Hopping curbs on a freestyle uni?

So I see all kinds of neat vids with nice high hopping on fat tires but what my goal is is to be able to hop onto curbs reliably while riding to work on my Sem XL. This uni has a Maxxis tire on it and has fairly high pressure given I am trying to go places quickly. So I have been practicing hopping on this set up but for sure I am not getting the nice cushy bounce like the fat tire uni’s provide. Well I figure it must just require good technique and lots of practice.

Oh ya, I am working on nice neat hops from a still stand KH style!

What has been your experience with hopping stuff on a freestyle uni?


I hate it. That’s why Im building a 24x3 Dyno Fireball unicycle.


I guess I don’t have a great aversion to hopping on my 20" Bedford freestyle, most likely because I’ve known nothing other than its 20x1.75" tire. I do side hops and rolling hops up onto curbs. I hop up stairs (3 or 4 at the moment), onto benches and up onto various objects when I come out of pedal grabs.

I’m sure a bigger tire would make things feel better but I just use my body and legs to cushion the impact and things have turned out alright so far.


Fat tires on unicycles is a fairly recent invention. We didn’t have any trouble riding the urban jungle with our skinny tires, they just don’t bounce as well. Going up curbs is a piece of cake – after a while. Start with side hops and eventually you should be able to hop up any curb after riding straight at it (or on a slight angle to get your pedals where you want).

Re: Hopping curbs on a freestyle uni?

I used to do all my hopping on a freestyle unicycle. While a fat tyre is nicer it certainly isn’t necessary. I think you will find most people learnt to hop up curbs on a free style unicycle (and probably a cheap low end model at that!) Eventually a cheap unicycle will give out if subjected to enough hopping. Either the cranks will bend, the axle will snap or the rim will break. A good freestyle unicycle is unlikey to have any of these problems even if you are practicing non-extreme hopping on a skinny tyre. The thicker tyres do help to absorb some of the shock which helps save other parts.

I have done 3 foot drops and hopped over 2 foot obstacles, up and down stairs etc, all on a 20"x1.75" tyre.

You can practise a lot of hopping on a freestyle uni. Focus on accuracy rather than height and it will stand you in good stead. Many of the hopping/jumping techniques can be learnt using curbs without having to splash out on an expensive trials unicycle.

Happy hopping,

While I haven’t hopped nearly as high as these guys I can say that one thing seems to be different from the fat, low-pressure tires. I carry my Primo at about 80 psi and there is no benefit from the elastic “compression snap” that you get with the big tires. It’s all in the legs.

Yah, I know what you mean U-Turn, so like the compression coming from the body: knee’s bent and body briefly ‘compressed’ then a lift up bringing the uni up close for the rise…right?


I think so, Erin. With the bigger tires you push down with a snap as you hop and the tire rebound helps lift you off the ground. With the freestyle you can get a (much smaller) snap only if you have low pressure in your tire, say 25-30 psi or lower for lighter people. Since I keep my freestyle tire much harder than that at 80 psi, it “snaps” like a piece of 2x4 - i.e., not at all. :stuck_out_tongue: So hopping with the hard tire is all legs pushing up, with no help from the tire. That Maxxis tire has lots of volume but if you keep it pumped up then it’s the same as my Primo.

If you pull the uni up underneath you well, then most of the action is moving the uni up to the higher elevation; then the actual lifting of your body weight comes as a standing-up thing after touchdown. But since freestyle seat heights are much higher than MUni or trials seat heights, there’s not a lot of room unless you hop seat-in-front.

So if you don’t mind changing freestyle configurations you can lower your seat an inch or two and drop the psi in your tire and go to town hopping. But, like Peter said, it may not handle as much vigor as your MUni. If you have a quality wheel and cranks on your freestyle, though, they will take a real pounding and not mind a bit.

If you are crossing a lot of curbs on your Sem XL then lowering the seat an inch may make the ride much more enjoyable, even with the hard tire. When I ride up/down Manhattan going to Unatics meetings on the freestyle, though, I try mostly to find the smoothed-out ramp spots. If there’s a crowd, I can ride the ramps, but hopping curbs in a crowd, safely and politely, with a hefty backpack on, is, at least for now, beyond me. [hmmm lots of commas in that sentence!]

I don’t know if you’ve seen Mike King’s video Unipsycho Extreme (he’s from your neck of the woods) but it is excellent for this kind of stuff on a MUni. He’s a good teacher and demonstrator. You can get a copy from http://members.shaw.ca/unipsycho/Unipsycho-Extreme/2001.html . He doesn’t address hopping with a hard tire, though. Peter Bier (from just below) can be see on One Wheel No Limit hopping like crazy on a freestyle. If you look at his tire, it has low pressure; I’d guess at around 28 psi.

Good luck and let me know how you fare!

– Dave