Discussion in 'General Questions' started by DaveA, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. DaveA

    DaveA New Member

    I've narrowed down the bike we will use for my daughters build to a Firmstrong 3 speed. Is a coaster brake along with adding a front brake sufficient enough to stop a motorized bike safely in traffic? I'm thinking of adding a caliper front brake. I've also thought about front/read disc brakes but it seems it would get a bit crowded on the back wheel, yes?

    thanks Dave A

  2. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    I got a wrecked firmstrong last year - kid bought it built on inet, then broke his arm with no brakes & parents made him sell it - for $15 I put a used front fork on it with v-brake posts.
  3. DaveA

    DaveA New Member

    so a coaster brake and a front brake is enough? My concern is the coaster brake.
  4. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    assuming the front brake is a v-brake, old-time caliper brakes rarely have the power needed for these speeds

    my GF's bike has a coaster and 2 hand brakes - she's to only hit the coaster in an emergency
  5. DaveA

    DaveA New Member

    You will have to forgive my total lack of bicycle terminology. What is a "v-brake"? You said your GF has two handbrakes, does that mean a "v-brake" on both the front and rear tire? Lastly why would the coaster brake be used "only in an emergency"? Yes I am a total noob at this type of build, I don't lack the skills, just the knowledge :)

    I was hoping to keep the clutter on the handle bars to a minimum by not having a handbrake and clutch on the same side. Ideally this build will have just the clutch on the let side and the throttle, front handbrake on the right. Is there such a set up that would allow dual disk brakes to be operated from one handgrip?

    thanks again,
    Dave A
  6. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    They do make hand brakes that can actuate both front and rear brakes from a single handbrake.
  7. panmines

    panmines Member

    You probably want to avoid the coaster brake because it locks the rear wheel and will easily cause it to skid out of control and topple the rider, even at medium level speeds. A V-brake is much like a caliper brake, but operates a bit differently. wikipedia has a good article explaining these two types as well as many other brake types When I want to stop in a hurry, I often use both v-brakes on my bike as well as pressing the kill switch while the clutch is still engaged so i can use engine compression as a third brake. You will still have the same problem with the rear wheel skidding a bit at first, but soon stops and won't be as near as bad as a coaster brake

    Yup, there is an exact break lever for that. This is one of several web stores that sell them, but might not be the cheapest
  8. DaveA

    DaveA New Member

  9. DaveA

    DaveA New Member

    Awesome response panmines, thanks again, It looks to me like the firmstrongs 7 speeds come with "v-brakes" check out this photo:

  10. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    yep those're what you need - the firmstrong 'bruiser' I worked on had only a coaster

    gears & good brakes, you're ready to hit the road
  11. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Depends on what your front brake is.
    Disc is awesome, V's acceptable for sure.

    Our shorthand for C-brakes are calipers that have one mount where a fender mounts.
    V-brakes are 2 independent arms that pivot on posts on the frame called 'Brake bosses' and better brakes.

    Depending on what you have in front a Coaster back pedal brake in the rear is usually fine.
    You can always add a C brake to the back too and I do that myself on bikes with more power than just a coaster rear can stop in a hurry, and that's what it is all about...

    You MUST be able to stop as fast as you can go.
    If you can't, well, suffice it to say the ending is never friendly, I have the scars and pain to prove it.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  12. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    Even a well serviced coaster brake is not really up to motorized use. V-brakes are OK, but you're better off with a disc or drum. Discs are fine, I prefer drums for the look but that's just me. You can always put a disc or drum up front, and keep the rear v-brake, then convert the coaster hub to freewheel. There are a bunch of YouTube vids and online tutorials on how to do that. Lastly, don't know how old your daughter is, but after you get it built, you should ride it first. Then if anything goes wrong on the first couple rides, you'll get hurt and not her.
  13. SeanPatrick

    SeanPatrick Member

    "For Cantilever or Caliper brakes" - when it comes to brakes and lever's, you need to be mindful of "cable pull" or how much cable the lever can pull. caliper and canter pull cantilevers have a different cable pull than a disc or direct pull cantilever (read V- Brake). Problem Solvers makes an adaptor called a "travel Agent" to fix this compatibility issue.

    My 2 cents on brake types: A high quality road caliper (Dual and triple pivot only [not really suitable for MAB's due to tire and reach clearance}) or center pull caliper or V brake properly set up is going to be better than the cheapest disc. Good Disc's are the best hands down though. The only thing close in stopping power are top of the line caliper brakes, but good luck getting those to fit tires wider than a 28C. And don't forget pads. A good set of high quality pads will make you think you upgraded the whole system and this is true for ALL brake styles.

    I'd just remove that coaster brake arm and forget it was ever there (DON'T DO THIS). There are a couple of OK caliper brakes with a proper reach for a cruiser, the Tektro 559 long reach comes to mind. There are also adapters that will bolt in where a caliper would go and they have cantilever mounts, which would allow you to use either center pull or "V" brakes. Mavic, among others used to make them. But good luck finding them. You could go disc with a bolt on adapter but that would require a change in rear wheel. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about compatibility.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  14. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

  15. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Worst brake advice ever.
    The brake arm attached to the frame keeps your axle from turning.
    Besides, they are a good emergency brake and you never remove a braking option ;-}
  16. SeanPatrick

    SeanPatrick Member

    I did some reading and you guys are absolutely right. It's been a decade sense I last encountered one of those so thanks for setting me straight.