Brakes - What to buy

I’m looking at the brakes sold on UDC. Seems that the Maguras are specialised unicycle hydralic brakes and they’re really expensive.

Correct me if I’m wrong but it should be possible to fit ordinary bicycle brakes on a unicycle too right? How do I go about doing that? Would there be any special fixtures I’ll need to get it to work? My frame doesn’t come with brake mounts so if that’s needed, suggestions on how to do it would be useful.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

maguras are for trials bikes. If you want some, you can get them cheap 2nd hand off ebay, I’ve not paid more than £20(40$) for either of my sets.


Here is one thread that has some adapters on it.


Also, you can usually get the Maguras cheaper on EBay, although I haven’t seen any steel braided lately…

There are usually some Magura HS33’s for sale on Ebay, although i think the factory cross-over is pretty tight on my 2007 KH24, other than that they work fine… worst case is getting a new cross-over tube and bleeding the system, may cost $20-40 if your LBS does it.

Here is the link to that…

EBay Maguras…

Sounds good but I can’t find any sellers locally. Shipping’s a bitch.

Have a look at this;
for some ideas about fitting a normal caliper to a frame.

There’s lots of other threads about it elsewhere if you have a search about.


Hm. Correct me if I’m wrong - I’m not technically-proficient at this point in time.

Brakes are basically a lever piece connected to a tube which is in turn connected to clamps.

To get them fixed on unicycles, you’ll need to somehow secure the U-shaped part of the brakes to the frame.

After that, the brakes should work fine.

Any sort of brakes sold in shops should be able to fit on a unicycle restricted only by wheel size

Assuming this isn’t for a muni you can attach these to your frame with hose clamps and put v-brakes on. Used v-brakes are often pretty cheap.

Or you can braze on maguras:

Then, of course, there is a drill a hole in your frame and use cantilever style brakes option. That’s what I plan on doing tomorrow with my coker and using a shifter lever for a drag brake instead of a regular brake handle. (folks here talked me into it. Cheapest and best option for me since I have a used bike parts store in town) That’s what the pictures above are of, and I think it is the best brake option for a non-muni if you can’t afford maguras with an adjuster nob. All the ebay maguras I’ve found don’t have the nob so you couldn’t use them as drag brakes - which is lame.

It’s for a large muni. Would there be a difference?

Cantilever and most v-brakes won’t fit on a large muni. You have to go with Maguras.

I thought that brakes disregard tire size?

I’m riding a 29" qu-ax.

Oh and is there any diff between front and rear brakes?

Caliper brakes need to be large enough for the C shape (well n shape really) to fit around the tyre, so if it’s a big chunky tyre on there, then you might struggle to get one to fit. They are the easiest brakes to adapt your frame for though as you only need a single hole through the crown of the forks.

V brakes can struggle to get around the larger tyers too, but there’s a lot more adjusments so it shouldn’t be that much of an issue. However, you will need a suitable post attached to your frame.

Maguras will fit around any tyre. They’re not as easy to fit, as you’ll need the mounts brazed on to your frame. Once they’re on though, you’ll have a fantastic set of brakes. As someone else has already said, a cheap set off eBay won’t cost much.


29ers can use v-brakes or large caliper brakes if you can get them mounted somehow. They are sometimes hassles though if you’re using bigger tyres, like the 29x2.3" big apple, or the newer muni tyres. I use maguras on my 29 because it was the least hassle option.

On 26x3, you can just fit v-brakes on if you are careful about the brake mount position, but they are a bit close to the tyre, caliper brakes won’t fit.

On 24x3, v-brakes again only just work, caliper brakes won’t.

Difference between front and back v-brakes and maguras is just the length of the cable / hose. For maguras, front is usually easier because you don’t have to shorten it, and messing with magura hoses is a right hassle. Difference between front and back caliper brakes I’m not sure, but I think back ones typically come with too short bolts to go through a frame, whereas front ones have a long enough bolt to go through a bike fork - at least that’s the difference with the ones I have here on my bike.


apart from being on a budget, I’m also very wary of drilling holes on my unicycle because face it, my mechanic skills leave a lot to be desired.

Which would be the best option for newbies like myself?

Thanks a lot for the replies, all of you.

Much appreciated and much enlightened. I hope I dont screw up fixing my brakes

If you want cheap, get someone with a pillar drill to drill the hole for you for a caliper brake.

If you want to do it well, get magura bosses welded on, and buy maguras off ebay, shipping a set of maguras is going to be cheap, they weigh next to nothing (assuming you’re in the US?)

If you have no bosses on the frame, then v-brakes aren’t a cheap option, as welding the bosses on is harder it seems, and on once you add up cable + lever + brake, they don’t come that much cheaper than maguras.


interesting… that seems like a neat idea, so would they be mainly for helping control long descents?

I’d beg to differ.

Corbin got some free scrap bikes off Craigslist. We took some old MTB caliper brakes and attached 'em to our Cokers in the manner illustrated in STM’s link. All it needed was one hole in the frame.

As it turns out, the brakes tolerate all kinds of slop in the mounting process. The pads move up and down on the calipers, and the calipers seem to “auto-center” with a simple squeeze of the lever, so you can be off center by 1/4 inch and still have working brakes.

The only tricky part was finding a place to mount the brake lever, since we didn’t have any off-the-shelf brake posts (available from UDC). A little welding solved that quickly.

Total cost: free.99. Well, okay, we used some welding rod, but that’s fairly cheap.

Yeah, that’s why I said cheapest = caliper brakes. You didn’t have to weld on brake bosses for them, which you do for v-brakes. v-brakes can be got quite cheap, but cheap ones won’t work any better than a caliper, and you still need brake bosses and to weld them on carefully (misaligned bosses just don’t work very well).


Ok I came across these on UDC:

The bike shops around are selling brakes in pairs no less, at ridiculous prices. Ebay isn’t too friendly either. I’m looking at getting some brakes 2nd hand and then getting these adapters.

Would there be anything I should look out for in used brakes? Like certain tell tale signs that they’re falling apart or something

For the price that adaptor is, it’d be worth asking round your local bike shops and asking if any of them can weld on brake mounts, or know someone who can. I know last time I knew someone who got that done, it cost them £20 (40$), and you end up with a much better attachment than having a bunch of hose clips on your frame.

If you need to get cheap v-brakes, ask around bikers, or on mountain bike classifieds sites, as loads of people have spares from upgrading to disc brakes.