I searched the existing threads about hopping. I do have a question I couldn’t find in the existing threads.
I’m having a hard time hopping more than 2-3 inches above the ground. I haven’t tried hopping on other unicycles so I can’t compare. However, I was wondering whether the weight of the unicycle could also be a factor.
My unicycle is QuAx Cross 24", 145mm QuAx cranks, 3" Duro. I think it weighs around 7.5 Kg but I am not sure.
So, how important is the weight of the unicycle to the ability to learn to hop and to hopping in general?
Hi, people tend to “blame” the equipment they use, but most of the time it’s the technique. Equipment can take you higher/faster/etc. but for the trick’s basics, all you need is good technique a lot of practice and commitment.
In my past I rode street motorbikes. We were group of few riders, and we used to switch bikes during our trips. The strong riders always perform better, even if they rode the bike they didn’t used to, or even it was inferior one - they had good technique and a lot of experience.
I guess that you can take that analogue to any other sport, including unicycling. My first hops were on 20" Qu-ax luxus, with relatively skinny tire (and I even broke the hub axle finally, just because of those hops :))
Watch other riders do it or YouTube tutorials, and try to imitate the movement. Practice and you’ll do it!
You can also upload video of you trying to hop, so riders here will give you feedback.
There are some nice pictures here of people hopping high during a muni ride, so it can be done with heavy gear.
It takes a while to figure out how to hop well. It’s not as simple as it looks. Your body has to learn the timing between your arm and legs, and your muscles have to adapt. It helps to get your tire pressure adjusted so that you get some bounce. The rest is practice. Hop over cracks in the street. Hop up curbs. Hop up and down stairs. Hop forward. Hop sideways. Hop seat in. Hop seat out. Make sure you do some every time you ride.
Hopping on a unicycle is easier than riding a unicycle. Easy to prove, by handing it to a bored kid and showing him what hopping looks like.
You can hop anything, including a block of wood (or a pair of stilts).
That leaves it up to figuring out how to make it work. Back in the day, all unicycles had 1.75" tires with lots of pressure in them. Harder to hop, but still better than that block of wood. I used to hop over people in shows, on a 20" Freestyle uni with a very high seat. But for big hops you’re going to want a low seat. And some squish in your tire, but not too much. “Too much” is loosely defined as when it lets your rim touch the ground.
I recommend using small objects and practicing hopping over them. Have fun!
I’m still a total newbie as well, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Or perhaps a shaker full of salt. Whichever.
I loosely group hoppers into 2 categories. 1: people who slam their uni into the ground to get up to whatever they’re jumping on. (This can be accompanied by continuous small-hopping before the big slam. Also, not to be confused with a legit pre-hop.) 2: people who use their leg muscles. Naturally, I’m pretty sure you want to do the second. The goal is to use your legs to compress the tire and then continue the smooth motion by jumping onto your goal. (see, e.g., Mike Padial’s tutorial on side-hopping.) It helps, for me, to think about bending my legs and jumping with the uni as if I were doing a box jump in the gym, pretending the pedals are the ground. It also helps me to stillstand the instant before I bend my legs. It’s all about unleashing the leg power.
Secondly, filming yourself is probably one of the best things you can do to coach yourself and to let us give you advice that is actually useful. How can I tell you what to work on if I don’t know how you hop? And it will be able to tell you if you actually have the height but aren’t going for it. Plus, if you film regularly you can watch yourself improve, which is superfun.
Thirdly: it’s not really the uni, it’s technique. I’m hopping stuff (albeit not-really-high stuff) with a Torker DX, which is a beast to work with. But I think of it as strength training–if I can do it on Nemo, think how awesome I’ll be when I splurge on an Impact!
Lastly: tire type/pressure. I’m still trying to figure this out. Different brands have different bouncing characteristics. Also, in general, thicker tires let you run lower pressures, which can get you more prebounce, but you have to learn not to bottom out on drops by using your legs right. I have an ancient maxxis creepy crawler, which is a thick tire, but I try not to run it too low because the tire folding on big jumps throws me off. It seems that the only way to figure out what tire pressure to run is to just mess with it. All the time. Until you like it. I don’t think there’s a short cut on this one.