Anyone out there who thinks brakes are a waste of time?.....

160mm = “shortish” cranks?

One of the strongest riders I know, Aspen Mike, rides sans brakes.

He rides long cranks on his 29er (170?) and has ridden this way for longer than I have been a unicyclist. I asked him about getting brakes and he didn’t think he needed them cuz he’d been doing fine without them so far.

Do you wear glasses to see?
Do you wear a jacket?
Do you play soccer with cleats?

Sure, you can do without, and yeah it makes you less effective and/or you will work harder for the same performance, but if you are doing it to make the mundane harder, well you might just want to find some harder trails.

I guarantee you that there are trails you would not ride without brakes or very long cranks. On a 24" you are limited by pedal strike issues, so 165’s are
pushing it, but riding 125-137 would be tough to control the muni, so that’s where the brake comes in.

Bikes didn’t used to come with brakes, but try taking a bikers brakes away now and offer them a coaster brake or a fixie :roll_eyes:

But if you don’t ride anything that requires brakes, then yeah, you don’t need brakes.

The Oracle comes standard with brakes, kinda like a bike.

If you don’t want a brake, then you should probably buy a KH or other muni without the dished wheel, it’ll make for a stronger wheel that way.

I use my brake like a biker, so hard stops, cornering, feathering on downhills, and to hold me in place when I rest against a tree.

Hey Jacob, have you considered reducing your crank length so you can spin faster? If you were running 125-137 on your 24 Oracle, and riding some fast downhills, that brake might see more useful…

If you are coming down from 170’s, then yeah, they are shortish. Short cranks would be 150’s. Keeping mind that we’re talking about ridin muni on a 29er, so a smaller wheel would have a smaller crank “standard”. If it makes you feel better, I’m running 150’s all the way around over the winter :wink:

Uh, plenty of bikers use coaster brakes and fixies without rim brakes.

150s are not short cranks. The vast majority of unicyclists use cranks that are 150mm or shorter.

I’ve ridden 29er MUni on 110s without a brake, and regularly did it on 125s until I switched to the geared 29er with 150s (which does have a brake).

I don’t think not having a brake damaged your knees- as you yourself pointed out, it was the fact that you switched to something you’re not used to (going brakeless) and did so full on, without acclimatising by doing short rides to get used to it.

My knees are a bit flaky due to age, but, riding brakeless, I have no issues whatsoever with unicycling- I stongly suspect that unicycling is good for my knees. I say that because last year I started riding a bike (non fixie) and noticed my knees getting a few twinges- when I decreased the biking and upped unicycling, my knees ceased to hurt.

No you as well!

Please, just face up to the fact that some people have not ‘found the brake love’ because they are not interested in running brakes- they prefer (for whatever reason- often based on simplicity) to not use brakes.

And, it’s a little insulting to be constantly told that we don’t use brakes because we’ve not experienced them, or that we don’t understand them etc.

Just as it’s annoying/insulting when we’re told, as used to be very common on this board, that if we’re not aspiring to sub 125mm cranks on our big wheel unis that we’ve somehow deficient, or that, if we’ve riding ungeared unicycles, that we’re missing out.

I don’t use brakes/gears/short cranks because I don’t want to- I prefer the simplicity and ease of maintenance of the pure unicycle without the extras, and, if I do feel the need for brakes/gears/high speeds, I’ve got a 2 wheeled bike in storeage.

Preaching to the choir, Dave :wink:

I have MTB and BMX if I get the urge to do fast things with brakes. My unicycle is harder to ride and I’m enjoying controlling the downhill speed just with the cranks.

There is no right or wrong way to ride ANYTHING - it’s all about the fun :smiley:

Aspen mike is a fantastic rider- I believe he goes down, and up, long steep mountains. Most people use brakes on big wheelers to save their knees on downhills and enable them to use short cranks. Short cranks are rubbish on long, sustained uphill climbs. I suspect that’s why he uses long cranks, a side effect of which, is not needing a brake for the downhills.

Funny you mention glasses- I’m short sighted and own glasses, but choose to not wear them: they make the world look, to me, overly sharp. I prefer the subtle blur of unaided sight, plus, I have the instinct that wearing glasses continuously would lead, as it seems to do with others, with weaking eyes that require a stronger prescription with passing time.

And, I don’t ride brakeless to make the mundane harder- I do it cos I prefer going brakeless and like simplicity.

Let me throw it back at you- if you want all the benefits of brakes, and want an easier and faster ride so you can tackle harder trails, then what are you doing on a unicycle when you could be on a bike?

I agree- there are trails you can’t ride without brakes. I’ve no problem whatsoever that some unicyclists use brakes and can do those trails. Just let’s face the fact that some of us choose not to.

Fixies are getting more popular with each passing year- even in ridiculously hilly places like Sheffield, I’m seeing more and more of them.

Some bikers prefer a bike without gears, and they each have their own good reasons for doing so. Certainly, with bikes, they’re not doing it to save money, as fixies are not cheap. Like I mentioned above, riding a fixie is also considered to be better for the knees than riding with a freewheel. Maintenance is certainly much easier on a fixie.

I agree 100%

You’ve also just reminded me that one thing I love about unicycling over biking, is that I get to control my hill descents with just my feet, whereas on a bike, I have to lean forward and control the brakes with my hands.

I much prefer going down, in an upright position, controlling the descent myself, without having to operate a mechanical device that takes all the feel out of it.

Again, I’m not knocking brakes- operating them is a skill it itself, I just prefer the feel of controlling things with my feet.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love having a brake (mmm, disc performance) I just think it’s funny how sometimes they make your riding worse.

They do make you a lot faster I’ll give you that.

Exactly! I’m not a gram weenie so I leave my brake on my Oracle so if I feel like using the brake I use it. For the most part, I rely on leg power alone to add chalenge to my ride. Once I get bored of that, I use my brake and do the section a lot faster (brakes make you quicker, fact.).

I kind of think of unicycle brakes as a crutch for “old knees” or for really crazy steep stuff. Most of the guys who get Magura HS33 hydraulic rim brakes from me are in my same 30’s-40’s demographic group. I do know that they let me ride faster downhill with less fatigue and less fear. . . though that could also be the Tequila helping out there.

Probably, that or the Captain Morgans…

Just because you can’t use a brake effectively is no reason to get mad at me :stuck_out_tongue:

I think you’re taking me too seriously, I don’t care if anyone uses brakes, in fact I don’t care what people do, so if you want to skip wearing your glasses, then by all means… but don’t get mad when you start having headaches and your eyes are tired.

Brakes are a tool, nothing more, they have their use, but having them is not a disadvantage unless you don’t like wearing your shoes or glasses :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree with the “old knees” crutch. I will ignore the brake on some down hills, but down the steeper stuff I will use them more to spare the knees rather than avoid fatigue. Fatigue and muscle burn are good. Pain is not. I don’t use Tequila, but sometimes at work (middle school) I wish I could. :wink:

I dont know. riders like Jacob S use them to there full extent.

Brakes. A noob’s perspective.

They look really cool. Especially the disc.

I’m still struggling to learn but the Oracle for me is pure eye candy.

FYI-I’m pretty sure the top 5 riders (maybe even the top 10 or more) in both XC and DH at Unicon all had and used brakes…just saying that if you want to be fast and have a chance at winning a comp, brakes are probably a good thing. :slight_smile:

But if it’s not and you just want to have fun doing muni, then by all means don’t get a brake!

The DH course at UNICON was insane without a brake (steep and loose); as mentioned above, it depends on your terrain.

I use to be anti brake, rode all the trails with 165’s then got some stronger legs and switched to 150’s (all on a 24inch)

So then i started hearing all these comments about “saving” your legs on big downhill trails. Honestly I laughed out of ignorance and thought that brakes were useless and only were a hinder to the rider. Needless to say I spent 3/4 of a tour riding with some nutty european downhill riders and at the end of the day I couldnt even walk… stayed that way for the next few days and for the following weeks I couldnt walk downhill at all. Sooo i think in that situation brakes SAVE you.

Another way that brakes work good, disc brakes that is. For going faster… but how? They merely slow you down. This is correct, so now you can use shorter cranks and rely on the brake in techy sections and also once you learn how to use it you can feather it and spin down hills faster than ever and still be in control.

Now another way that I have learned to love brakes is to use them to soak up big drops so my ankles dont have to. Now you can off drops with steep landings and not focus all your attention on slowing down on the landing, merely finger the brake and itll do the work for you. Helps you TONSSSS with technical riding and will make you faster.

Lastly the brake just looks badass, mountain bikers see that thing and see that you mean business :sunglasses:


I burst the link hose on my Magura brakes when I was doing the downhill muni at unicon… doinf the course without brakes totally killed my legs!!! so bad I had to pull out the 100K :frowning:

I did it without brakes and was hurting for three days afterwards. Worst my legs have ever felt after a MUni ride.

That MUni Downhill course beat me up too. Since I had ridden the mountain the day before (no brakes and 145s on my Wilder) I was already somewhat compromised, and I ended up skipping and sliding down much of those downhills because I didn’t trust my legs to be able to hold me back.

Then my legs were really messed up the day after that…for the Marathon! :slight_smile:

If you don’t think you need brakes, you probably don’t need brakes. But if you intend to travel, and ride on different terrain outside your local area, you may want them at least sometimes.