Brakes on a 24"?

I am hoping to get a new 24" Muni in a couple of months, and I am looking at a 24" Kris Holm, or an Onza 24".

If I go for the Onza, I can afford a Magura brake on it, but if I go for the Kris Holm I will have to wait a couple of months for a brake.

I am starting to ride up and down steeper hills now, which is why I am planning an upgrade from my Pashley 26" Muni. The Onza has 165mm cranks and a 2.6" tyre, and the normal Kris Holm has a 3" tyre with 170mm cranks, I thought that both would be good choices for me.

What do you think?

The Onza with brakes, or the Kris Holm without?


both use the same hub/crank system so there is no difference there. The 165’s are more suited to the uk i believe, with 170s being unnecessary, especially with a brake aswell. This puts the only difference as the tyre and frame. A 3inch tyre is nice. Takes a lot of the bumps out, but i have never ridden a 2.6 off-road so cannot compare. However, i have seen people on rides in the lakes on the onza muni’s coping fine on the onza. It may even be better, as it is lighter, so easier to pedal.
Personally i would go for the onza. You can always change to a 3inch tyre at a later date.

So you wouldn’t use a brake at all?

It matters how steep your trials are around where you live, anyways, I would get the KH and wait for the brake.

Get the KH/Onza 2005. It has the 165s, which will be better than 170s, and also the 3" tire. I ride down plenty of steep hills, and I have never ridden brakes. Also, you don’t need to buy a new magura. Just check ebay, they go for about $20-30 all the time.

I’ve got the 2005 KH and my mate has the new onza. After riding them both I’d say go with the KH…Fat tyre fun! And you get the comfiness of the rail adaptor. I got a magura brake on e bay a few weeks ago for £30 and there were a few being sold.


I have only bumped into a single trail (about 20 feet long) where I hoped for a “break” (pun intended, not bone - just that the trail let up a bit).

My guess is that you should forgo the brake until you are riding at the level that requires one: or at the level of the best riders.

I have heard others say they are greatful they had a brake - and that they used it, but I noted that they didn’t do anything on the trail that wasn’t done by a dozen others sans brake.

(My thinking is only 2 types of people use em: Guys that need them for riding terrain that I wouldn’t walk down, and older men who must “save their legs from falling off”).

Methinks you’ll be extremely happy with the KH2005.

It really depends on the type of trails in your area and the style of riding that you do.

I have a Magura brake on my Coker and I love it and use it lots. It is so nice to be able to put a little drag on the wheel when doing downhill on a Coker. It helps maintain control and it can save your legs if you’ve got lots of downhill to do. I don’t need the brake on my Coker, but it sure is nice to have.

I don’t have a brake on my muni and I hardly ever miss it. Well actually I do have a brake for it, but the brake is sitting in the parts closet. I prefer not to have it installed.

On a muni there are two situations where a brake is handy or necessary: downhill assist to save your legs and technical areas on the trail where a brake makes a section of trail possible. I have run in to very very few places where a brake was necessary for a section of trail due to the technical features of the trail. But that depends on where you ride. Around my area there are very few places where a brake is necessary to ride a section of trail. If I was riding the Vancouver North Shore regularly I would certainly install a brake. But I don’t ride those types of steep technical trails often (hardly at all) so I’ve rarely found a need for the brake.

At the California Muni Weekend two years ago we rode the Downieville trail. It’s a long downhill trail. The people with a brake were walking normally the next day. The people without a brake were generally sore and walking funny the next day. A brake would have been nice there, but it wasn’t necessary to be able to do the ride.

I went riding with Jagur in Falls City. There are two areas on the trail there where a brake is a very good thing. One place is a steep downhill with a two or three foot drop at the top. You can ride the downhill without a brake if you don’t take the drop. If you take the drop you need the brake because the momentum from the drop will get you going too fast on the downhill to be able to control. If you do the drop you have to apply the brake immediately when you land and then still pedal madly to keep up with the uni. But those situations don’t come up very often for me. Not often enough for me to bother with a brake.

A brake comes with it’s set of problems.

  • A little bit of extra weight
  • More maintenance to keep the brake working
  • Needing to keep the wheel perfectly trued so it doesn’t rub the brake pads
  • The risk of breaking the brake lever

The brake lever is somewhat exposed and if the uni falls just right it can break the brake lever off. You can adjust things so that the front of the seat hits the ground first and protects the brake lever. But that only works on smooth ground. Often you don’t drop the muni on the smooth parts of the trail If the trail is rocky or rooty or otherwise uneven it is possible for the brake lever to hit a rock or a root and break off. If you use the brake regularly then it’s worth the risk. If you rarely use the brake then I don’t find it worth the risk of breaking the brake lever.

You can actually ride quite steep stuff without a brake. You just have to take it slow. It’s when the steep downhill bits get technical that the brake becomes needed. And when it gets really really steep a brake is needed.

At the muni weekends some of the people with a brake are looking for places to ride that require a brake. Often those opportunities are off-trail. For example they’ll find a steep rock face and try to ride down. If that’s your game then you’re going to need a brake. The off-trail opportunities like that are usually more extreme than the on-trail opportunities.

