brakes on the 29er

Do most have brakes on their 29er? How much do brakes help? I guess when going downhill which is obvious…

Mike Adams

Essentially the brake makes hills feel less steep. Applying the brake while riding down hill lets you shift the work of controling your speed from your legs to the brake. When you don’t have to keep back pressure on the pedals you can pedal more smoothly and actually ride down the hill faster.

I didn’t have brakes on my 29er until I put 125’s on it. The brake helped with the downhill stretches at first. After I had used the 125’s for a couple of weeks I noticed that I never used the brake anymore. If you are running short cranks the brake is a nice addition. With longer cranks the brake isn’t necessary, but can still give you a sense of peace knowing that if you need it it’s there.

I used a V-brake on my 29er, and they are cheap. If you have Magura mounts on your frame it is super easy, and under $5, to install the V brake. You will still need a lever mount for your saddle, but again easy to make.

I had a BMX caliper brake on my 36 before I put a V on it, and it was great. In fact I would say that it’s all the brake you need for a unicycle. Mounting is as easy as drilling a hole in the crown.

I have brakes on my geared 29er. For a geared uni they help a lot; for an ungeared 29er, I wouldn’t bother unless you do real MUni with it. (Which I do). On roads, it just won’t come up that much.

The need for brakes on a 29er depend on the type of riding you do. Some riders will feel the need for a brake on long down hill stretches with short cranks -like 125s. Having brakes on a long downhill can make the difference between having a little “gas” left in your tank at the bottom of the hill and feeling like your knees/legs are done for the day. . . . and it does seem like this is related to fitness level and age of rider.

That said, I sell a lot of new and used Magura brakes on here and the most frequent wheel size that folks ask for brakes for are 29ers, followed by 36er, 26 and 24 is last.


Brakes are great for slowing a descent, esp when you’re tired. I use long cranks, which provide a lot of stopping power, but even then I wil resort to brakes when tired.

They also help hold you in place when resting against a tree or when stalled on a hill.

Using brakes requires practice, so don’t be suprised if you hate them at first, it takes time to figure out how much brake is too much brake.

I found that learning to brake on a uni is easier when the wheel is wet, makes them less grippy.

My cranks on my 29er are 145. I guess those are long…I guess that is a benefit for long distance riding…

No, for distance riding you want cranks as short as you can manage.

So what size cranks would be good for long distance riding on my 29er? I am 5 ft. 10 inches tall.

As I said, the shortest you can manage. That depends on your terrain and your skill. Personally, I wouldn’t imagine riding any kind of distance on 29er on cranks longer than 125mm, and I normally ride 110mm for around-town toodling. I’d probably go shorter if my area were flatter. But it takes practice to get used to shorter cranks; if you haven’t ridden with 125s or 110s you will probably feel out of control at first.

Umm, it really depends on who you’re asking :roll_eyes:

On a 29er, long > 150, short <150. I ride 170’s for muni, both on my 26er and 29er.

For me, power is more important than having a smooth spin, esp cuz I’m on trails, so my spin rate tends to be slower as I move through obstacles.

I’m fortunate in that I have all sizes of unis and lots of cranks lengths to choose from, so I experiment a lot.

If you’re riding 150’s now, having some 135s and some 165’s would make for a nice compare and contrast. KH makes some combo cranks too (165/135 and 150/125).

I liked 150’s for trail riding, but on the road I didn’t feel like I needed the extra leverage over the 125’s. I sold that uni before I got around to it, but I suspect I would have liked 114’s on it.

What length are the cranks you have?