Brake coasting

I’ve done this for short distances accidentally while trying to bail while descending a hill. It’s kind of a rush and I’d like to learn how to do it deliberately. Any advice for learning this trick? I imagine I want going downhill, but beyond that I have no idea what to do except for take my feet off the pedals and modulate the brake.

Rush as in rush me to the hospital?

You are a brave man, @Duff!


I wear my ppe and I fall so constantly that it doesn’t seem unusual. What I fear is landing on my tailbone or a pedal. Goofing up while hopping up obstacles is much more terrifying to me than bailing on a downhill.

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I reckon you have your feet in the air pointing backwards, so when you are about to tumble on your tailbone, you can just land on your feet. I’ve had it happen 2 times that my feet slipped off the pedals during a UPD, but I kept dangling on the seat. I didn’t use the brake though. :slight_smile:

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Working on it on a flat ground may be easier to start with. Get some speed (~15 kmph), put your butt backwards, pull your brake, remove your feet of the pedals, and here you go! You should be able to do a revolution, then two, then three,… The idea with the butt backwards is that you counterbalance the brake so you won’t go over the unicycle. The more you pull the brake, the more your butt should be backwards. That’s especially true when brake coasting down a hill.

You can then try to put your feet back on the pedals.
The last step is to work on it downhill.

Good luck and have fun!


Thanks. That’s exactly what I wanted and given your background with freewheel unis, I’m guessing you speak from experience. I probably ride a little slower than that most of the time, but I can hit that kind of speed if I try. I’ll give it several tries tomorrow and let you know how it went.

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Although I haven’t actually done it myself, I would seek a nice smooth downhill surface which allows you to slow down the coasting by using your brake and effectively ride as slow as possible.
This way you have more time to think about and feel the movements you make before actually having to bail. If you go faster any correction you make will have much bigger effect and make it so much harder to learn it.
But that’s how I would approach it. Maybe it works better (for you) as @Maxence describes it, but for me personally I know I would do it like that. Also use the smallest wheel you have available (in my case 24") and you might even consider lowering the seat for a lower center of gravity and so you can bail faster without hurting yourself…

I disagree. I think it’s easier on a bigger wheel - 27"5 or bigger - than on a smaller wheel. If you’re too low, your feet will touch the ground too quickly. I’ve learned it on a 36" and that was probably a great idea: I had time between the moment I removed my feet from the pedals and the moment I touched the ground. That’s particularly useful when stopping at traffic lights.

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What I’d recoment is: Smooth and slight downhill. Get your butt back, start braking and remove feet from pedals.
I’d look at it like a prolonged dismount off the back at first, then later you can start trying to get your feet back on or getting further.

It’s not the most stylish way, but having your knees toward the frame (instead of spread away) seems to be more stable. Example by Timo, who really knows his brake coasting: ) Somehow is still prefer having my knees out, but I don’t practice brake coasting much.

I also think riding one foot downhill while braking might be a good thing to try first, it’s a similar idea of transfering balance/braking duty from your feet to your brake.


cool video. I still find it scary to just let go with my feet, basically letting go of all control. I only ever use my brake when the downhill is getting steep to spare my knees.

I’d say the exact opposite: it’s much less scary to know your feet are able to reach the ground almost instantly than knowing you’ll need two or three more times to prevent a bad fall.

Maybe you’re right but looking at others I see most people perform coasts (not brake coasts) on smaller (20") wheels (street / flatland riders).
But then again, maybe I’m comparing it to regular coasting too much, because when I think of it, it’s not much different from a (brake assisted) nose manual on a bike…

You’re right, regular coast is easier on a smaller wheel - 20" or 24". However both tricks are not really similar and I don’t think you can compare them on the wheel size.


I would agree with Maxence, a bigger wheel requieres more pressure on the brake, and you need more pressure modulation, so you have way more precision and it should be easier


Mark do you have a brake on your 24". I thought they mostly come on bigger wheels

Yup, shimano Zee with 180mm rotor, so huge amount of stopping power.
On my 27.5" I have the Magura MT7 with 180mm rotor, so great stopping power but also very good modulation.
Maybe I’ll give this trick a try soon as well.

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That’s not a nose manual. I’d call it a nice stoppie or nose wheelie though.

Brake coasting on a unicycle is kind of similar to a stoppie on a b*ke. And coasting on a unicycle is kind of similar to a manual on a b*ke.

I found it easier to learn brake coasting on rather steep descents.

Then there’s also break coasting. That’s when you are having a break of something and you do some coasting during that break. :wink:


Well, I tried a brake assisted dismount about ten times today. Twice I went over the front and I maybe got one rotation on my best dismount, so I’d say I did pretty good and maybe in a month I’ll be starting to figure it out.

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Yup, therefore the (brake assisted) in front… But it really depends on the people you ask. Just as with riding seat in front or riding seat out :wink:

That depends on your motivation of course. If you keep trying for an hour straight each day, I’m sure you’ll get it in a few days :wink:

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