After 5 years on a 29er I bought the Nightrider Pro 36er and I love it. I did not order the brake and I don’t need it. I ride mostly street and simple dirt trails. I can ride down anything I can ride up. My favorite ride is up and down Mt. Soledad in San Diego, a 800ft elevation climb. Some sections are so steep I can barely make it up. I can make it down without a brake. So when do you need a brake?
When you can’t… A steep grade over a long time can get very sketchy…
Generally it is not a must, but it gives a great relief for your legs while slowing down the uni.
If you can make it up, then most probably you’re able to make it down without the brake, but some people are going down from the descents that are impossible to go up. Then the brake is useful. For me it means I could manage more downhill sections than without it.
Answering your original question: I need it.
And for you… just don’t buy the big uni that is not possible to fit with the brake this way or another. Just to have an option once you decide that you would like to have one.
i ride down some pretty steep hills i can’t ride up on my muni and i don’t have a brake. So it is not necessary to have a brake but the point of them are to give your legs a little relief.
I’m guessing that the majority of regular unicycle riders do not have a brake?
3 mainuses of the brake seem to be-
extreme downhill muni
long downhill gradients with big wheels fitted with short cranks (drag braking)
older riders with deteriated knees
For all of which, brakes are either useful or necessary.
Personally I don’t like anything that compicates the basic simplicity of the unicycle, so, no gears/brake etc on my unis.
I do have older, deteriated knees, and, found that short cranks on some of the steep road hills road here, are very tricky, but, rather than getting a brake, I choose to use 150mm cranks on my unis, which makes the hills very doable downhill (and up).
I am an older rider with okayish knees. I have a 29" with a brake and 125/150 cranks. If the truth be told, the uni is far too good for my level of riding but I’m hoping I’ll improve and be comfortable with it.
On the (flat) promanade a few weeks ago the wind was blowing that badly, that I used the brake to slow myself down. The idea of my little legs getting carried away and myself going are over tt with a upd was too scary. So, I chickened out and used the brake. Mind you, it was good practice trying to reach the lever, though I think I need one of those spoons.
Oh, nearly forgot cos it’s been so long. I have a brake on my 24” muni and I love it! I’m not going on my muni again till I get some elbow pads though. I had a lucky escape the other week running over what you guys would call twigs
Yep, glad I have brakes, it saves my knees.
A brake can be used for a myriad of different things, read Kris’s book if you haven’t already not only does he discuss what you can do with a brake but also covers a million other useful things
For me though it smooths out down hill riding and gives better traction, rather than ridding “a box” down the hill you can pedal smooth circles as you would on the flat, which means I can go faster down hill and also save my legs on long XC rides
Just got back from my first ride on Nurse Ben’s Custom KH with Oracle Disc brake system. Some of the DH sections we rode had very loose rock covering the surface. When using just your feet and cranks to brake, you lose some control everytime your pedals travel though the “dead zone” (1 foot up and 1 foot down). On a long DH with a loose surface, this can easily lead to a UPD. I haven’t mastered the brake by any means, but as Feisty said, you are able to drag the brake down a hill and keep your pedal strokes smooth the entire time. Not only does this give your legs a break on long rides, but it allows for much more control.
A brake isn’t a necessity on a Uni, but it definitely helps in certain situations.
Okay, Good advice for the brake. I guess it’s kinda like the cell phone, I didn’t know I needed one until I got one! Also, I didn’t know Kris Holmes wrote a book. Must be some words of wisdom in it
I ride off road on my 36er using 175mm cranks, but even with lots of back foot braking potential, there are times when I get tired or I get going too fast, so I use the brake to help me keep control. Big wheels roll fast, so they get out of control fast. Folks are taking some big crashes on 36ers, so if you ride downhills at speeds you can’t safely jump and run, then you should have a brake.
Brakes are also a great way to save your legs as they give your legs a brake while going down, because you can glide the brake and spin without having to apply significant back pressure. I’d say brakes are a must for anyone who goes down significant hills.
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