While I see most distance unicyclist with brakes and handlebars I still prefer to ride without both. I wondered if there were any other riders that also prefer to ride without brakes and handlebars for distance riding? I tried handlebars for a year and they always seemed to hit me really hard on the back of my leg when I had an unplanned dismount. I love the challenge of riding down a steep hill without breaks to work my legs even harder, it’s the "challenge"of it. Also less weight from the handlebars and brakes. I have been riding this way for 40 + years. I’m just old school I guess.
I rode for a lot of years without brakes and handlebars. In fact, in 1998 I even made a T-shirt (for the 3rd Muni Weekend) that said “No gears, no brakes, no handlebars … No Problem”. It was true at the time…
I still don’t have a brake on my muni, but that’s because it’s old (like me, just not as much). My next one will. But I haven’t felt the need for a handlebar on my muni, at least not beyond my Death Grip handle. Most handlebars used for offroading are short; just in front of the seat.
But for Road riding I find it essential. It takes weight off the seat for long rides, and on a geared 36" it’s a very important part of the control system. Having that extra leverage to control the frame angle reduces oscillation (or jerkiness) in power delivery. And I absolutely need a brake on my Road uni, especially in our new neighborhood, where we have to ride down and up some STEEP hills to go anywhere!
My old Big Wheel, by contrast, remains old-school. 6.5" cranks, no handlebar, no brakes, no air in the tire, and a Schwinn seat. Do I ride it much? Uh, no.
depends on where you ride, what your strengths are, and preferences. I have a brake on one of my 3 Munis, but I find it really isn’t needed and I only use it for very steep hills, or when I’m goofing off. I don’t ride with a brake on my ungeared 36er, even with 110s (though I can see the need), but find a brake absolutely necessary on the geared 36er. It doesn’t get used often, but when it does, it’s a life-saver. I’m fine with no handlebar for shorter rides, but I would never want to do a 50 mile ride without one. The fusion zero pretty much requires a handlebar for me to be comfy on it. handlebars on a muni have always confused me : P I just like the front grab handle to which I am constantly clamped.
None of my unis have a brake - I ride a 29er MUni and a 36er ungeared road with 125mm cranks.
My 36er has a handlebar, but I don’t use it that much. I find I can ride just as fast by grabbing onto the saddle handle. The handlebar helps keep me comfortable for all-day riding, but it’s far from a necessity - I did long rides on my 29er before I got my 36er without a handlebar and never found it too difficult!