I have searched the forum and have not been able to find helpful info.
I’m fairly new rider, I have a Nimbus 24 Muni. I am having trouble climbing.
I simply can’t produce enough force and therefore stall. I’ve been MTB and BMX all my life, so I feel confident with getting power to the ground, but it just aint happen’n on the Muni. I am trying to pull up on the saddle but I am not able to really unweight the seat much.
Is that the ticket and I just need to practice that more?
Thanks in advance!


Maybe you could further define “stall”. What position are the cranks when you stall? Which way do you fall? Sideways?

Sounds like you’ve got the power; the harder part is working with the reduced “balance envelope” you have when riding uphill. Get way out in front of the axle and “ride into yourself”.

When it gets steep, I go in half-turns of the wheel. Lean out, give the wheel a good push (make sure you get past vertical cranks), then pause momentarily while your body gets out front of the wheel again before doing the next crank.

When climbing on steep trails, that technique can get to look sort of like the way a pigeon walks: head/torso, wheel. Head/torso, wheel. :slight_smile:

I just simply stop dead, and then dismount. I guess falling was the wrong description.

Thank you John. I will try that.
Do you ever stand out of the saddle? If so, do you accomplish this by pulling up on the saddle at the same time?
Thanks so much!

Yes, standing and pulling on the saddle is a good idea for when it is steep.

The other thing to keep in mind is the crank position on the uni vs. a bike. The power position on a bike doesn’t involve (that much) balance and putting the power down once the cranks get to 1 o’clock or so is natural. On a uni, it’s more like 3 o’clock. As John said, it’s a shorter window.

You need to work on riding out of the saddle, just like a cyclist. This takes practice cuz you need to improve your balance.

Try riding standing on hills you can almost climb while sitting, then gradually move to steeper hills. Focus on completing climbs at first, so pick hills that have fewer obstalces and are more consistently graded, then start working on irregular hills.

Climbing off road, esp tough terrain, is the hardest skill to develop, but the most worthwhile. After three years of riding muni year-round, 2-3x a week, I am finally at the point that I can ride up or down on what I would call “intermediate” mtb trails, featuring lots of low rocks, roots, erosion, up and down, all of which I can do without hoping; I’m not much of a hoper :wink:

And yet, there are still plenty of UPD’s in my riding :smiley:

It’s a long flat learning curve, very flat, so very flat.

Oh, and there is one other thing you could try: longer cranks :slight_smile:

Not everyone will agree, but assuming you have a standard 24" muni, you’re probably running 150mm cranks. Order some 165’s and see how that works. My son rides a 24" with 160’s and really likes that combo, but the only ISIS 160’s are made by Koxx K1 and they can be hard to find.

Oh, and see if you can hook up with CO riders, that would help a lot with skill building as well as be vert fun :slight_smile:

I’ll be out in CO the first two weeks of June, skiing Indy Pass and riding muni, maybe we can hook up and ride.

Ben, Thanks!
Does standing require holding the seat? What is the best way to learn to get out of the saddle, should I practice on flat street?
I’d love to hook up when you come out here. PM me, I’ll always get it same day,

I personally do a lot of hoping when I ride. I do some hopping too.

Standing pretty much requires holding the seat. It’s like pulling on the bars when climbing on a bike.

The long crank debate comes up again…

My $.02. 150s are nice. Run what you’ve got. I tried 165s and 175s on my 29er when I got it and hated it. I found the “dead spot” was a big problem. I tried 137s on my 24. For the terrain around here I wasn’t a fan. Too much of a loss of control. I run 150s on 24 and 26 Conundrums (26 is Larry or Duro equipped depending on the season). I also run 150s on my KH 29.

I think that there’s a reason that Kris Holm specs 150s. They seem to be a great balance between speed and control.

The 2 of our other local riders tried 165s on 26" wheels and hated them. The consensus was that they were way too slow. Both went to 150s (with 3.0 Duros).

The only place we found 165s to be acceptable are on a 36er. 150s are nice there too, but the terrain around here is a bit too steep for climbing on 150s with that big of a wheel.

That’s sad… Everyone needs a little hope when learning to climb muni-style, especially when climbing without hopping :slight_smile:

I couldn’t help myself :stuck_out_tongue:


I am originally from Aurora, CO If you tell me your favorite trails I can get an Idea of the terrain you are riding and give you some pointers based on that.

