Coaster brakes are often vital to ensure that extra safety while you are out there cruising in your bike. They are quite a simplistic mechanical part that revolutionized the concept of braking systems. And nowadays, it’s hard to find a normal bike that doesn’t come with coaster brakes.
The addition of coaster brakes has reduced the number of unwanted accidents by a lot. But even with all the safe sides, the coaster brakes do come with some fatal flaws that can prove to be a major annoyance later on. To avoid such situations, knowing how to remove the coaster brake is essential.
If you don’t know how to do so, no worries. We got your back. In this article, we will be talking about coaster brakes, their purpose, and how to remove them from a bike if not needed anymore. Stay tuned till the end to know about all the necessary info and instructions regarding coaster brakes removal.
What’s A Coaster Brake, and Why Are They Used In A Bike?
To remove a coaster brake from your bike, you first need to know what a coaster brake is and what makes it so important in your bikes. You cannot fix a problem if you don’t completely understand the mechanism behind it, can you now?
As we all know, bikes normally come with hand brakes that are activated when you hard press against them using, well, your hands. The concept of coaster brakes is similar to the hand brakes, but instead of using your hands to press them, you can just pedal backward to activate the brake. Pretty neat, right?
Coaster brakes are also referred to as backpedal brakes at times. Can you tell why? Yep, because they are activated when you instinctively pedal backward to stop the bike. In these types of bikes, a separate brake arm is attached to the rear wheel of the bike that acts as the coaster brake for your bike.
As for relevance and importance, coaster brakes come with multitudes of benefits that can ensure you that extra bit of safety in your bike rides. For many people, hand brakes are harder to handle as they require a long and hard pressing to stay activated.
It also doesn’t come as instinctively as it should in beginner bikers, and that can lead to several accidents and injuries later on.
Coaster brakes, in this case, are perfect for helping you cruise through the neighborhood without a sudden brake failure. That’s why they are more commonly found in cruiser-style bikes for adults.
Just one little backpedal can activate this feature and slow your bike down instantly to prevent further progression and damage.
Even though they are useful and guarantees extra protection, they can be more of a burden in some cases.
For example, if you ride around in a place with bumpy corners and surfaces, every little jolt will force your coaster brakes to engage and slow you down. The same goes for technical and mountain bikes that are used on much tougher road spaces.
Again, for kids or someone who’s only a beginning biker, an effective coaster brake can do more harm than good for them. A beginner needs to find balance by constantly moving the bike in a forward and backward direction.
Coaster brakes prevent that from happening, and often a sudden backpedal at top speed will cause the bike to overturn or flop over along with its rider.
Therefore, coaster brakes are great, but only with experienced bikers with months of developed instincts on braking. For beginners, it’s best to master the basic crafts first and then move on up the higher leagues. And that’s why you should know how to remove the coaster brake if such a situation ever arises.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Remove Coaster Brake from A Bike
Now that you know why it’s necessary at times to remove the coaster brakes from your bike, it’s time to know the actual procedure. A little disclaimer before we start – this is not a fun or DIY project.
It’s actually quite tough to remove a coaster brake and rearrange everything properly back to its place without causing further damage.
Thus, if you aren’t handy with such arrangements, it’s best to call in a professional and make them do it for you. That way, your bike will be in a much better state, and the whole process will get way more convenient.
Here is how to remove a coaster brake from your bike in gradual steps –
Gather Everything In One Place
Before you start working on removing the coaster brake, you need to assemble all the essentials in a fixed place.
That way, you can have everything nearby while working, and you won’t have to run and find the little tools every step of the way. It will save you both valuable time and energy and make the whole process a lot faster.
As for what you should gather, get the bike (obviously) and the necessary parts and replacements specified for that bike.
For the mechanical works, keep the usual tools like a torque wrench, spanner, hammer, tightening screws, etc. For safety, it’s best to wear hand gloves, face masks, and overall, if possible.
While you are at it, try to gather everything in a place that’s not generally accessible, like the back of the garage, backyard shade, etc.
Working in a secluded area gives you more space to work with, and you can work without any annoying interruptions. It also reduces the possibility of misplacing stuff and rogue accidents.
Take the Rear Wheel Apart
The coaster brake is placed in the rear wheel, so it goes without saying that you’ll need to work on the rear wheel to remove it. You can remove the wheel without taking apart the wheel completely if you’d like.
But it’s better to take it off because then you’d have more comfort in handling the wheel. The rest depends on your preference.
