coker questions with brakes and cranks

well today i went on my first big ride with my coker…
it was about 25miles and about 90degrees out for the high of the day…
well i encountered some terrible hills that were quite steep on both sides and i had to ride in the city too for half the journey…i was using my orange bud seat so i know i need a more comfy seat, plus my orange bud seatless for the moment…
my questions are should i invest in a good brake set…and what size cranks should i get…i switched the cranks from 150s to 127s and the 127s were no fun for going up hills and on down hills i did not have much leverage to slow down, especially when i would stop behind a car on a downhill…i managed to loose the coker once and hit the bottom side of a new car of an old lady…she thought i got hurt and her car was fine…other than that i loved the cranks for the flats…i live in a very hilly area though and hills are quite common so im thinking maybe 137s for the cranks…
oh yeah…anyone every fall real bad on their coker when they were goin fast? I was goin about 13mph and looked behind me to check the traffic and fell because i hit a bump and lost my balance and fell and managed to scrape my wrist and side of my hip, fortunantly for me there was no traffic behind me but there was a lady in a truck coming towards me in the other lane and asked if i was ok and if i need a ride anywhere…and a few people even asked me where the rest of my bike was or where my other wheel was at…

Oh yes, there have been several broken arms and legs in coker falls, but at speeds much much higher than 13mph. Ones that come to mind immeadiately are Roger Davis breaking his arm twice, and Ken Looi breaking his ankle, and then the same leg. People have also survived falls at similar speeds entirely unharmed.

150’s are the best all around crank size for Coker salad ride’s (flats, hills, MUni, quick stops wrapped up all in one ride).

127’s and shorter are great for cruising.

If you know how to fall, the extent of the damage should never rise to that of broken arms or legs - even at speeds of 16+ mph. I can definitely see some broken ankles and wrists happening though. There are those upds once in a while where you have no control of your fall however.

I fell pretty hard at the Unithon last weekend. I scraped and bruised my knees really badly (still haven’t healed)…but I was fine other than that. I was probably going 15mph or so.

127s are fine for climbing hills, it’s just a matter of building the muscle!

A BMX calliper brake is supposed to work well on a Coker. Although the Nimbus 36" comes with Magura mounts, Roger Davies recommends a calliper anyhow. It can easily be converted into a drag brake (for long downhills). It’s also cheap and doesn’t require any brazed on brake mounts; you drill a single hole through the crown of your frame (nb. the first issue of Uni magazine has a guide on how to do this).

I broke my ankle on a 26" and my tibia/fibula on a Schlumpf 29" :o

On the Coker I think I did my ACL when I landed on my shoulder.


i have this coker

does anyone know of which brakes work the best for it?
Do i need to have a bicycle style seatpost so that i can use brakes for mounting the brake handle?

You need to get used to the Coker with the long cranks first. If you are falling in the conditions you state then you’re not yet ready for the short cranks. You need to learn the control first then go to the short cranks.

Learn to ride the Coker with the 150s. They give good control and can save you from some UPDs and crashes. Then go to 140s. Then try something shorter after that.

In my experience the 140s will gain you about 1.5 mph in comfortable cruising speed. Going to 130s or 125s will gain you about another 1.5 mph in comfortable cruising speed.

But climbing with short cranks (130s) is still not my cup of tea. Climbing feels like my legs are in constant tension. I can feel a tight knot in my legs as I’m climbing because the legs are moving through a shorter range of motion and mashing more on the pedals. I don’t really like that. Longer cranks make the climbing more casual and easier on the legs.

Back before I got my adjustable Coker cranks (130, 150, 170) I was using 140s for my regular Seattle area riding.

If you’re crashing that much you’re not ready to ride with traffic. Also, when you’re riding with traffic you need to ride more carefully and not push the speed beyond what you can do. You should certainly never hit a car.

I’d stick with 150s until you never fall off on rides, then start thinking about moving down.


