Hot Take: Can we finally quit putting brake tabs on the wrong side?

I expect this to be controversial, but I decided I’ll put this opinion out there: I think it’s time to stop putting disk brake tabs on the righthand side of the frame. Time has shown that 100mm bearing spacing hubs, even with an inboard disk brake produce plenty strong enough wheels - not only with the bullet proof rims we tend to have on unicycles, but with light carbon fiber rims too.

There is no reason to lock people into one choice of cranks and pedal spacing (looking at you, KH unicycles). No reason to make the fit of crank splines a critical dimension to the brake rubbing, and to move braking forces through that interface.

I’m especially getting tired of frames with two brake tabs being labeled as an “advantage”. For most people, that is an unecessary part, which adds cost and weight. I’ve seen people spend extra money, or choose less strong parts for similar weight savings as not having that tab would deliver.

There are enough spirit cranks left for Schlumpf owners who want an external disk brake, and they have enough money to get a tab welded onto their frame. So can those people that believe they need the wider flange spacing (for whatever reason). No need to crowdfund their disk tab through the majority of riders, who end up with extra weight and stress from welding in their frame.

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So, what are your thoughts on Q-Axle?

I also think that external disks were a clever solution at the time, but not the way we should be going in the future.

I think there’s no need to outlaw external disks though - let them fade into obscurity naturally like the Google Toolbar.


While that has similar issues in regard to locking customers into one system, it does offer some advantages, like lower weight and less problems with the crank interface (although I’m not sure if the latter part has worked out). That’s something people have always been asking for. I didn’t word that well, what I mean is that the reason for new (incompatible with other brands) standards should be good enough. If everything had to be compatible at all times, we would still ride square taper with flimsy seatposts.
Although I still wish they had stuck to Isis for flatland and freestyle. (Nicer for roll tricks, and on freestyle unicycles I think you can easily make up the extra weight of isis hubs with typically lighter cranks)
I haven’t seen any wheel failures in ages, so external disk brakes in contrast seems like solving an issue no one has.

I don’t think KH unicycles will switch, but I think it’s time for everyone else (well, mainly Mad4one) to stop supporting external disk brakes.

In terms of other manufacturers supporting it I disagree. I think that at least until KH stop making Spirit cranks and until other disk compatible Schlumpf hubs are out there, it’s good to have options. The disadvantages of having that second disk brake tab on there is miniscule.

I think KH will switch eventually, although they’ve done things in the past that I’d consider strange (like switching their frames to gloss black) so perhaps not.

When the new Schlumpf hubs come out it’s no longer really solving a problem, but it’s an old design now and one that solved a very specific problem in an innovative way back in the day.

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I’ll guess that 98% or more of Mad4one frames don’t get a Schlumpf hub installed in them. It’s not free to weld an additional brake mount on there, the material, welding and machining costs money. I’d rather have a cheaper frame with no unused parts.

But is there really enough reason for KHU to change the design, change the production and break some backward compatibility with their own products?

I hope so. Maybe it’s a good time now for KHU as the new batch of Schlumpf hubs is on the way.

Here’s another perspective: It’s very little additional cost and weight that you, be it customer or manufacturer, pay for additional compatibility.

Customers gain this compatibility/flexibility. Even if most people don’t care, for some the advantage is as big as not having to buy an another entire frame and more.

And manufacturers offering this gain some additional customers. Win-win.

Is is really fair to quote additional stress from welding on another disk tab?

The most popular frame with two disk tabs is known to be very strong, whereas a one of the newer frames with one brake tab has been broken by a number of riders.

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Let’s not be controversial or elitist, we are a group that love to ride unicycles. A large group of us do not work yet (young and new riders) and may not be able to afford the latest and greatest available and have to buy older and used equipment. I am all for the new products that are coming out. I also believe I am responsible for several of them such as in frame disk on regular and schlumpf hubs having always built my own easily 10 years before you were even worried about this. What I agree with is not locking people into one choice on any of their equipment, and the cost and weight is negligible. We need only to appeal to the industry such as Roger at who is very receptive and many of these changes will happen. If this is not quick enough then make it yourself or pay to have it made for you. But do not call for changes that will exclude riders from upgrading what they have to what they want (Thank You KH). Welding on your frame really compromises its strength unless you go back and solution heat treat it after (expensive) So let’s rejoice in what is available to our ever expanding sport. LOBBYBOPSTER


If you’re buying Mad4One then you’re already looking at very expensive frame (compared to some of the other options). I don’t think you’d be paying any less if one of the disk brake mounts was omitted.

I don’t think we should shy away from controversial topics though. Debate is good, so long as it’s kept civil!


