brake horro stories. not the coaster kind.

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by icyuod2, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. icyuod2

    icyuod2 Member

    i just read the coaster brake horror stories and i'm actually quite surprized at how many of you deem them a bad thing. i ride alot of old/custom bikes that utilize coaster brakes
    (even have one with a coaster front brake)
    i'm quite used to them and to be honest, find they have just as much if not more stopping power than a calipur rear brake.(rear only) i hardly ever lock up the rear tire, but always keep my brakes in excelent working condition (reg grease/ajustment etc)

    due to laws, my bike won't ever hit the street so i don't have to worry about traffic. no hills to deal with (london on. is pretty flat)
    my bike is a board track inspired replica (the real thing probably didn't have any brakes at all) and we just plan on racing them around the huge abandonded parking lot across the street from my home.
    just like playing your fav. racing vid game, we probably wont use the brakes much at all. just on and off the throttle :) for my needs /purpose the coaster brake will be more than enough stopping power, and if by some freak occurance i have to lock up that back tire, well i had lots of practice doing power slides as a kid/teenager/adult.

    from what i can tell, saftey first seems to be the moto around here. keeping your bicycles maintained, regular inspections etc.
    yet theres all this talk about failing coaster brakes. i've never had a coaster brake fail.(50ish coaster brake bikes todate) however i always keep them maintained.
    i'm just wondering why so many of you overlook this maintanace to the point of coaster brake failure?

    after reading the coaster brake horror stories, it got me thinking.
    with all the extra nuts,bolts,brake shoes, cables etc on a machine that loves to rattle itself apart theres gotta be some non coaster brake horror stories.

    i've snapped the bolt on a front-side pull brake. it was left daggling in my front wheel and sent me clear over the bars, with 42 stitches to show for it.
    (on a peddle bike without a motor)

    it was a fairly new bike (one year old) perhaps the brake was overtighted stressing the bolt, or it could have just been poor quality from the get go.
    this happened as a child, but i tell ya i've never gotten past that bail, still to this day i hardly ever use my front brake, and if i do its with extreme caution.

    so i was just wondering if any of you had non coaster brake horror stories to share?

    theres got to be a few doesn't there?
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    My main point was "don't let your friends ride your coaster braked bike", especially in hill country. The other was how a rear multi-speed cassette allows better hill climbing, and I'd reckon coaster cruisers are okay for the seaboard.

    There is no way to convey safety ideas to a novice, about stopping on a hill. It's a learned experience.

    My third and LAST WalMart purchased Avalon (2005) was motored and driven without checking the front wheel, within a half mile the axle nut came loose, the wheel went wobbly. I walked it home and found the right brake pad completely missing.

    Learned experience, double check all the torque on a WallyWorld bike.
  3. icyuod2

    icyuod2 Member

    oh don't get me wrong, i'm not saying a coaster brake alone will work for everybody. if i were climbing hills or navigating traffic, this build would be entirely different. like i said this is just an empty parking lot racer, where brakes are pretty much redundant.
    i was just interested in horror stories other than the coaster brake stories posted. i know i'm a sick man, an ambulance chaser of sorts. :)
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  4. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    A coaster brake alone is just fine for a cruiser...without an engine. But the nature of this site is that most of us run engines. More weight, more speed.
  5. icyuod2

    icyuod2 Member

    i dont think a coaster brake is superior to a set of disk brakes,or a set of center pulls etc.
    these brakes will win hands down, i'm not arguing that fact.
    the coaster brake suits "my" needs and to be honest i don't use it.
    we're just running around an empty parking lot with lots of room to slow down.

    i don't want this to turn into a coaster vs other brakes thread, but i am surprized that theres not alot more coaster/other brake combo's being used.
    alot (not all) seem to shun the coaster brake totally. i mean theres even a coaster brake horror story thread.

    so when ones contemplating the "other brake" options, wouldn't it be a good thing to know the dangers of other brakes? the horror stories sorta speak.

    i'm curious to know. aren't you?
  6. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    I have caliper brakes front and rear and a quality coaster hub. Nothing wrong with the coaster, but I ride on the road and it alone does not stop me fast enough. Some people run a front brake of some kind with a coaster and seem satisfied. I've seen several posts to that effect.
  7. shecky

    shecky New Member

    If you're going to be cruising regularly at 20+mph, as is common with MBs, a coaster alone won't do the job very well. An added front brake of some kind helps with stopping power tremendously. Brake redundancy is always a good idea, too.
  8. icyuod2

    icyuod2 Member

    we've moved passed the coaster isn't enough braking power. heck lets pretent coaster brakes don't even exist.

    i wanna here about the other options. side pulls that have let you down in the rain. soft brake shoes that all of a sudden got real sticky from heat/friction, the lost of brake shoes, etc etc etc

    all these brakes, brake pads,disk brakes etc. can't be on an even playing field, and i'm just not buying into the coaster brake being the only brakes that let you down/fail.

    i thought hearing about issues with other brakes might help myself and others decide which brakes to choose,and which to avoid in the future.

    i surpose i could have just come out and said "what brakes are the best", but thought this would be more fun.

    so once again, lets hear those none coaster brake horror stories.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  9. Bikewer

    Bikewer New Member

    A good set of quality "V-Brakes" have a lot of stopping power. However, I've seen an awful lot of cheesy knock-off copies that I would not trust. Shimano, Avid, etc put out quality items.
    There's quite a difference in brake pads as well; the stuff they sell at Wallyworld may work, but if you're interested in stopping power and wear, then better to spend the money for decent stuff.
    Pretty obviously the increasingly-popular discs are much superior, and will work regardless of weather. However, typically found only on better-grade bikes which are not often the source for a motor-project item.

    It's my experience that folks seem to be rather afraid of bicycle brakes. I often work on bikes that are well-worn but have brakes which seem pristine, as if they're never used..
    Amazing how many people don't know how to properly stop a bicycle, or are afraid they'll be "thrown over the handlebars".....
  10. shecky

    shecky New Member

    I've never had a serious problem with any type of caliper/rim brake that was used within it's known limits. Even those cheap steel sidepulls seen on bottom of the barrel bikes can be perfectly functional as long as they're adjusted correctly.

    Steel rims, especially hard chromed ones, do really poorly in wet conditions with such brakes. Salmon colored Kool Stop brake pads seem to help out a bit if you must use steel rims. Aluminum rims are the way to go if you use such brakes.

    The only real brake failures I've had in the last several years involved cables breaking suddenly, rather than calipers/shoes/etc failing. Both times, cables broke at the lever. Upon inspection, the cables simply corroded enough and fatigued enough to make them snap.

    Long cable housings don't help braking, either. The longer they are, the more they compress when used, making for spongier, weaker brakes. This is the reason on all but the crappiest bikes cables tend to be strung along frame tubes like power lines for most of their length, to avoid using too long lengths of cable housing.

    Another possible brake related problem is using the wrong lever with the wrong type of brake. Most sidepull/centerpulls have a different mechanical advantage than more contemporary V/cantilever brakes. Mismatching can create brakes that demand too much hand strength.
  11. Bikewer

    Bikewer New Member

    Exactly right. You don't see as much of that now, with even low-end bikes sporting "V-brakes" (or at least knockoffs), but when there was a lot of transitioning from the older cantilevers you had to be careful to get levers that were "V-Brake compatible"; that pulled enough cable.

    They even manufactured a device called the "travel agent" which increased the cable-pull on older levers to allow their use with V-brakes.
    Dunno if they still make 'em.