Eric Praetzel - Learning to Unicycle


Unicycle Comments

I've been warned that learning to ride forward, track stand / balance and ride backwards are three different skills which each take as much time to master.

I'm pretty good at cycling - I can track stand but not as well as some - that is I turn the wheel so that the bike will naturally roll backwards and balance that by pedaling forward. I tend to jiggle around while the best rides don't. I've also not been able to balance or ride on a rear wheel of a bike for more than a fraction of a second.

As my balance on the unicycle improves - it has done nothing for my balance on a bicycle (trackstands)!

One just can't coast on a unicycle - it's like a track bike and one must fight the impulse to just let the wheel spin!

Slight grades are hard to deal with when beginning! Both low and high speeds are nasty. One wishes for handles bars to reef on to get power going up a grade.

Unicycle Diary

Wheels and Speed

26" wheel With 127mm cranks it's easy to go 8km/h, 10km/h is an average speed, 12km/h is a fast speed and 15 km/h is a sprinting speed.

20" wheel With 114mm cranks can be ridden at 10km/h or about 11km/h sprinting

12" wheel With 89mm cranks can be ridden at 6km/h or sprinted at 8.5km/h

Seats and Posts

slimmer "more bike like" claimed
Item Weight Comment club seat 740g, 100g for front bumper comfortable, rubs thighs when hopping lots, weak for stunts??
Kris Holm Fusion saddle claimed 774g, measured 780g
25.4mm steel 300mm uni post 360g stock UDC club uni seatpost
25.4mm Nimbus alloy reinforced 350mm uni post claimed 300g, measured 240g for 300mm


Tire Weight Ride
1.25" Fatboy slick 600g corners well, very light, spins easily
1.95" Centre ridge 1.0kg spins easily, ok on corning
2.0" knobby ?kg vibration, terrible on tight turns
2.125" mostly solid 1.34kg Came with the UBC uni - good tire
2.5" Maxxis Minion Downhill Specific ?kg Very slippery on tile and polished concrete

I did a quick test with a few different tires. I do not like the Maxxis Holy Roller because of the vibration created by the knobs. However, the buzz of full knobby tires is much worse. Tires with deep knobs make turning on a uni difficult and a bit unpredictable (wandering).

Tires with a solid center ridge are a must. The less of a ridge and the less rubber on the pavement the easier it is to spin the uni on the spot. At times it feels as if the tire is slipping - because it pivots to the side so easily. The less rubber on the road the more a tire is easy to pivot (rotate sideways).

Backing up is harder with knobby tires - even with a solid center ridge.

The Fatboy slick is 18yr old and so the rubber has hardened - it pivots easily but is great for turns.

Back to my home page