Handlebar on 24" iuf racing unicycle

I am thinking of participating in the Dutch championship in a 24" standard class, as well as in the unlimited class.
I would like to use a handlebar also on the 24".
Iuf rules say that handlebars and brakes are allowed on a standard unicycle.
How come I never see handlebars in the standard class while almost everybody in the unlimited class uses them?



The unlimited class involves heavier, higher geared unicycles requiring greater torque, whereas the standard class is about pedaling as fast as possible.

I find that I need a handlebar further out on a 36" geared uni to maintain stability when accelerating or decelerating, but on a 24" standard it slows my spin if my hands are too far out.

When the unlimited class was won on 36" ungeared or 700c unicycles, the top riders were often using much shorter handlebars or no handlebars at all.


On my Guni I really need the handlebar to compensate the torque that the Schlumpf applies to the frame.
On my ungeared unis I find that the bar reduces wobble.

I am not yet used to ride at high cadence for several km’s , so I am going to practice and experiment with handlebar position/ no handlebar and seat height.

I think the short answer to this is that the cycles in the Standard class are also used for other types of riding, if not only regular Track, where a handlebar might be unnecessary or get in the way. But some riders do use specialized Road setups that involve handlebars.

Most good 24" racers hold their seat handle with two hands, one hand on top of the other. I for one don’t like the instability of the top hand, so I experimented with holding both hands directly on the seat handle. However, then my legs bump into my hands. In 2009, I was one of the first riders to have a handlebar set on a 24" racing uni, for both track and road races. These days, you see them a bit more often but still not a lot; as you observed most riders don’t use them.
On the 24", I have my handlebars quite close to the seat, which is better for strong pulling just after the start.

Having both hands pushing down on the seat handle seems to make it easier to ‘float’ on the pedals and increase the cadence. I know my cadence slows down as soon as I stretch out.

Thanks guys, that is cleared up then.
It seems like personal preference what people use.
I am used to the handlebar close to the seat, but I will also try Gizmoducks technique

The next variable is saddleheight, can you guys comment on that?
On a bike I can spin faster with the saddle a few cm’s lower then normal.
Normal = with the heel on the paddle the leg is just fully stretched.

I have my 24" standard with a seat height lower than I would on a bike also. …it helps with spin speed. Probably 3 -4 cm lower.

I think perhaps the very first one was Jack Hughes (of You Don’t Know Jack T-shirt fame) at Unicon XII in 2004. He had a really long handle, which he had set up for the Seattle to Portland ride, probably the year before. Unfortunately he was no match for hundreds of Japanese riders.

Those times were still pretty experimental for the long races. 10k was a relatively new thing for Unicon. The winner of the Unlimited race was on a 29" with short cranks, who surpassed Roger Davies and Ken Looi on 36ers. I was also passed on my 29" by (many) Japanese kids on 24’s with tiny little cranks.

The winner was Yuta Ando on a 700c with 65mm cranks. I led for half of it, but the combination of humidity and bad gastro had me going backwards after that. I drank over 10 of those iced things at the end and was still dehydrated! Roger and I also missed the final turn to the finish. Anyhow, we made up for it at Unicon 13 :slight_smile:

I used a GB handle from memory. Roger stepped off his 36 and immediately lined up for standard class

John, what’s with that saddle in the pic you posted?

Hmm, obviously something. But I can’t remember anything about it. My guess would be we’re looking at PVC pipes that may have been used to attach a different handle or accessory to the front of his seat. In those days we were mostly still riding Miyata seats; but I think the KH seats were starting to take over about then (not counting Japan).