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My friend and his wife both have WalFart bikes that they very rarely ride...in fact they haven't ridden them at all this year. Several weeks ago...long story short...both the front brake systems are dismantled and just dangling off the handlebar. Now they don't even put their bikes on dirt...they will take them out once a year to ride on the road for like 6 miles and call it good.

I was telling him that he won't really need his front brakes for rides on neighborhood streets or the Boise river greenbelt. I did tell him that his stopping power will not be as great and to be very observant of potential hazards in front of him and her when they are riding and to ride defensively in skittish situations.

Would you guys agree with me or should they head to their LBS to have their front brakes fixed?

PS...they are cheapskates and they don't like the idea of a LBS charging them to fix brakes on their POS bikes. I honestly think it'll cost under $20-$30 to have 'em fixed.
 

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Another way of looking at this is to consider the plethora of cruiser and BMX bikes on the streets and sidewalks that have only a rear brake. I ride a "roadish" pavement bike (not quite a rode or touring bike, not quite a cruiser) with only a rear coaster brake, but I'm mindful of my reduced stopping potential and ride accordingly.

If your bud is just riding bike paths, trails and easy fireroad at moderate speeds, he and his wife are probably fine. But it still wouldn't be bad to remind them of the attributes and redundancy of a front brake and to be mindful of this if they delve into city traffic or steep hills.
 
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