Specialized Coaster Brake – is it a good idea?!

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  • Specialized Coaster Brake – is it a good idea?!
  • Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    That’s exactly what a coaster brake is! There shouldn’t be any need for her to pedal backwards.

    fubar
    Member

    When she pedals backwards to get her pedals in a good position it just locks up – is this normal?

    I think it is normal. My daughter had a Specialized Hotrock too and she struggled a little with the coaster brake, then the cranks went wobbly, between the two it appeared to ‘lock up’ at the wrong times and she found it hard to get going. I had it in the LBS once but it was a temporary fix/tighten and I wouldn’t spend much money on it. I thought the bike was really heavy and always thought it was a poor quality product from Specialized and wouldn’t be rushing to buy another kids bike from them.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    Coasters are more common in the US. Over here I don’t think it’s such a good thing on a kids bike, they need to back-pedal to ‘set up’ for a start and anything that stops that being easy can be an issue. I like kids bikes with single rings and dual chain plates for that very reason, back-pedal w/o dropped chains.

    smurfly13
    Member

    Its the “set-up” that she seems to do so naturally and yet struggled because of not being able to.

    TBH I am really happy with the bike (was a bargain 2nd hand anyway!) and she loves it, just thinking a new rear wheel to lose the coaster brake may be the way forward.

    It comes with a front brake, so is it a simple 12″ freewheel buy or other things I need to consider? Hoping the LBS may be able to get me one!!

    guystabler
    Member

    My daughter found it hard to use on her hot rock and spent most of her time locking it up so no real use. Nog much you can do to improve.

    smurfly13
    Member

    Bought my little girl a Specialized Hotrock 12″, few years old, second hand and the rear hub is a coaster brake.

    When she pedals backwards to get her pedals in a good position it just locks up – is this normal?

    Worth buying a freehub wheel (don’t know from where though!!)?
    Worth “trying” to strip and service?

    bencooper
    Member

    It’s adaption. Coasters are great for little kids because psychologically it makes more sense – you pedal to go, you pedal back to stop. There’s also more braking power especially for smaller kids with little hands.

    I love coasters, even on adult bikes.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Subscriber

    My son had one of these. At 3 years old the back pedal brake was both a bit of a problem (for the reason you describe) but also a blessing for getting the bike to a halt quick when he got to grips with pedalling and started to pick up speed. At that age I think his hands would have struggled to generation much bite on rim brakes. Next bike had V’s front and back but he has the strength and pedal coordination now to work with that.

    philjunior
    Member

    I remember a trip to (what was then) Yugoslavia, staying in an apartment that wasn’t part of a holiday complex or anything and, consequently, playing out with the local kids aged about 6 or 7.

    They let us play on their bikes. One had a back pedal brake. It was ace for pulling skids. Part of me was disappointed to even read about someone thinking of removing it (but if she is struggling, do something. It sounds like she’s a bit younger than I was.)

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Used to like them for BMX a long time ago, as you could roll backwards without having to pedal backwards.

    It should have an arm that bolts to the chainstay, if you take that off it should stop it braking (in effect).

    (Assuming it has a front brake).

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I had a Strika which had a sturmey backpedal brake, it was brilliant for skidz. I loved that bike as a kid, wouldn’t have changed a thing.

    lardman
    Member

    You can take the plates out of the coaster brake, and it almost removes the issue.

    jacob46
    Member

    Get rid of it mate. Just sold my lads hotrock from hhaving an accident 2 weeks ago. We both came down a trail hill and he couldn’t stop and to lay the bike down before hitting a tree. Luckily he is JUST big enough for the hotrock 20 so I went last week to my local leisure lakes store and got him one. Total different bike, the brakes are fantastic. I looked at getting a new wheel for the hotrock 16 but it’s vertually impossible. Luckily I took his old bike into the shop with me and a guy who was looking for a bike for his son offered me £60 for it and I snapped his arm off.
    I don’t know why specialized choose to use a fix wheel on a bike that’s for such a young age is beyond me. Bad if you ask me.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    I was worried about for our youngest, but it wasn’t a problem.
    IME at that age (on a 12″) they don’t set the pedals to start, they just scoot and then jump on them.
    Just let them get on with it, they will adapt and be able to use it, and they are on bikes that small for such a short time, it really isn’t worth worrying about.
    Oh and the Ridgeback MX 16 is the best progression after the hotrock 12 IMHO.

    Ramsey Neil
    Member

    I don’t know why specialized choose to use a fix wheel on a bike that’s for such a young age is beyond me. Bad if you ask me.

    It’s not a fixed wheel and , as has already been said,young children can brake better with it . I was told that the reason American companies use this system is because they don’t want to get sued by kids parents after they had crashed because they couldn’t stop .

    peabrain
    Member

    My youngest had a Hotrock 12 from the age of 2 to 3. He quickly got the hang of the coaster brake and could modulate nicely as well as do awesome skids 😆

    It does make it harder for them to start off but as geoffj says they just scoot to get going. Also when they are standing up on the pedals it is possible to accidently hit the brake. Also it makes the bike heavier than it should be.

    Poor Americans with their “sidewalk bikes must have a coaster brake” law – even the Islabikes have to have the coaster brake 😕

    It is possible to disable the coaster brake, or I guess find a new wheel. (Somebody on here was selling two Hotrock 12s without the coaster brake fairly recently?). The only thing if you do take away the coaster brake the front brake is sidepull and IMO not very efficient.

    We upgraded to a 16″ bike just before my son turned three as with the small wheels he was struggling with any distance/hill or roots.

    torsoinalake
    Member

    My first bike my grandparents brought over from America. It was a Huffy Bandit with a coaster break. Amazing. As has been mentioned, you end up with square tyres from from skidding everywhere.

