Brakes on Unicycle

Before I begin, if this post is not appropriate or should belong to somewhere else please feel free to delete/move.

I’m doing some research as I didn’t know some unicycle riders used Magura HS33. Do people with a brake grind their rims like bike trials riders would do? Also what type of pads do you use?

I’m interested as I’d like to provide brake pads and products to the unicycle community as well as sponsoring good riders.

Your input is greatly appreciated!

Aki @

Brakes are typically used for mountain unicycling and distance, not for trials, as they don’t help much on a trials unicycle.

Because of this, the important thing is modulation, rather than locking the wheel. People tend to use magura black, or magura grey (preferred by some people for less grippyness), and don’t grind/tar rims like bikers do, the ideal is for a really smooth & true rim, and quite hard brake pads.

I think there’s definately scope for unicycle specific pads, but I’m not sure what they’d be like, probably just very very hard, like magura grey pads but more so. Existing trials specific pads aren’t much use to unicyclists, as they’re all about grippyness.


Interesting! It makes a lot of sense. I never thought of carrying the Magura-brand pads as they are not really for a rider looking for instant stopping power but with modulation I guess they would be in demand.

Anyone else?

Keep in mind that they are generally used as a drag brake as well, not for stopping or staying stopped. We don’t brake to slow down as much as we brake to stay slow - if that makes sense. I know some people have theirs set to pulling the lever all the way only drags the wheel instead of locking it.

If you are looking to vend to unicyclers you might also want to carry maggie to v-brake post adaptors. Those are in high demand and currently they cost way too much.

I have found that even when pulled on full, my maggies cannot hold my weight on a slope. I ground the sidewalls of my halo rim for better stopping power, which helped a little, but not a lot.
It seems that no matter what I do, with my weight on the unicycle, the brake is pretty much useless. :angry:
Not sure which pads mine has, but it would be good to find some better ones. I have never been able to throw myself off by pulling on the brake, thats the sort of stopping power I want!


We carried Heatsink (UK) V-Brake adaptors and they are producing the 3rd generation which we’re waiting for. They are indeed pricey. And if you go cheaper with brands, I’ve read in other forums where break in matter of months. I know Bonz adaptors used to be popular but it doesn’t seem like they make them any more.

I’m not sure how much modulation the pads we carry can give you as they are designed to stop instantly. I weigh about 200 lbs and the brakes would lock (on my bike) and hold on almost vertical walls and rocks. If that’s the type of stopping power you want though then definitely check out the site. I can go on and on about brake pads but generally they are either for smooth or ground rims.

Aside from brake products what other unicycle products are hard to find in the US (and North America)? Are there many web-based stores that support the sport specifically?

I have red magura pads on my 29er, and on a steep muni descent I went down recently, I had to pedal forward–against the brake–to keep from stalling out. This is on a KH rim with no treatment. And I weigh 14 stone, so mine seem able to do the trick.

I noticed in your magura parts section that you didn’t carry the steal braded tubing kit. I think this is probably the most popular add on that unicyclists use for their stock Mags. We don’t need to worry too much about the brake pads so much as the cables.

Also if you wanna sponsor people, I could use a mag brake before I head out to China. :stuck_out_tongue:

Agreed. It took me quite some time to find anyplace that carried the braided kit (just got it in the mail today, from Universal Cycles; $68).

Ed - have you bled the brake, cos that sounds dodgy, the ones on my muni I more often take myself off the front than find myself unable to brake hard enough.

Is it an HS33, or an HS11? If it’s an HS11, does it have the bendy plastic lever, as that can reduce stopping power a fair bit?

What mounts do you have it on, magura ones or v-brake? The v-brake mount is very fiddly to get set up so it works well.


I didn’t know they were in demand. At least not for bike trials, maybe a rider would ask about the stainless steel crossover cable once in a blue moon. Good to know though :slight_smile: Thanks!

yeah it is amazingly easy to destroy the standard cross pipe on a uni if you ride on broken rock. Seen it happen twice and heard of many more incidences.

A problem with the standard braided crossover is the length. Mountain unicycles typically use a 3" wide tire and the standard length crossover just isn’t quite long enough for enough clearance over the top of the tire. So you have a problem where a stick or rock stuck in the lugs of the tire or buildup of mud on the tire can get hung up on the crossover possibly breaking the crossover cable.

29ers and Cokers (36 inch wheels) have smaller tires and don’t have the same clearance problems with the standard length crossover cable.

For my muni with a 3" wide tire I had a custom braided crossover made by a local DH bike shop.

One trick that some have done with brake pads is to cut away some of the pad so that less of the pad makes contact with the rim. That gives more modulation and makes it less likely that you will accidentally eject yourself by putting the brake on too hard.

14 stone? I didn’t know you were British!

For road unis, our RTL team has had problems getting the Coker stock v-brake to modulate at all, they are either on or off(read “thrown off the front of the uni”) I went to a different brake and pad and now they are fine. Part of the problem is no machined surface on the wheel, just paint. So for v-brakes, we would like less sticky pads.

Have you toed in the pad at all, toeing in is supposed to help a lot with modulation (meaning that the front is slightly closer to the wheel than the back). You can toe it in by putting in the brake pad with a couple of bits of paper under the back end, pull the lever hard, and then tighten up the brake pad.


I sanded and polished my airfoil rim to a nice shinny brake surface, MUCH better modulation and consistancy of brakeing than the powder coated surface that it came with.

I use HS33s with the black pads, thinking of cutting off half the surface to further reduce grabbyness but polishing the rim really helped.

The standard crossover line is a bit tight on my 36er. Some day I will replace my lines with Stainless Steel ones, I have ripped the line to my brake handle before.

One product I would like to see is a break mount that could be mounted to a regular 25.4mm seatpost similar to a mountain bike bar end, and after market break leavers that you could work with your thumb when holding a KH handle. (Sort of L shaped sticking out sideways, someone made one and posted it on these forums somewhere but I can’t remember who)

Airfoils are powdercoated now? thats too bad mine came black anodized and ready for brakes.

I don’t know if one of these Wilson Widget would work for you or not because I use my fingers not my thumb. but I am going to cast some more soon. If you or anybody else wants one send me a PM.

Those look cool but are not what I had in mind. The guy who had the L shaped leaver had his brake lever assembley mounted sideways under the seat with the leaver sticking up through the KH handle and the brake was activated by pushing it sideways with his thumb. I don’t have a break on my MUni (yet) but if I did that is how I would want it set up

The picture was posted around a year ago if anybody else remembers it.

Wow that looks really awesome :smiley: