New Maggies for Muni!

Thanks heaps to UniBri for selling me her gently used Magura brakes. I got them today, and it took a whopping 20 minutes to install them on my Nimbus 24" muni. No instructions really needed. It’s pretty obvious how they go on, but I do a lot of work on bicycles, motorcycles, and cars, so maybe that helped. I gave 'em a quick test on the hill from hell in my alley, and they were perfect. Don’t know how I ever lived without 'em!

I don’t have anything tying the cables down, but they don’t appear to need it. They’re very stiff, and I don’t want to wrap them any more around the seat tube or bend them too much or at a sharp angle since I think it might break them. When I gave it a test ride, the part that goes over the upper fork is stiff and locked into place and doesn’t feel like it would ever move (see lower left pic below). I laid the seat handle down on the ground with the wheel perpendicular to the ground to see if the brake handle hit, and it’s got about 1/2 inch of clearance. I might move that back a bit, but I still want to be able to get to it. I have short fingers.

As everyone has said, it’s a very good brake, almost too good. It seemed pretty easy to get the right amount of pressure I needed going down a flat surface, but I worry about keeping steady pressure on the brake handle going downhill on a bumpy or rough surface. I could see hitting a bump, and the brakes could lock if I put too much pressure on the handle, and I could go flying. I guess I’ll just have to practice a lot (aw shucks! :wink: ). I actually don’t plan to use the brakes all that much. The reason I wanted them was to save my legs going down long, steep hills, so I don’t know that it will be much of a problem. I usually encounter those when I’m riding on smooth surfaces going and coming from my rides. Pics below. If you’ve got any comments or suggestions, I’m all ears.

Nice work, Bradford! I think that like everything else uni-related, brakes are a very subjective thing. Some riders have no use for them at all, ever. Personally, I like them a lot, and use them a lot. I have them on three of my unis. I wouldn’t worry too much about being thrown off by the brake. Just practice with it, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick.

looks good : ) I tend not to use brakes, but I’ve got a rim brake on the 29er and I’m slowly able to use it at higher and higher speeds. I’m still more comfy without one if I’m spinning very quickly down a rocky/rooty hill. I’m afraid I’ll hit a bump, grab the brake hard and fly off. Hasn’t happened, but I can imagine it. I also can’t pull up as hard on the handle because I don’t have the full 4 finger death grip when I use it.

In any case, I added the starfighter dohickey to the end of the lever the other day and haven’t been out with a ride yet, but I would already recommend it. It allows you to grab the very tip of the brake lever, so I can already tell I have a lot more modulation to work with.

Pulling back with a force equal to the braking force…while dealing with uneven terrain and steering…this is what makes brakes a real challenge to use. My suggestion is: don’t wait for a tricky downhill to practice using them. My brake setup is free to swing from the left to the right, so there are a bunch of different techniques I can use to brake/hold-the-bar-ends. I have a t-bar setup on my 26" mUni and a Shadow handle setup on my 29" (with a Magura rim brake). I don’t think I could ever go back to the stock setup, where the brake is under the pull handle. Don’t know if you have any plans to add bar ends…the technique of braking really opened up for me when I added them.

I’m a 200 lb. rider. The downhills in my neighborhood are pretty steep. Ideally, I want to pedal with strong forward force, even while going down hill…this all adds up to pretty serious braking force. Sometimes I practice extreme braking on a flat surface, where I am turning the cranks with extreme force while braking hard, until I grind to a halt. This helps get my hand/s in the right position.

Congrats on your new purchase. Keep practicing!

Lookin good! Enjoy!

Thanks, Lance. I didn’t think I’d need brakes at first, and it was a lot cheaper to buy a muni without them. I went back and forth on it for a bit. After a while, I really thought it might be nice to have them in certain situations, and getting a good deal on some used ones has really kept my costs down. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Thanks! I was thinking of a brake lever extension. I can already see that it would be nice to have.

I’ve hadn’t really considered bar ends over the stock pull handle, but I may reconsider now that I’ve added the brakes. I could see how it might be an advantage. Do you have a photo if your setup t-bar setup on your 26" muni?

Thanks, Bri! They’ll have a good home and get lots of use. :slight_smile:

Sorry, I’m out of town, now. Here are the specs: I removed the grab handle and set the t-bar short. There are two sets of bar ends, one set pointing forward, nested inside the second set, pointed backward and tucked under the seat. The angle of the front set of bar ends is such that the brake, when it swings fully to the left or right, it is parallel to the bars. The front set of bar ends point inward and have lacrosse bumpers on them. Those have, I think, saved my setup on occasion. I posted a picture of the bar ends on another thread, but I can’t remember which one. I spoke with a couple other riders who were concerned the setup would cause a bad upd. Hasn’t happened, yet. Since I always have at least one hand on the bar ends, I clear them during upd’s.