    Unfortunately, I have a massive scar on my shoulder to remind me of the day when my friend and I decided to dig our old bikes out of the garage and race them down the nearest hill. The coaster brake was a bit old and badly maintained by then, so it’s not really to blame.

    But I agree that coaster brakes are great for first pedal bikes. My missus looks after kids, and lots of them struggle with conventional brakes, even just from the physical perspective of small hands and levers.

    smurfly13
    Member

    Think I will keep it and let her work it out…. It’s only been a couple of weeks so still early.

    Thanks for all the advice guys, much appreciated and plenty to consider if she doesn’t figure it out…. That or a new one (more for Daddy than her!!)

    Had a coaster brake on a bmx back in the eighties. Loved that bike. Ace for rear wheel skids.

    Jujuuk68
    Member

    Northwind nails it –

    I too had a Strika –

    The pedal back brake was fantastic. I can’t for the life of me understand how a kid who’s been riding a bike more than, ooh, about 4 minutes, can get it wrong?

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    They can be a mixed blessing. We certainly had a few situations where the brake was really needed (e.g. messing about on a bumpy rooty little downhill) where feet got bounced off pedals = absolutely no brakes. It is only in a REALLY big crash where they don’t have hands on the bars…..

    peabrain
    Member

    That reminds me, my friend’s daughter was going down their really steep winding driveway on her Hotrock when the chain came off…

    Its the reason I didn’t buy a Spesh for my eldest. Went Islabike instead with proper brakes…

    cyclistm
    Member

    Thats some proper bodging there

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    Those suggesting little kids can’t brake well with hand operated brakes – have you ever seen an Islabike? My oldest was happily doing skids on his at 4 (the younger one probably could, but isn’t that way inclined). I don’t think either of them ever had a problem with braking – it helped a lot I think having a similar brake on the balance bike, so they weren’t learning how to use a brake when they first got pedals.

    Roter Stern
    Member

    TBH I have more faith in the coaster brake than the cheap poorly functioning brakes manufacturers put on their kids’ bikes. Three of my four children have used the Hotrock as their first bike without any issues using the coaster brake. The youngest will also be using it once he’s big enough.

    trail_rat
    Member

    “That reminds me, my friend’s daughter was going down their really steep winding driveway on her Hotrock when the chain came off…”

    reminds me of the number of kids bikes with siezed cables that came into our shop……

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I think this popped up in another thread recently, I got my older girl the hotrock when she was 3 thinking a coaster brake would be a good thing, but didn’t really work out for her though, only served to confuse the issue when learning to pedal as they can’t back pedal or set the pedals to set off, in the end I got a replacement 12″ wheel and I fitted an 18t freewheel as the 16t was a wee bit hard for her at times…

    It is Much improved for the changes now, but it’s original set up didn’t help encourage her with cycling at all.

    The hotrock is mostly great, the frame is pretty good, the geometry does work for a little person the other parts are all robust, but the coaster brake and cobbled on front calliper for the UK market are what really lets it down IMO, not all kids will find a coaster brake intuitive, I’m sure some click with it straight away, mine didn’t I ended up changing the bike to stop her getting frustrated…

    Looking back she’d have been happy with almost anything so long as it was pink, so I could have saved a fair bit of money on something a bit cheaper and still had her happy, I think there was a Ridgeback and a Raleigh in the running at the time, I discounted the CNOC 14 on the grounds of price (£200 odd) and I was certain she needed 12″ wheels because she was quite small, So then I went and bought a Specialized… 🙄

    An Islabike will have better sized levers for little hands, big bonus IMO, and it will be more “resaleable”/trade-in-able, which kind of makes it worth the slightly bigger initial spend if you can stretch to it…

    tpbiker
    Member

    I had a raleigh boxer and a blazer when I was wee, both had normal brakes. Can’t remember if they actually worked, but I’m still here…

    ocrider
    Member

    I don’t remember my Strika having a coaster (early 80’s)

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Switched to hand brakes in 78 apparently. You johnny-come-lately!

    ocrider
    Member

    Ah, I reckoned it was a generational thing. 😥

    TBH I have more faith in the coaster brake than the cheap poorly functioning brakes manufacturers put on their kids’ bikes

    Short reach levers and Tektro V’s are putting the end to that problem, fortunately.
    They are also ace for skids.

    Premier Icon Steelsreal
    Subscriber

    my team murray had a coaster brake and lots of early BMX tricksters used them…

    My daughter had a specialized hotrock with coaster and never got on with it, more to do with small frame height with a long top tube, but when using the trailgator she found it hilarious that she could stop me in my tracks by simply peddling backwards..yeah great 🙂

    Moved to an Isla with small levers and vs and not looked back since

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    I’ve tried to make the brakes work on enough of my neighbours’ kids’ bikes to know how rubbish brakes can be on cheap kids’ bikes, but as mentioned above a few times now, it doesn’t have to be that way, and a Specialized isn’t really cheap.

    Premier Icon scaled
    Subscriber

    My daughter isn’t even 4 yet and has the power in her hands to send herself over the bars on her Islabike cnoc 14 – If she’s really flying I have to remind her to use both brakes, maybe a coaster isn’t a terrible idea!

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    So you’d rather she had bad brakes? You could always disconnect the front brake cable.

    peabrain
    Member

    My 3 year old only uses his front brake as it is a Tektro v-brake and his rear brake is sidepull. He has no problem modulating, and it means no skidding down trails! He can even come to a fast stop on a fairly loose surface with no problems.

Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)

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