Adventures in Freewheeling

Thanks for the link. Experience from unicycle kiting is that you profit a lot from the ability to have cranks if you need to pull the kite a bit through a wind hole or upwards a slope if kite power itself is not sufficient. I think gears could become interesting but later.

Anyway, have done my very first experiences with freewheeling these days. :slight_smile:

And very happy so far, think it really has potential. I have writen a more detailed report for kiter and unicyclists here:

http://kj4l.com/2018/01/21/first-ever-freewheel-kiting/

Fascinating! I noticed in your report you said coasting a couple times, but also mentioned that you were using a hand on the brake. Do you mean that you were brake coasting (using the brake as a substitute for back pressure), or that you were coasting (not losing any speed or using the brake) with a hand on the saddle for control? Either way, it sounds impressive.

Hi AK KJ,
yes I think I was not precise with the wording, if it is the right one, than it was just: “break coasting”. Still to early for me to ride completely hands off. :o
Anyway also for the kite flying it can be pretty important to have sometimes the ability to hold against its force, with the help of the break, so for sure this will be the normal way of riding most of the time.
And as said, I think, for somebody with experience with unicycle and or kites it seems to be not too difficult if conditions are good, as on a beach with constant wind and hard sand.

Hope to come back with a video in the near future. :slight_smile:

For those not on the Facebook group, I might as well try and update things here as well.

I’ve just got myself some bars for my freewheel and it seems so far like it might be an improvement.
I’ve been having some issues with hand pain recently and I don’t think that holding a handle and brake lever constantly for miles on end was helping.
The bars and more standard lever setup seems far more comfortable. I’ve even managed to brake coast for short sections (a meter or two) without taking either hand off the bars which, as primarily a road rider, I’m pretty excited about!

I was concerned that freemounting would be much more difficult, but to my surprise that seems easier as well! Holding the handle with both hands and doing a brake assisted jump mount felt very controlled, even when I was getting a little more tired.

So far I’ve not managed to coast as far with this setup as before I put the bars on but most of my ride was spent doing adjustments to try and get things to feel right.
I’ll report back again once I’ve had more chance to practice!

Thank you, is it an open group? Link?

And understand your point with the break. I am also a big friend of first fit everything to body’s demands and then start learning. So the first ride I stopped every 100 m to adjust distance of break lever to saddle handle by some mm up and down.
My impression was that helped me a lot to have the right lever position to get a first feeling for break coasting. But I am also still beginner on normal muni, so maybe not an issue for anybody used the break.

Not yet presentable, but very first, short clip of freewheel kiting, again in bad conditions :frowning:


(kite has just been cut out, as it is still a proto)

It is a public group, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/699742363564661/

I think unicycling like cycling, to get the best out of your cycle, you need it to be set up right for you.
We’re obviously limited in ability to try unicycles, we can’t normally walk into a shop to try one, and bike shops are clueless on providing advice for their setup.
Until everything feels right, it’s always a good idea to take a set of tools with you!

That’s awesome. I’ve got a friend who also used to build kites and do occasional unicycle kiting. Freewheel kiting looks fantastic!

Any hub out there with a clutch? The idea is to be able to switch from fixed to freewheel like changing gears on a schlumph, or a hand clutch cabled mechanism.

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Amazing and inspring footage of Ben Soja riding some very technical Muni on a freewheel (~ 1:40 - 5:30) !

This came from the AZ Muni Weekend we just had. Thanks to Cody Williams for putting this video together. Enjoy!

Sadly not. It would be great though.

I’m sure it would be possible to modify a Schlumpf to do that (since it already has a switchable clutch inside) - though it would be a rather expensive way to go, and I suspect having to switch using the buttons might be tricky.

Geared hub?

Does exist a multigeared hub which could be used in a freewheel uni?

Possibly although nobody’s tried any yet.

Best contender right now looks like this one: http://www.mc2bike.com/store/p11/MC²_DRIVING_WHEELSET.html

Hype!

Spring 2021 (probably)

Personally I’m expecting double the price of their current disk hubs but I’d love it to be less to really help push more people to try freewheeling.

I haven’t quite worked out how this hub stays together.

On the Nimbus hubs circlips are used to keep things together, and on the P-hub, nuts are threaded onto the shaft to stop it falling apart.

The elastic band on this picture does however does make me wonder whether the solution they’ve gone for is just to utilise the fitting of the cranks and spacers to ensure everything stays together when built up into a unicycle.
If the elastic band wasn’t there, perhaps the axle would be trying to fall out of the other side of the hub.

I suppose an interference fit with the bearings on the shaft could also probably do the job fine. Bearings don’t have a habit of falling off unicycle hub axles.

I will definitely be picking one of these up :+1:t3:

I took delivery of my P-Hub today. I tore down my fixed hub 27.5 and laced the P-Hub up with the spokes off the fixed hub as you suggested might work.

Threw a brake on it and hopped on… landed on my ass hard two times before I switched my brain on. Within an hour i was riding 200’ and even got a couple free mounts in. Very fun and addictive

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The flange dimensions are conveniently similar :slight_smile:

That sounds like great progress - welcome to the club!

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Todays practice, i started going further and got tired of walking back to my starting point so I decided it was free mount or no ride. So i Got the free mount down now! I found that a slight roll forward as i start, then a quick squeeze of the brake to get me up over the balance point then release the brake and roll away. Success rate is 75% so im pretty happy with that.

Also learned that it’s really easy to pick up lots of speed on a freewheel so I had to learn to slow down. To do this i actuated the brake a little and peddled against it and then adjusted accordingly to slow down. kind of like setting in brake pads on a bicycle riding against the brake pressure

doing all this I got comfortable enough to be able to ride all over. so now I just need to work on refining my technique and coasting

I did hop on my 29 and 36 inch fixed Hubs just to see how they felt like after riding freewheel, the initial mount and ride away was difficult, but once I switched my brain back over to fix hub mode I was riding very smoothly and noticed I was putting hardly any back pressure on the pedals which was pretty neat

The weirdest thing I find when I’ve been commuting on a freewheel for a while is how much I miss freewheeling when riding fixed again.
General riding not so much as it’s far less effort to not have the freewheel, but always being able to have my feet in the perfect position when stopping at a post or going over/around is something I do miss.

Hi all :wave:

I’m new to freewheel unicycling. I’ve got my first 27"5 freewheel two days ago. I had already tried freewheels a few years ago - a 24" I hadn’t been able to get on and a 27"5 I had been able to mount after a few tries - but I had never tried to ride it for more than a few meters. So it’s a whole new adventure for me! :partying_face:

Note for the following: I describe myself as an advanced road, muni and freestyle rider. I basically ride unicycles everyday and everywhere.

My unicycle is basically a QX RGB with a Nimbus Drift hub and a Kenda Havok tire:

First of all, it’s pretty hard to get on that crazy unicycle. I have tried to get on it with a prop. It was really wobbly. I then started to simply jump on it. And it worked much better - I simply had to remind that the front foot should land on the pedal before or at the same time than the rear foot. Since then, I have tried less than an hour and I’m now able to do a static mount on a flat road or on a negative slope. It’s much harder on a positive slope. So I have to jump when being on a positive slope.

Regarding the brake coast, I find it really easy as I was already able to brake coast on a fixed uni on off-road trails. As my other 27"5 uni is an old Qx with the same brake, I’m used to it’s power and modulation. It helps a lot!
I have not tried to coast without the brake yet. As I already master regular coast on a fixed uni, I should be able to coast on a freewheel uni. At least I hope so.

My main goal in buying a freewheel uni was to do some muni on it. We are currently under lockdown in France so I can’t go for a long ride - 1 hour max per day - but I have the opportunity to live on a hill with some great, close and easy trails. So I went for a few km of off-road riding with my girlfriend on her 26-fixed uni. She’s still in her learning period so we were basically at the same point and it was really enjoyable for both of us! :smiley:
I have been able to brake coast for all the negative slopes, some of them a bit bumpy for a few dozens of meters. It’s really different of fixed muni but so cool! I’m looking forward to go for another ride on harder trails!

Something I have thought about is the similar behavior compared to a Schlumpf hub: when shifting on a geared hub, there’s little time of freewheel and a clack. That’s the same on a freewheel when switching between pedaling and brake coasting. I think being used to ride a geared unicycle makes it easier to go on a freewheel uni.

So, what’s next? I’d like to learn how to jump and do some drops. I don’t know whether the hub will resist or not. If it breaks, I’ll wait for buying a Qaxle freewheel hub - I hope it doesn’t break to soon!
I have to work on my mounts, too. I should be able to get on the unicycle at a success rate of at least 95%.
Last but not least, I should be able to coast without breaking. It’s probably the hardest skill of my list, but one of the most useful, too.

BTW, thanks to all of you for having gathered so much information about freewheeling. It’s really great to see videos and reviews of your training. @AJ_KJ and @waaalrus are a big source of inspiration for me. I hope I’ll soon be able to do what you already do! :smiley:

PS: as I’m fond of clipless pedals for road and muni, I’m wondering whether it could be useful for freewheeling but I haven’t figured out the answer. It looks much more dangerous than on a fixed uni because of the movement needed to disengage: the pedal could come with the feet as there’s little force against the upward move. Has someone already tried it? Any pros/cons? Guess I’ll try once I’m confident enough with the freewheel!

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After a new hour or so of training, I’m now able to static mount with both of my feet at the back and to jump mount the same way. That’s pretty cool as I hadn’t work on these mounts for about 10 years on a fixed uni. It seems like that’s not forgettable :slight_smile:
I have also managed to coast down a 20cm drop which is really great! I wonder if being able to glide down a few stairs helped me to achieve that :thinking:

The more I ride the more I want to ride! Freewheeling is so fun! :heart_eyes:

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