Handbrakes Or Coaster Brakes: | What's Better For My Coaster Bike?

Those shopping for a coaster bike invariably face the inevitable question: Are coaster brakes or handbrakes better?

To be clear, a coaster bike has one speed. You pedal forward and the bike moves forward, and you’re stuck with that resistance and speed no matter what. But there is a choice of brakes.

A coaster bike with coaster brakes stops when you pedal backwards, essentially locking the wheels and preventing movement. Coaster bicycles with handbrakes move forward when you pedal forward but must be stopped with left or right handbrakes, as pedaling backward accomplishes nothing. This requires a little hand-eye coordination, for sure, but it generally becomes second nature in a very short time. Check out sixthreezero’s coaster bikes sale here.

So which is better? Well, it depends on a few things.

The first is age. Is the coaster bicycle rider a child or senior citizen? The second is health. Is the rider an able-bodied adult or someone with physical limitations?

A Child’s Coaster Bike

There are a couple schools of thought with kids, as some believe that coaster brakes are safer for them to master first. They argue that young children don’t possess the eye-hand coordination to use a handbrake and that coaster brakes will prevent them from having an accident. sixthreezero’s bikes with coaster brakes come in a variety of styles.

But some bicycle aficionados and parents argue that handbrakes are better. First, they say, coaster brakes are all-or-nothing gadgets, and sometimes too quick a stop, in the case of an emergency, might throw the rider over the handlebars. Second, bikes with handbrakes typically feature a front-wheel brake on one handlebar and a rear-wheel brake on the other, so there is backup if one fails. That alone is convincing enough for many parents. Also, some believe the earlier their children learn to use handbrakes the better, because their next bike will only be available with handbrakes anyway.

Senior Citizens

The same argument can be used for senior citizens whose reflexes are not what they once were, possibly making handbrakes difficult to use. However, if you are a former rider of a bike with more features, and hence, handbrakes, you might want to stick with them, even for your coaster bike, as muscle memory dies hard, and you might not react quickly enough with coaster brakes to avoid a mishap. Take a tour of sixthreezero’s handbrake models.

Physical Capability

Beyond that, if you are an able-bodied adult, it really is just a matter of personal preference. By choosing a coaster bike, you have already kind of cast your lot with the “I don’t need much from my bike” crowd, so maybe you want to keep it uncomplicated and opt for coaster brakes. Or not.

Ultimately, it’s your call, and only you know what kind of riding you intend to do. Just choose the one that makes you feel most comfortable.

Join our Journey Club and uncover new and exciting ride locations around the globe!


BikesElectric BikesAccessoriesGift Cards


WarrantyShippingReturnsRegister BikeAssemblyContact Us


Log In

© 2021 sixthreezero

Designed in Los Angeles, California



👋Let’s find your perfect bike in 5 minutes!

Logging in lets you view your previous quiz results and save new results

👋  Let’s find your perfect bike in 5 minutes!

Log in before starting to view your previous quiz results and save new results.