Cranks, learning to idle (and freemount)

Hi guys,
I need some suggestions, please. I ride 24" qu-ax with 114mm cranks.
As I can ride as long as I want now (and quite smoothly I suppose :sunglasses: ),
I’m slowly but surely learning how to freemount. I’m having a hard time
doing so, however. I succeed in maybe 20%… or maybe 50% on
a good day and as low as 10% on a bad one.

Do you think the crank-length is a factor in learning to freemount (I’ve tried
static mount)?

The similiar issue is with idling. I totally cannot grok how to do this (yup,
I’ve seen tutorials, read descriptions, etc) and now I wonder maybe my
problems are due to length of my cranks.

I found some posts here suggesting that 127mm cranks are better to
control the uni. So, is that 13mm difference between my 114mm cranks
is really that important? Is it worth to change 114mm cranks to 127mm? :thinking:
(provided that I’m still learning quite basic skills) or maybe should I change
to a bit longer?

(Oh, and I’ve just checked – largest square-end cranks qu-ax sell
is 127mm)

First, congratulations on obtaining the ability to ride. Sounds like you have a nice uni.

Based on my beginner’s experience (1 year): moving from 113 to 127 mm, you will probably feel a little more control while riding and you’ll accomplish slightly tighter and more steady turns. Idling will certainly be easier with the longer cranks. On the other hand, I’m not so sure that freemounting success is affected by anything other than developing proper technique which comes from just putting in the practice time.

Good Luck.

Also, forgot to mention. I would think the ability to idle will come much later after you have mastered freemounting. Two different skills and it’s usually more important to get the freemounting success first.

Square-taper cranks are universal; you can buy any brand and length, and they’ll fit. That said, your cranks are a little short for learning basic skills. This doesn’t mean they can’t be learned, but it may take a little more effort. If you intend to buy some cranks specifically for learning, I recommend a pair of 140s for maximum leverage. It’s also a great size for playing basketball or hockey on a 24" wheel.

Work on mounting first. For critiques on your current problems, you have to give us more information. Try a rollback mount. Press down on the rear pedal to take it a full 1/2 revolution backward. If you do this where your center of mass ends up ahead of your wheel axle, you’ll be able to ride away from a position of maximum control.

For idling, take your time. With shorter cranks you’ll have to do it a little slower than you would with longer ones. Give your body a chance to slightly start falling in each direction before moving the pedals the opposite way.

Ok, thanks for suggestion!

Well, the problem is that not being a tall guy, when I set myself up to do a static freemount the angle between me and my unicycle’s frame is c.a. 45 degrees, so I cannot (or it’s hard to) just lean forward and step on. What I try to do is just hop up and land my other foot in a correct place on the pedal :slight_smile: Which of course sometimes works and sometimes not. Rather more often not, but more importantly strains my calf muscles. Maybe it just takes some more practice, and strategy… I’l see…
Any hints?

I think you might have missed the point of what John was saying.

A rollback mount is where you pedal backwards to bring the wheel under yourself rather than lunge forwards to try and put yourself above the wheel.

Rollback is how I mount nearly all of the time, and I manage it nearly all of the time (unless I’m drunk or burdened with heavy medieval style fighting gear).

Maybe you could try it in a doorway or near a wall that you could hang on to for balance?

In the time I have spent so far trying to mount and ride a unicycle, I tried not to put much weight on what it was I used for support. I found that after my first or second try to freemount (static) after learning to move forward, I could consistently.

This is what I did (for static freemounting):
Roll the wheel until the pedals reached 3 and 9 o’clock (horizontal, paralell to the ground). I put my foot on the close pedal, moved up onto the seat until basically sitting on it (at such an angle that I could not put my weight on it though), and almost jump; the seat comes along with the body. Do not grip the seat.

Start alongside something you can cling to (mailbox works well), then ease on your grip as you keep trying, or move to a sheer wall so you cannot cling to it. Practice getting on, getting your feet in decent places on the pedals, and sitting fairly comfortably on the seat. When you can get on and feel that you are putting very little or no weight on your support, you should be able to freemount with a good success rate.

You should write a book about unicycling. Most of your posts show a knowledge of current unicycling events, unicycling history, technical aspects of unicycles, or how to learn unicycling skills that really deserves publication somewhere.

i completely agree. you know everything there is to know about unicycling John. I would buy the book for sure.

Today I tried some rollback mounts w/support but I’m still afraid to do it for real without sticking to the wall.
So I kept experimenting with static freemount. First I lowered the saddle and quite happily discovered that I started to succeed freemounting more frequently! What’s more, with lowered saddle I began to be able to make tighter turns. Great! :smiley:

BTW interestingly enough when I try those freemounts it’s much easier for me to do static mount with non-dominant foot on closer pedal (this way I can jump more accurately on the second pedal and avoid pushing the pedal down) while rollback mount is better done with dominant foot on the closer pedal (because it has to be pushed down).

Nevertheless I’ll keep practising rollback… still at home and still with support :frowning:

BTW John recommended that I should get 140mm cranks (I need standard, coterless), which – as I seeked on UDC (and their other international sites) – are rather totally uncommon :frowning: Do you know who makes them besides Koxx (which is a bit pricey)?

I don’t mean to counter John’s vast uni knowledge, but I’d get 150 ish mm. cranks. You’ll get even more torque, and control. They will just be a little slower. O r heck even 175 mm. all available at UDC. :roll_eyes:

i find that shorter cranks are easier to idle. i use 125mm on a 24" and find it easier than 170mm. its harder to start off but after a while it gets easier in the long run. that way you dont twist so much when you idle.

i learnt to freemount with 125’s. i’m learning with 170’s to idle. this is on a 24". i find it easier to idle with the 170’s by loads.

most people find longer cranks easier because most people havent gained enough strenght in the legs.

it’s got nothing to do with strength in the legs while you’re learning, i’ve got more strength in my legs than tom does but he can ride better.

it’s because the longer the cranks, the more fine control you have over the wheel, when you’re learning you want as much control as possible.

but the shorter the cranks the less you have to move around but the more you have to push down on the wheel which requires more strength.

that was pointless tom.

when you’re learning strength doesn’t matter. when you learn with longer cranks it gives you much more control over the wheel then shorter cranks which are harder to learn on.

i learnt on a 24" with 125’s. you learnt on a 20" with 127’s tom. i used more strength blah blah blah

i learned on my 24" with 125’s. i found it easier than my 20" with 127’s.

you didnt learn on your 24" tom you dumbass. you had your 20" with 127’s for like 4 and a half months before you got your 24".

yea but i never tryed idling until i got my 24". and i only had it for like 3 months befroe i tried. the first 3 or so months i had my uni i only tried trials and Muni. i never tried tricks. you dumbass. i think i would know, i was the one who was there.