Are coaster brakes a good idea?

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hawkeye50
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Are coaster brakes a good idea?

Postby hawkeye50 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:17 am

My son has been riding his balance bike for 8 months and I am wanting to get him his first pedal bike for Christmas (he will be 3 shortly afterwards). I have looked at the Giant animator jnr and specialized hotrock 12". Like the look of specialized more but unsure on coaster brakes, is it better to go for normal brakes from the start? any advise would be appreciated also any ideas of other good 12" models?? Thanks :)

millimole
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Postby millimole » Mon Aug 29, 2011 13:35 pm

If it really is a coaster hub brake (ie back-pedalling) then for a youngster, in my opinion, it's a seriously bad idea. These brakes are brilliant in many applications (utility, commuting) but for kids who may want the security of being able to freewheel easily, back-pedal when they want, and to mve the pedals when the bike is stationary, I'd say no. It's also very easy to lock up a back wheel with a decent coaster hub brake (don't ask!)
If it's a lever controlled hub brake (and I cant' be ass*d to look) then it's a risk, some are brill' others are made of cheese.

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baudman
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Postby baudman » Wed Aug 31, 2011 21:19 pm

I'd take the alternative opinion.

Little hands aren't that strong. Brakes on kid's bikes need to be adjusted perfectly (and, often, they are at the cheap end of the scale which makes that difficult) in order for them to provide enough reach in the lever, combined with stopping power, and ease of use. Also, depending upon your routes, if there's any hills involved, sustained braking can be even tougher on little hands. It's also a reasonably natural reaction. Go forwards, pedal forwards. To do the opposite, pedal back. Many kids' experiences with pedaling is on fixed wheel implementations (tricycles etc) so it's a natural progression. It's just the 'coasting' that is new.

I think the best kid's first pedal bikes have coaster brake for initial use, and also as continued safety/backup. In addition, they also have handbrakes in order for them to learn their use for their second bike, and also help when mounting/dismounting/waiting at lights etc. In fact, that's just what I'm sourcing out now for Thing1, who's rapidly growing and will soon be too big for her first bike. And gears would be nice.

And besides, who doesn't like a skid? (Actually, being able to control the rear in a sustained skid is a life skill).

Also, don't be in a rush to get off the runbike. And, in fact, the two can be used in conjunction for quite a while. (Thing1 used to 'commute' on her RunBike, but we'd go for 'rides' on her pedal bike, IYKWIM). Oh, and of course, remove the pedals, drop the saddle and let him 'runbike' it for a while, before going for the pedalling. Stabilisers are evil! :twisted:
Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike

martyn748
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Postby martyn748 » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:31 am

My son came from a ballance bike and on to a proper bike.
he ended up with 2 bike !! :oops:
One with a coaster and one with proper v brakes.
He can ride them both fine but has problems starting on the bike with the coaster brake because you cant back peddle to get the peddles in the right possition to push off!!!

He much prefers the V brakes "as its more like daddys bike"

The Giant is very heavy as its a steel frame. Bought one and sold it asap.
Spesh is light but silly brakes.(now seling one)

Have a look at ridgbacks, and if you can afford it an isla bike.

good luck

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baudman
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Postby baudman » Fri Sep 23, 2011 21:13 pm

martyn748 wrote:... but has problems starting on the bike with the coaster brake because you cant back peddle to get the peddles in the right possition to push off!!!


If he rocks the bike back and forth, on each roll back the pedals will move. It generally only takes two or three of these to move them sufficiently.

Learning to start off on either pedal is also a good skill.

For mine, as stated above, I trust feet/weight on a coaster brake, over not-so-strong fingers on a hand brake, for a few years yet.

Thing1 handles her coaster-braked bike with aplomb. She's even now at the point where she prefers her saddle up so that she can get decent leg extension, which means start/stop on tippy toes. YMMV.
Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike

zebra67
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Postby zebra67 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 16:01 pm

I love coaster brakes, loved 'em when I was a kid, too.
Very very intuitive and seemingly foolproof.
Not had problems that others describe here.
We've a Cnoc 16 and to be honest I just wish we could get a 20" wheel bike like it.


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