Adding a brake to a balance bike

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Re: DIY brake install on Kokua Likeabike Jumper

Postby MattyK » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:44 pm

After some use by my daughter, I'm getting the impression that the pads aren't that great. It's hard for me to judge with a stronger hand grip, and without the same weight to stop. But my expectation is that she should be able to easily come to a stop, not just have a gentle slow down. As a result, the brake hasn't given her the downhill confidence I'd hoped for. Maybe nothing will and I'm expecting too much of a four year old girly-girl, without just getting out there more and riding it. But if I can throw $5-10 of pads at it, maybe things would be better.

Online reviews of the brake don't rate the original pad highly either, so I think I'm on the right track.

The existing set up is shown below. It's a 50mm pad, with a threaded shaft and a domed nut.

Image

I'm having a heck of a time understanding all the pad options on the market and their compatibility with different brands/systems. Seriously, how hard is it to have a pad that fits a slotted caliper arm and attaches with a nut or screw? Will anything do, or should I look for compatibility with any particular system? (or equally, avoid any particular compatibility?)

I think the only limiting factor may be not going for too long a pad due to the small wheel radius. But whatever is the grippiest compound available would be best, and given the use I have zero concerns about wear rate or heat capacity.

Thoughts and help appreciated.
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by BNA » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:27 pm

BNA
 

Re: Adding a brake to a balance bike

Postby MattyK » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:27 pm

Some searching suggests that clear or "gum" pads are the stickiest compounds. Often sold as BMX pads.
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Cate ... goryID=523

Is there any issue bolting on a V-brake pad to a caliper brake? Just extra messing around with the alignment washers? Again the only real issues I can see is the pad length.
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Re: Adding a brake to a balance bike

Postby MattyK » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:45 am

Hmm, nothing?

Further reading suggests:
a) v brake type pads will be fine and won't cause the bike to spontaneously combust
b) clear pads are as noisy as hell.

Maybe some Kool Stop Supra 2 in salmon?
http://www.koolstop.com/english/supra2.html
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Re: Adding a brake to a balance bike

Postby slippy » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:08 pm

Hi Matty,

A bit off-topic but I'm in the process of buying the same bike. I need to know how easy it is to remove the swingarm from the mainframe (just once for a very tight transport scenario). Is it just a matter of undoing a couple of bolts or is there more to it?

How did the brake end up? I'm pretty keen to add one myself. I don't really dig the way the caliper hits your frame, but the lever looks nice. Where did you source it?

Cheers.
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Re: Adding a brake to a balance bike

Postby MattyK » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:43 am

slippy wrote:Hi Matty,

A bit off-topic but I'm in the process of buying the same bike. I need to know how easy it is to remove the swingarm from the mainframe (just once for a very tight transport scenario). Is it just a matter of undoing a couple of bolts or is there more to it?

How did the brake end up? I'm pretty keen to add one myself. I don't really dig the way the caliper hits your frame, but the lever looks nice. Where did you source it?

Cheers.

Hiya slippy.

Swingarm removal is not hard, I've done it once to upgrade the rubber suspension to the firmer piece (honestly though the suspension is overrated unless your name is Jackson Goldstone). There is a single screw on the underside (travel limiter) to remove (or was it just back off?), then undo the main pivot bolt and it comes off. Both are allen key heads, 5mm I think (You'll need two tools for the pivot bolt and its nut)

That said I managed to bring the bike back from Singapore in my suitcase with just the wheels and bars off, don't think I even had the forks out but they would come straight out once you got the bars off..

The brake is good, though the pads with it aren't anywhere near grippy enough (as per my earlier posts). I'm looking for some super grippy pads but everything regarded as such (that fits, must be a short pad to suit 12" wheels) is typically rated as very noisy (eg clear or gum pads used for BMX or trials). But maybe that's not a big issue for low speeds? (or maybe it's worse?). I have some Koolstops in my CRC cart...

A wrap of heatshrink around the barrel adjuster nut would minimise frame damage. (As would leaving the steering limiter on the bike...<edit> but you couldn't install both at the same time...</edit>)

The brake parts were from SJS Cycles in the UK, links in my post of 22 November. (and a brake cable and anti-fray cap too)
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Re: Adding a brake to a balance bike

Postby slippy » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:40 pm

Thanks MattyK, very helpful. Fitting the bike into check-in luggage probably isn't a huge hassle, but try squeezing it into carry-on!
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