The Short Answer is:
Coaster brakes are a type of brake that are activated by pedaling backward and are found on most kids’ bikes or adult cruiser-style bikes. They are sometimes, though not regularly found on BMX bikes. BMX coaster brakes are a popular choice for BMX riders because they are simple to operate and require little to no maintenance.
BMX bikes are known for their durability and versatility, making them a popular choice for riders of all ages. When it comes to brakes, there are several options available, including coaster brakes.
Coaster brakes are a type of brake that is activated by pedaling backward, making them a popular choice for kids’ bikes and adult cruiser-style bikes. However, they are not regularly found on BMX bikes.
In this article, we will provide a complete guide to BMX coaster brakes, including their mechanisms, abilities, how to use and remove them, and whether they are problematic on adult BMX bikes. We will also discuss the most common types of brakes found on BMX bikes and how to stop a BMX bike without brakes. So, whether you are a seasoned BMX rider or just starting, read on to learn everything you need to know about BMX coaster brakes.
Table of Contents
How Coaster Brakes Work
BMX bikes are known for their unique design and features, including coaster brakes. Coaster brakes are a type of braking system that is set in motion through backward pedaling. They are also known as backpedal brakes. Here is how BMX coaster brakes work:
- Coaster brakes work by pushing a brake shoe against the inside edge of the wheel’s hub, creating friction between the rotating and stationary parts of the wheel.
- All the action in the coaster brakes occurs in the rear hub. The brake hub is the center component that keeps the spokes attached, and the rear axle is what travels through the rear brake hub.
- As a rider pedals, the chain transmits a force to the rear cog. As the rear cog turns, inside the hub, a conical-shaped part called a drive screw is pushed forward, which in turn pushes the brake shoes outward against the hub shell, creating friction and slowing the bike down.
- Coaster brakes can only work as upright bicycles. Using them as road bikes can be dangerous.
Coaster brakes are a simple and low-maintenance braking system that is commonly found on most kids’ bikes or adult cruiser-style bikes. They are sometimes, though not regularly found on BMX bikes.
Pros and Cons of Coaster Brakes
BMX coaster brakes have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of BMX coaster brakes:
- Coaster brakes are less expensive than hand brakes.
- Coaster brakes require fewer parts than hand brakes.
- Coaster brakes work well in all-weather conditions.
- Coaster brakes are good for young and disabled riders.
- Coaster brakes can be impractical and dangerous when going too fast.
- Coaster brakes are outdated and their limits are not well-known.
- Coaster brakes can only work on upright bicycles and are not suitable for fast-paced and smooth landscapes.
- Coaster brakes require pedaling backward to activate, which can be difficult for some riders.
- Coaster brakes provide less stopping power compared to hand brakes.
- Coaster brakes require more skill and coaching than hand brakes.
- Coaster brakes are not as effective as hand brakes for steep hills and long descents
It is important to note that while coaster brakes may be suitable for some riders, hand brakes are generally considered to be safer and more effective, especially for steep hills and long descents.
Understanding Coaster Brake Components
BMX bikes are known for their unique features, and coaster brakes are one of them. Coaster brakes are a type of braking system that is set in motion through backward pedaling. They are also known as backpedal brakes. Coaster brakes are the standard brakes found on most kids’ bikes or adult cruiser-style bikes.
They are sometimes, though not regularly found on BMX bikes. By nature, they are simplistic and require little to no maintenance. If you are looking for coaster brake parts, you can find them on Amazon, Modern Bike, Planet BMX, and Husky Bicycles.
To remove coaster brakes from BMX bikes, you would need to either replace or modify the entire rear hub since coaster brakes are integrated into the hub of a bike. If you are looking for a Shimano coaster brake repair kit, you can find it on Amazon.
Planet BMX also offers a Shimano coaster brake trim kit that includes a snap ring, dust cover, washer, axle nut, and mounting band.In conclusion, coaster brakes are a unique feature of BMX bikes that require little maintenance. If you need to replace or modify coaster brake components, you can find them on various online stores.
Maintaining and Adjusting Coaster Brakes
- Stabilize your bike: Before you begin any work on your bike, make sure it is stable and secure. You can use a bike stand or simply flip the bike upside down and rest it on the handlebars and seat.
- Remove the rear wheel: To access the coaster brake, you will need to remove the rear wheel. Use a wrench to loosen the nuts holding the wheel in place and slide the wheel out of the frame.
- Adjust the brake: To adjust the brake, you will need to tighten the cone on the arm side. Turn the cone down until it just touches the bearings, then turn it back counterclockwise at 45 degrees. Hold the cone in place and secure the locknut.
- Reinstall the rear wheel: Once you have adjusted the brake, you can reinstall the rear wheel. Make sure the wheel is properly aligned in the frame and tighten the nuts securely.
- Test the brake: Before you ride your bike, test the brake to make sure it is working correctly. Spin the wheel and apply the brake to ensure it engages smoothly and stops the wheel quickly.
If you find that your coaster brake is not working correctly, it may need to be rebuilt or have some parts replaced. With proper maintenance and adjustment, your BMX coaster brakes can provide reliable stopping power for years to come.
Coaster Brake Riding Techniques
Coaster brakes are a type of brake that is activated by pedaling backward. They are commonly found on most kids’ bikes or adult cruiser-style bikes, and sometimes on BMX bikes. Here are some tips on how to use coaster brakes effectively:
- Stopping: To stop, press down on the pedal with your rear foot. The brake will engage, and the bike will slow down. The other foot goes on the ground to help you balance.
