I'm restoring an old roadster bicycle with Westwood rims. I love how it looks but the braking is horrible, especially because I live in an area with a lot of downhills.

I don't want to add cable brakes, so I would like to add a coaster brake to the rear wheel, which would be more discreet. Is it possible?

  • Why rear, and why not fix the coaster brake if you think you don't want front brake?
    – ojs
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 15:34
  • 1
    @ojs I parsed the question as meaning that the rod brakes would remain on the bike but, in addition, the rear wheel would have a coaster brake. Muaya, could you clarify? Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 16:34
  • What about a band brake or a drum brake? Neither would look out of place, and some can even go on the front wheel too.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 20:03
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    @Criggie Can drum or band brakes be engaged with the rods?
    – Muaya
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 20:55
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    @Muaya that's almost a new question - It would depend how much fabrication you're prepared to do. You'd need a full-pull of around 20-25mm at a point under the left chainstay. Could be a great project.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 1:04

2 Answers 2


You won't be able to simply bolt on a coaster brake. Coaster brakes are typically built into a single speed or 2 or 3 speed internally geared hub.

To fit a coaster brake you will have to replace the rear wheel hub, which obviously means a wheel rebuild, or whole new wheel with a matching rim.

Whether a modern coaster brake hub would fit in your frame depends on the dropout spacing of your frame. I guessing that single speed or 3 speed coaster brake hubs come in narrower widths as used on older bikes, likely around 120mm.

If your bike already has a internally geared hub then there are extra complications, if you replace it with a modern internally geared hub you need to fit a shifter and necessary cabling.


Yes, it's possible altought redundant. Anyway I'd check the pads(replace if necessary) and give the rim a good clean up with Brake Cleaner, just to make sure there is no oil or grease on it. Also check the spokes tension, as the rod brakes pull the rim outwards loose spokes may result in loss of braking power.


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