I personally like to ride down hill on the uni (I ride XC one the MTB;)) although I don’t mind earning my ride either. Try to find trails that have the technical parts going downhill and the smoother parts going uphill. The reason for this is the unicycle is an extremely inefficient climbing machine. To be a good climber you will need to train, build muscle mass and endurance.

Think about your gear ratios when climbing MTB. How often is it 1:1? Middle ring and 32 tooth cog. Bikes have a substantially more efficient climbing position because you can lean forward pull up and the handle bar and be slightly forward of the standard pedal position(perineum on the horn of the saddle for climbing). On the Unicycle you have to maintain a forward-back balance so you cannot get into this prime power position.:frowning: Hence John Foss’s comment on the pigeon walk. You are getting into the prime position but only momentarily.

So what I do is the pigeon walk but always trying to maintain momentum, which is your friend with technical stuff. Build that muscle mass you need way more for the uni than for the bike. Keep out of the dead spot and pull up with all your might you need to create artificial weight on the pedals so you can put more power into the ground. Have fun and good luck!

You have to be out of the saddle. Then lean forward right over the front of the wheel standing tall and put all of your weight and force on the forward pedal and the uni will come back under you. You just repeat this until you make it over the hill, just as John Foss said.

Does this mean it’s possible to climb stairs like they’re a hill, or are normal stairs too extreme?

Stopping while climbing is fine. Just keep your balance. I find that momentum has little to do with yourability To climb steep hills. But there’s a lot of technique involved. As others have said, stand on the pedals, lean forward, pull up on the seat, power through a half revolution, and then rest for a split second while your center of gravity catches up with your wheel, and then lean forward again, power through another half revolution… always being aware of where your wheel will end up (both terrain and crank position) as you go.

Great summary Brent.
It’s “not about momentum” made a lot of sense to me.
I’ve always tried to be smooth with my pedal strokes and not be choppy.
It sounds to me that choppy IS the technique.
Is this correct??? If so, I’ve been trying the wrong technique this whole time.

I’ve said it before, the members on this forum AMAZE me in their willingness and desire to help and just pain kindness. I am involved in another sport (2 wheels) where the forums are very rude and NOT helpful.
Thank you, every one of you!

I find that choppy is not the best technique. That being said, does not mean that it doesn’t happen. I usually try to keep my start and stop down to a minimum. I cannot ride over roots and rocks on a steep uphill without maintaining some momentum. Our dirt out here is typically loose and trying to keep traction becomes a problem on steep terrain. As with anything keeping traction requires smooth actions not jerky ones. On smoother hills with packed dirt choppy is fine.

The trails in Colorado mountains and front range (Summit County, Colorado Trail, White Ranch, Mount Falcon, and Apex) should be ok with the choppy Technique. But other rides like Pine area where the dirt is loose will require a smoother technique.

Answering your previous question, I ride Green Mountain and Bear Creek so far. Nothing too technical. You should move on back. Just kidding I love NM.

Green Mountain is steep, I used to get really winded riding that on my bike. But there are some steep descents on the south side and depending on the year that dirt can wash out. When you get a bit better Dakota ridge will be awesome just right across from C-470.

Bear creek is a good place to start and learn skills. There is another great ride outside of Evergreen that isn’t too steep and has some technical sections that can teach you things. Riding in the front range you will need to get good at water bars in the climbs. The technique is very dependent upon your wheel size.

When I go back to visit my parents I would like to go for a ride. I don’t have anything planned just saying in general.

You don’t have to hold the seat when standing up, though it’s definitely easier that way. You do have to stand up for any significant amount of climbing.

When the terrain is too loose for the choppy funky chicken you can do a really serpentine climb instead. It takes more room on the trail so doesn’t work in all circumstances but can help when you have more traction than power.

I do basically the same thing as the funky chicken that John mentioned but turn the wheel about 45˚ to the hill every half rotation. The foot that is pushing on the pedal will be on the inside of the arc. While you are overcoming the dead-spot your wheel is at an angle to the slope which helps you get past it.

I tend to spin out much less using this technique and find it much smoother than trying to mash strait up the hill.

Your track will look something like this: