Freewheel Unicycling Megathread

Turns. What do people do? Anyone found a technique that works without taking a foot off, or doing a pedal stroke, or using a berm? My gut feeling is that tyre choice makes some difference but that physics is going to limit us to pretty lazy turns if we simply try to lean into them or use an arm to try and impart some rotation.

I can do turns of about a 7 foot radius on a 20” freewheel when I get lucky but can’t usually survive the turn. Leaning forwards a lot more than you think you should helps a lot.

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I have wanted to build up a freewheel for a while, but Mimo’s post pushed me over the top. I did some freewheeling with AJ in the spring, and have not been able to get it out of my mind since!

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If you don’t want to strike your pedal onto the ground, you can simply put the foot that’s inside the turn on the upper side.
Using a great combination of tire and rim makes thing much easier, yes. That’s like on a regular uni!

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A new player has entered the game!

Mad4One Freewheel ISIS hub - 2022


6 pawls 30 click

Well now I’m a little less excited.

Personally I think that pawls and ratchet rings will end up being considered as the low end option, with instant engagement sprag clutches being the design of choice for more serious riders.

I’m surprised that Mad4One have chosen to go this route.

If they’re determined to stick with distinct clicks then I’d have expected perhaps something more like the DT Swiss Star Ratchet setup than individual pawls.

I can’t find that reason myself, but there must be a reason why even high end bicycle hubs almost always go to more clicks and not sprag clutches to get faster engagement.
I’d guess it’s durability/reliability, but I don’t know for sure - but I’m not surprised they are going with a well proven mechanism.

So there are companies making tried and true sprag clutch mechanisms for bikes (Onyx Racing and a small selection of others), but bikes have also been going for higher and higher engagement counts in the higher end products.

I also think that the speed of engagement is a far bigger thing for unicycling than for bikes though as being able to push the wheel slightly forwards rather than end up in a dead zone trying to catch up with a click location could be the difference between staying on the unicycle, or not.

I’m not saying that pawl hubs are unsuitable for freewheel unicycling, because clearly they’re fine (we’ve all been riding them), but I just think they’ll be the low end.

It would be interesting to know exactly what issues Qu-Ax have had with their prototypes though. I suspect it might be with the limited torque rating of smaller sprag clutches, but clearly there are solutions as Onyx Racing have successfully being building high performance hubs for MTB abuse for years now.

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However on a well proven mechanism, that may well mean that development and testing time is much less, allowing them to hit the 2022 target, whereas Qu-Ax have had to do an awful lot of field testing and create a few prototypes to (hopefully) get them to the point where all’s peachy.

If Mad4One can hit a mid-2022 timeline then their hub may end up coming out before any other manufacturers can ship, and any availability of freewheel hubs would be good right now, whatever the clutch mechanism. It looks like it’ll be an improvement on everything we’ve had so far at least.

I think 30 click might be good up to maybe 27.5" or so before it starts to feel slow to engage, but we’ll have to wait and see. The jump from 18 click (Nimbus) to 24 click (JR/Bicymple) was noticeable for me.


Maybe we can lobby Industry Nine to make a unicycle version of their Hydra hub (690 points of engagement)! :grinning: I didn’t know this thing existed until I was looking just now to see how Chris King compared with Industry Nine.

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6 pawls x 115 teeth gives us 690 points of engagement

It would be better if they explained this in the video as when you think of this traditionally (115 isn’t divisible by 6, or 3) it makes no sense.

The idea is apparently that the drive system has some inherent flex, so when you start to pedal, a number of pawls will end up engaging rather than just the one. An interesting idea.

Have you seen the cost of those Hydra hubs though? I’m hoping even the Qu-Ax sprag clutch hub will be cheaper than that.

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I never looked, I figured it was in the “if you have to ask you can’t afford it,” category.

I run a Hope Pro4 on the gravel wheels I build a few months ago and it sounds really quite nice (and I don’t notice any engagement issues on a gravel bike). At the time it was either that or a Chris King (to get the ‘buzz’), but I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on a hub (and anyway Hope is British!). I was tempted by Industry Nine for my ‘next project’ but again, the price is somewhat of a barrier.

I hadn’t actually heard of the sprag clutch hubs you mentioned, I’ll have a look for interest’s sake. I can definitely see the advantage for a unicycle but less so for a bike – trials bikes maybe though.

Mimo continuing to impress with freewheel on the street:


Wow. Mimos riding has always been absolutely impressive, but the freewheel is taking him to a whole nother level. I mean, he always had flow, but this looks so smooth… absolutely love it.

@Eddbmxdude has always looked for bmx type flow in unicycling - this really does seem to be a step more in that direction.

Do you think this would be possible for some brave and skilled unicyclist with a freewheel hub?


i’m going to say no. you can’t really pull up on a unicycle the way you can pull the front of a bike up. maybe like a walk-the-dog up a 3-4 set, but personally, I find it hard to imagine anyone doing it up something larger than they can just jump up.

I believe the answer is no also. The only way what he did is possible, is because his feet are on pedals behind the wheel, with the extra weight and leverage of the frame and back wheel behind that. In short, he has a lot of weight behind the hub of the front wheel, which allows him to “lighten” the front wheel as it lightly touches each of the steps. Mark Vogels, please correct me if I am wrong in my explanation and I will edit this post.

Now, I would like to be wrong (without someone hurting themself trying to prove me wrong.), so it may happen. Some of the stuff I have seen from Jack Sebben and Mimo Seedler make me wonder if I will someday be proven wrong.

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Given enough speed on a uni it should be possible. The rider would need to lean back when starting up the stairs and just rely on the momentum to lift you up the stars. It would be similar to coasting up a any hill on a freewheel but may by more bumpy on the stairs.

The speed is the key but as long as the rider’s CG is at the same relation to the front wheel as on the bike there should be no difference.

I think the key difference here is where his weight is supported. On the bicycle the pedals are far behind the front hub, while the handlebars are mostly above it, but also stretched out about 45cm wide. This is going to make the bicycle far, far more controllable for this trick.

I’m not sure it couldn’t be done on a unicycle, buti think it would be at least an order of magnitude more difficult.

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