Free mounting with brakes

I was wondering if the use of brakes can make free mounting easier (how are they used in this case?) at least in some situations. Or is the sole use of brakes in making downhill easier for the muscles?
Thanks for your answers,


IMHO I would say using the brakes to free mount would make it much more difficult… The only time I use the brake to mount is when doing Muni: the unicycle is is facing down the steep hill and I want to mount and stay in that position for a bit before I let it roll down…



Also, not sure it this is right (as I am still developing my riding skills myself) but I have noticed that if I do drops/hops and land on a steep incline it seems to help me to apply the brakes as I land so I can stop the unicycle rolling downhill out of control…

Only on steep downhills I would use them for mounting, at any other time it takes away your forward/backward control, making balancing after mounting much more difficult. On a steep hill I would hold the brake tight, do a static(-ish) mount, then slowly let go of the brake and into riding downhill.

Brakes can be used for relieving your legs during downhill, landing large drops/hops, and (suprise) slowing down (on a downhill section before a hard corner for example, you can brake harder than just using your legs).

Never used it for mounting, maybe once in a steep downhill too.
But it makes for cool rear dismount on the big wheel.

I use my brake frequently when mounting downhill. Makes it really easy.

Also, I recall watching Felix mount his heavily-laden 36" (like ~50 lbs of gear strapped on): he would do a two-step rolling-mount setup, then hit the brake as his first foot hit the pedal. With the wheel stopped, his momentum carried him up to the top of the curve, release the brake and off he went. Very cool to watch.

Jump Mount with Brake

I find that jump mounting a 36" using the brake is very useful. With the brake locked I can firmly hold the seat handle with both hands and pull/push myself up with my arms. A jump mount on the 36" is quite easy with the brake holding the wheel fixed.
For new riders, shorter riders or really old riders like me it may be something to try. It seems to be very easy to learn, I just went for it and was successful with no real learning curve. The key is just to go for it and keep an eye on the pedals till the feet are planted. It also does not really matter what foot is forward or back.

Look closely at the gif of JimT doing the jump mount. The foot landing on the closer pedal is the one performing most of the jump; the second foot is more passive and is left swinging weightlessly toward the second pedal.

Sometimes when I’m practicing jump mounts, I start with one foot directly behind the closest pedal and the other foot lifted off the ground, far behind me. In this posture, the force of the jump comes only from the front foot, and the back foot is “thrown” passively by the rest of the body in a long arc onto the far-away pedal.

Contrast that with the jump mount, shown in some tutorials, where a foot is placed, without significant weight, on the starting pedal, then the jump is done by the other foot. Maybe I haven’t practiced that one enough, but I find it awkward and unbalanced.

Regarding the OP’s question: If the rider is too reliant on the brake during mounting, and if a failed mount causes the rider to lose control over the brake, then I’d say using the brake while mounting is a bad idea, because it could result in a bad fall.

I bet Jim has a lot of skills that “made” learning this jump mount easy. (hopping, stillstands, good riding, etc…)

I think braking skills are advanced, so once learned they can compliment other riding skills.
To rely on brakes for basic skills building would be very counterintuitive as the brake is taking control of the balance point away from the rider.

Once you have absolute control of your balance point, then the brake becomes a very valuable skill to have in the arsenal.

If you look closely you may notice that after the minor step toward the uni, both legs are doing the same thing and both are kind of just going along for the ride after the initial push off. About half of the effort to get from the ground to the height needed comes from the arms. I took videos of a normal (without brake) attempt (failed) and with brake and it is clear that I can easily jump at least twice as high when the brake is locked and I can use my arms to pull me up. Also looking at the video frame by frame it is clear that both legs are moving in together for most of the movement up with them only separating at the very last depending on what pedal is forward or back. Here it is in more detail.

I’m still thinking that the jump mount would be easier for a novice to learn and with brake, be safer and easier for some that have a problem getting high enough on a 36er.

When I rode as a kid I was never really proficient at a free mount and when I started riding the 36’ a little over a year ago (after a 50 year break) it took me considerable practice to get relatively good at a normal step up or rolling mount on the 36er. Then after riding the 36” for a year I picked up a 24” with long 170mm cranks and I could not free mount it. Going from a 36” with 127mm cranks to a smaller uni with long cranks is a whole new game. The timing, muscle memory and pressure needed on the leading pedal are completely different. So I went for the jump mount with the brake and found mounting the 24” was a piece of cake. After the jump mount on the 24” I tried it on the 36”. I had to jump higher and pull more with my arms but the basic operation is exactly the same. The size of the unicycle and the length of the cranks make no real difference,

Beginners always seem to struggle with free mounting and that makes some sense. They are pushing off with one foot and have to put just the right amount of pressure on the leading pedal to be successful. A lot of the fine details and muscle memory required on a normal mount are not needed on a jump mount. Just need to go for it, hit the pedals and you are good to go.

Maybe some others should try it and report back.


You are also landing your butt on the seat. This is, IMHO, the hard part of your jump mount. When I jump mount, I land seat-in-front, then during a momentary still stand I push the seat under me.

JimT, thanks for clarifying your 36er mount with more pictures. If I had a 36", I would probably be using a variation on your mount. It seems way easier that a rolling mount.

agree with you!

I agreed with you dude.