Jumping/hopping high--What am I doing wrong?

I haven’t been cycling long, but even so my jumps really suck.
I don’t get it, but I can’t get higher than a few inches.
I just want to be able to jump up a curb and eventually up stairs, but I can’t get any higher than 5 inches.

I stop, do a little pre-hop, and then jump and pull up on the handle as hard as I can, and not much happens.
I’m only 155 lbs, 5’10’’, so I’m pretty sure it’s technique rather than me being fat or something.

I’ve got the seat a bit lower than usual, but so that it’s still comfortable to ride 10+ miles/day.

I’ve got a 24" wheel, which I know isn’t the best, but I think I should still be able to get at least a foot or too.

A 24" wheel with a tire that has what cross section and is being run at what pressure? I run a 24"x3" Gazz with 18 psig and it’s a VERY springy tire. My 24"x1.75" Torker with 60 psig in it is a brick. Your technique will develop with time, too. Even with the brick I can get up curbs or stairs easily.


I’m not the best unicyclist, but I think I maybe can help. For hopping, a lot of your height comes from the distance your’e pulling the seat up. there’s the height you get from the bounce of the tire and your push off of the ground, but more of it comes from pulling the unicycle up so that the seat hits your crotch. It’s like jumping on your feet, really. you can jump and leave your legs straight, and that only gets your feet a few inches off the ground, whereas if you pull your feet to your chest, you are perceived as jumping a lot higher.

Second, “a foot or two” is a lot. I can get a little over a foot, and that’s with a trials uni and a lot of time spent trying. two feet is freaking awesome, and would require a huge amount of practise, skill, and muscle.

I’m not sure if this will help, but i hope it will.


I must agree with harper, tire pressure matters a LOT.

Re: Jumping/hopping high–What am I doing wrong?

Two feet with a 24"er is pretty good. I’d guess lower the pressure as harper said. Also try to work the height up gradually.

I sort of am in the same postion. I can’t seem to get passed the 20" ceiling. My hp has been there forever. I can sometimes get 21" seat in, but although I feel comfortable with seat out I see no improvement. Stuck at 20". My Rolling hop is way higher too.


So lower tire pressure is better for jumps?

I’m not sure what mine is–I filled it to 50 (recommended on the tire) and I think it’s gone down a bit.

I like to get the big Gazz to almost bottom out just as I apply as much downward force to it as possible to hop. This gives me about 20" or so. It also means that any drop I take greater than that height, the tire will likely bottom and there is the threat of a pinch flat. If I know I’m going to be doing a four or five foot drop I like to have more pressure in the tire to keep it from bottoming out.

The skinny 1.75" will probably bottom out at 30 or 35 psig.

Yeah thats probably too high. I think recomended means max. Although I don’t have a gage on my pump, people who are hopping generally run it at 25 psi I think. Mines pretty soft. I read somewhere Dan Heaton’s was like 15.


Yeah, apparently Dan Heaton bottoms out when he does rolling hops. I personally wouldn’t recommend this, but I’m clearly not one to give tips to Dan Heaton on rolling hops.

An average tire pressure for trials would be around 20-25 psi.

I like mine at about 20 psi, myself, but yeah, 20-25.

Dan keeps his tire pressure so low that I tried it and I literally can’t ride his uni in a circle. The best I did was one pedal rev and a bunch of seat out hops. You can bottom out his tire on an 8" drop. But whatever works for him, right?

I think that nothing anyone says on here will help you more than simply going out and practicing. It took me over 1 year to break 12". It’s been over a year since then, and I’ve since broken 24". No offense, but after the initial teaching that I got to get me past 12", nothing anyone said ever made a drastic difference in my hop. You will get to 12", I promise. Just practice.