I figured you had posted a pic of them before as well, but I couldn’t find it either. I’m not familiar enough with handles to understand your description, but when you get back, and you have time, I’d love to see a photo. I’m also very curious to see how you setup your brake to swing from the left to the right. That sounds pretty interesting.

I found a picture of my 29" setup, with the shadow handle. I took the brake lever off, because in the attached picture, the bars are attached to my 19" geared unicycle, which has no brake. The brake attaches to the bar just to the left of the little piece of gray tape on the central part of the T. If the bars look like they stick out far, it’s only sort of true, because the seat grab handle has been removed. The double set of bars make a nice transition, so there’s little worry about getting caught on them. I experimented a ton with bar placement on my unicycles. The shadow handle, seen in this picture, is a bit heavier than the KH t-bar, but I like the rigidity of it. I think the bumper ends have saved the setup from fracturing on hard falls, as well. I should post a set of pictures illustrating the different braking techniques I use for this setup (when the brake is attached).


Cool! Looks nice. Thanks for digging that up for me.

Very neat!
I started a thread not long ago about brakes and got some good tips.

There is also a similar thread on the french forum, and lots of amazing ways of using a brake popped up.

Watch Martin Charrier do it in the beginning of his presentation:

Another example on a 36":

And that one at MOAB is pretty awesome too:

Cool! Thanks for the videos.

Pueblo Unido, do you pull hard on the near bars on steep climbs, and if so how does the supinated-forearm position treat your arms? I’ve been thinking about trying this with a bullmoose bar on my mtb.

When things get really steep, I end up taking one hand off the bars. Otherwise, I try to keep both hands on the bar ends. I use two sets of bar ends, because that allows me to experiment holding onto the bars in a variety of ways. Also, as I mentioned before, the two sets of bar ends allow me to slide off without getting caught on the unicycle…during an unplanned dismount. My wrists are turned out somewhat when holding either set of bar ends, with my palms pointing inward and slightly upward; I believe this is a more ergonomic position compared to having the palms facing downward. In my normal position on the bar ends, I can push or pull on the bar ends. During steep climbs, as well as steep downhills, my butt is very far back on the seat, to the point where I’m not really sitting on it, but rather pressing it against my lower abdomen. Combining this position on the seat with pulling hard on the bar ends and lowering my center of gravity by bending my knees…this provides me with the maximum leverage for climbing; it’s a pretty undignified posture, but it has gotten me up hills I didn’t think were possible to climb. That said, I know better climbers than myself who use a more upright posture while climbing. Also, this posture keeps my center of gravity from getting too far forward going down steep hills, and allows me to brake with a strong force. My seat is set very high; this may have prompted me to develop this strange, quasi SIF technique. When I’m pulling on the bars, I tend to do it with the far-away set of bar ends, while when I’m putting a lot of weight on the bars, I tend to use the rear-facing bars which are closer to the seat. I don’t know how such a setup translates into bicycle riding, other than what I mentioned about the ergonomics of the hand position. Sorry for the long-winded explanation.

Thank you, that’s all helpful.


Just got back from another ride with the new brakes, and I’m really impressed. Now that I’m starting to get used to 'em (mostly just remembering that they’re there), it’s really starting to have a major, positive impact on the way I ride. In addition to saving my legs from fatigue, they’ve enabled me to do things I couldn’t have done before.

Today I went down some stuff I’d never try without brakes. There is a really steep, long grassy area by a bridge embankment that I’ve always wanted to ride down, but it always seemed too steep. I finally tacked it today, and it was a cinch. There is also a sloped concrete slab thingy (kind of hard to describe) about half way down a grassy hill in the park that’s connected to a big drainage pipe. It’s kind of a scary area, but I rode down it today for the first time like I’d done it a 100 times before.

I’m also learning to freemount using the brakes on slopes, and that was really cool! I have no idea what you call that (a static mount?), so if someone will enlighten me, maybe I can pretend I know what I’m talking about next time. Before the brakes, I would normally just walk to a place that was more level and freemount, but the brakes really helped me to freemount in much more difficult situations.

I’ve also been really happy with how quickly I was able to adapt to these brakes. Not trying to brag or anything; I’m just happy as I had expected it to be much more difficult. So far, they haven’t caused a single UPD (but I’m sure that will change soon, heh, heh). I think I was warned so much about them being an instant UPD lever that I’ve just been really conservative with them. Whatever the reason, it’s been nothing but awesomeness since I put 'em on. Wohoo! :sunglasses:

I used polymorph plastic to make a spooner type extension. It’s reasonably cheap, came with dye so I coloured it to match my saddle, and it’s reusable. Also, because it’s so easy to mould it fits my fingers perfectly. And there’s plenty left in the packet to make other stuff as and when the mood takes me!

I’d post a picture if I could work out how…