Freewheel curious!

Hi all,

From a curious side i have been reading up on freewheel and have a few questions for experienced riders.

Hub wise what hubs are used ? Ive seen drift trike hubs possibly either nimbus or JR 1:1 P hub are both disc hubs 100 mm spacing both coterless or is there isis out there ?

What size wheel did you build it into or go for on your first freewheel unicycle ?

Finally how do you get on with it / do you enjoy it ?

I really enjoy building unicycles and currently have all fixed sizes i want but not sure if to build a freewheel or not!

You should have a look at this thread. There’s plenty of information about freewheels.

It’s really great for Muni. Depending on the ground I prefer it to a fixed uni. But it’s really strange in the beginning and it requires some time to get used to.

The megathread should answer most of your questions, but firstly I’d just say do it!

My first freewheel was a 29", then I went for a 32". Right now I have a 26" and 32" but I plan to change to a 27.5" and a 36" this year.
For new riders, I’d recommend 24-27.5" depending on the riding you want to do.

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What was the learning curve like? Could you ride one on the first day, within the first week or only after long and arduous practice and how long did it take to get really good at it?

I could ride one within the hour, but my brake control was already very good.

Regarding getting really good at it, that depends on what you consider to be really good!

I’ve got better pretty slowly but I’ve hardly ridden it recently.
Doing proper practise, especially around riding without the brake will get you to the point of “really good” faster.

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I’m a bit mind blown that people can actually manage to precisely modulate a brake and keep their balance on one while negotiating rough terrain. It’s hard enough to do on a fixed unicycle and I think I’d be constantly recovering from injuries if I tried a freewheel.

This was my first attempt at the freewheel. Don’t get discouraged, I was a natural.


Thanks for the link which will give me some reading.

I have quax 29 frame that I’m running with a 27.5 (oddball build thread) in it so that would allow me to build up either size and swap it over to see how I get on!

Hi unimyra I saw you video the other day and its the falling backwards that is putting me off as I do suffer bad back, how do you find it now ?

I currently run my 32" and 26" in a 36" frame. If you’ve got parts hanging around it’s a really good way to try things.

I’m not unimyra obviously, but I can tell you that I rarely slammed as hard and as unprepared as the first time I tried a freewheel. It’s hard to rewire your brain at first.
A bit longer in, I had figured out the whole “you can’t dismount by stepping onto the back pedal” thing, and then the falls weren’t worse than on a normal unicycle.

I think it’s possible to avoid falling on your back like that. You should engage the brake at all times in the beginning, even when pedaling forwards. I didn’t do that. After my first two attempts, I never fell on my back like that again, in fact I can’t remember not landing on my feet. I don’t do freewheel muni (yet?).

I have never felt on my back like that. Even in muni I always fall on my feet - or a few times in front of my uni. I think UniMyra is right when he says to always engage the brake. It helps a lot to stay balanced.

I’ve fallen on my back like that once, when riding uphill off-road not using the brake at all.

Despite grass being harder to ride on, I do wonder whether the first half an hour or so of riding a freewheel would be best done on something softer like that until you’ve learnt how to dismount.

although I don’t have any experience with a uni freewheel yet, I can recommend getting a smooth pedal the first time you’re attempting it. It’s the same a doing a manual on a bike and as soon as you tip over to the back too much, you want to take your feet off the pedals asap. With normal muni you have decent grippy pedals and therefore this can delay your feet enough to get off in time.
Once you get the hang of it you can put the grippy pedals back on again :wink:

thinking about putting clipless pedals on my freewheel

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I have never tried a freewheel unicycle. But it seems I’d want the normal amount of grip on the pedals for pedaling forward, and almost no grip at all for sliding backwards off the pedals. I suppose the pins on a pair of Nimbus pinned pedals could be filed-off in such a way to achieve this. I have, in the past, filed the Nimbus pins to make them more dome-shaped, less aggressive. For a freewheel uni, the front edge of the pins could be sloped, while keeping the back edges normal. Watching @UniMyra dismount quickly off the back…makes me concerned that, during a rear UPD, the pedals might grab my feel for long enough to make me fall onto my back.

My crystal ball tells me there should be a good used market for freewheel hubs in a couple years.

Haha, you could say that :rofl: :rofl:

I’ve not found that the pedals make too much of a difference. I’d just ensure you go for flat soled shoes so your shoes don’t add unpredictable grip (although that’s always my recommendation, freewheel or otherwise).

Here’s a combo to try: Five ten Stealth soled shoes with Nukeproof Horizon Pro or Nukeproof Neutron Evo pedals. That combo is very sticky and gets even worse after a few months of riding due to the pins slowly creating holes in your soles.
I’m using FiveTen Stealth shoes with Crank Brothers Stamp 7 and that’s also very grippy. If you loose your balance sideways or backwards it’s very well possible to have the grip delay you enough that you can’t land on your feet anymore.
But they have an amazing grip in both dry and wet conditions.

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