Safety COASTER BRAKE horror stories, please add your experience

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by bamabikeguy, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Since the beginning of the forum, I've tried to recommend NOT to motorize single speed coaster models. Every day 5-10 new members join us, and I'd guess 20% of the first timers are going to try that single speed combo.

    The ONLY place it might work is the beach area, flat roads where the label Beach Cruiser really applies. If you are 60 miles from the coast, hills begin to appear, and that is where trouble begins. If you are going to piddle around at 10-13 miles per hour in really low traffic areas, fine.

    But most folks are itching to hit wide open throttle.

    Your life is worth more than a $100 bike, and I thought maybe we could get a thread devoted to bashing this type bike once and for all. Then, if a new MBer joins with photo's of his/her shiny Schwinn with coaster brakes, we could point them to this thread.

    Just yesterday:

    In 2005 I got a Grampa bike for $30, a '70's model Western Flyer. It was motorized for maybe 2 weeks when a local bike collector bought it, without the engine, just because he needed the leather seat.

    Then I found a bikeshop, he only had ONE Sun Cruiser in the rows of bikes, I was more interested in the handlebars and tires than the speeds. ( I've mentioned how I spent $700 on bikes before I found the combo I liked.)

    I bought it, motorized it, then ordered a 7 speed from the bike shop catalog. Sales picked up pretty quick, and the single speed basically sat there doing nothing.

    That winter, I put another engine on it, and while coming to a stop sign on a wet road, I hit the brakes and slid sideways.

    Whooooooa, I'm NOT going to sell something that even I couldn't control.

    That bike was stripped of parts (I sold the frame later).

    You can "think" nothing will happen, but if you haven't bought a bicycle yet, maybe reading some MBincidents, you will splurge on something with multi-speeds and handbrakes. Makes about a $50 difference on new models in the big box stores.

    If you don't see a multi-speed cassette in the Wal Mart racks? Keep on walking, in other words.

    Attached Files:

  2. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    good thread started bamabikeguy -- may save a life -- could be yours out there ??

    well due to my cousins limited monies
    a while back when he decided to buy a motorized bicycle
    I introduced him to our local Happy Time dealer

    problem was -- with only around 300 dollars to spend

    the good old (((COASTER BRAKE model))) was the only MB (((thing))) available

    as we riders have seen so many times
    on one of my cousins very first rides -- with me following behind
    a car turning into a driveway cut right in front of him !!!

    how he saved that thing from a crash -- I don't know
    he made a comment to me after the near miss

    if something happens to him with this set up
    I will feel (((((partially responsible)))))

    I have sent many people to two different motorized bicycle dealers close by here
    from now on I wish to stress to possible MB buyers

    DO NOT settle with coaster brake only -- that THING can kill you !!!

    as we ride those things
  3. s_beaudry

    s_beaudry Member

    Coaster brakes are at the mercy of the chain they use... if that chain breaks or slips off, dare I say "you have NO brakes!"

    At least with hand brakes, if one goes bad, there is still a backup to use!

    Redundancy in bicycle brakes is a VERY good thing!
    Addum likes this.
  4. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    I have a coaster brake and front and rear rim brakes. While I would not want to rely on the coaster only (75% of braking comes from the front, without that....), I see no need to remove the coaster.
  5. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    horror story

    :eek:o2ps: wrong horror story.....:jester:

    I have no problem with a coaster brake...But I agree, this can't be the only brake.
  6. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    Same for me, but this was an experiment, and now I am building up a nice mountain bike with a shift kit, it will also have discs.
  7. try1897

    try1897 Guest

    Well I've had alot of exp. with coasters and I'll tell ya they can be a handful.I ride alot of the older bikes and have started to install hand b's also and use both. Someone said the coasters use the chain to work and no chain no brakes. They also use grease and believe it or not its just as important as the chain . Well almost. Funny thing though is that the braking action will actually get a little better at first when low on grease . Then its down hill fast or maybe not cause they start to lock up and as the grease go's they lock up more.Eventually they will cause an accident.Now I use waterproof Green Grease . It's multi P and a good synthetic polymer that outlasts reg. G 8 to 1...Ideal for wet invironments , works in extream heat and at the bottom says Fertilizer Resistant uh uh oh yea the coasters are below and to the rear of the seat ..., uh just in case I guess....T
    DMO-1291 likes this.
  8. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    From: Bicycle brake systems

    Might as well put the mechanics in the thread:

    What I'm wondering is how the nickname "torpedo" came about??

