Help me pick out a bike for my 15 year old

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Late To The Party

Look Ma, No Hands!
My 15 year old son is finally accepting that he can no longer ride his 20" BMX that he has had since forever. He is about 5-4" and very lean, but strong at around 130lbs. He will probably top out at 5-7 given his mother is short. He has Asperger's Syndrome, is very brilliant in school but is inflexible and quirky to say the least, think Elon Musk or Albert Einstein. His absolute requirement is coaster brakes as he is afraid of hand brakes (to the point he does not even want them on the bike if front only, I had to take them off his BMX). I'd like to get him into a 3 speed as the main reason he is making this changes is on a recent Boy Scout ride he could not keep up with the group with a single speed. We have some Rail Trails and our neighborhood is very hilly. We have a house full of old stuff, cars, motorcycles, antiques ect so a vintage or at least vintage styled ride would be fitting. Am I stuck looking at cheap beach cruisers or is there a better option? I don't mind a a bit of building but spring is here and I'd like to move quickly as its remarkable that he wants to make a change at all and riding season is here. I don't really have months to put something together but would like something that fits his needs and will last through college. Thanks in advance.
 

coasterbrakejunkie1969

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
My 15 year old son is finally accepting that he can no longer ride his 20" BMX that he has had since forever. He is about 5-4" and very lean, but strong at around 130lbs. He will probably top out at 5-7 given his mother is short. He has Asperger's Syndrome, is very brilliant in school but is inflexible and quirky to say the least, think Elon Musk or Albert Einstein. His absolute requirement is coaster brakes as he is afraid of hand brakes (to the point he does not even want them on the bike if front only, I had to take them off his BMX). I'd like to get him into a 3 speed as the main reason he is making this changes is on a recent Boy Scout ride he could not keep up with the group with a single speed. We have some Rail Trails and our neighborhood is very hilly. We have a house full of old stuff, cars, motorcycles, antiques ect so a vintage or at least vintage styled ride would be fitting. Am I stuck looking at cheap beach cruisers or is there a better option? I don't mind a a bit of building but spring is here and I'd like to move quickly as its remarkable that he wants to make a change at all and riding season is here. I don't really have months to put something together but would like something that fits his needs and will last through college. Thanks in advance.
You would need to be looking for a 3 speed coaster brake. They are not as numerous as the free wheel type but they are out there. I'm not sure what bikes they came on but I think you can find them on various '60/'70 bicycles. I would think about sticking with a 24 inch bike. The 26 inch Schwinn bikes are somewhat short so that may work out as well. Post in the wanted section. You look like you are in ATL so i think you are in a good area to have some luck finding one. Good luck
 

Oilit

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
You may also want to consider a Bendix 2 speed, either manual or automatic. Bikes with the Sturmey-Archer "TCW" three speed coaster hubs always came with a front caliper brake, probably because the rear wasn't that effective. The newer designs may have fixed this, but of the older designs, the Bendix brake was probably a better bet. There was also a S.A. three speed hub with a drum brake, but they're pretty uncommon, and I don't know how they would compare.
 
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vincev

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
WOW,thats like picking clothing for someone.I would try to present the conditions he would be riding and let him choose his own bike.When we were kids my buddy got a new bike.His dad bought him a Moulton.He was harassed and got into a lot of fights riding that thing.lol Heres a picture of him proudly standing by his bike, he sure looks happy....lol....


1597271
 

Allrounderco

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Have you looked at Electra? It's still a cruiser, and affordable. At sub $1k, relatively cheap to buy, but they are solid (I owned one). Availability might be a problem, but if you have a Trek dealership in your area, give a call.

Edit: Another thing to think about is that the Nexus coaster hub on the above bike could be adapted to any frame with a 135mm dropout spacing, by using a tensioner idler gear to take up the chain slack. So since you're willing to tinker, but are short on time, you could pick up a decent used (or new) quality steel bike (thinking Rivendell, Surly, Handsome, All City), and retrofit. In fact, I think Handsome already offers Nexus, with adjustable drop outs. So you can swap to the coaster hub, and forget the idler. Obviously if wheel building isn't your thing, hand this over to a shop, and DIY the rest.
 
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Late To The Party

Look Ma, No Hands!
Have you looked at Electra? It's still a cruiser, and affordable. At sub $1k, relatively cheap to buy, but they are solid (I owned one). Availability might be a problem, but if you have a Trek dealership in your area, give a call.

Edit: Another thing to think about is that the Nexus coaster hub on the above bike could be adapted to any frame with a 135mm dropout spacing, by using a tensioner idler gear to take up the chain slack. So since you're willing to tinker, but are short on time, you could pick up a decent used (or new) quality steel bike (thinking Rivendell, Surly, Handsome, All City), and retrofit. In fact, I think Handsome already offers Nexus, with adjustable drop outs. So you can swap to the coaster hub, and forget the idler. Obviously if wheel building isn't your thing, hand this over to a shop, and DIY the rest.
That Electra may be the ticket. Even the wife likes so that is a bonus. I checked inventory locally on-line but none of them have one in stock but have other models. Planning to go look at them this weekend.

That price point is good as well, I should have mentioned that. $750 is probably as much as I'm willing to spend.

The Bluebird would be for me 😂, but I already have too many toys. It's time to get the kids some.

Open to other suggestions as well.
 

Billythekid

I live for the CABE
Goto Facebook market place and type in nexus see if there r any that he likes once you have the wheel set and he likes it mabe you guys could build a custom bike he will really like and use the nexus wheel set On the custom after you build it

around me you can find a set of wheels with a bike for under 300 regularly That leaves you with 450 to build up a custom frame just an idea
 

Archie Sturmer

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Might look into an additional rear coaster brake; perhaps the aversion might be related to the front of the bike slowing down, but the center and rear want to keep going forward, (one way or another).
 

Rivnut

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Many models of the Schwinn middleweights came with the two speed kick back rear hub. They’re rugged but lightweight and easy to ride. The only drawback is they require a unique sized tire. 24” and 26” sizes.
 
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