Coaster Brake Problems: 3 Issues with Instant Solutions

Are you on your way to beat the local college boys in an annual bike race? But found out your coaster brake is showing so many issues. I bet that must be a helluva mess. 

That’s why you should be aware of the problems you might face beforehand. So that you can solve them instantly.

So, what are the coaster brake problems?  

Coaster brake with time lose its braking power. Because the pads and hub parts can wear out easily. Moreover, you can hear squeling noise if the brake got loosen. But don’t tighten or grease your hub too much. This can result in the drives not engaging properly with the coaster brake.

These problems will be no biggie once you learn how to fix them. So, let’s not dawdle anymore and swoop right into the discussion.

Are You Sure it’s the Coaster Brake?

Source: https://www.bicycling.com/

Well, we cyclists know how to use coaster brakes. It’s quite familiar to us that a coaster brake is practically a drum brake in the rear hub. So, pedaling backward engages the brake here.

Also, coaster brakes are incredible as a fail-safe fall-back. They barely miscarry unless the chain falls off. So, if you’re driving your bike ahead, you can stop it with the coaster brake. 

Now, to be on the safe side I always use the Zonkie bike chain on my bike. I found this chain very durable and got strict control. So, it doesn’t fall off very easily.

However, if you’re unable to brake your cycle properly then you need to do some inspections. And you gotta find out if it’s your coaster brake that is the culprit or not.

So, do you need to be something of a Sherlock to find the culprit now? No, relax! There are just a couple of things you’d need to check. 

Let’s find out! 

Check for Wear Outs 

Poor brakes on one hand can be very irritating and on the other super risky. Therefore, I never forget to take my X2 elbow pads and thrasher helmet when I go for rides.

Also, on the coaster brake specifically, the pads might be tough to see through. When I compared sintered and kevlar brake pads, I saw the same problem there as well.

That’s why even I most of the time forget to check my coaster brake hub parts as well. Some people don’t even know how to check those. But they do wear out with time.

Source: https://www.parktool.com/

Nonetheless, it’s totally fine if you don’t know how and what to check. It’s nothing like rocket science either. That’s why now I’ll walk you through the whole process. 

Scanning the Brake Pads

Good news! You can easily check your brake pads without removing any piece of your bike. You can simply check the exterior of the caliper and openly scan the pads. 

You should also check the pads from the other side as well. Because they often don’t wear uniformly. Thus, you might be required to reverse the cycle upside-down. And an adjustable torch would be very helpful to actually watch in there.

This way you’ll be able to find out how much pad you’re left with. 

Source: https://steedcycles.com/

You can also remove just the wheel using an adjustable wrench. Then it would be easier for you to look down there. So, some adjustable wreck I always keep in my garage are-

Now, if you see your pads are chafed down nearly to the ending, replace them. Some pads that you can definitely rely on are given below-

However, no matter how new your pads are, don’t forget to check them every week. Especially after a rough ride on a muddy track or rainy weather.

You see, instead of your coaster brake, it can be your disc brake pads that can be responsible. When this happens it’ll lower your bike’s braking power. Hell! You might even hear some annoying high-pitched noise while braking as well.

Let’s Troubleshoot Your Coaster Brake Problems

As a fellow cyclist, I’m assuming you know how to remove brakes on your bike. If not you can watch the following video and easily learn.

So, where were we? We were talking about finding the culprit. 

What if you disassembled your bike brakes and it’s really the coaster brake. When the coaster brake gets contaminated or degrades it shows some common problems.

Let’s talk over it and shoot them out of our life. Shall we?

Problem 1: Low Braking Power

It normally happens when the machine ribs of the brake shoe and clutch knurling wear down.  

Source: https://www.parktool.com/

Over days the ribs and knurling become smooth and scoured. That eventually lessens their effectiveness and affects the coaster brake. 

Therefore, when you’re speeding and trying to stop your bike by back-peddling it might not work instantly. Sometimes it might not even engage with the brake hub.

Solution

Unfortunately, in this case, there’s only one solution. Replacing the rib and knurling. However, there are plenty of good-quality coaster hubs out there. Moreover, you can get them at the cheapest price possible. 

Here are some of the best recommendations we can offer you-

However, with time these hub parts will wear out sooner or later. So, don’t forget to inspect them from time to time. 

Problem 2: Loud Squealing Noise

As the coaster brake is closely associated with the chain it might squeal sometimes. Why? It’s because of the loose coaster brake

Thus, the chain might loosen too and fall off in the middle of the road. Which is basically a very annoying issue.

In this case, the solution would be adjusting the brake hub. So, how to adjust a coaster brake? Let’s find out in the next section-

Solution 

If you ride your bike continually, you may notice your coaster brake is getting relaxed. Hence, it might not work optimally and result in irritating noise in the chain. Because the rear wheel starts quivering. 

So, to fix the coaster brake adjustment you can easily follow the steps below.

  1. Settle your bicycle
  2. Pull out the back wheel by detaching the metal band with a Klein tools screwdriver. It’ll remove the bolts easily from the coaster brake reaction arm.
  3. Next, free the axle nuts that stay on both parts of the wheel. 

But umm.. sadly most of the time I misplace the axle nuts (my forgetful mind sighs). So, be careful where you’re keeping them after losing them out.

Oh hey, don’t laugh! It can happen to any of you.

That’s why here I’m adding some of the best axle nuts that you can get. In case you also misplace these little things like me.

  1. After that, you can release the chain from the sprocket and remove the wheel.
  2. Now, tighten the coaster brake with a cone wrench. You can get the Pro bike set in this case. 
  3. Re-install the back wheel. If you’re worried about how to reinstall the rear wheel, don’t be. Here’s I’m attaching a video for your convenience-
  1. Check it out again if the chain is tightened or the wheel still quivers.

Problem 3: Doesn’t Engage Drive

Source: https://cyclingsavvy.org/

Sometimes the coaster brake might not engage the drive pads properly. As a result, it won’t change the drive under forward pedaling. 

According to me, it might happen if the roller clutch is not engaging properly. Mostly it happens if you use too much heavy grease in the coaster brake hub. 

Solution 

The solution, in this case, would be disassembling the whole hub. Then clean it with a degreaser like Easy-off heavy-duty cleaner. After that regrease the parts and bolts and put them back together.

However, this time, be extra careful! Don’t put too much grease. You use any of the following greases if needed. Because I’ve already used them without a whiff of hassle.

Nonetheless, I would strongly suggest using a bicycle injector gun here. This tool will help you to grease evenly and smoothly. Therefore, there won’t be any more restrictions on the roller clutch movement.

Still Not Working? Time to Take it to the Mechanics

There are so many familiar brake issues we face in our day-to-day life. And every time we can’t expect to fix it at our home.

So, apart from the solutions, we mentioned before, you might yet face some problems. In that case, we would suggest you visit the closet mechanics as soon as possible.

FAQs

Why are your brakes not clutching?

One possible reason for not clicking could be the loose brake cable. In that case, tighten the cable. Another reason could be contaminated brake pads.

Is it possible to fix a stuck caliper? 

You can unstick the caliper by lubricating it. Apply a tiny bit of grease to the end and it should fix your problem.

Is this the Curtain Call?

I’ve tried my best to address all the common coaster brake problems.

I really hope you got your solution already. Nonetheless, while greasing the brake parts never forget to wear gloves and maintain your safety.

Au revoir!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top