Fixed Gear Braking Compared To a Coaster Brake

Dang man, I still can’t do that….

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0 thoughts on “Fixed Gear Braking Compared To a Coaster Brake”

  1. Willie says:

    I love men! Especially the kind in tights!

  2. Nick says:

    I have a new trick for you guys – I watched a guy use it to slow himself down the bridge this morning. He was also riding a fixed gear, and I passed him on the way up the bridge, but he was clearly a stronger and more experienced rider. He drafted me on the way up, and passed me after the zenith. As he neared the end of the bridge (where bikers have to pull a tight u-turn), he lifted his right foot off of the pedal and brought it behind him to the top of his rear wheel right behind the seat stay, planting his heel down on the wheel and slowing himself.

    I tried it on the way home and it’s absurdly easy, and more effective than resisting the pedals. I use my left foot, since I start with my right and have an easier time getting my left foot back into the clips. I would say it’s about the same stopping power as the front brake, maybe a little less, but using the front brake and the heel brake at the same time is comperable to front and rear brakes. In any case, I spent the whole evening riding that way, and found that I didn’t need my front brake at all. You learn the right spot to hit quickly, and it becomes second nature in no time. Of course, the catch is that you can’t do it with fenders, which I think both the RedLine and the One Way have! If you guys feel up to stripping the rear fender, give it a shot, otherwise, no big deal since y’all both have front AND rear brakes on those bikes. One day I’ll get the hang of the skid, but in the meantime, this is a great technique, and I can’t believe I never figured it out for myself. I think it’s easier on the tire too – rubbing against the soles of my Pumas vs. scraping against the concrete.

  3. finger says:

    patently absurd.

    “I feel like I have a lot more control on a fixie”

    uh huh. you just keep telling yourself that Mr. Cool guy! Track bikes belong on the track. Skidding reduces maneuverability. period. The ‘test’ showing the coaster brake stopping slower than the fixie was obviously faked. The guy on the coaster brake bike HAD A FRONT BRAKE, and for good reason too. Having front brakes is the safest way to stop ANY VEHICLE.

    Your coolness is a danger to those around you- which really just makes you another asshole.

  4. RL Policar says:

    Dang someone’s bitter…

  5. […] Ok back to the subject. We had a person named “finger” make a comment on a recent posting about fixies and coaster brakes. […]

  6. Nick says:

    I’ve seen riders on brakeless track bikes with more control in traffic than I have, but I like having a front brake. Knowing that it’s there lets me go faster.

  7. Moe says:

    Finger, your generalization is quite ridiculous. I started riding the Raleigh One Way with a fixed gear. Did I think I was cool? Was I dangerous to myself and others? I hardly think so. First of all, most people don’t know what a fixed gear is, second of all, you can’t tell who’s riding a fixed gear unless your REALLY pay attention. A careless rider is a dangerous to anyone no matter what bike he/she rides. Also, the One Way AND the 9-2-5 are hardly track bikes. Do fixed gear bikes belong on the track? I, as a rider, will decide for myself.

  8. Nick says:

    Well, to be fair, I think Finger was referring to the subject of the video, who does ride a track bike, and not to fixed-gear bikes in general.

  9. Moe says:

    Ah, then he/she is mistaken. The subject of the video is a chick not a dude. I was not able to tell that the chick is riding a track bike to tell you the truth. I know that the geometry is quite different, but to me a fixie is a fixed gear bike, track or not.

  10. Nick says:

    Moe: Yeah, it’s a containment hierarchy, like squares to rectangles. All track bikes are fixed-gear, but not all fixed-gear are track bikes. Technically, a track bike has a more vertical angle on the seat tube, no brakes or braze-ons, a shorter wheelbase and drop handlebars, but to most people, a fixed gear bike without brakes is a “track bike.”

