Can You Put a Coaster Brake on Any Bike?

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Oftentimes, people ask this question because of the shallow knowledge they have about a coaster pedal brake.

Let us quickly answer the question “if you can put a coaster brake on any bike?” you can’t put a coaster brake on any bike — because a coaster brake doesn’t work well on a high bike. 

A coaster brake works effectively on a low-end bike. Also how a coaster brake works are solely dependent on the strength of a cyclist’s legs that is used to put pressure on the pedal.

If the bike is high, the rider will not be able to put more pressure on the pendulum effectively. Therefore, it’s always recommended to install a coaster brake on a low-end bike.

However, a coaster is more effective and performs very well on a teen bike, that is quite low to the ground. 

Because of their lowness, the teenager can easily exert force on the pedal to make the brake active.

What is a Coaster Brake Pedal

Coaster brakes were invented in the 1890s, it has gained more popularity because of their functions. 

A coaster brake is a foot brake, unlike the handle brake. The riders use their feet to control this brake. 

A bike that has this brake requires two types of pedals. 

  • Forward pedal 
  • Backward pedal

The forward pedal is to keep the bike in motion, while the backward pedal is to keep the bike in brake mode. 

When you pedal backward you apply the coaster brake, which will slowly stop the bike.

A coaster brake is a backpedal brake. Coaster brake work when you apply pressure on pedaling backward. This is more like a vehicle brake.

A coaster brake is a special rear hub for a bicycle, which allows it to roll without forcing the pedals to turn. 

The coaster is similar in function to a freewheel. Though use a different mechanism to perform its function.

Coaster brakes allow the rider to coast while sitting still on a bike. This allows the bike to move forward without turning the pedals.

The brake is located inside the rear hub, which makes the brake function as the pedals rotate backward.

The more pressure cyclists put on the pedal backward the more braking power they generate. 

The power you generate will take the form of friction between the rotating and the stationary parts of the wheel. It slows down the speed and eventually stops the bike

How Does a Coaster Brake Work

You might have come across different types of coaster brakes — they all have similar functions. Even though the parts are named differently by manufacturers, they all perform the same thing.

The hub is what houses the coaster brake. It has internal brake shoes inside a metal shell. An application of the clutch mechanism allows the hub to engage and move the bike.

You will either be coasting or braking when the clutch disengages. The brake shoes expand into the hub to gently slow down the bike as you pedal backward.

When you engage the bike on a forward pedaling, the sprocket automatically turns into a clutch. Once that happens, the clutch ends open to serrate with sharp teeth that go in contact with the hub shell. Then turn the shell alongside the wheel forward.

This continues until the pedals stop turning. Immediately you stop pedaling forward, the clutch pulls away from the hub shell. When you pedal backward the shoes are pushed outward into the shell.

You may need to Watch out for drag against the shell. This mainly happens when the brake shoe lacks grease. There’s always friction going on inside the shell, that is why you have to grease it. 

The sprocket is attached to the brake cone with a snap ring. The brake cone is on the axle. It has a conical projection at each end.

Benefits Of Coaster Brakes

The coaster brake bikes have several benefits that you stand to enjoy. Here are some of the benefits.

Equal Performance at All Weather

Coaster brake work in any weather. Once the shoe brakes in the hub are greased, it functions very well irrespective of the weather.

In wet conditions, coaster brakes work. Coaster brakes aren’t subject to the weather conditions.

Coaster brakes are mainly good for those who don’t care about the weather before riding their bike. If you’re in this group of people you need a bike with a coaster brake. 

Less Expensive to Maintain

Sometimes, bikes with coaster brakes are relatively cheaper to maintain compared to those with hand-brake counterparts.

Coaster brakes only need little maintenance because of the internal nature of the brake system. 

Coaster brakes hardly develop any fault. If it does happen, it requires little maintenance. 

Coaster Brakes are Good For The Young And Disabled

Are you looking for a perfect bike for your kid, who can’t handle a hand brake?

