Braking and Shifting with the Geared 36

Copied from my blog:

I wanted to make a quick video showing my new braking technique that I am slowly getting better at. I saw Chuck Edwall stop suddenly with his brake at Ride The Lobster, and I am trying to copy his method. What I have figured out after testing out different methods is the following:

  1. Begin to squeeze the brake slightly
  2. Move your upper body forward while shifting your hips/lower back back (shifting the hips back is very important)
  3. Begin to squeeze the brake harder
  4. As you are squeezing the brake harder, you will want to tilt the whole unicycle backward. By this I mean that the seat needs to sort of fall back with you slightly. If you don’t make the effort to tilt your body/seat back, you will be launched forward. You want to do this backward tilt of the whole unicycle while keeping the same posture I described in step 2 (upper body forward, hips tilted back).
  5. Slowly release the brake and continue riding. Don’t rapidly release the brake unless you have come to an almost stop

Video of me using this braking method here (< 1MB): Braking with the Geared 36″ Unicycle

I am not sure if those steps made sense, but I just wanted to make a quick post about it.

Also, I made a quick video of me shifting with the Geared 36. I have been riding my geared 36 for about 5 months now, and it has been a blast. I have “mastered” shifting with the 150mm cranks, and I am quite comfortable shifting at higher speeds now. I wish I could take a close up video of my shifting method, but I just wanted to make a quick post showing how easy it is to shift with the Schlumpf hub. You can hear/see me shift several times in the following video(even if it is not the best angle). (< 7MB) - Shifting with the Geared 36″ Unicycle

Shifting on a unicycle is great fun, and once you get it down, you hardly have to think about it. It is awesome riding fast down rolling terrain and then shifting on the fly without thinking twice about it on the climb.

Anyway, sorry, I know these videos are boring. :astonished:

Pretty smooth moves, man. Thanks for sharing these. The braking technique may inspire me to remount my Magura and step up to learning it the right way.

Very nice braking!

I have seen Chuck do it with both feet off the pedals. :astonished: It is amazing!

I just started riding my KH36, and have found that a brake used improperly can be your enemy. My 2 upds on this uni so far have been due to braking faux pas.
This included an exciting flying leap on a steep trail descent when I was not braking hard enough over a small drop, and then overcompensated by braking too hard. I was going quite fast and leaped pretty far, but came away unscathed. Just like anything else, braking takes lots of practice.

Yeah, if you are trying to brake suddenly while going 17mph you need to be sure of your method. I found that after braking in high gear, low gear braking feels a lot easier for me now. In reality though, if I need to stop suddenly, I usually just jump off the front or back after slowing down a bit with my legs. I am not confident enough yet to rely only on the brake.

Nice, yeah I remember seeing a video of Beau coasting offroad with both his feet off the pedals and only using the brake! I think it partly has to do with their great wheel builds and brake set ups, but it mostly has to do with the fact that Beau and Chuck are amazingly talented riders.

Both videos are quite cool, most so the braking one.
A few weeks ago I saw Arne Tilgen do the same no-foot braking.

Love it! I remember seeing Chuck riding around in the parking lot at the big common dinner on the night before the first race day at RTL. It was the first time I had seen anyone on a geared 36er and he was going way faster than I ever thought possible.
The thing that really astounded me was the way he could stop in little more than one rotation by leaning back and applying the brake.

You guys are totally onto something here.

BTW. Your shifting looks nice and seamless - really impressed.

We’ve been calling it “brake assisted coasting”. It is actually quite easy to do…


Yeah, I can do it, but not very well with my feet off the pedals. Chuck and Beau are both amazing though.

i wanna ride that thing it looks sooooo fast!

Those are nice videos. I am still learning to be more comfortable braking at high speed in high gear. Even after 850 miles, I am not “there” yet. As for shifting, I am also making good progress, shifting like you, without looking, and able to shift at higher speed. It is pretty easy, and it got easier when I started positioning the knob slightly further out than I was doing (Geoff Huntley’s suggestion on the India tour). It’s set so I can just get my fingernail in between the crank and the knob.

Here’s a video of Beau doing brake assisted coasting on the Schlumpf 36:

This is a great technique for Muni too:


Seems a little scary to me! I can glide sometimes with my trials uni, I would imagine it would feel a little more like gliding than coasting right?

I have enough trouble using the brake on long steep downhills. My wheel always feels jittery when trying to use the brake on a long descent. I still haven’t had my wheel properly trued and tensioned though (it is a pretty loose build). I am trying to force myself to use my brake more often though, I have been putting off properly using one for a long time now.

Yeah, that Muni video was the one I saw before. Very impressive!

I actually found that moving my buttons in some helped my shifting. I am not sure exactly how far out they are, but I cannot fit my fingernail in. My riding shoes are quite wide though

wow, thats rad!