- Starting: To start, push off with one foot and then place it on the pedal. Begin pedaling forward, and the bike will move. You can also use your other foot to help you push off.
- Turning: To turn, lean your body in the direction you want to go. You can also use your feet to help you turn by pressing down on the pedal on the side you want to turn towards.
- Tricks: Using a coaster brake for tricks can be challenging. To engage the brake, you need to shift your feet back, meaning your cranks will be in an awkward position. This can make it difficult to perform tricks.
Remember that coaster brakes are not ideal for fast-paced and smooth landscapes. They work best in flat areas and at slower speeds. With practice, you can learn to use coaster brakes effectively and safely.
Upgrading or Converting to Coaster Brakes
Upgrading or converting to coaster brakes can be a great way to improve the stopping power and safety of your BMX bike. While coaster brakes are a common feature on many BMX bikes, they can be less effective than other types of brakes, especially in wet or slippery conditions.
Upgrading to brake levers or disc brakes can provide more stopping power and better control. However, converting to disc brakes can be a complex process that requires a new hub and wheel rebuild. On the other hand, upgrading from coaster brakes to brake levers can be a simple and effective solution.
Additionally, there are some DIY methods to convert a coaster brake wheel into a free coaster wheel. It is important to note that in the US, bike brands must supply the bike with a coaster brake by law. Before upgrading or converting, it is important to consider the compatibility of the new brake system with your BMX bike and seek professional help if necessary.
Safety Tips and Precautions
When it comes to riding a BMX bike with coaster brakes, it is important to keep in mind some safety tips and precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Effective use of the coaster brake: Stopping is relatively easy – the rearmost foot is pressing back/down on the pedal to operate the brake, and the other goes on the ground.
- Keep the chain in good condition: Coaster brakes are the most durable braking system. Sealed from the elements, they only fail if the chain breaks. Keep your chain in good condition.
- Cover the brake: Teach kids to always ‘cover the brake’ at the top of all hills – one or two fingers on each lever are all that’s needed.
- Two brakes are better than one: In the event of one failing, there is another for backup. If your chain drops on a coaster brake bike, you won’t be able to stop. Despite the misconception, a quality pad/rim combo maintains stopping power in the wet.
- Adjust the coaster brake: A practical guide to adjusting coaster brakes to get the best braking performance on your bicycle, with links to rebuilding instructions and parts lists.
- Consider hand brakes: Coaster brake hubs can only engage the brake if the rider is able to pedal the bike backward while there is tension on the chain. The tension of the chain can make it difficult for small children to engage in the brake. Hand brakes are a better option for kids’ bikes.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable ride on your BMX bike with coaster brakes.
Choosing the Right BMX Bike with Coaster Brakes
BMX bikes with coaster brakes are a great option for those who want a simple and low-maintenance braking system. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right BMX bike with coaster brakes:
- Coaster brakes are brakes that are activated by pedaling backward. They are mounted into the rear hub of the bike and are sometimes found on BMX bikes.
- Coaster brakes are simple and require little to no maintenance. They also look clean because they don’t come with any external cables hanging out of their brake hub.
- Coaster brakes are not as common on BMX bikes as other types of brakes, such as U-brakes, V-brakes, or disc brakes. However, they can still provide some added benefits to the rider.
- Coaster brakes can cause problems in freestyle riding, so they are not recommended for those who want to perform tricks and stunts.
- When choosing a BMX bike with coaster brakes, consider the type of riding you will be doing. U-brakes are best for freestyle riders, V-brakes for racing, and disc brakes for dirt jumps.
- Consider the brand of the bike. Mongoose is a leading BMX bike brand that offers one of the best freestyle BMX bikes.
- Finally, consider your budget. BMX bikes with coaster brakes are generally less expensive than those with other types of brakes.
In summary, if you want a simple and low-maintenance braking system, a BMX bike with coaster brakes may be the right choice for you. Just make sure to consider the type of riding you will be doing and choose a reputable brand within your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Topic:
Can I perform tricks and stunts with a BMX bike equipped with coaster brakes?
Yes, you can perform tricks and stunts with a BMX bike equipped with coaster brakes, but it may be overly difficult. Coaster brakes are normally found on old-school bikes from the ’70s or on bikes that are regulated by a state government. However, you do sometimes find them on BMX bikes.
How do I adjust the tension or responsiveness of my coaster brake?
To adjust the tension or responsiveness of your coaster brake, you need to loosen both axle nuts and use an adjustable wrench to turn the whole axle, screwing it in or out of the left cone. Once the cone adjustment is correct, re-tighten the axle nuts. You can also use cone wrenches to easily tighten the coaster brake cones, making sure it is tight but not too tight.
Are coaster brakes suitable for BMX racing?
Coaster brakes are not regularly found on BMX bikes. While they are simplistic and require little to no maintenance, they are not suitable for BMX racing due to their outdated and impractical nature.
The rear brakes are mainly designed for BMX racing bikes as a safety precaution due to the high speed involved in the activity. Therefore, hand brakes are the most popular type of BMX brake and are suitable for freestyle riding since they fit well with detanglers.
In conclusion, BMX coaster brakes are a helpful feature for riders who want to perform stunts, tricks, and freestyling on their bike. They are simplistic and require little to no maintenance, making them a great option for those who want to focus on their riding rather than upkeep.
While they are not commonly found on BMX bikes, they can be integrated into the hub of a bike, making them more challenging to remove or replace. It is important to note that coaster brakes can only work as upright bicycles and using them as road bikes can be a challenge. Ultimately, the decision to use coaster brakes versus hand brakes comes down to personal preference and riding style.