Coaster brakes are dangerous and confusing but they keep shipping kid bikes with them for some reason. How can I add a front brake to this bike?

enter image description here

  • 2
    The hard part is finding the right brake. A side-pull caliper could probably be mounted through the hole in the stem, but you need one with the right "reach". You also may have problems with that rim. Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 1:50
  • 3
    Coaster brakes are dangerous Compared to what? A front brake where a five-year-old with no concept of how to modulate braking does an endo? and confusing How so, and to who? Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 3:39
  • 13
    Coaster brakes are used for kids bikes for several reasons - they're cheap, they're good enough, they are incredibly robust and tolerant of abuse, and main reason is MAD-SKIDZ Children lack the hand strength to operate lever brakes effectively, which is amplfied by the small wheel size.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 3:48
  • Duplicate of bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/69237/… but that one doesn't have a lot of answers.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 3:49
  • 1
    Coaster brakes may be confusing for you. That doesn't mean they're confusing. Perhaps they're shipped on kids bikes (and dutch bikes) for a reason.
    – thosphor
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


Do not install a front brake to a bicycle that has not been designed for front brakes!!! A front brake requires a frame strong enough for front brake and a fork strong enough for front brake.

There is a quite popular bike sold in my area called Helkama Jopo. It used to be a coaster brake bike with no front brake.

Then, at some point of time someone working for Helkama thought it would be a good idea to switch the steel material of the frame to aluminum, and at the same time install a front brake. Unfortunately they did not design the frame to withstand the loads of a front brake.

The bikes started to fail (the frames cracked and separated in half during use). Some failures resulted in tremendously hurt riders injured for the rest of their life.

The manufacturer claimed that these failures were the result of incorrect use, i.e. jumping and doing wheelies with the bike. Not so!

There is a post in LinkedIn by a mechanical engineer analyzing the issue: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/miksi-jopo-hajosi-vesa-tiainen

Unfortunately the post is in Finnish, but the mechanical engineer showed that the failures were not due to incorrect use such as jumping and doing wheelies, but they were caused by the manufacturer's decision to install a front brake.

The manufacturer probably realized the mistake, and later front brake versions of the bicycle contained a slight alteration in the frame to prevent peak loads.

The manufacturer still today lies that wheelies and jumping were the cause even though they did a fix to the frame to allow front brake usage, and thus clearly understand that front brake caused peak loads in one part of the frame.

Your frame seems to be exactly the same type as Helkama Jopo, i.e. there are no separate top tube and downtube attached to the headtube. Instead, the top tube and downtube meet earlier and the unified tube attaches to the headtube. This design has exactly the same flaw as the Helkama Jopo design.

Your frame is not strong enough to withstand front brake loads!!!

  • Commercial children's bikes like the one pictured are absurdly overbuilt. I would not worry about this at all. A standard caliper brake can be mounted and should work fine. Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 21:48

enter image description here Sorry but

  1. You have to fix the handle first which doesn't appear to have been fixed in the photo.

  2. And the types of brakes which the cycle have and you are about to install the bicycle I have no idea about them also.

The question needs a detailed answer which I cannot provide you, Sorry for that.

The following pictures may give you some rough idea what you have to do. (enter image description hereCYCLING IS HEATHY THING), the little kid which is going to get this cycle should be taken care of and have a vigilant eye on him always it can be dangerous. Thank you. enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 4
    This looks like it's answering a different question
    – ojs
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 6:29
  • 1
    Kinda makes sense if you remove "clutch" and substitute "brake lever"
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 8:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.