However, before you choose to do it, keep the brake arm slightly upwards in the middle right area, so you can take a better look at it. Check out the positioning of the gears and how it spreads over the total diameter of the wheel.
This will give you a better insight while arranging everything back together after you have finished working on the coaster brake.
Take Off the Dust Cover
Every coaster brake generally comes with a dust cover on top of them to prevent dust and other garbage from gathering on the brake. If dust particles get inside the brake, it can clog the cogs, build heat up and slow down the overall mechanism. That’s why a dust cover is used to protect the coaster brake from external damages.
To remove the dust cover, simply use the right size wrench to unscrew the locknut keeping the cover in place. Work on the cone screw next. A small ball retainer should get the job done effectively.
After you have taken off the dust cover, you will be able to directly access the brake from below. Remember to catch the brake shoes once you lift the external hub shell so that you can store them properly for later. Use a strong grip on the coaster brake and the wheel lest it should fall off suddenly.
Start Working on the Coaster Brake Itself
Now that you are done with the external protective covers, you can finally start to work on the brake itself. Place it on your lap, or however you are most comfortable inspecting the brake inside out to understand its mechanism.
Keep a good multi-purpose wrench by your side as that’s going to help you the most to remove various parts from the brake.
Start with the primary nut that’s placed at the 7 o’clock mark by the brake. Sternly grab the nut via the wrench and use a heavier tool like a hammer or bigger wrench to break apart the brake arm. Whack clockwise (or anti-clockwise depending on the configuration of your bike) to take the arm off.
Keep the proper distance from your fingers and the wrench, so you don’t accidentally hit yourself instead. If you are putting pressure on the heavier item used as a lever clockwise, start to rotate the wrench in an anti-clockwise direction.
The double pressure from both sides will make it easier on the brake arm to come off completely and weaken the coaster.
Slowly Take the Rest of It Apart
After the brake arm is weakened, it’s time to unscrew and disassemble the rest of the gears. Keep your wrench ready to go, and hold the coaster brake hub firmly to start the procedure. Take all the screws off one by one meticulously. Start at one end of the axle and then finish off at the other.
Pay really good attention while you do this. Keep a mental note to yourself about the positioning of everything that you took off. Arrange them properly side by side, so you don’t have to waste time looking for them later on.
Time to Work on the Axle Nuts
After you are done with the small bits and pieces of gears in the coaster hub, it’s now time to work on the axle itself. Select the right cone wrench so that it fits with the axle you are working on and turn it completely.
At this point, if you are doing it properly, the left cone should get momentarily immobilized by the placement of the brake arm. Now, it is time to turn the axle slowly with precision so that the coaster brake gets completely inactive.
If you are in doubt about the clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation of the axle, quickly take a dip into the manual instructions provided with the bike.
Normally, this is where your work with coaster bikes is completed in most bikes. However, in some bikes, you may have to repeat the exact procedure on the right cone to take it off from both sides.
Furthermore, if your bike has a multiple-braking system, you will probably need to check a whole different tutorial for that. Do not try to apply the same guidelines to everything without having proper knowledge about it.
For example – bikes with a multiple-braking mechanism have a sort of square projection at the end of their rear wheel axle. Usually, rotating this projection helps to disable the extra braking mechanism in those bikes. Again, it’s best to contact a professional if you are heavily unsure about any of the steps.
Assemble Everything Back to Its Rightful Place
Now that you have finally managed to disable the coaster brakes in your bike, what to do next? You can’t just take it out in the backyard and start riding it right away, can you now? Before you can do that, you need to assemble everything the way it was, minus the coaster brake, of course.
All those mental notes and properly stored screws will come in super handy at this stage of assembling. As long as you remember the correct positioning of the gears and screws and tightly place them back like the way they were, everything should be fine.
A great way to determine whether you are placing everything correctly is to keep a record of it somehow so that you can just trace it back later on.
And that’s about it. You are done! Now, you can ride your bike any way you can without having to worry about the coaster brake getting activated for no reason.
Coaster brakes brought about a revolution in maintaining bike safety and stability. However, like most updated features, they too have their shortcomings and need to be removed once they aren’t required anymore.
If you are someone thinking on the same spectrum, hopefully, our little guide on how to remove the coaster brake helped you out a lot. As always, remember to exercise absolute caution while performing any mechanical activity. With that, have a great day, and thanks for reading till the end!
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