I personally think that almost anyone who practices hard enough can get at least 20", and anyone of average build can get at least 24". I am very scrawny at 5’6" 125lbs, but I can still hop about 32" sidehop (20" trials uni. For comparison I get about 28" no prehop on my muni), so I know that muscle isn’t an issue. The uni shouldn’t make a difference until you start getting past around 12" or so. Almost any decent trials rider you ask wil be able to hop around 20", even on a freestyle uni with a tire at 120 psi. To put it simply, the uni can help or make riding harder, but 85% of a good rider is the rider, and not the uni.

darchibald: I know how you feel. I was stuck at 20" for about a month. Try increasing the height very slowly, around 1" at a time. that helped me. I also had the same problem at 28". My solution was to learn to prehop again. If you don’t prehop, try it, it ought to help. Also, I was comfortable seat out even when I could only do 18" seat out and do 20" seat in. You will be comfortable with seat in long before you are better with it. Keep practicing, and you’ll get it, I promise.

Just practiced a bit more. One of the times I did something a bit different and got some more height–I don’t know what I did, though, and it wasn’t all good because I didn’t land it. I’ve got the KH seat on my uni, and if I yank up too hard on the handle, the wheel comes up a bit in front of me and I usually crashland.

I’ll keep practicing…

Thanks for the advice.

Check out this Kris Holm video for some basic techniques. Its about 3 minutes long or something.


Its is posted on Andrew Carter’s site, www.unicycle.2ya.com Thats a good place to get different techniques for things.

One of the things i tried to do when I was learning to hop higher was use my body mass to my advantage. Start next to the thing you want to jump on to. Begin to lean in its direction. Bring your torso down a few inches. Then, just before you jump, spring your body up and at the same time snap your legs to begin the hop. After you get good at this you can start learning to pull the unicycle up underneath you.

Thats good to here from someone as good a rider as yourself. I’m really gonna start working on it. It sucks cause its like rained for the last week and a half, but no school tomorrow and its supposed to be sunny. I’m gonna try and find some place dry to stick a stack of pallets where I can practise side-hops for the winter.


Darchibald: I would suggest simply continuing to ride. It gets kinda cold over here a lot, and it rained today. I lok at rain as not a limit to riding, but something to help. The rain makes everything harder, so you have to be that much mroe perfect on everything. FOr example, a 26" hop onto a ledge for me takes very little concentration when it’s dry, but in the rain it takes every ounce of concentration to keep my balance directly over the wheel to prevent slippage. But if a dry riding spot makes you ride more, then go for it. The way I practiced hopping for a long time waas ai had a 20" box, a set of risers, and a 24" box. At first it was a fight to get onto the 20" box, but eventually I started warming up on it. I added a riser to the box to get 22", and got that down, and then would go onto the 24" box. This was really helpful to me.

Skippi: I think that if you are tipping over when you pull up too hard then you aren’t leaning forward enough and your seat is too high. It sounds as if you are pulling with your torso and not using your arm to help. Basically, when you have problems with something, rather than just blindly repeating stuff, make subtle changes to technique and style on each hop. I find that concentrating on a certain part of my hop, often the spring (simply because at this time that’s the weakest part of my technique), will improve the height by as much as an inch. So if you find yourself tipping over backwards, try leaning forward more on the next hop. Just play around with technique, and try to mentally analyze your technique. Things get more complicated as you hop heigher. On no prehop hops you tend to have to work on leaning into the object more. But that’s a bridge you can cross when you get there…

Re: Jumping/hopping high–What am I doing wrong?

On Wed, 3 Nov 2004 19:08:54 -0600, “Skippii” wrote:

>I’ve got the KH seat on my
>uni, and if I yank up too hard on the handle, the wheel comes up a bit
>in front of me and I usually crashland.

This makes me wonder if you bend your legs actively while you pull up
on the seat. You should. If you keep your legs straight you can pull
on the seat as much as you want but the unicycle is not going to go up

Do this for gaining insight: Stand next to an object of, say, 8" high.
Jump on it with two feet at once. Notice how you bend your legs during
the ‘flight’ phase. Now transfer that to your uni hopping.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I figure it’s pretty clear that offroad unicycling is a stupid thing to do - joemarshall