coaster brake lever on front wheel?

Discussion in 'Wheels, Brakes and Suspension' started by motor_bike_fanatic, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. motor_bike_fanatic

    motor_bike_fanatic New Member

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    I have seen others convert rear coaster hubs to drum brakes for their front wheels, but I dont have an extra coaster hub or access to welding equipment to do the necessary midifications. I have also heard of what some call "suicide brakes," where instead of a sprocket, there is a rod and cable attached to the brake lever, and the lever is clamped to the front fork the same way it would clamp to the rear chainstay. but I can find detailed enough instructions to make this modification. I know that I can remove some of the coaster brake components from the rear hub and basically convert it to freewhheel. my plan is to use the coaster brake arm to adapt some sort of drum type brake to the front wheel, and i was thinking of attaching a return spring and a cable, so that when you pull on the handlebar lever, it pulls the brake arm up, and when you release the handlebar lever, the return spring pulls it back down. I was thinking I could take the cone that the brake arm bolts to and replace it with a cone from a parts mountain bike I have in my basement. the idea is that the brake lever when pulled would push the cone against the bearings, stopping the wheel. when released, the arm would back away from the bearings, releasing the hub to move again. a possible drawback to this would be wearing down the bearings faster, or ruining them completely. any thoughts on this?
     
  2. superharry

    superharry New Member

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    The cable & return spring sounds feasable. why does it need to be taken apart? I think the brake would be fine as is. there are a few threads here on the subject. lots to read...
     
  3. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Overloading the bearings is not going to work. There are several reasons why a coaster brake on the front wheel will be difficult to make function. The coaster brake arm doesn't press against the bearings but actually expands a cam action against metal 'shoes' inside the hub. To activate this the right side must be rotated in reverse of forward motion of the wheel.
    One member here, several years ago was experimenting with a front coaster brake by using a rear hub and sprocket and a short length of chain pulled by the handlebar lever via a cable. I never saw results of his experiment and he hasn't posted here in quite a while.
    My advice would be to look at a disc brake conversion. Much simpler and the braking quality far superior to coaster brakes.
    Tom
     
  4. motor_bike_fanatic

    motor_bike_fanatic New Member

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    I only have one set of wheels. I need a good front brake. I would prefer a mechanical brake over caliper brakes. My plan is to remove the coaster brake, pads, and left side cone from the rear wheel, making it a freewheel. I would replace the left side cone with one from a parts bike. I would then attach the brake arm and cone to the front wheel and attach a cable to pull it up and a return spring underneath to pull it back down. pulling the lever up would push the cone tight against the bearings, stopping the wheel. when the return spring pulls the lever back down, it would back off of the bearings, allowing the wheel to move again.
     
  5. motor_bike_fanatic

    motor_bike_fanatic New Member

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    I dont have the money for a disc brake conversion, and its going to be tough to do on a walmart beach cruiser. When I do get a job, any extra money I have is going towards installing a predator, and I hope to have the predator install completed by august. I was thinking maybe a band brake could work and would be a lot cheaper than disc brakes.
     
  6. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    You have to do what you think is right but if I were you I'd be concentrating my efforts and money on getting the bike to stop instead of a larger engine to make it go faster.
    For what that Predator is going to cost you to buy and get installed you could have the best brakes available.
    Just my input.
    Tom
     
  7. wayne z

    wayne z New Member

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    I have caliper brakes on the front and coaster rear on my first Preddy build. Nearly 1000 miles, these brakes have been perfectly adequate, and I drive it hard.
     
  8. motor_bike_fanatic

    motor_bike_fanatic New Member

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    do you normally apply the coaster brakes and calipers in combination? Since installing caliper brakes on my front, I havent applied my coaster brake unless necessary. the point of this was to test the effectiveness and durability of the calipers, just to see which was better. I have already worn my pads flat, and its only been a month. perhaps I need to use the coaster brake more, and only use the calipers for hard stops. I am sure they would wear a lot less. I am going to get a pair of kool stop pads from my LBS when I have the money.
     
  9. motor_bike_fanatic

    motor_bike_fanatic New Member

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    I am not installing a predator engine for speed, I am installing it for reliability and a wider range of performance. with my two smoker, I hit 28-30 and im topping out, i have barely any climb, and 2 smokers dont last. I enjoy riding so much that I am planning to continue for a very long time. I dont want to be replacing these cheap rice burner engines every year or two, when I could install an engine that will last me years to come. two smokers are a lot harder to maintain a long engine life. when I install my predator, with the clutch and transmission i am using, i will be able to go from a low speed of around 19mph to a top speed of over 50. and living in the city, i dont plan on doing over 30. i just want reliability. just because my bike will be able to go faster does not mean I will drive faster. if a band brake wont be good enough, i will stick with calipers.
     
  10. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    if i understand you correctly, pressing on the bearings won't work. i mean, it might work once or twice, then it'll destroy the bearings and won't roll anymore.

    in order to do what you're thinking, the cones would have to be loose to allow the other cone to be able to slide into the bearing to stop, right? even without the braking action, the bearings would self destruct in a short period of time due to them rattling around against the axle, races, and cones due to them not being adjusted.

    and, if your cones were that loose, your wheel would flop around and it wouldn't be safe to ride.

    i tried many different ways to make a front coaster brake. i figured out how to do it without welding the parts together, but it still had no real stopping power.

    to do it effectively, you need a very large lever at the hub, and another on the handlebars.

    New Departure made a front coaster brake in the 40's-50's, and they used a different gear ratio then a pedal brake, since your feet, cranks, sprockets, etc, can apply a lot more pressure than your fingers and a cable.

    here's a picture of my first attempt:

    [​IMG]

    here's my second attempt:

    [​IMG]


    neither of them worked.

    for 60 bucks you can buy a sturmey archer front drum brake. save your money.
     
  11. motor_bike_fanatic

    motor_bike_fanatic New Member

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    I am going to another bike shop today to see what they think. I know they carry older bikes, i see them hanging in the window. perhaps an older cruiser has a drum brake i can buy for cheap. i dont trust the guy that runs the bike shop by my house. as soon as i mentioned drum brakes, he tells me they havent made drum brakes for bicycles for 30 years. how could you be a bike mechanic and not know that there are a wide variety of drum brakes still available today? something is fishy about that. either he is purposely steering me wrong, or he is an idiot. either way, i would rather go somewhere where people are knowledgeable and want to help me.
     

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