I am looking for an old fashioned style bicycle. I had a bad accident on a new bicycle and I feel safer with with an old-style bike. I've never crashed before and I've been riding bicycles for over 40 years.

  • By "step brake" you presumably mean a "coaster brake" where you pedal backwards to brake. Usually these don't have front handbrakes, but some do, or, on the right frame, a bike shop can add the front brake for you if you really want it. These bikes are still made (usually the cheaper "department store" models, however), and many an older bike of this sort is stored in a garage or basement, waiting for the next moving sale. Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 19:37
  • You can buy a new women's single-speed "cruiser" bike for about $150. I see ones by Schiwinn and Huffy, among others. If the bike will accept one (depends on the frame and rim), a bike shop should be able to add a front brake for about $50. Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 22:40
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    @DanielRHicks: About bikes with coaster brakes not having front handbrakes: This totally depends on the area. For example, in the Netherlands it is quite common, at least on cheap bicycles, for the coaster brake to be the only brake. In Germany, two independent brakes are required by law (for bikes used on public streets), so bikes have a coaster brake + a front hand brake (of varying quality).
    – sleske
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 7:26

5 Answers 5


They are still made! Try a search for "bicycle coaster brake." You can narrow it to a "woman's" frame by adding "mixte" or "step through" or "woman's" to the key words. If you want gears add "3-speed" or "internally geared." Those searches will get you quite a range of bikes – from retro beach cruisers to very modern urban bikes.

Once you find some that appeal to you, post some links. There are plenty of folks here who can help you evaluate the differences between them.

  • AND hand brakes
    – paparazzo
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 19:25
  • A three speed bike would not have coaster brakes. Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 19:38
  • Shimano makes several internally geared hubs, like the Shimano Nexus SG-3C41 3-Speed Coaster Brake, that claim to have a coaster brake. I think Sturmey Archer also makes some. Shimano also makes some hubs that take "roller brakes" – I'm not sure what those are, but they seem to be pedal actuated. Finding a bike with that is built with one of those hubs might be harder…
    – dlu
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 19:50
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    @DanielRHicks: Many internal-gear hubs are offered with coaster brakes. For example, the Shimano C6000 Nexus (8x) and SRAM i3 (3x) are available with coaster brakes. In Germany, internal-gear hubs with coaster brakes used to be so common that one German webshop displays a note with the gear hubs they sell: "Warning, does not have a coaster brake".
    – sleske
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 7:39
  • @sleske - Yes, when I was Googling for example "cruiser" bikes for a comment above I ran across several bikes with the Shimano hub, "reasonably" priced. (Ie, you were only paying $100-200 or so additional for the 3-speed hub.) I knew that there were such hubs, but previously they were $500 or so. I'm guessing that the OP does not want anything "fancy", though, plus I didn't see any 3-speed "cruisers" with a front brake either. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 11:07

The bike you seeks is probably not available off-the-shelf new from a bike shop.

Your best bet is to find the bike you like with a coaster brake. Make sure that a) the rear rim is "hand-brake" compatible (chances are it will be rim brake compatible I have never seen a coaster brake hub with disc mounts!) and b) the frame and fork have mounts/posts for brakes (although you can also change the fork!). Have a shop add hand-brake (add a rear for sure and a front if you need one) which will likely be a V brake or cantilever brake.

You could go the other direction and find the bike you like with the hand brakes you seek and change the rear wheel to one with a coaster brake. Of course this wheel needs to be compatible with the hand brake.

If you explain what you want to a bike shop they will guide you through the above steps. If you are trying to do this without a shop's intervention then I suggest posting some models of bikes with coaster brakes and members of the Stack will tell you if they are hand brake compatible.

EDIT: I think Sheldon Brown built a bike with a bunch of different brakes on it. I will look for it and post here if I find it.

EDIT 2: The better answer includes a primer on the different kinds of hand brakes.

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    In Germany coaster break bikes are sold with front wheel rim breaks, at least the cheaper ones. The combination is also available in the Netherlands, all bike shops should be able to adjust a bike that way.
    – Willeke
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 18:15

I thought I'd collect some (US centric) links to help find this kind of bike

  • Google shows many people sell bikes with coaster brakes.

  • Schwinn has a wide selection.

  • Huffy also has a good selection.

  • Target stocks many.

  • Kmart does too.

Many of these bikes are quite cheap, and qualify as BSOs. You get what you pay for.


You could try the following brands, some have roller brakes with Shimano Nexus hubs etc..best option would be to speak with a dealer in your area for the following brands: Achelle Bikes Simcoe Bikes Pure City Bikes (step through)

Benefit of these is, its a more upright ride vs. leaning in position. In addition, you can attach panniers to these bikes to integrate the rides into your daily errands etc.

Also, some come with chain guards and coat guards which is very helpful so you dont always have to ride in racing gear or perform daily maintenance. Good Luck.


Finding a mix of step brake and hand is not going to be easy

You may want to consider disc brakes. They have more power and are WAY less effected by rain.

By old fashioned women do you mean step through?

disc with set through

  • But most bikes will have a fork that is drilled for a brake. It would not be too hard to add one.
    – dlu
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 19:52
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    Actually, I see quite a few kids bikes with coaster brakes and a front hand brake. In fact, this seems to be the norm for 20" bikes that we process through the local Christmas anonymous bike rehab shop. I don't know why this isn't as common for adult "cruiser" bikes. Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 3:52

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