Freewheel Unicycling Megathread

For me, mounting a freewheel 32" wasn’t all that bad. I do a brake assisted jump mount. I’ll be building up my 36" freewheel soon.
You do need to be pretty spritely to jump mount such a large wheel, but personally it’s no problem.

With a brake I also don’t find the speed compared to pedalling being that critical. As you’re not pedalling, you can be far more stable at speed, so as long as your brake control is good, it doesn’t feel like it’s a problem.

On the higher up, ignoring the speed, I think that’s an advantage as you get more time to react before you hit the ground.

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Good question. Let’s put a heartrate monitor on @muni_ben and make him ride the same loop with freewheel and without, because I’d like to know. And if not in energy expenditure, there might be benefits in keeping the legs fresh.
I know for me there is no way I spend less energy freewheeling (the balancing takes up too much), but I’m less than mediocre at it still.

But also if you do fall it might be worse as you are probably hitting the ground harder if you are unable to react in time.

If you do think you have a spare hub i would be very interested.

Thinking i will build into a 27.5 as my go to unicycle is my odd ball build that i did a thread on , its a quax 29 qx muni frame that i built up a 27.5 wheel for. Its a right mix of parts but its my do everything on bike so i think freewheel will suit it well.

Ditto here… not that I would gazump m00ms though.

I’m in :wink: That would be quite interesting to test with the Flick Flock hub, because you can easily change the setup for different laps and then compare them.

In the mean time, I can share some insights from a downhill segment that I ride on most of my local muni rides: Gubristunnel the real DH | Strava Ride Segment in Unterengstringen, ZH, Switzerland. It’s quite bumpy with roots and some rocks, but nothing too extreme. It can be quite muddy depending on the season. The part in the middle is very flat and requires pedaling.

In total, I have ridden this trail 48 times. Here are my segment times:

I will ignore those times above 5 mins since I was probably stopped by something or tried a section multiple times. For 30 rides, I had a HRM. 17 rides on a normal muni (mostly 29", a few 27.5", geared 29", and 36"), 13 rides on a freewheel (mostly 29", some 26").

Now some stats:
Average segment time:

  • normal 3:21
  • freewheel 3:49

Average heartrate:

  • normal 133 bpm
  • freewheel 123 bpm

Indeed, on average the FW is slower and I have a lower heartrate riding it. I think this is mostly due to how I ride with the freewheel on my home trails: I try to pedal as little as possible and brakecoast as much as possible, while it would certainly be faster to pedal through certain technical or flat sections. Therefore, the freewheel times are much slower, but also more relaxed.


Back to this: I run a Shimano SLX 7120 brake with organic brake pads and Qu-ax 160mm disc on my freehweel. On long slopes, it overheats and becomes less and less powerful. I’d like to test metallic pads and another disc (Shimano RT86, 180mm) but I didn’t take time to make these changes :slight_smile:
BTW, I’m a bit afraid to break my Nimbus hub while disassembling the disc. Any advise to avoid breakage?

Tips for dismantling the Nimbus/Madazz hub is firstly get yourself the right size circlip pliers.
It’s pretty easy to damage it/yourself trying to get it off/on without the correct tools.

Other than that, from memory it’s pretty simple. While you’ve got that side off, I’d recommend taking the clutch out and giving it a clean and some more grease. When reinserting, rotate the axle as you do it and the clutch pawls should self-locate

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I don’t have any knowledge of Nimbus freewheel hubs, but I would imagine that the disc is still held on by 6 Allen or Torx bolts and that you need to pull the bearing to get at it. I remove them with an impact driver set to high torque and replace them with it set to low torque, then finish by torquing them down by hand. The impact driver is just a luxury however. I would also use Loctite.

For the bearing I use a gear puller that has the hooks ground down for better clearance. Small gear pullers are typically inexpensive and removing a bearing without one is very difficult.

I have found that acquiring a small collection of specialty bicycle tools helps out greatly in working on bikes and unicycles and that they are relatively inexpensive and take up little space.