Coaster brake bikes are what you need. The brake is controlled with legs. Doesn’t require hands. Therefore, it’s good for kids so long they can pedal it.

Coaster brake bikes are perfect for kids who can’t control a hand brake. Since they can pedal, coaster brakes will not be difficult for them to operate.

Coaster brakes are good for riders without arm or hand disabilities, amputees, or who are not able to use their hands properly.

People who are disabled can still ride a bike with a coaster brake at any speed level without any fear of lack of speed control.

Coaster Brake Has a Fewer parts

Hand brakes have cable wires running alongside the frame of the bike.

Coaster brakes are simply designed and make the bike look neat without any wire on the frame. 

If you’re the type that prefers a bike without wire on the frame, a coaster brake bike is for you.

Coaster brakes are simply fixed at the axle. That’s why it’s controlled by the pedal. This makes it frame wireless.

Easy to Learn

You don’t need any further instruction on how to use the coaster brake once you read the manual. 

Kids can easily learn coaster brakes from their parents or instructors.

The coaster brake is very simple. When you pedal forward the bike is moving. When you pedal backward the bike stops.

Coaster brakes are brakes made easy with simple direction. They are often referred to as back-pedal or foot brakes.

Coaster brakes are easier to learn compared to hand brakes that require a lot of skill to operate.

Common Issues Associate With Coaster Brake

The knowledge about the common fault of a coaster brake will guide you on how to get it solved.

Here are some of the common issues:

Back-pedal tendencies

The way the front pedal develops fault likewise the backpedal. How often you pedal determines the effectiveness of the brake.

Though pedaling back is another movement that is mainly required when you’re riding uphill or trying to maintain a balance.

A bike with a coaster brake setup moves on a hill without any stress. It’s a bad experience when the coaster brakes develop a fault. 

There is always a tendency for the back-pedal to stop working or perform to its highest.

The experience can be frustrating when your coaster brake is malfunctioning. Sometimes, it may fall off or delay the pedal. When this happens contact the local repairer. 

The Foot Positioning Issues

The footing position is where you sit still and the bike continues in a motion. You neither pedal backward nor forward.

This is an awkward seating position. Because at this point pedaling backward is not easily possible. 

So you have to push the pedal into a position that you can easily control as you push forward.

However, coaster brakes don’t mainly allow you to easily get to this position from a stand-still. 

Since you can’t pedal backward, you have to push the pedals into position as you roll forward. 

That same footing-position leverage is also ideal for braking with coasters. But for children, they have to anticipate stopping and get their feet set ahead of time before it finally stops.

Coaster Brake Size Issue

Some of the coaster brake sizes are difficult for kids to ride. This is a major problem for parents who desire it for their children.

Before you buy, ensure the size is what your child can comfortably ride. 

Coaster brakes are heavier than the hand brake. Sometimes, the heavier it is the more it becomes a problem for kids.

There are some coaster brake sizes that kids can conveniently ride. Go for those ones, for your kids to ride comfortably..


Even though, the coaster brake requires a little maintenance does not mean it shouldn’t be looked at once in a while.

Because of failure to service your coaster brake the backpedal will require a foot brake. 

Sometimes, even the brand-new ones might also have faults. One of the major faults is that the shoe brake will break inside. Once it breaks inside, the shoe pad will have a problem with space.

The only way to solve this problem is by changing it completely. Hence the backpedal will not work properly. 

If this problem is not attended to in time, it results in a complete change of the coaster brake or the entire bicycle.


Coaster brakes are more effective in a down-low bicycle. The closer the bicycle to the ground floor the more active it becomes.

The higher the bike, the lesser the force it exerts on the pedal. The more you push back the more the brakes work perfectly well.

Coaster brakes aren’t subject to any weather conditions. They’re effective irrespective of the weather condition at the moment. You can’t put a coaster brake on any bike.

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