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How To Use A Coaster Brake On A Bicycle

FAQs
March 22, 2019
How To Use A Coaster Brake On A Bicycle

Hey guys, Dustin here, CEO of sixthreezero. I wanted to talk to you today about how to get adjusted to using a coaster brake. Now, if you've never used a coaster brake before, it can be a little bit tricky, or if you've been off a bike for a long time, maybe you're not accustomed to a coaster brake. So I'll give you some kind of tips and also explain maybe what's good for a coaster brake, what's not good for using it, what's not good for a coaster brake?

So, getting adjusted to a coaster brake. It might be a little bit tricky if you've, your whole life, ridden with handbrakes and you have that instinct up here, grabbing that, you know, you're used to pulling the levers here and stop. Well, on a coaster brake, obviously, you're going to have one brake and that's going to be in the rear wheel, and you're going to pedal backward to stop.

How do you get adjusted to this? Well, my number one suggestion is if you're getting on a coaster brake for the first time, definitely stay away from any type of hill and keep your speeds five miles an hour or under. The reason I say this, number one, is coaster brakes aren't going to have nearly the braking power that handbrakes will have. Either it's a disc brake or calipers on the wheel, the rim, those are going to provide quite a bit more braking power than a coaster brake. So number one, don't try to push your coaster brake the same way you would have pushed your disc brakes or your caliper brakes or your brake pads, things of that nature. The stopping power just isn't going to be there. So, the first suggestion is don't try to ride your coaster bike the same way you rode your bike with the handbrakes.

Now, not to say you couldn't. If primarily, you stayed on flatland, obviously a coaster brake will be fine for that. But just to make sure that you're comfortable and the coaster brake that you have on your bike is capable of stopping you from the type of riding that you're doing. Because coaster brakes won't necessarily be able to stop you like your handbrakes did, in particular, very large downhill rides. If you've been riding with handbrakes for a very long time, and you like to bomb hills and then you hit your brakes and those brakes are there for you, don't do that on a coaster brake. So, my suggestion is if you're stepping into a coaster brake, haven't done it before, keep it on very light terrain and pedal very slowly and just get comfortable pedaling backward to get the motion of it.

So, very slow, pedal a few times. Pedal backward. Stop. Put your feet on the ground. I would say it's also helpful, maybe put your seat a little bit lower than you would actually like it, but as you're learning to get adjusted to the coaster brake, keep your seat low. It'll keep you lower to the ground, and it'll keep your feet or give you the ability to get your feet on the ground a little bit quicker. So when you stop on the coaster brake, if you're not used to the pedaling, stopping, and then kicking your legs out, you want your feet to be able to be as close to the ground as possible as you learn that motion. Another idea tip to get adjusted to coaster brakes, sit on your bike with the kickstand. Now, depending on your weight, the kickstand may or may not be able to hold you. If you have the option, you can also slide your rear tire into a bike rack, which will hold the bike up.

Or if you have a trainer at home, you can hook your bike up to the trainer, which that probably isn't as common, generally, for someone with a bike with a coaster brake. But if you do, get comfortable sitting on that and just pedaling backward to stop. So you're trying to build that muscle memory of you're not looking up here to pull your hands, you're looking to pedal backward to stop. So it can be a little tricky and you want to make sure if you have to stop, your muscle memory is not telling you hands, you're building that muscle memory of the kicking back on your feet. So, if you can sit on your bike a little bit and the bike can be sturdy and upright, and you can just start to get that motion down, I would really, really recommend that.

Then move to just very slow, light riding five miles an hour or under, on very flat land, and keep the seat very low so you can kick your feet out. And then as you gradually build up that confidence, you can increase your speeds. And I would still say stick to light hills. If you're someone that's doing a lot of hills, and you're changing your speeds from fast to slow quite a bit, and you need some extra stopping power, I would say coaster brakes are not the best option for you. I would say probably move back into something with handbrakes. And if you like cruisers, and that's why you've chosen a coaster brake, we do offer lots of cruisers with handbrakes, seven speeds. We also have some single speeds. The sixthreezero EVRYjourney is a single speed with the handbrake, so that's a great option as well.

But again, and keep this in mind, it may take some time to get adjusted to the coaster brakes. So don't give up. Just practice a little bit every day. If you can, ride maybe five minutes, very slow. Practice the braking, put the bike back, try again the next day. I'm pretty confident in about, no more than two weeks, you'll have it down and be able to figure it out. But it may be an adjustment period if you're switching from something where the brakes were at your hands.

So, if you have any thoughts, comments, please comment below. Are you riding a coaster brake? Did you change from handbrakes to coaster brakes over time, or did you ride a coaster brake originally, switched to handbrakes, switched back to coaster brakes? Love to hear about your experience. Please comment below, tell us about it.

And if you have any other tips on how to get adjusted to a coaster brake, please share. Also, if you want to reach us directly, please call us 310-982-2877, or email us the team@sixthreezero.com. And also please browse our bikes in the top of our website and go ahead and enter your height and weight in our body fit tool. It's going to tell you if our bikes are the right fit for your body. Thumbs up or thumbs down. If you get a thumbs down, please contact us, and we can find a way to customize a bike that's the right fit for you. Because at sixthreezero, our goal is to get everybody on a bike that's the right fit for your body.

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