I can barely touch the ground with tip toes while sitting fully on the seat. Is that a good height? Or should I not be able to touch the ground?
Seat height is personal preference mostly, and can depend on what style of riding you are doing as to how high you set it. In my opinion your feet should not need to be able to touch the ground- they should be on the pedals when you are seated. As soon as you lose your balance, gravity will reconnect you with the ground regardless of how high or low your seat is.
For comfortable riding I recommend having your leg nearly straight when your foot is in the lowest pedal position, or else you will feel like you are crouching while riding and use more energy pedalling.
Experiment with different heights and find out what works best for you. When it is too high it makes you stretch to reach the pedals and riding over any little bump in the dead spot (cranks vertical) can tip you off when you would have stayed on if you had a little bit of bend in your knee to absorb it.
Thanks, will raise it up some.
What type of riding are you doing?
Having a very high seat like Rowan said is good for long distance riding where it’s all about enduring the distance . However if you are hopping around on a 20 doing some street or trials a very high seat is not advisable. That’s because having a high seat limits how far you can pull the up underneath you when you jump.
on my 20", I like to be able to stand on the balls of my feet with the uni between my legs when I am doing tricks and stuff, it makes falling less of a problem and makes it easier to jump higher. I would call this a low seat height.
When I ride my 36, the seat is as high as possible so that I use as little excess energy as possible. With a high seat height my knee is just slightly bent at the bottom of my pedal stroke.
on my 29" and 24" muni’s I like to have a medium seat height, enough that I can stand up pedal without holding onto the handle, and so that I have some room for bump-cushion.
Type of riding? Just learning.
Normally if I’m just going to be riding around, I’ll put my seat at about where my belt buckle is or right above it.
If I’m going to be practicing tricks, my seat is a bit lower than belt buckle.
I assumed this was the type of riding you were doing. Just learning is a fun style that leads to other styles.
The need to touch the ground while riding is a fairly common misperception among learners who don’t yet have the feeling of floating on top of the wheel. Seat too low can make you more prone to bending over, and getting it up high enough can help you get the feeling of sitting up straight and tall. I learned with the max seat height way too low on a 20" and it but it probably hindered my progress.
I wouldn’t call having my seat in a comfortable riding position “a very high seat”. With seat out you are not too limited provided you have room to take the seat out. And high seat definitely helps some tricks like one foot, one foot wheel walking, wheel walking, gliding and coasting.
High seat is also good for freestyle and learning. I think some people take the ultra low seat thing too far in trials but that is their personal preference which they are welcome to.
Belt buckle might be a good rule for a 20" but for bigger wheels the height of the axle off the ground changes so I find it easier to refer to the distance between the seat and the lowest pedal position. My 36" seat reaches my chest.
In the range of unicycle seat heights, a seat hight where your leg is nearly fully extended is very high. I mean that you would never have your seat any higher than that, so it’s right at the top of the unicycle seat height spectrum, hence why I called it a very high seat.
I think for learning it is better to have the seat at around belt height, especially when learning to free mount because you don’t have to fling yourself up so high. Obviously after you can ride and free mount you can raise the seat.
Your feet should always be able to touch the ground while sitting on the seat. But if the seatpost is vertical while you’re doing this, something is definitely out of place…
In other words, the old “crotch protection rule” for bikes does not apply for unicycles. Instead it goes to the mechanical efficiency (which is how real bike seat height is determined), tempered by clearance needs depending on your type of riding activity. Most types of unicycling happen with your seat pretty high, but since Trials, Street, Flatland and MUni are so popular with the riders on these forums, low seats may dominate here.
But in the rest of the world, the vast majority of unicycling is best done with the seat pretty high, and a leg that’s most of the way extended with your foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke.