hydraulic drag brake ideas anyone?

On my latest serious muni ride in the Alps I used my maggie’s quite a lot on the long and steep downhills. I was very happy to have them and a spooner on there. But still at some point my hands got really sore from braking, because I really had to apply a lot of pressure to the lever. Usually that is not an issue for me because the downhills are much shorter. But for those long downhills I thought it would be really nice to be able to lock the lever in place in order to have a drag brake. But in a way that it could easily be disengaged whenever the need arises. Maybe one could invent some new kind of levers that would allow for something like that? Any ideas anyone?

I know there are people out there who are working on it, but i presume they haven’t finished yet as it would have been posted if they had.

You could ajust the red knob, so the brake pads touches the rim. I’m not sure how well this would work though.

Or you could glue a short allen key inside the allen screw to adjust the lever position.
That way you can adjust the brakes just right on descents…

Hang a loop of string off your handlebars, near the brake lever. When you need a drag brake, squeeze the lever partially and loop the string around it, to hold it in the desired position.

I’ve variously used lobster bands and the double thick rubber bands to good effect as well, but just plain old string seems to the work the best for quick application and release.

I imagine, now that we’ve mentioned it, KH will come out will an adjustable velcro loop/strap to accomplish this next model year. The only difference is mine costs $0.02 and his will be more like $20.00! :astonished: :D;)

Hmm, I think I’ll give velcro a try. Sounds pretty straight forward. But I doubt if it can handle the pressure for steep downhills. Maybe it works, though, I’ll do some experimenting. Thanks for your input everyone!

As 'Grape says, I’ve been working on an idea for a Magura drag brake. Not with much success yet, but it’s still an on-going project.

Essentially, I have got a second master cylinder. The plan is to connect this to the bleed point on the slave cylinder. That way, the original brake lever can still be mounted and used as normal for ad-hoc braking. The second cylinder, however, would be mounted such that the plunger is moved in and out on a high resistance lever or twist dial so that it can be used as a drag brake if needed. The hydraulics would still work as normal, and bleeding would just mean pumping the fluid in to one master cylinder and out through the other (rather than than out of the 2nd slave cylinder). A T7 type handle would be ideal as the regular braking would still be set up as you have it (left hand side for me), and the high resistance drag brake would be on the other side.

The only problem I have had so far is finding something suitable for the high resistance lever. But, hey, that’s only a minor detail, right? :smiley:


I would just purchase a set with a red knob. Those work great for adjusting as a drag brake.

STM, what if you had something like a tap, where you twist it to the right pressure?

Sounds interesting, but I don’t quite get it yet. You have three cylinders? Or four? And how do you attach what to what? :thinking:
Maybe a drawing could help me out?

I already have those (HS33) on. But for me the red thingy didn’t do the trick. Maybe the brakes are not adjusted right then?

What I have in mind is an addition to the normal brake lever that can make it stay in the right position, which can be quickly adapted to the steepness of the slope. So basically you would start braking as usual and once you reach the right pressure you go “click” and it stays there. When you need to release it you go “clack” and it’s back to normal hand braking mode. Any ideas how to achieve that?

On my 24" muni I can use the red knob and it’s great for longer descents. On my 29" the red knob is useless so I have to use the brake handle, which works well. This is only a problem if the ground under me becomes somewhat technical because then I still need both arms to balance. I don’t know why the brake’s adjuster works so well on one and not the other. I assume it’s because the 29er has a bigger diameter and a wider rim.

For multiple stop points/ brake tensions I would say you could build a small metal piece (2-3 inches, mebbe) hanging under your seat or handlebars (as applicable), with small teeth or pegs jutting out. The teeth would be angled to allow the brake lever to go up, but then get caught going down. Holding it in place. The metal with the pegs/teeth on it could be hinged to be swung out of the way to allow for normal brake modulation and drag brake release.

I think I’ve actually got some bits around the house I may be able to modify to build one. Would allow a lot more resistance adjustment than my usual loop of twine.

what about using a old bike gearing system. you would have to modify the brake quite abit but it might work. I think there was something simliar in 1 of the first 3 or 4 uni mags

The red knob is called the TPC (I think–or something like that), and they’re notorious for breaking. So I suspect that you just have a working one on the 24 and a broken one on the 36. I have 5 different Maguras and none of the TPCs work, so consider yourself lucky!

You could consider teeing off the hydraulic line and adding another brake handle that was modified to have friction on the pivot or if there is room add a BMX style calliper brake connected to an old friction gear shifter.Never had maggies so I don’t know if my ideas are practical.


I haven’t done it but alot of people have used a caliper brake with a gear shift lever for a drag brake.

I think I’ve mentioned before, drawing isn’t one of my strong points. But, anyway, here’s one by Magura that I have bastardised. (Can you tell which bits I did, and which were done professionally?)

As you can see, one brake lever is just left as normal, so you can brake for muni type stuff without any difference. There is a second one, however, which I’ve shown with a dial that would be the drag brake. I would imagine that with half a turn between fully off and fully on would be about right, so you only need to give it a quarter of a turn to get some draggyness. And the system will still bleed ok, except that you have to use the bleed points on both of the levers to do it, not one lever and one slave cylinder.

Does that make a bit more sense now?


I see, that’s what you mean. It makes sense. Of course you need to put the extra cylinder somewhere on the uni. I’m curious how this will develop.

I’m sure that the T7 was designed with exactly this in mind. Maybe UDC were a bit ahead of their time, but sooner or later we’ll need 2 kinds of brake lever at once.


when i started riding with a brake, i used the “old” magura with the red wheel thing on top of the lever it it was pretty easy do adjust and also for using it as a drag brake. i did did for a while, but then i figured out, for me it’s better not using a drag brake it worked better for me just using a lever on the lever (the muni on the right on the pic)so it’s closer to the handle and i can brake with just one finger and with the other fingers i can hold on real hard on the handle…it work for me a lot better then the spooner…(someone wanna buy mine?)
now i think you don’t need a brake at all for 24" or 26" muni… that means at the moment i don’t use one ( it’s also because i love my 26" wheelset with the 3.0 tyre, and as you now, it doesen’t fit the 26" frame…)