  11. […] -The most popular post was the video featuring the comparison of a brakeless fixed gear bike and a bike with a coaster brake. “Finger” commented on his dislike for the video and calling ‘Cool Fixie Riders’ a-holes. Ouch. […]

  12. Frosh says:

    I guess the “coolness factor” of not wanting a front brake is about as dangerous as …….oh say talking on a cell phone while driving? or drafting 2″ away from the wheel in front of you in a road group.
    When a fixie goes down in the city everyone points a finger at the fact that he doesn’t have brakes…….but when 30 guys go down hard in a crit….oh well thats just cool.

    get over it

  13. cyclecheese says:

    I live in Rotterdam and I just removed my front brake basically to point the “finger” at the way these idiots drive. By the way, in holland you can be going the wrong way down a one way street, with no lights at night (lights are required), get hit by a car and its the car’s (driver) fault.

    Gotta love it you whining losers

  14. cyclecheese says:

    Hey Now!

  15. OG LOC says:

    yess, i make big stinky on geared bike, fixed is the only way.

  16. Motley says:

    Fixed gears are for dumbasses. It’s funny how fixies justifies riding their bikes because of little maintenance. How many skids can you do before you have to replace your rear tire? You probably have to change your tire more often than your brake pads. And what’s easier, replacing a tire or a pair of brake pads? What costs more, tire or a pair of brake pads? And I disagree with the narrator. Coaster brakes are not on most adult bikes; coaster brakes are only on coaster bikes, hence the name. Most bikes have hand operated brakes and were invented for a reason, stopping power.

    Now that bike in the background is your ideal city bike: the touring bike. Takes the load of your back with panniers, it’s fast, geared, efficient and has caliper brakes. Let’s see which can stop faster, a fixed gear bike or a touring bike. I’ll bet you a 1000 bucks that the touring bike will kick ass.

  17. ubiquitous says:

    this is a ridiculous discussion. isn’t the point that this girl got charged with not being able to stop when the video clearly shows that she can stop? i mean isn’t that the point? the girl knows how to skid to a stop if need be so why does she deserve a ticket? she doesn’t. the social drama about fixed gear bikes is not the issue. she can stop. rad. move on.

  18. OG LOC says:

    no shit brother!!!!

  19. Peter says:

    I think most posters here understand the issue, but it should be pointed out explicitly that any bike with only a rear brake, whether that means a fixie a coaster or anything else, is inherently less safe. It takes several times as long to stop using a rear brake compared to a front brake.

    Obviously, if the law allows a coaster brake with no front brake, there is little justification for outlawing fixies. Riding any bike without a front brake is stupid, and I tend to agree it should be illegal as it endangers people other than the operator quite unnecessarily.

  20. Peter Noordijk says:

    I was riding into work a couple weeks ago and passed some brakeless wonder down interstate hill. The light turned red and my 230lbs of 20 year old 10-speed, fat assed body and panny full of books stopped before the intersection. This fixie, I’d just passed, skidded from behind me, a full 10 yards past into a police van, which fortunately had stopped cause the cop saw this fool skidded towards him.

    i’m no bike genius, and my bike has crappy old brakes. but I stopped safely >30 ft sooner then this skidding fool. That guy would have been paste if it wasn’t for the vigilance of the cops.

    If you are on public roads, then get and use brakes. Not having brakes is simple vanity. It endangers everybody on the road unnecessarily. The video is bs because the guy with the brakes skidded them and didn’t have to.

  21. OG LOC says:


  22. Gussie says:

    So is there a concensus forming here? Brakes are good. Fixies have their place. Hills can be real scary as they throw any discussion of stopping distances out of the window and that Holland is plain odd, but can’t be worse than Canada for daft road laws for pedestrians.
    My personal suggestion is to stick it to the bad drivers of the world by being considerate and have fun on two wheels irrespective of style.

