current shoes seem like they are made of wood being applied to metal.

    Will be heading out to the bike shop in about an hour to get some new shoes and will get them setup. Will see what happens.

    Any idea on what happened to the rear wheel?
  4. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Coaster Brake

    Not a clue about the coaster brake. I never fool around with them. If a bike I'm putting together has them I'll leave them, but always set up better brakes on it also.
    Big Red.
  5. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    Ended up getting a set of BMX shoes for the rear and pulling the ones from the old Schwinn to use on the front.

    Bought an 8" bolt cutter yesterday from Harbor Freight and cut my cables to the correct length. From there...was a simple matter to hook each up.

    The worst part is that I lost 1 of the adjusters on the dual pull some place in the trunk of my ended up using it for the rear and the old handle for the front. As soon as I find it...will take off the old handle and hook in the front to the dual pull handle.

    Going for a mile or so ride down some side streets...was able to stop with the aid of both handles being used at the same time. Will be nice to have just one handle...but until that happens...this will do.

    As for the old brakes...I think the coaster brake pads are stuck in the will have to get them out and go with a free wheel set up. That will be until I can afford the HD setup.
  6. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Dual Pull

    Hey phoobar, Sounds like you're on the right track. Sorry about your adjuster, I'll say a prayer for it's safe return.
    About those adjusters, You don't want to use them as adjusters. They are made of soft metal or plastic and will strip IN. Screw them all the way in and just use them for cable retainers. A hard pull on those things will pull them in, stripping the threads and you lose adjustment, and BRAKES. The first time it happend to me I almost p**ped my drawers coming up to an intersection with no brakes. Hey, What don't kill ya.........Is gonna leave a scar.
    A heavy duty rear wheel is a GREAT idea. I put one on my last personal build and never had a lick of trouble after that. I found an adapter for the rear sprocket that you might also want to check out. The guy calls it a Clamshell Sprocket Adapter and is the one of the best sprocket mounts I've ever seen. It takes all the tork off the spokes and puts it on the hub. At $65.00 it's a little rich for me, but It's a very cool thing. Check it out at
    Keep the rubber side down and yer knees in the breeze.
    Big Red.
  7. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    It's in the boot of my car where I keep my tools in the parking lot. To find it...gotta take a tool box down and go thru everything in that trunk. Not only will that keep everything together...but keep it from walking off.

    If I find I can't find to the bike shop to get another one. Will teach me to keep everything together.

    The thing I found which made the most difference was getting rid of the idiotic ends these vendors put on their cables. Once I figured out that there were extra ends for the cable sleeves and used them...not only did they fit better...but looked 1 million times better.

    Never seen a clamshell like that 1. Very interesting and looks like it would do the job. The only bad thing is no 56 or higher sprockets.
  8. BentTooner

    BentTooner Member

  9. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    Got back from the drive-in about 2 AM and started to look around for videos...but Google was pulling up forum listings...but nothing else. Am going to look at it and try to get to it in the next day or so.

    Of that time...was doing a quick search and heading to bed.

    Thank you so much for the link!
  10. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    This is absolutely untrue. The front brake can deliver about three times as much stopping power as the rear. If you fail to use it, or neuter its effectiveness, you lose that much of your bike's ability.

    With good front brakes, you will go over the bars if you don't push against the handlebars when you stop hard, the same way you might wind up with your belly against the steering wheel of a car if you aren't wearing your seat belt in a hard stop, and if you don't push hard on the wheel. But that's simply user error, not a fault of the brakes.

    In a hard stop, weight is transferred to the front wheel, making the front brake more effective if it has enough power to use the additional traction. The rear wheel has weight shifted away from it, which makes it easier to skid the harder you decelerate.

    The front brake of a bike should be stronger than the rear, and it should be the brake of first resort on a dry paved surface. Many seasoned cyclists only touch the rear brake when they are concerned about available traction because of surface moisture or loose material.

    That said, you should teach yourself proper operation of the front brake in a safe low-traffic environment, so you know what to expect in an emergency stop. You can't just sit there like a sack of taters (though that does seem to be a popular MB approach) or you will slop forward onto the handlebars and take the rest of the bike with you. You have to hold yourself back by force. The reward is discovering that your bike has far better stopping power than you are probably aware of.

