landing drops

now that i have a trials unicycle i have started trying some bigger drops. mostly i have been cearing stairs, since its an excuse to land to flat. “friends dont let friends land to flat.” so after doing some 6 sets for a while without problems i landed one pretty badly and felt it both in my ankles and between my legs. dont worry, nothing serious. i roll out of my hops but im not exactly sure that i am doing it right. it feels like i am absorbing the blow pretty well but there is still a big thud as i hit and the split second before i roll out. is this right? should there be a thud? should the roll out occur immediately or after the split second i mentioned? and i do mean split second. anyway, i got some good looks, especially on the higher 6 sets and the wider 5 sets.


come on, you punks! im just woriried about a)popping a tire b) bending my new cranks c) putting a flat spot on my rim.

I used to get the thud. I worried a ton about it. I figure it just the metal of my rim contacting my tire/the ground. I didn’t view this as healthy so i put some more air pressure in my tire. I havent had a thud in awhile unless its a hard hard landing which can happen.

If the thud comes from your unicycle, put some air in the tire. Otherwise you can ruin your tire and the rim.

What is this “land to flat?” Should it be “land too flat?”

What exactly is this? What is the proper way to land?

Landing to flat means just what it says. You are, say three feet, of the ground and jump down from there. If you land on flat ground you are more likely to break your wheell. If you land on a downhill, it will make you roll right away and the shock from the drop will be absorbed by a larger area of the wheel. Rolling out of the landing (you start pedaling right on the moment the wheel hits the ground or even slightly before it) is a good way not to brake your wheel when landing a drop on flat.

Oh. I thought maybe it had to do with how you place your feet when you land.

when I do drops that are decent sized like 6 and above I take olot in with my back, I lean over the front of the uni with my lower back and it takes in alot, and I dont have any back problems either, and for the 6 stairs try putin your seat lower so your legs can take in more without damagin the jewels

yeah, i try to lean over as much as possible. i am not so much worried about protecting me but more so the uni.

joona- it doesnt happen when i do a smaller drop but only on the 5 and 6 sets. i guess i cold put air in the tire but what happens when i try a higher drop? i guess if i do these drops often, i should increase the pressure. but then i cant hop as high (less bounce in the tires). Hopefully Ryan A. can answer this one for me. in his videos i see him hopping three feet up and then doing a 5-6 foot drop. he must have a low tire pressure to hop that high. its hard to explain the ‘thud’ when you guys cant hear it but its not that loud… i guess the fall would have to make a sound, even if rolling out of it. im just not sure…

the main question:
is the roll-out immediate, or occur a millisecond after one hits the ground. its just hard for me to imagine that you drop into the roll, as it would be hard to keep balance.

I guess the thud is more a feeling than a sound. I’ve gotten those too, but I immediately increased the pressure. Your the sidewalls of your tire may start to break and go softer, or you might pop your tube on one of these drops if you don’t increase the pressure. My tire is now quite a lot harder than some time ago, but still, my hops have improved. You’ll just have to put more downforce on the prehop. I think someone said that Kris uses quite a high tire pressure, but he can still jump high. At least by my standards.

I’m no expert, I was happy when I could comfortably land 4 footers. It seems to me that the more immediate your roll-out can be upon impact the better. If there’s a delay in your rollout, then chances are, you’re too late. You’ve already taken the hit.

If you can instantly transfer the direction of your momentum from vertical to horizontal, then the impact to you and the unicycle will be minimized. Practice with drops where you can do a smooth instantaneous rollout and then increase the height gradually.

Think of the action involved dropping onto a downward sloping surface, such as a half-pipe, where a rollout is automatic. It’s smooth, instant, and low-impact. Try mimicking that kind of movement when landing on flat ground.

I think of it this way: I treat the wheel and my body as a shock absorber. The only way the shock can be smoothly absorbed is for the wheel to instantly shoot forward at impact, for your body to crumple downward and forward like a rag doll, and to apply braking resistance in the legs, slowly absorbing the blow. I think this is what is consistent with what Zelten expressed in far few words!

You still on for Motorama?


I think the idea is that you don’t land with your weight straight through the wheel; you land with the weight on a pedal. This means the wheel touches down “gently” while the pedal rotates from horizontal to vertical, slowly putting all the weight onto the wheel.

In which case, the rollout is “instant”; if you trace the movement of the pedal it will start slowing down and turning slightly on landing, rather than stopping instantly.

If that makes any sense…


it does, as i have found myself landing in exactly this way, with much success. The only thing that i think is important to note is that, when landing, your weight should be slightly foward (in preparation for the rapid rollout).i’ve found that if i land with my weight slightly foward i have to roll out instantly(in order to stay balanced), which makes the rollout more subconscious, more instant and consequently absorbes more of the shock.

if i land with my weight directly above the wheel i find it hard to roll out propperly because my weight is thrown back if i do, and i often have to step off backwards of fall off or my foot gets thrown off or something like that.


Another thought is that this is probably why I can roll out perfectly well on my 20" trials, but have much more difficulty on a 24"… with the larger wheel size it requires more force to get the wheel turning, so by the time the downwards force gets the wheel moving it’s too late and the THUD has happened.

I’m just too much of a wimp to lean further out over the void…


wow! great responses. i know what to do now. dont worry, joe, ill be at motorama.

I find that when I land even 2’ drops, I only rollout for 1/2 of a pedal revolution. I drop, and immediately I’m rolling. But then again, I hate drops, and I won’t drop over 20" unless it’s part of a line, or the first time I’ve gotten to that part of it. I’ve had my fair share of 7 sets, so I’m done. I’d rather jump up, than drop down. I also find that the better drops are the ones where you need presicion, where you can’t rollout. Then you need to land seat out, which is harder. I’m much more satisfied by a 2’ drop onto a 16" diameter pole 2’ off the ground than a 4’ drop directly to the ground next to the pole.

good point. i think i am just doing them so much because i have a splined hub and actually can do them. with my square tapered i would do a lot of drops seat out, as you said. i am doing sets instead of a straight drops because its a little more practical.

What do you mean by “sets” and “straight” drops?

i mean sets of stairs and just straight vertical drops. the point that i was attampting to make was that jumping sets (of stairs) is good for flatland tricks (tugboat style, of course) while i try to limit vertical drops to trials lines.