By that logic, I think I can also argue that one should only buy 36" frames, because for very little cost and extra weight, you gain compatibility with all wheelsizes. A bit of a more extreme example, but to me that is a similar attitude…

True. But the fact that those frames are strong is not down to the number of brake mounts.

I don’t think taking away production of external disk brake frames (that cost way above 100$) will exclude any of them.

I like to put controversial opinions out there, if everyone just keeps quiet and doesn’t state their opinion, you don’t get changes. I fully expected the majority of people to not be on my side on this one, but I do think: “How many people still need this part, and at what point does it become unecessary?” is a question worth considering.
In the end, I’ll ride with everyone regardless of their choice of unicycles, and will discuss my opinions about parts with anyone that wants to hear them. (Which has included people working for pretty much all unicycle brands.)
And while I think I am controversial with this topic, I really struggle to see how it’s elitist.


Compatibility for us is important and 20gr of one tab do not make any differences.
Without the extra tab we could pay a very little lower price for a frame but also we will sell less frames because we would be not compatible with KH system and Schlumpf hubs.
Probably the sales lost will bring higher costs than the extra tab.
Our frames price is a bit higher due better quality of aluminum and colors management in italy, not because the extra tab.
But we have also excellent frames in steel with only one tab on the left for less than half price.
Unfortunately prices are growing out of our control.
I would like to read opinion also about aluminum quality and many other design details like dimension of tubes, tapering if necessary or not, bearing holders.
Anyhow we are proud of our products …


And you should be, I think you build the best frames on the market. But if I could choose, I’d take them with just the brake mount on the left (and 31.6mm or 30.8mm seatposts).


Well, Sorry about that but my comment was a generalization of the comments and replies that are posted. Mine included. Remember the saying, You cannot argue against an opinion not even with facts, because that opinion thinks it is right, that is why it is the opinion. I will apoligize to you for thinking it was directed at you personally. But please note I started with Let’s instead of You, and We, to include myself, Also I stated that I agreed with most of your reasoning, also I will back up your claim about wheels being strong with the inner disc. Bicycle wheels with rear derailer gear clusters have always had the offset that seem to give peaple the feeling that they somehow are not as strong, so much for the fact that they have been that way for at least 100 years. So thank you for the post, it has brought out several facts of this controversy about the new development of a rapidly growing sport and its equipment.

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Thank You, I think so too.

I have an older generation ISIS 29er Nimbus that has rim brake attachments but no disc brake attachments.
It also doesn’t have a disc attachment on the hub. I have to use an external disc with Spirit cranks if I am to run a disc brake on it, unless I was to discontinue using this particular hub on the uni, and I am not going to do that, lacing a wheel is a lot of work and the hub and wheel is still perfectly fine. It’s not broken so I see no reason to fix it. So, as a solution, i’m currently using a D’brake. D’brakes are less elegant imo than a frame welded tab, but it does work.

So, while there are non disc ISIS hubs in larger wheeled unis, there will still be people who want to use external discs mounted to the right crank out of a necessity. If/when non disc hubs are no longer used in this manner, then perhaps this segment of user will not want external discs. But I think it will take a very long time for it to happen.

As to having disc tab on both sides… I think it’s a plus. You can use a hub with or without a disc attachment and still elegantly run a disc brake regardless. You are very free, as long as the hub width is compatible.


I love using d’brake + KH spirit disc cranks on old unis. So I am happy about them. My best unis are a 29er with disk on the right and a 36er with an inner disc


Seems like an awful lot of trouble and cost when you could have just put on some Maguras and called it a day. Do you like the disc feel better or does your rim not support rim brakes?

Getting my hands on all the bits to set up Maguras is more trouble IMO. I’m in Australia, the availability of things in general is a lot different here to other parts of the world. And I just like disc brakes better anyway (I had Magura rim brakes on a KH24). I happen to have KH Spirit cranks anyway (I like the dual holes and the Q factor - no heel clipping on the crank) and a local guy sells disc brakes quite cheaply so it was easy to get the parts, so it was a no brainer.


In my experience disks are a vast improvement over Magura HS33s. In perfect conditions, set up perfectly maggies aren’t bad, but as soon as you have any dust or water, or a non-ideal setup (slightly damaged/out of true rim) then they’re a bit naff.


Love the control and modulation of disc brakes, that is why I started making my own unicycle disc hubs in the early 2000’s. also not afraid of bashing down hills and destroying rims out of trueness and still able to ride. (as long as they still rotate between the frame)


I just got screwed by this, I bought a 36" wheel from someone on this forum then ordered a Kris Holms frame and the brake mounting tabs dont line up. I didnt even know this was an option, ugh!