  11. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    Are you talking about ferrules for cable housing? They can improve the look and fit of your cable housings, but they don't make much difference one way of the other to braking power or shift precision.

    I use brass index-shift cable ferrules on both brakes and shifters. They are sturdier and truer to size than brake-only ferrules, and they hold up better in the long run.

    But the more important thing is to grind or file the ends of your cable housings square and flat. This keeps them from tilting when the brakes are applied (which adds mush to the system) or chewing up the ferrules with their cut ends. It's this sort of subtle detail that distinguishes quality bike mechanics from pretenders.

  12. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    Since the coaster brake is useless with the engine running...I did the smart thing and put these aftermarket brakes put on.
  13. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    And if the front brake locks and the rear don't? Sure you can still stop but it's not a lot of fun front brake only in a hard stop. I've been riding motorcycles my entire life and you NEVER want to hit the front brake harder than the rear. ANYTHING on the road, sand, oil,ect, and your bike is going down. You only make that mistake once. I did it at 14 years old on a gravel road and never, ever did it again.
    You are right about learning front brake only stopping ability. You never know when you're going to need that knowlege. 35mph in traffic is Not the place to find out.
    Big Red.
  14. ferball

    ferball New Member

    Having ridden both Bikes and Motorcycles they both brake differently. Bikes need/use the front brake for effective braking because as it was pointed out earlier in the post, the weight shift and what not. A Motorcycle can effectively rely on the rear brakes because the weight of a motorcycle keeps the rear wheel on the ground, not to mention that inertia of a motorcyle (again because it is much heavier than a bike) may be more apt to "jackknife" when only front brakes are applied at significant speeds. So front vs back on Motorcycles vs Bikes is the old apples to oranges cliche.
  15. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    The weight distribution on a bicycle makes a front wheel skid all but impossible except on wet or loose surfaces. I have locked the front brake and recovered front wheel traction on my 1100cc motorcycle; that's a different game altogether. The moto has a longer wheelbase and a much lower center of gravity, as well as much higher mass. The rear brake becomes more important in those conditions.

    On a bicycle with a significantly heavy trailer, or a chopper bicycle with long front forks, or a long wheelbase bicycle like a tandem, the rear brake also becomes more important than on a normal bike.

    On a normal single bicycle on dry pavement, the choice is between pitching you over the bars (which most brakes do not have the power for if you put up a fight), and simply slowing down. You can't skid the front wheel because of the forward weight shift.

  16. PhoobarID

    PhoobarID Member

    Ended up pulling the rear axle apart and taking out the brake pads and putting the whole assembly back together without the pads.

    What I found when I got into the axle was both pads were side-by-side on the same side. Ended up cleaning up everything and overgreasing the whole assembly before putting it back together. The good thing is that it went back together SO much easier than taking it apart.

    Will be putting the rear wheel back on the bike tomorrow and seeing if I still get the same issue when I ride. Without the pads inside the hub...expect it to act the same as a multi-geared bike. Will let everyone know what happens.
  17. Chalo

    Chalo Member

    In the early days of freestyle bicycling, there were many kits available to convert coaster brakes into "freecoasters" which would not brake when pedaled backwards but would not carry the pedals in reverse when ridden backwards. None of these conversions worked by simply removing the brake shoes. Take this as a warning-- you may have made a hub that just backs the shuttle completely off of the driver and then will not engage in either direction.

  18. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Most all coaster brakes I have seen on cheap newer bikes did not have enough grease in them to operate correctly, much less at higher speeds & long periods. Look at the above mentioned videos & look online for rebuilding instructions. Then, you will have 3 braking options.
  19. BentTooner

    BentTooner Member

    Hi, PhoobarID

    You wrote that the coaster brake is useless 'with the engine running.'

    I'm doing a MB build right now with a rear coaster brake and so I was interested in what you meant. Can you please tell me why the coaster brake is useless with the engine running?

    Sorry to be dense, I just don't see the connection between the engine running and the usefulness of a coaster brake.

    The only thing I could think of is that you're saying that the coaster brake ALWAYS works so poorly that, once the engine is driving the bicycle forward, the coaster brake has NO stopping power at all. Is that close?

    Or, is there something about applying power to the rear wheel that renders the coaster brake useless even though the coaster brake works OK when there's no power?

  20. BentTooner

    BentTooner Member