Body twist on 29er

I bought a KH29 a couple weeks ago, and have only had a couple opportunities to ride it. This morning, I switched to the 125 hole on the cranks, and went for about 5 miles (1.5 road, 3.5 fire road and singletrack, all relatively flat). What I discovered was that the speed was very cool (hoo-baby!), but I found myself leading with my left shoulder much of the time, with my right shoulder twisted to the rear. What it felt like was that my body was shaped like a “less than” sign in math ( > ), with the pointed big being the seat and my hips. It was like the uni kept tipping to the right, so I had to always lean left and forward to stay on.

What I’m wondering is if this is just part of getting used to the new uni, or if it indicates something else. I remember having a similar experience several years ago when I first started to muni, so suspect it may be just a “get used to it” thing, but I’d appreciate others’ experiences in transitioning from a 24 to a 29 (or bigger).

There are lots of possibilities here. I have experienced a similar thing on a Coker and on a 28.

The most likely problems are:

  • Low tyre pressure
  • Inappropriate tyre (tread deforming asymmetrically. I had this with the original tyre on my Pashley.)
  • Tyre not centrally seated on the rim.
  • Seat a bit too low.
  • Seat not quite straight.
  • Frame not quite straight.
  • You not quite straight. (Mosty people have one leg longer than the other. Remember the story of the haggis hunters.)
  • Road camber. A wheel will tend to crab slightly on a cambered road.

Of all of these, the tyre pressure thing may be most likely. It is certainly easiest to fix.

The seat height is another easy fix.

You can also work on your posture by riding with your arms folded, or both hands on the seat front, or clasped behind your back in Duke of Edinburgh fashion.

The other thing is that in 500 miles, you will have forgotten the problem.

You can check the frame for straightness by measuring from the sidewalls of the rim to the inside of the fork, or by reversing the wheel and seat in the frame and seeing if the problem switches to the other side. (Don’t just turn the seat round and ride the unicycle the wrong way round as that will tend to loosen the pedals.)

Finally, if you are just a well hung stud, try dressing to the other side and see if that makes a difference.

There have been several discussions about this on the fora. If my memory serves me right, there have been no firm conclusions.

Once you have discounted wind, seat hight, pedal problems, road lean, twisted frames, etc then put it down to getting used to the bigger wheel, relax your body and just except that it will go away eventually.

I think the most likely cause of these issues is in the subject’s head. I remember having a leaning problem. Still once in a while I don’t feel quite centered. You just have to tell yourself, like cathy just said, that it’ll go away eventually.

Thanks, all! That’s what I figured–It’ll eventually go away as I get used to the new uni. The seat height and straightness are fine (checked that first thing!), and the frame is straight, too. The tire pressure could be part of it; I’ll play around there. The well-hung part: well, that got a laugh out of my wife!

try moving your feet further away from the hub. if you rotate left shoulder forward, move your left foot out. relax, sit, flow.

Im kinda having the same problem with my uni… i just started to uni about 5 weeks ago and i figuered out that it is partly because my seat isnt quite straight and getting used to the different type of balance.

maybe your old uni was crocked

I learned on an old 20 with a terrible seat. I duct taped some foam to it. The foam shifted a bit, but I didn’t bother to fix it, because I had ordered a KH 24.
So when I got the 24 it was terrible ! Pulled to the right like it was bent. Yet careful exam showed the KH was fine.
I used to be able to turn left easy and right not so good. Once I got used to the KH I could turn right easy and not left.
So have you checked your old uni ? If you learn on a bent one, straight ones will feel weird !
In any event, this problem went away in a few days.

I had a similar probably, leading with the left shoulder and having my upper body twisted to the right to compensate. My seat was straight. I solved it by twisting my seat to the left. It made a massive difference to my riding, speed especially.

Hope you manage to isolate the problem.


Except in my case where I just got a new KH Freeride seat, and I don’t know if somehow I managed to twist it, or if it came that way, but I noticed falling off the the left of it on a µニ ride the other day, and looked at it, and it’s cockeyed…I will prolly just get used to it rather than trying to fix it…good thing is it actually gives me more pulling leverage on the handle with my right hand…it’s kinda like a trick customization. :slight_smile:

Torso Twisting.

I also have this problem and posted on it in the past. I had it very little on my 24" unicycles when I first learned to ride, but to a major extent on my KH29. I think that part of the problem is placing a foot too far away from the crank on the pedal. Try to keep both feet well centered on the pedals. I ride my KH29 infrequently and I always twist my torso and lead with my left shoulder in the beggining of a ride. This is quite annoying. It seems to go away after half an hour of riding. If I spend more time on my KH29 the twisting and shoulder leading just disapear alltogether. However when I don’t ride it for a few weeks and get back on the problem returns. Just ride a lot and the problem will disapear.


Thanks–that’s good to know, Unicorn. I also rarely experience the twist on my KH24, although sometimes do at the end of a hard ride when I’m jelly-legged and overall exhausted. It seems to be something that works opposite of yours, though–happens more at the end of rides for me than at the start. I’m going to start commuting on the 29er tomorrow, so should get more miles in and (I hope) outgrow the twisties.

So I went for a shortish 3.5 mile ride today, half on and half off road. I did a little better. I paid closer attention to foot position on pedal and tried to find my left foot’s ideal position. Not solved altogether yet, but getting there. I did discover one thing: I’ve been taking my dog with me, on a leash, and I hold the leash with my right hand. She tends to pull me pretty hard on the first .6 miles (till we hit the trails), which in turn makes me pull back with my right arm and shoulder. I’m thinking that this has carried over a bit when I get to the trails and she’s off the leash, and has contributed to the twisting. But it’s also part just not sitting on the seat as fully as I should because I’m still getting used to the 29er/125 deal. It wasn’t so noticeable when I had the pedals in the 150 holes.

Peter-- Are you using the 2.35 Big Apple tire? --carl

Nope, the Kenda Nevegal that came with it. I’ve heard good things about the Big Apple, but I figure more of my time will be off-road than on.

On my way home today (did the commute thing), I flatted rather spectacularly. I’ve probably had something like 50+ flats on my bikes over the past seven or eight years, but never one on a uni. All the others, too, were relatively quiet affairs. But today–hoo boy. I just went down a little dip in the pavement, no sharp edges or anything, when BLAM! It sounded like a shotgun! It actually blew the tire off the rim. It was a blowout, literally. I had to do a 1.5 mile walk of shame to get home. Time to get a 26" downhill tube, I guess.

Tire Flats

That is weird about the flats. I used to get A LOT of flats on bycycles but I have never had a Uni flat and I ride much harder terrain with tons of thorns and briars. Go Figure? The walk of shame is bad. Once I had a very bad fall. I was jumping off a soccer ball sized rock and some thorn bushes on the side of the trail wrapped around my arm and shoulder. I Jumped and the Unicycle and my legs kept going but my arm was held back making me fall 4 feet with only my left ass cheek falling right on the peak of that rock. I could not even stand up for 5 minutes and obviously a whole bunch of bikers came by and laughed at me! That was my worst fall.


What air pressure were you running in it when it blew out?

A hair under 40 psi; I’d been riding it at 30 when going off road. It’s not like I had it at 60 psi or anything.