Balance Trainers as a Learning Aid

I’m referring to something like this. Has any teachers got experience using these to teach students and how does it work? Is it worth investigating?

IMO, just learn to ride a damn unicycle. You’ll learn faster if you ride the normal thing and fall 100 times than if you ride that and fall no times.

I remember I had training wheels on my bike for so long and rode my bike every day. When I took the training wheels off, I basically had to start all over. It’s a completely different thing.

That picture you posted is literally a tricycle without handlebars.

Just learn to ride the unicycle.

Actually, she rides quite well. Actually, she rode Mongolia. Actually, she rode the lobster. I think she’s just asking if someone has some experience with this particular contraption.

skatebike. I don’t have personal experience but it sounds like it’s different enough (and possibly more difficult) that it wouldn’t be a useful stepping stone. When I teach someone and find their uni balance starting out is much better than average I usually try to figure out if there’s an explanation for this (like they ride a fixie bike and practice track stands).

King_of_Suede: Yup, I agree that you should just get on and ride. In fact I learnt to ride without a wall when I started. Took a REALLY LONG TIME though.

Harper: Thanks for the clarification. Have we met?

I’m curious to see if this would work because one of the biggest problems I have with teaching groups is that we usually run out of wall space after a while. With a balance bike like this, is it possible to learn without a wall and then progress to learning to unicycle from a push off start?

Also, a device like this looks like middle ground between a uni and a bike which might just overcome that psychological barrier some people have with trusting their unicycles. Again, this is all very theoretical.

Hi JH,

My daughter is riding exactly the same QU-AX Balance Bike, she likes it very much because she didn’t want to ride a unicycle, she was afraid to leave my hands and now she still doesn’t want to ride a unicycle, so it’s difficult to tell you if it can help or not.

I tried to ride it but the concept is not compatible for adults, adult weight is too important and to high for the front wheel design and impossible to ride strait as any lateral movement makes you turn. Just compatible for children or would need a specific design for adults.

Bouin-Bouin / Didier

From my experience as a “basic teacher”
the biggest problem of new riders is finding the balanced position in the front-back axis and not the left-right one.
These balance “trikes” have the bigger wheel in a position behind the riders centre of mass and the front wheels in front of it.

the picture bouin-bouin provided makes me even more sure that riding on this contraption makes you comfortably sit in a position wchich would make unicyclists fall on their butt :slight_smile:

as far as conquering the “no hands” problem it looks great. when it comes to learning how to position yourself while unicycling i feel it’s counterproductive.

I don’t mean to keep butting into this thread, but teaching uni (and juggling) is what I enjoy most and I’m interested in improving and refining my techniques. I usually only teach one-on-one and start out getting the student comfortable sitting on the seat using a wall, post, pole, etc. Once they feel comfortable I’ll let them use my shoulder to try to pedal a few times with this assistance (moving with them) giving tips about putting all weight on the seat, leaning a little forward, holding hands out, getting used to falling forward or backward, etc. Depending on the student I’ll have them try to pedal by themselves after using my shoulder for a while or just start off on their own using the wall/pole and my shoulder to help launch them. I try to be sensitive the comfort level of the student, their coordination, balance, agility, etc. I know that part of learning to ride is getting the right muscles to do the right things and not everyone starts from the same point. If you’re running out of wall space maybe teachers can lend their shoulders (or if you’re the only teacher students can trade off learning and assisting).

When learning to ride a bike, it’s interesting how the learning process can be broken down into parts. My son just learned, and to help, we took the pedals off first and used his bike as a kick bike instead. He had to lift his feet way off the ground after every kick and continue to steer. Once he sorted out the steering, then we added pedals so he could learn that element. Braking came next etc.

Unicycling isn’t like that though. There’s really no way to deconstruct the basic ride down to elements to learn. Sometimes with new riders there are challenges between how much weight they should put on the seat or on the feet, but beyond that it’s just time, patients, and encouragement. The best teaching aid I’ve ever used is a wall or fence. For young children, where the instructor is much taller then the child, using physical support from the adult is very useful.

And thus, we also have this forum, where we can cheer learners on. :smiley:

Teaching my son

Not trying to hijack but this thread seems to be leaning toward teaching techniques…

My 6 year old son is trying to learn on a 16" unicycle. I’ve put out a block of wood that sits just below the height of a pedal when the cranks are horizontal. That way he can get into position with one pedal (rear) on the block and only has to lean forward and place the other foot (onto the other pedal) to start riding forward. He hasn’t spent a lot of time on it but has managed up to about 6 revs before falling off.
My biggest problem seems to be motivating him to practise.

Has anyone else tried using a block like this?

About the front wheel being counter-productive. I had a guy from work ride my uni for about 10m or so on his first try on it with the help of an office chair. He’d have gone further if there weren’t desks in front of him.

This is on carpeted ground and he got on with the help of again, the rollable office chair. It kind of works in a similar manner to having front wheels which is why i would have thought a contraption like this may aid younger riders.

Keep those tips coming!

Yeah, I gotta agree, the best way to learn is to just get out there and do it (on an actual unicycle).

When I learned I didn’t even use a wall. Just mounted with the assistance of a trusty lightpost and tried my damnest to pedal as far away from that lightpost as I could :stuck_out_tongue:


Most skatebikes have a freewheel. This makes them a lousy comparison to unicycles as one of the big things new unicyclists need to get used to is the fixed wheel. So while you could use skatebikes as a diversion (like taking a break) during unicycle training, I wouldn’t think of one as a training aid. Even with a fixed wheel, it only gets you a little bit of the way there.

If you’re short on wall space, you are actually kind of lucky. Usually people end up being short on unicycles. Then they have to have riders take turns, between riding and spotting. If you do this, you don’t need walls. The spotter(s) help remind the rider to sit up straight, look forward not down, weight on the seat, etc. Then you set a certain time or distance-without-dismount between attempts for the students to rotate positions.

Walls are handy for solo practice, but not necessary if you work as a group. :slight_smile:

As with bicycles, there is no device that will train you to become a rider. The best devices are the ones that mimic the overall feel and experience of riding to ease a potential rider into into actual training on the unicycle.



Not sure I would see a great deal of transfer from that equipment to a unicycle.

I learned in an open gate of a chain link fence. I had a post for a handhold on each side from which to strike out. I could go back and forth for about a half turn but I did learn how to center over the contact patch in the gate. It took some time to learn to ride away from the gate but it came along eventually.

An optimal way for people to learn, I think, would be a set of parallel bars between which a rider could practice as they pedaled along the length of the bars. The novice could get the fore and aft correction with the pedals and the left and right would be assisted by the parallel bars without too much leaning. A wall will help but there can be an over-dependence on it causing the wheel to steer toward it as the rider depends on the wall too much for support.


There is nothing (equipment) that will actually teach you to ride, only build you’re confidence (a large part of learning). Technique its everything. With the proper technique, 99.9% of people with the desire to ride, can learn to get a few pedal revolutions within 3-5hrs
Newbies, use this forum for the wealth of info. Search for learning techniques(do’s&don’ts). It will save u a lot of time and effort.

Technique is a very important part. I’ve taught people to ride a couple of meters unsupported within an hour or two. One-to-one is definitely the way to go. But the problem arises with group situations with limited wall space. If there’s equipment that can build that bit of confidence to get that bit of edge in starting to ride, I’m interested to know.