Why are unicycle brakes "hydraulic"

Hi there,

I was just wondering why unicycle brakes are normally (always?) hydraulic. What advantage do hydraulic brakes have over standard cable brakes? I would think cable brakes would be cheaper, simpler, and lighter - am I wrong?

They aren’t always.

They are stronger at braking, and smoother. I’ve tried both on the same unicycle (both a geared 24 and a geared 36), and braking is more consistent with Maguras.


A big one, hydraulic brakes can be used with 3" tires. V brakes just don’t fit (generally).

Good cable brakes are better than hydraulics, except for the fact that they can’t fit over our largest tires. Because hydraulics are necessary for big fatties, most of our frames come with Magura mounts, and getting adapters to allow you to run non-Magura brakes on those mounts can be a pain.

Not all agree that v-brakes are a pain. See one way to put V-Brakes on Mag mounts

I have Maggies on my unicycles, but have used v-brakes in the past. My own expereince with v-brakes and Maguras is that the hydro brakes are less likely to get snagged by stuff and once properly set-up - can operate without maintenance and adjustment years longer than the v-brake options. So even if your tires are not 3" wide, the average v-brake arms seem to stick out further and just get in the way more while riding.

Older Magura levers are stonger/beefier than the newer ones, but they can all can last a long time if you locate them far enough back under the saddle/lifthandle enough to keep them from being the first thing hitting the ground in a hard UPD.

The adaptors to go from four bolt mounts to v-brakes are here if you want to try them, but are $48 shipped:http://midwestbiketrials.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=143. Compared with good used HS33s for under $90

Performance and cost issues aside, I just think the Magura rim brakes are not “normal” and have a retro-cool-factor that v-brakes just don’t . . . . they add to the unique/special mojo that most unicycle riders like to channel.