  23. OG LOC says:


  24. Peter N. says:

    Peter, not Peter me, but the one before. Even coaster brakes are better than brakeless fixie. Coasters don’t have to skin. Rolling friction is much better than skidding friction for stopping your bike. If that guy with the coasters decided not to skid, he would have stopped shorter, plus he doesn’t have to unweight the rear wheel to start hard braking.

  25. OG LOC says:



  26. gary says:

    I ride fixies and coasters. If your a good safe rider you are if not your not. It’s that SIMPLE.GOODDAY

  27. gary says:

    can’t we just all get along?

  28. OG LOC says:


  29. janet says:

    “ride a fixy because of the control” … yea right because it’s “trendy and cool” that’s why! it’s way more dangerous than a regular bike.

  30. annumus says:

    what about a fixie with front and rear brakes?

  31. Peter Noordijk says:

    Seems that brakes at both ends would make it stop as fast as any other bike with brakes, and much faster than any brakeless fixed gear bike.

  32. quilty says:

    i ride a fixed gear w/ a front brake. i can ride a 15-cog and go as fast as i please and not have to worry about initiating a dangerous skid to stop at a light, or avoid an obstacle (whatever anyone says, it will not stop you faster than a front brake.) i enjoy the peddling efficiency and power of a fixed gear, and the inherent safety of a front brake.

  33. Brady says:

    Of course a front brake will allowed you stop quicker. But that said I live in a very hilly part of new Hampshire and I run with out any brakes. I have put well over 3000+ miles on my sputnik without them. You just have to use your head. You also don’t need to skid to stop you can skip stop with out a skid. I have completed many centuries of my fixed gear and without multiple gears or brakes or without gay looking outfits. All of you wanna be racers should have brakes because you don’t have the skill to ride a fixed never mind brakeless.

  34. Poi says:

    You lot moaning at each other are even worse. I ride a fixed gear with a front brake (which I use to stop) becuase I enjoy it. I also have a mountain bike I ride now and again when I want a change and I would also like a road bike with plently of gears. Who the hell cares.

  35. youre wrong says:

    on a fixed gear by skidding alone you can reverse the spin on the wheel while still going forward, the increase in friction allows you to stop faster.on a track bike the seat is closer to the back wheel, while hand brakes can only use the strength of you hand, someone who skids without leaving the seat will stop faster as all their body weight will be on the back wheel(the fixed gear brake)fixed gears brake directly, their are no metal joints or cables in between. fixed gears are not brakeless bikes, they just use a mechanism unfamiliar to many people and with far fewer moving parts that need to be maintained.
    Again to further dispel fixed gear misconceptions, you do not need to skid to stop as you do not need a front brake. skidding is fun, but you can bike through any city and stop only by resisting the pedals. Skidding can effectively be used to stop in an emergency, but most of the time when you see someone else on a bike skidding, it is because they are having fun doing something you cant. Every bike has its purpose and and every rider has their bike(s), please get over it bike nazis and stop spreading misinformation

  36. youre wrong says:

    Brady is right, you are still wrong, the fixed gear trend involves commuters and people who ride their bikes often(and usually know what they’re doing), a far worse trend is the weekend rider, spandex, bike jersey, road biker. Those people for the most part cannot ride bikes, i do not recommend a fixed gear for that type of rider, as i would not recommend they ride a bike at all. i could go on forever criticizing those people but that is for a different thread

  37. wow lol says:

    from a bmx and road bike riders perspective, bmx is fine brakeless, if youre having a hand at free or just use is as a “strip-mall crusier” i have stopped and have seen many kids stop like how nick says, foot in the back tire. when it comes to things over 30 mph or riding alongside traffic, you’re simply an idiot for not having brakes. its just endangering yourself. and why is there all this disrespect towards other riders? we all ride bikes. stop trying to feel important by doing dumb things. riding downhill without brakes is not good for anyone. (except maybe feeling better by being an up-yourself idiot)

  38. Kookas says:

    Both bikes took way too long to stop, guarantee I could stop much quicker with my rim brakes.

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