    The front handbrake is mentioned as the remedy. I've found, however, on my multi speeds, I use the rear brake to slow, the front to absolutely STOP, (which I absolutely rarely do, being 'ultra-rural', I'm a slow roller.....)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2015
  9. i always had mountain bikes with brake calipers,lots of cables and brake handles do deal with.the brake calipers always needed readjusting and did not always stop my bike even with new pads,and when they did stop the bike they took a great distance. i now have a crusier bike with coaster brakes and my handle bars are neat looking,no brake handles or cables,just clutch and throttle. and i dont have to adjust my coaster brake. the coaster brake stops my bike on a dime.i ride my bike on flat ground and small hills. but anyway i love my coaster brakes are are the best i ever had. but i recommend a front brake caliper as a second brake for most people out there.
  10. gowjobs

    gowjobs New Member

    Coaster brakes are definitely not for everyone. It's like riding a chopper with a drum rear and a spool up front - you have to remain hyper-aware of your surroundings and the traffic, and accept that sooner or later you WILL go down. With the risk does come some added adrenaline when zipping through congested areas at a good clip.

    I'd recommend a front rim brake/disc/drum to augment the coaster brake. I'd also suggest using an old (rebuilt or at least tuned-up) Bendix hub with the herringbone-style knurling around the hub shell. These have four shoes inside and are far superior to any currently-produced coaster brake hub that I've seen.

    I actually participate in a single-speed coaster brake-only trail/fireroad race series here in SoCal, and with upkeep, tuning and the limitaions of a coaster hub firmly engraved in your mind, they do provide sufficient stopping power, even downhill. Okay, you may have to drop a foot and powerslide a little from time to time. ;)

    Dirty Dave
  11. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I get along with my coaster brake (and added hand brake), but I'm a sloooooowww rider.
    For instance, I reach my destination quicker on my pedal bike. Maybe equal time when it's going uphill.

    I've ridden this bike for over a year now without (I think) any hard stops.

    For anyone who rides faster than this, I'd agree with the OP and avoid coaster brakes.
    Like he says, your life is worth more than that.
  12. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    I could tell some stories about highpower muscle cars with drum brakes too :) Technology is a wonderful thing! Coaster brakes were OK for 1955 :)
  13. chrisme

    chrisme New Member

    I almost killed my self a couple years ago on someone's bike. With just a coaster brake... I replaced a tire, and then took it out for a ride. Down a steep hill with a sharp turn at the bottom. Well, I was pedaling down as fast as I could and the chain snapped. At the bottom I VERY narrowly avoided hitting a car coming the other way and crashed into a building. About 6" from a window. And pretty much completely destroyed the bike and my helmet.

    I wasn't happy, friend wasn't happy... and all because of crappy brakes. Avoid coaster brakes at all cost because it almost cost me my head.
  14. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Timely tale Chris, no chain no brakes equals near catastrophe.
    And we haven't even gotten to the real issue with coaster brakes, fade and failure.
  15. if your coaster brakes or any brakes give out,you can let off throttle the bike will bog down to almost nothing and hit the kill switch and leave clutch engaged and bike will stop right away,the wheel will lock up and skid but the bike should have slowed alot by then.
    ive seen people ride bikes with no brakes at all(they had no engine on there bike thou)
    and they held there shoe on the tire to stop.
  16. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Heh, I'll try keeping that in mind lol.
  17. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I grew up with the Bendix & New Departure hubs. Just serviced & sold a New Departure awhile back.
    I liked their brake systems, but adding the extra speed to a bike, is " putting it to the test !" As a kid, on my J.C. Higgins bike, I would zoom down the road, slam on brakes, while doing a 180°. Once the brake " arm " broke, & the bike & I rolled over several times. Part of growing up !
    I definately recommend having an additional front brake if powering a bike !!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2015
  18. chrisme

    chrisme New Member

    I'd be scared to ride my MB with just a coaster brake... Last night I FINALLY got my bike running well again. And was taking it out for a spin with my GPS. I had it redlined at about 33 to 35mph. Scary fast for a bike.
  19. Just_Gasit

    Just_Gasit Member

    I tried to ride a coaster brake bike down a long steep dirt road. While it did work, I had to be careful to keep it cool (the brake, not me) I did make the whole trip but damaged the brake from too much heat. This was without a motor and a 175 lb rider on an old adult schwin full sized bike. I can't imagine how a cheap bike brake would have held up on that ride. My point is, the brake is marginal for normal use to begin with, if you motorize, add more brakes!
  20. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member