For those of you who have been riding them did you find that it significantly improved your balance or riding ability on a unicycle? I just received a 24" UW from UDC and spent about an hour actually trying to ride it and probably another hour just goofing around doing things like taping cardboard to my calves and rubbing soap on the sidewalls of the tire in order to reduce friction when the tire made contact.
First observation, riding an UW is hard! Really hard! After about an hour of practice I managed to get a couple of runs in with 2 revolutions, but I was supporting myself with a pair of ropes. I could ride 1.5 revolutions using the ropes to aid my balance, but after that I have to let go to ride further and never made it more than 1/2 revolution further. Still, I feel there was significant improvement.
Second observation is that getting on one is a lot easier than you would think. Of course I can’t freemount it yet, but to get on one you just put your foot on the pedal in the 6 o’clock position and then put your other foot on the other pedal. It’s really that easy. Your inner leg rests against the wheel and keeps it upright while you do this.
Concerning the UDC ultimate wheel itself, it’s a nice solid product, really built like a tank, but the sidewall of the tire is very sticky and a pantleg contacting it can stop the wheel quickly. Also, while the pedals seemed well suited to it, (plastic with no metal pins, but reasonably grippy), I found that my oversized feet seemed to hang about 1/2" over the outside edge of them. Fortunately I still had a pair of pedal extensions and those did a decent job of putting the pedals where they better suited me.
I have been riding an UW for quite a while.
I don’t ride often, because I am most of the time in shorts, and the tire has a great tendency to stick on legs…
To answer your question, I would say that yes, it helps, at least to ride SIF or to learn seat drag. However, the main thing it brings is a capacity to balance the strength on both legs, and when riding, we usually don’t want to put weight on pedals, so it might not change that much your unicycling skills.
But it also brings quite a lot of strength in the legs, wich can help when riding your unicycle, even if it is not because of the skill.
To give you informations about learning difficulties, when I learned, I could ride my uni with no difficulties, even if I didn’t know that much tricks, even basic. It took me two weeks to ride properly, by riding everyday for up to an hour. At this time I rode with horse chaps to protect my legs. After, I started riding in jeans and now I often ride in shorts, but never for more than half an hour, because then I don’t have hairs anymore on my calves, and I don’t hae skin either on some parts. I haven’t rode in months, and I still have some scars due to that, so please don’t ride in shorts and protect your legs.
I learned to ride the 28”. When first I learned I just had a family and I was only able to train once week. Every week I needed to learn from scratch, so I gave up. A uyear later I had more time and found the perfect fence to ride back and forth along. I figured I needed to get the hang of making rotations, which I did and would then push away from the fence and see how many rotations I could do unsupported. At some point I used the start of the fence to get on and then rode along without holding it.
Once I could do that, I started focusing on freemounts, which actually werent that hard. My ultimate goal was to take the wheel to the forest and ride every 50 meters to make a trip. Unfortunately, by that time I had trained so extensively, that my knee started hurting. I think I twist it by my way of freemounting. I was extremely disappointed, but it just hurt too much. Every now and then I still see if I can ride it, and whether I dont ride a month or a year, the movement is in my muscle memory, and I can still do about 20 meters, of which I am very happy I can still do.
As for gear, I stuff my training pants in my socks and that doesnt give too much friction. I tried the legguards but that doesnt work, they just start moving around my legs.
All in all, it kicks ass being able to ride one, but riding unicycle is way more comfortable
I kind of just ordered it on the spur of the moment. I had been practicing riding my Hatchet across some extremely cambered terrain and was noticing that what really made it traversible was when I had all my weight on the pedals and was perfectly balanced so that I needed no input from the saddle. The same sort of balance as when you’re riding saddle in front and not needing to force the saddle at all. That got me thinking that UW would be a good training aid for developing better balance and control.
Even when you stand on the pedals, you still also have the seat which helps with balance. You don’t have that on an UW. The balance point on a UW is at the feet, same as with a skateboard/waveboard. On a unicycle it is at the waiste. Also when riding SIF, you can use the seat to keep the wheel upright. I still haven’t tried riding SIF. Another difference is that on a uni the, what was it, Q-factor is bigger than on a UW, so you kinda need the seat or it will become way too wobbly. You’re prolly right that riding SIF will be easier once you can ride UW. Though I wouldn’t take the UW to your cambered terrain.
Good luck in getting the hang of UW. You will feel like you can do anything once you’ve “mastered” it.
I have a 24" ultimate wheel, at best I could ride it about 5 meters or so. Just never committed to learning it as it’s very difficult to use. Don’t think it’s had any impact on my general riding skills.
I found it helpful for improving my control on a regular unicycle. I grinded on it till I could consistently free mount and ride pretty far. It definitely helps with SIF and SIB riding.
It took me 7 hours of practice just to go 2 revolutions on the ultimate wheel. It took me 30 minutes of practice to be able to ride SIF a pretty far distance. SIB riding which I learned a while later took like 5 minutes of practice to start getting it down. Going backwards SIF and SIB I got pretty quick as well, though it took a bit longer than going forwards.
I learned the ultimate wheel first, but honestly it would probably be easier to learn SIF riding before learning the ultimate wheel. I’ve idled some while on the ultimate wheel, but am not very good at it. I’ve rode like 4 revolutions backwards on it as well, though I haven’t practiced it much.
I find that SIF/SIB back riding will make you better at the ultimate wheel, and the ultimate wheel will make you better at SIF/SIB riding. Ultimate wheel is definitely still harder than both of those however.
Seat drag I still can’t do, though I haven’t really practiced it yet. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard though given my current skill level.