Brake in Santa Barbara

I’ve been doing a lot more muni around home but I also went up to a ski place and took the uni on the lift with me and rode down, but I am trying to get good enough to go and do more like Santa Barbara, is a brake really required, I have a really nice muni (not really sure if it’s exactly that) but no brake, is that kind of thing to steep of a downhill to not have a brake, I have gone down some pretty steep stuff but nothing that long, if anybody has any advice on whether I should get a brake or not plz post.


I just did Downieville yesterday. Five out of six of us didn’t have brakes. Us five are going to be really, really sore. You can’t unicycle 4000’ downhill and not be sore if you don’t have brakes. The brake takes a lot of the work off your legs. So yes you can ride it, but you also may be sore later!

After riding down Snowdon for the first time I couldn’t walk the day after, the last section was so long & steep. First thing I did after was buy a brake, and both times since its been a godsend. It also really helps you keep your control on very steep, short slopes, which you might end up going on to as your skill level increases.


I was also wondering what size tire to use, I was thinking of getting a Nimbus X 24’’ which I would imagine is really not the right thing to use, or should I use my 20" trials, which has a nice 3" wide wheel, also, for learning I have a sun 20":frowning: which I own shamefully, but for learning new stuff on I like it because it can get messed up and I don’t care, any who, should I buy another 20" trials which costs $80 for frame and wheel, still need to get a post, but should it be suspension?? And a Kh seat which I have already ridden on and know is good, if you have beared through this rambling post, please post the answers to my questions. Oh, and I want to start attempting to do some more intense trials, so is a Kh seat a good thing for trials as well as muni??

I recently rode one of the trails in Santa Barbara called Cold Springs Trail that will be ridden for CMW 2005. It’s really not that long, but it can occupy the “strongest” more experienced riders for hours. For this trail, you can survive without a brake. I rode with Eyal Aharoni, the chief organizer of CMW and he rides it without a brake as he does all the trails. This trail ROCKS!

Cold Springs is filled with sooo many rocky places, you often can’t use the brake that much, as it effects the control of the uni, IMO. You get more control with just back pressure on the pedals. However, on the smoother parts I used my brakes. I had just a little soreness in my quads the next day.

I ride with Maguras on my Muni. I use them as much as possible. It takes a great deal of time(practice) to be able to modulate the brake lever AND navigate over and around rocks in a trail like Cold Springs.

I only recently was able to use it on a very very rocky trail called Suicide in Ventura County. I was finally able, after 4 years of riding, to modulate the brake and mate it with back pressure. It helped on some rocky parts of the trail, and others, I just didn’t use it, because I still have more practice to do.

For trails with long descents, it saves the knees and ENERGY, especially if the knees are “problematic.”

For practice, look for trails with lots of rocks in it. Doesn’t have to be downward, level will do. And work the lines on that trail.

See you there!!

Vivalargo(John Long) rides Cold Springs often with Maguras on his MUni. I don’t know how much he uses his brakes on that trail, though.

Brakes are for wusses, I’ve used one before, and found that I don’t like the way they feel. The only time I would like one is when riding down a nearly veritcal drop, and usually, I can just skid and hop down most of it.

Be natural, don’t use a brake!!!

Ive ridden those gnarly trails in SB a few times. Each time without a break. And each time i was sore the next day.

Now this CMW is gonna be a whole weekend, not just one day! So you gotta get up the next day and do it all over again :smiley: . I think those that have brakes will be functioning alot better.

Yeah, I use a brake up in Santa Barbera, on Suicide, and anywhere else. My knees are sketchy from sports injuries and miles of backpressuring on gnarly downhill runs makes them ache. I don’t brake much on anything but steep dirt and long intermediate sections, finding I can spin faster and smoother with a little brake tension–a drag brake effect. My legs don’t hurt nearly as much the next day, as well. I haven’t experimented much with brake feathering on the grim, rocky sections as it seems like I have more control with just muscle pressure. But it’s something to start fiddling with.


That’s a pretty strong statement, given that the best riders in the world have brakes. (I don’t)

Re: Brake in Santa Barbara

An excellent question. Largo is right in that if you have knee problems, or if you’re not used to steep rides, it never hurts to have the option of a brake. I’ve been fortunate enough to ride the Santa Barbara trails at least once a week for over 2 years and my final verdict is that, if you’re in shape for downhill and you have healthy knees, then the amount of time you’ll want a brake on these trails is so small that it’s not worth it on this terrain. That’s because our trails are lumpy enough that you almost never have long periods of time with constant directional pressure. And as we’ve discovered, it’s very tough and pretty unnecessary to use the brake on the lumpy sections. In fact, I can only think of one section on one of our trails (San Ysidro) that makes me seriously wish for a brake, but that section only lasts for like 10 minutes. Again, if your legs are in good downhill shape, then I wouldn’t worry about it, but if you’re not riding downhill at least once a week on healthy knees, a brake could certainly help.