So it really depends on where you ride. You can always add the brake later. No need to get it right off the bat. Try riding without the brake and see how it goes. If you’re riding stuff where you can’t maintain control on the downhill bits then get the brake.

YEAH!! FAT TIRE FUN!!! I have a 05 muni with brake and I have become even dumber because it just pumps you with confidence so yeah go with the KH

I’d agree with most of what John said. Most mountain bike trails don’t require a brake, whereas some off-trail play bits would be nice with one. I think in many cases people use a brake as a crutch to avoid learning to ride steep downhills properly. I think some people nowadays get brakes straight off so miss out on learning the base skills, which means they’re just using brakes to ride the same trails as the brakeless people, whereas good riders with brakes can ride stuff that’s just way beyond that.

The other thing is that it depends how much challenge you want, I borrowed a brake equipped muni to have a go at a steep bit the other day and it was just so so easy, I’d say on that particular bit it required less skill to ride down with a brake equipped muni that it would have on a bike, let alone on a normal muni.

Brakes are mostly useful if you’re in seriously big hills, I did two 3000 foot hills in a day once, and it would have been nice to have a brake as I was aching quite a lot after about 6000 feet of descending. After a week of those sort of hills I was really feeling it. If you’re up in the Cairngorms riding down Munros, a brake would be handy.


Onza Onza Onza

Innes, man!

I don’t think a brake is necesssary.
I’v got an onza 24" with no brake. I learned to unicycle on it and then learned to go off-road on it.
I reckon not having a brake will make you a better rider.
Maybe it will help on super-steep, super-technical bits, but how often do you find them in Scotland? I’ve never found one!

The 2.6 tyre it comes with is a good, good tyre. When it wears out, get a Halo Contra or Nokian Gazzalodi (both 3inches wide).

165mm cranks are plenty long enough for Scotland, and they help for downhill by being so long - you get loads of control with them.

I’ve rode with folk with brakes but I did everything they did no bother.

Hope there’s some help in there somewhere!

Oh aye, go for the Onza! Cheaper and better looking than the KH. Also the rim that comes on the Onza is awesome, its so big! I’v done 1m drops with the tyre too flat and the rim hitting the ground and no damage came of it whatsoever!


99% of my riding is done without a brake, but I do enjoy having during that other 1% :wink:

The reason I have a brake is when in the North-Shore you need a brake because of all the trees and ladders so thats why I have a brake.

Thanks for all your help everyone.

I will wait for the brake I think. I love the look of the Kris Holm, but I have a good few weeks to wait before I order to decide, have sold out just now anyway.

I don’t think I need a brake yet. There is a trail that I go hill running and mountain biking would be a great trial to go unicycling on, but I don’t think I am ready for it yet. There is a section on it that is very steep, I think a brake would be good for that section, but as I said, I am not ready for that yet anyway.

Thanks again.


I’ve had a Magura brake on my KH24 since I bought it a year ago, but a few weeks back I busted one of the fittings and decided to loose the brake. I’d pretty much weaned myself off the brake over the past year, only using it for long fire road descents (as a drag brake) and super steep (for me) dirt single tracks.

As others mentioned, sans brake, the steep dirt is more strenuous from all the back pressuring, and the action is much jerkier and the ride much slower–the principal aim being not spin out of control. Hard on the quads the next day as well. I’ve never used the brake much on technical stuff, but I’ve only ridden the rocky single tracks up in Santa Barbara, never North Shore type runs. In SB, I believe I was the only regular who ever used a brake.

I’m not sure how a brake would actually be used on the rocky stuff up there–it’s mainly rolling and dropping between rocks and patches of angled dirt, at a low rate of speed, at least for us. But I imagine a world- class rider could use a brake somehow, though to what advantage I can’t say. In many cases the fun is seeing who can bomb the difficult straight rolling bits the fastest. Eyal, Hans, Jim and Phillip are all better rollers than I am and I’m pretty sure none use a brake. Jim certainly doesn’t. He’s like a torpedo on some of those runs.

My advice: If you’re going to run super steep dirt or long, steep paths, a brake is nice but not crucial addition, providing fluid peddling as opposed to comparatively jerky back pressuring. Otherwise, skip the brake.


go for the kh. ive got one and it is well worth the wait. the kh also has a wider tire which rolls better over rough terrain. you can also get brakes off of ebay for alot less than usual.

go for the KH, and wait for the brake. Although a brake helps a lot of steep terrain it will probably be worth it in the long run to get a KH.

KH. Now I’d be curious if you take our advice or not!! Let us know.

I’m one of those “old guys” who uses a brake to keep my legs from turning to jello. On my regular muni rides in Upper Bidwell Park, there are a few very steep (to me) spots with loose rock that I find quite challenging. I learned to ride each of these sections before I had a brake, but now I generally use the brake on them to help me maintain control. My biggest problem with UPDs is being able to stay on my feet–even if I’m not going very fast (and with me, very fast is pretty stinking slow), I often can’t keep my legs under me and I end up falling. I can’t really afford (from a physical point of view) a nasty, bone-crunching fall, and so the brake helps me take on steep/fast terrain that otherwise I might just walk for fear of injuring myself.

This post was almost a year ago, I’m sure he’s made his decision by now.