ok, here it is: I’m sort of a newb unicyclist, but I am getting pretty good. I’m not planning on getting anything with brakes, but I would like to know how they work. How do you manage to hang on to the handle? one of the uses would seem to be stabilizing the wheel while hopping, so how do you hang on to the brake lever and the seat handle at the same time? the time I tried a uni with a brake, it seemed that I wanted to hang on to both with one hand. I suppose it wouldn’t be so hard to do while MUniing, but I still don’t really understand how the placement would work with your hands and the seat handle.
I have a brake on one of my unicycles (the KH24). It uses the KH saddle. The seatpost has a brake mounting bracket on which the brake is mounted.
With my hand on the front handle of the saddle I’ve positioned the brake lever such that I can easily reach the lever with my middle finger. Usually this is enough. I don’t normally use a whole lot of braking power – just enough to take the edge of long downhill stuff.
When I need more braking that I can obtain with the single finger i grasp the handle more from the side and then I can get several fingers around the brake lever. Unfortunately this compromises my grip on the handle.
I’ve seen other riders use a brake lever extender. This allows two or three finger control of the lever without requiring an unusual hand position on the handle.
I’ve only been at this a little less than 6 months, so consider these comments in this light.
The rail adapter/extension on a KH 24 (and oher models) lets you place the brake handle just below and slightly back of the front seat guard. With your hand pulling up on the guard with index and middle fingers, your ring finger and pinky can easily feather the brake handle just below, especially if you’ve attached a brake handle extension (10 bucks from Unichycle.com) that gives you a “T” configuration handle, which is much easier to grab and feather.
On steep, technical stuff involving rocks and hops, the brake is often a liability–if you change pressure in mid-air, the moment you land you’ll either face plant (too much prssure) or the MUni will run away with you (too little pressure).
In short, applying even pressure on rugged terrain is hard, though not impossible. It takes time to figure out how to fluidly work the brake over big bumps, drops and hops, and it’s often easier just to brake with your legs (by back presuring the upstroke). I rarely use the brake wen the terrain gets jagged.
With experience, hoping from and onto flat planes is fairly easy, but once you’re hoping from and onto slanting planes, everything gets much harder. Sometimes when I practice on the rock jetty near my house, I can use the brake to lock the wheel on certain hops that are grim to stick owing to the step plane. This might be a valuable technique, but I’m too new to it to know for sure. It seems to hold some promise when really steep, oblique angles are encountered.
For my money, the brake is indispensibe in three areas. One, on long, super steep dirt single tracks; two, on relatively smooth steep rock slabs; and three, on long stretches of steep but easy terrain that otherwise blow your legs out. Doing these sections without the brake is also crucial – just to know how to do them. But on long, hard MUni rides, you can blow yourself out on the first few miles (without a brake), and you’re too tired to really cut loose on the technical bits below. I’ve found his to be the case on some of the long Santa Barbara rides. By the end, I’m just trying to survive, as opposed to taking harder lines and trying challenging variations. But then again, I’m old.
Lastly, keep your rim true, or else the brake will grab when the rim wobbles. Not good.
I have kh24. in the seat post you have standard place for putting the brake. to put the lever closer to the hand I use brake lever extension. and it works great for me. I saw some people riding without brake lever extension but for me it didn’t work because it was too difficult to grab the brake lever. and I cannot imagine riding without brake.
very very steep heels. when you are braking using the legs you can brake only in two positions when the pedals are in horizontal position or very close. so you have a very little time to brake and you are putting a lot of pressure at one moment on the pedals and the tire can slip and you fall. when I use brake I can do more steep heels that without.
on very long heels. after couple minutes riding down when is very steep I don’t feel legs so when I use the brake I don’t have to pedal so hard.
sometimes when I am very tied and I am riding fast I have to stop immediately (somebody on the pavement) I cannot stop doing it with my legs so I use brake for a moment and I know that I can stop in all circumstances.
brakes are simple. you dont squeeze the brake while hopping, or else you will die. and when going down the hill you just lean back a little bit. the problem with the levers is that there are not enough products to make squeezing the lever more comfortable. so people always have to fabricate their own devices all the time. its just like air seats, we have to put a bike tube in a sock or what ever (so redneck, but works we will have products in the future that will already be built and ment for its purpose (like a sock goes on your foot, and a bike tube goes in a tire) i cant wait for the future of unicycling