I am just back from a quick blast round the small woodland area near my house on my KH 24" Muni. I was out for my first proper ride on steep long hills last night, and my legs are a bit tired.
I expected them to be a bit worse, but they are feeling slow after the long steep decents last night.
I mentioned brakes a while ago when I was planning my next unicycle, and now that I have it, I am thinking about whether to get brakes in the future or not.
One of my main worries about brakes, is that when I come off and don’t manage to catch the unicycle, how big a chance will there be of me breaking the lever off? Does this happen a lot, or is the lever quite tough?
I remember people mentioning before about brakes saving your legs on the long decents, do most people go along with that?
A brake on a muni isn’t mandatory, but it sure makes the downhills easier. For road cycles too.
Usually the brake handle is mounted directly underneath the seat, so that a tumble won’t hit the brake lever…never any guarantees though. Check out photos of munis in this forum by doing a search, and you will see the most common brake setups.
I never thought you needed a brake on uni’s, thought you’d be a better rider for not having one.
But, I’d never ridden down a long steep hill before.
I did this 2 weeks ago, me n pebbles went to Cairnsmore in sw scotland (my ma lives 3 miles from it), walked up for an hour pushing the uni’s.
We got back down in 10 minutes! An amazing 10 minutes!
This was the first time I had felt “the burn” on the top of my legs from going downhill. I’m used to it on the uphills.
So, 10 minutes of downhill cycling through all different kinds of surface (mud, grass, rocks, streams, gravel, everything really!) had the result of me not being able to walk properly for 3 days!!
My thighs ached! Sitting down or standing up was the worst!!
This made me rethink my brake ideas. If I had had a brake, I could have cycled for longer and not had sore legs for 3 days afterwards. Plus my feet were pretty sore from putting loads of pressure through to the pedals.
But I still think this is all brakes are good for.
If you’re gonna be going down hills a lot then I would get one.
I really enjoyed the long down hills on the unicycle the other day, and I would like to do a lot more of that type of riding. I think you have a point about being a better rider with out them, but I like the idea of having a brake for when I want to use it.
The tired legs were not really too much a problem the day after, but I did find that my legs were tired when I was on the hill, and at one point when I had to free mount I was struggling. If I had used a brake on the down hill I would have been able to ride more when the trail went uphill again.
I think another good reason to have a brake, is to make it easier to peck up steep hills on irregular surfaces… I find that if I go up a hill directly sideways, the tire wants to fold over unless i make it stupidly hard, and if i turn into/away from the perpendicular axis a bit to minimize foldover, it’s hard to predict where the wheel will want to go… and not really much fun hopping with more pressure on one pedal, anyway. I think a brake would be great, you could hop up a steep slope without even turning sideways at all, provided you could lock the tire
You can do that but it’s not as easy as you would think. For a fun experiment you should borrow a unicycle that has a brake, lock up the brake and try to balance in place while holding on to a wall. It’s difficult to do even while holding on to a wall. Jumping while the wheel is locked is even more difficult. When you crouch down to jump your center of gravity changes. With the wheel locked you can’t adjust the wheel to account for that change. It’s very difficult to balance on a unicycle if you can’t control the wheel. You can lock up the wheel and hop up a hill while the wheel is pointed straight up the hill. It’s just not easy and you have to learn a different style of balance. I can’t jump that way very well at all.
What rim are you using and what tire? Wider rims and stiffer DH tires pretty much solve the foldover problem unless you like to ride at extremely low tire pressure. I ride with a 24x3 Gazz and a DX32 rim. I keep the pressure high enough so I don’t bottom out when plowing over roots and rocks. At that pressure I have minimal foldover problem.
I recall that you were recently excited about a new KH XC muni. So you’ve got 150 mm cranks. A brake will make some steep downhills much easier to control.
You set the brake lever back far enough so that the front of the saddle hits the ground before the tip of the brake lever. That all works well on perfectly flat ground but you don’t muni on perfectly flat ground. If your muni falls just right on some uneven rocky rooty ground it is possible that the tip of the brake lever will contact a rock or a root before the tip of the saddle does. In that case the brake lever will take a good hit and can break. You can either break the lever or you can break the body of the break (near where the pivot is). Hopefully you only break the lever. The levers are easier to replace. If you break the break body you have to replace the entire break body. So yes, it can happen that you break the break.
Careful positioning of the break lever will lessen the likelihood that it may hit the ground first. If you’re going on a ride where you know you won’t need the break then you can even take the break lever off. That’s easy to do with the Magura break. Just remove the pivot screw and the lever will come right off. That wouldn’t be so easy to do with a cable break.
John’s description of breaking the brake lever happened to me in New Jersey two years ago. I was trying to hop over a stack of logs. The Muni went down and the lever went right into a log. It bent it back and broke.
I lost the use of the brake for the remainder of the weekend. You can’t buy just one replacement lever, (for Maguras), you have to buy them in a pair. So, now I ride with the extra lever in my pack all the time. It’s light and takes up little space.
I don’t know what rim it is, comes stock on the 2004 Nimbus 24" Muni, it’s 1.75" wide at the tire bead part, and I’m running a duro leopard tire. I can get up the steeps sideways, and the tire doesn’t fold all the way over, but it feels really weird because it starts to, and sort of springs back. Maybe if I had some longer cranks, it wouldn’t feel so crazily out of control when the pedals push back, I’m riding on only 152 mm cranks. I probably will only go longer if/when I replace the hub with a splined one.
You will note that I now use my thumb to activate the brake. I have since finished the frame. I went with a brilliant yellow plowder coat. And of course there is a handle on the end of the aluminum extension. I do have to reinforce the aluminum part though. A few drops and it has slowly started to bend inwards even though it was heat treated.
I don’t mean to hijack this forum, I just wanted to show that it is possible to vertually hide the handle out of the way of danger.
[QUOTE] Originally posted by john_childs
[B]You can do that but it’s not as easy as you would think. For a fun experiment you should borrow a unicycle that has a brake, lock up the brake and try to balance in place while holding on to a wall. It’s difficult to do even while holding on to a wall. Jumping while the wheel is locked is even more difficult. When you crouch down to jump your center of gravity changes. With the wheel locked you can’t adjust the wheel to account for that change. It’s very difficult to balance on a unicycle if you can’t control the wheel.
spose it would be like trying to do a still stand on a pogo stick
(this thread has changed my views on brakes, they would completly be piontless for me, thanks for saving me some money :))