I ride my 36" with 110mm cranks. The reason I do so is the smooth ride on level ground at higher speeds without wobble. This was very hard downhill until I setup a magura brake. Uphill hasn’t been a problem for me since I also longboard and inline a lot…but I wouldnt suggest it for anyone without prior leg exercise as it is a workout. If you do think you want to go with short cranks like that on a coker just make sure you can control yourself downhill as you can get going pretty quickly and the uni can get away from you really easily.

Further to my previous comment; I don’t use brakes on my 36er because it’s relatively flat where I live. There hasn’t been the need. That said, pedalling downhill is a skill you need to learn - it’s kinda anti-pedalling because instead of cranking forward you’re just holding the uni back (by varying degrees in order to maintain balance).

Brakes can save your legs on long downhills. However, downhills that felt hard to control when I started on big wheels now feel trivial. However: don’t go too fast, don’t go too fast, don’t go too fast. When I came across my first significant hill I fell off - onto the road. I was tired and I couldn’t control my speed; I kept ending up with the wheel going faster than I could pedal (and faster than I could run out of - harder on a downhill). I was lucky and there were no cars coming at that moment. Still, if you’re not sure you can control a downhill around traffic you should walk it and then practise somewhere safe.

I find it helps to hold on to the uni when you’re putting lots of effort into slowing down; it gives you more downward force and stops it popping out if you get your backwards lean wrong.

I have a T7 handle on my 36er, which is something you might like (one day) to upgrade to). It’s quite comfy to keep one hand on that all the time; I generally only take my hands off if I need to do something both-handed, or if I’m going at low speed and want them for balance.

I have a Nimbus 36’er and a T7 handle with a Magura brake, it’s a bit overkill, but I enjoy the T7 Handle and the brake makes it really nice for downhills since my short legs can only reach 125’s I’ve fallen off at 15 mph and only come out with a bruised hip.

I have the 260 Big One.

Standard coker frame, standard steel rim, standard hub, standard everything.

It came with 150s, which I became very comfortable with, all hills up and down were easy, long rides I could spin the cranks easy and keep a good speed.

I switched to 125-127, I dont remember which ones, but I liked them. Just took a little longer to get used to them again, and even after that, I never felt as controlled as I do with the 150s.

I switched back to 150s, I like the control. I ride a lot of long steep hills, and very steep descents doing Muni on my coker.

I dont ride with brakes though, not on the 150s, or when I had the 125-7s, so I cant help you there.

yeah i understand with me switching back to 150s…
ive only had a Coker for about half a week so im still learning with how to control it good, would the T7 handle improve handling or make it more sway like?
wats your guys’ opinions on going up curbs? I try to stay away from them because i dont want to flatspot my rim but on some curbs they are soo small i just ride up and over them…

Small curbs I jsut ride right up, but with a narrow hub, steel rim, I try not to put a lot of force onto it.

If you have an airfoil, or a stronger set-up, im sure its fine for your coker, ive seen guys ride up stairs on them. =p

I only ride with a the old KH handle, thats all I need.

I strongly agree with the folks that say to stay with the 150s until you’re really comfortable with them. Really, really comfortable.

I rode my 36er (Radial 360) for over a year w/150s before trying 125s. I’m glad I got the 125s, but I feel strongly that until you get used to the big wheel, you want to have the control offered by having longer cranks.

yeah i just put the 150s on it so no more running into cars!

i hate how its harder to cruise with the 150s though…
i just went on a short ride and i hate how its harder to cruise, but its easier to maneuver and slow down…
does it matter where i would mount brakes on it?..ive seen videos of cokers with brakes in the back and brakes in the front so should i put the brakes on the back or the front?
Any specific brake that i should get for it?

V brakes are good you can put Maguras on but those are a bit over-kill (althought that is what I have) and I think mounting them on the front would be sets but I don’t know that’s just the way mine is set up.