The issue is that the Nimbus hub has a circlip locking the bearing. So we need something else than a traditional bearing puller - which I already have :wink:
But Mowcius seems to have the solution with the circlip pliers.

From memory the tolerances are such that a bearing puller also isn’t necessary for the Nimbus hub. Once the circlip is off, the bearing will probably just fall off; it did on my old hub.

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Many peeps replied to your thoughts already. I am one of those clowns that bought a Schlumpf a few years back for more than 2000€. Unicycling is my passion and though it was expensive, I had a good salary and I lived alone, so it wouldn’t cost me a rib. Apart from that while reading about geared unicycles, I got very curious and just needed to try one out. Because unicycling is such a niche sport, it is near impossible to just try before you buy, like with cars and bikes.
Eventually after trying to work out riding in high gear, I felt like it was not for me. Eventually it just ended in my shed and after a year of not using it, I sold it, naturally with a few 100 eur loss, to someone in Germany.
I also have a freewheel unicycle, a 20" that I bought from I had a bad fall off the back, because I’m so used to finding my balance by moving my feet backwards. Naturally that is where the brake comes in, but when first learning, it takes a while to force your mind to grab for the brake instead of pedalling backwards. Since then I haven’t put much effort into riding it.
I still have the uni and won’t sell it, because some time in the future - could be a few years - I know I will want to try again.
I’m always looking for different ways of transport. For a while I also invested a lot of time in an Ultimate Wheel and though I can ride it, it takes too much energy to be good enough for exploring an area.
I don’t consider these buys a waste of money, because they gave me a lot of fun (and some frustration) and experience.
Before taking the step of getting a hub that can switch between normal mode and freewheel hub, I need to be able to actually ride my freewheel uni first. So the chance of buying that is very small for me. Nevertheless, I think it is great to see that people are innovative and try to make such inventions.


" I had a bad fall off the back, because I’m so used to finding my balance by moving my feet backwards…"

Friends, if somebody will make at last freewheel hub with built-in brake, like it is in brake hub on cheapest bicycle?
In this case intuitive backwards pushing of pedal will be activate the brake. This invention will be real useful.
What is your opinion?


I think it would be almost totally uncontrollable, but I’d love to try one out.

Edit: I think you could probably use it for braking to slow down, but not really for balance. Perhaps it would help to avoid arse-on-ground falls.

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I don’t know exactly how feasible it would be. They do heat up and fade on long descents and there is a brake lever on the side that would have to bolt to the frame, so I’m not sure how that would integrate with the axle. Also, you could find yourself in the awkward position of having to brake to balance while in the 6/12 crank position and the difference there would be that unlike on a fixed unicycle you might have to apply back pressure for a long time while in that position.

It does sound like an interesting idea though and I’d like to see someone do it.

There are drift trikes with a freewheel and coaster brakes (huffy green machine I think), so it could be relatively easy to try one out. There was actually some random guy who built one into a unicycle in Berlin, (found the ad on the classifieds), but at that time I didn’t have the money to buy it out of curiosity.
I don’t think it will be amazing because it will be harder to get the pedals horizontal when you want them to be, but it would be fun to try.


Ooh, I wasn’t aware that Huffy had made one with a coaster brake.

I might have to try and get my hands on one now.

It seems to be the Green Machine RT (p98305-r) which has the coaster brake.

This one with the big chunky steel frame:

You can just see the reaction arm for the coaster brake through the wheel.


Oh, and some of the other ones too.

That makes searching simultaneously harder and easier than it was.


I did have some thoughts on a coaster brake type hub at one point but basically thought getting a decent balance on it would be pretty difficult and you’d either be falling off the back because you didn’t back-pedal enough or getting thrown off the front because the brake grabbed too much.

Other thoughts at the time strayed on to thinking about a rigid plumb-bob type lever thing hanging down, attached to a disc brake lever so when the unicycle tipped backwards it would progressively apply more braking force (brake level pointing backwards). Of course that then lead to having a gyro do it electronically – and that was the end of that :slight_smile: It kept me amused for a while thinking about it though.