Brakes on a 20"?

I’ve seen the Kris Holm Pro series 20" trials uni on UDC and realized that it has brakes. What would be the main purpose of brakes on a 20"? It’s not as though its a coker and you would be flying down hills. Is it for trials purposes? Would it be any good to slow down from gliding? I searched for forums but only found threads on mounting maguras.

I have wondered about this myself. As far as I can see there’s very little reason to have brakes on a 20" trials unicycle. Maybe if it were being used as a kids’ muni (though who’d give their kid a KH Pro, when the standard one would do?)… really beats me!

I agree, brakes on a 20’’ are just a gadget… but when speaking of the subject with the FFM president (Anne So) she always argues that she would have been glad to have breaks on her uni during her last summer alpin week-end, when they rode exclusively downhill. I answer that a real Muni (with brakes) would have been far better;)

My own personal feeling is that a brake on a unicycle would spoil the purity of the riding experience - the simplicity of the crank/wheel/tyre combination, chosen for a purpose, but always a compromise. However, I can see how for certain types of ride and certain types of rider they would be useful.

I have never done trials, and never intend to. However, I can see that the ability to lock the wheel with a brake might make certain very precise hopping movements even more precise. I can also see how a drag brake might help on long descents on a MUni or Coker.

One thing I do know: I bow to Kris Holm’s greater knowledge and experience and if thinks he needs a brake on his own uni, I’m not going to call him a wuss for using one!

Here’s a thread with a good discussion on trials with a brake.

I once asked a guy selling his trials on this forum that question, he said that it helps to mount on skinnies if you have a brake. I have new onza which has brake mounts on the frame, but I can’t see myself ever using them, just more weight.

They would definently be of use hopping across anything skinny. When you hop across rails, it is incredibly hard because the wheel fights with all its will to turn backwards or forwards depending on where you sit on the rail. With a break it would be much easier.

You don’t need one to do it, but it would make it less scary, and easier.

Have you ever tried jumping forwards while holding the wheel locked with the brake? It’s not easier and is awkward.

If you have a muni with a brake try this exercise
Do a still stand and lock the brake
While the brake is locked do a forward jump
Land with the brake locked
Try to do another forward jump while the brake is still locked

That is not easy to do even on perfectly level ground. I don’t see how a brake would be helpful when jumping on rails like the rails on a ladder. You need to be able to control the wheel with the pedals to maintain balance and prepare for a forward jump. You can’t do that when the wheel is locked. Maybe if you had perfect balance and control you could do it, but if you had perfect balance and control you wouldn’t need the brake for that in the first place.

It is possible to come up with some situations where a brake would be helpful in trials moves. Doing a series of forward pecks up a steep skinny is one. Maintaining control on a steep downhill skinny is another. Holding position on an awkward off-camber object (like a large boulder) would be another.

It would be interesting if someone good at trials tried a brake and came up with some new moves and techniques that take advantage of the brake. There might be some innovative moves and techniques that could be done that haven’t been thought of or fully exploited yet. I’m not going to discourage someone from experimenting and innovating.

An innovative brake mount or brake lever that allows use of the brake both seat in while holding the handle and seat out when holding the side of the saddle would also be helpful. If someone could think of and design and build such a thing.

Well, now that we’ve discussed why one would use brakes on a trials uni, does anyone here use them for such?

When I do road riding, it’s not uncommon for people to ask “Where’s your brake?” On my Coker with a brake, the observant ones notice it, though sometimes AFTER they have asked the question.

So one reason might be to get fewer of those questions…


Ahah, yeah I suppose, but a more affordable solution for that question is to point to your feet. :slight_smile:

Hmm, I have tried hopping around on someone else’s 24" Muni with a break. It does feel much much different because you can’t do the subtle balance corrections you usually do. I still think you could use it to your advantage on something (like a rail) and maybe release it when you land, then repress it or something like that, but I’m going to have to bow to your greater knowledge on the subject :).

I know I wouldn’t put them on my 20".