Leaning to one side

I find myself always leaning to one side. My right arm always tends to be out or even back more than the left. I also feel that I end up sitting with more weight on the left side of the seat. I tried rotating the seat one way or the other (rotating it more left or right). Rotating left may have helped a little, but introduces other problems. Do others experience this?
Thanks for your help.

I should have done a search first, which I just did.

I will read this stuff and see if I have questions.
If you have comments, please feel free anyway.

Almost everyone I know had this problem shortly after learning to ride. It’s been my experience that as your skill increases this effect will fade. You’ll probably be better at turning one way or the other for a while as well.

Keep the seat on straight and keep riding, For everyone I’ve talked to about it, it eventually works itself out.

Even experienced rider will sometimes be reminded of this problem when riding across a slightly slanted surface (road camber).

Thanks Man,
the thread I coppied is interesting. My seat is a little slanted. I will try washers. I also will try to ride it turned around. That will be interesting. The funny thing is. Even when I was real young learning to ride a bicycle with no hands, I remember experiencing the same thing, leaning… and if I ride my mtn bike now with no hands, same freeken thing. I hate to say its me and not the uni, BUT…
I feel my body is pretty symetrical when standing. Frustrating.
Thanks people for suggestions!

Here’s a method that’s much better than using washers, and you don’t have to remove any of the seatbolts…which is a pain! Use two “L” brackets and cut them down a bit to about 1/4"-5/16th".

Simply loosen the seatbolts just enough to slide one under the front and back of the seatpost bracket, on whichever side you need to tilt the saddle up a bit. then tighten back down.

Super easy to install and remove. For those who find that you feel more “centered” on your saddle when riding on a slight camber, that slants in one or the other direction, this method will simulate that when riding on flat, non-cambered roads. Works great! For some people it’s not a lack of riding or “getting used to it”. Some people are just built in a way that they just naturally might lean or put more weight on one side than the other. Give it a try and see if it helps. Nothing to lose. :slight_smile:


I struggled with this kind of leaning at first but it quickly sorted itself out as I got better at riding.

It does pay to make sure that the frame, seatpost and saddle itself are absolutely straight and level. I have a KH Fusion Freeride saddle that came with my old N36 that is quite twisted (it came that way from the shop…). Riding on any of my unicycles with that saddle feels very strange, even now that I am a pretty confident rider.

Muniaddicts tip seems like a useful hack to quickly (and cheaply) compensate for this problem.

The other thing that will lessen road camber leaning, is less psi, which will allow more tire contact with the road, and it will “mold” better to the surface. Too much psi making the tire hard as a rock will create more leaning sensation when on a cambered surface. It’s a tradeoff, since more psi means less RR, but letting some air out won’t increase RR a whole lot, but will lessen the leaning on cambered surfaces.

Leaning & twisting was a HUGE problem for me that only now is starting to quickly fade. My main problem was my hips not moving freely. I was “blocking” my right hip, not letting it rotate forward with each pedal stroke, and consequently I was permanently twisted to the right. I finally licked the problem by really working on my hip movement in ALL activities, inc. walking, running and bicycling. It took me forever to finally do what every experienced rider in the forum was saying, which is to RELAX, pedal LIGHTLY (it’s amazing how little force is needed on moderate terrain) and lift my legs with the pedals, just enough to maintain contact and not counter-force the opposing pedal. Man I am glad that hurdle has been cleared. It took me about a year, but I learned a lot about the kinetics of riding, so that was good.

that was a great post. You are to be commended for going the extra mile and putting up photos.

Thanks Dean. I just thought for those thinking about adding washers, this might be easier and faster. :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot for your help!
I will try your shims. They are easy to add or subtract without removing bolts. Thanks!!

This can be 2 things:

  1. Your uni is unbalanced
  2. You have a balancing problem

From my experience, I started learning with a unicycle which was off balance. So when I bought a better one(well balanced), I found myself leaning to the left constantly. This got solved with time (well, 6 months!).

when I now go back to my old unicycle I realise how terribly unbalanced it was, cause it makes me lean stupidly to the right.

there are a series of tests you can run to make sure that your uni is not unbalanced, you will find them all in that thread you linked in one of your firsts posts.

Most new unicycles over £100 will very rarely have balancing problems. So you will most likely have to just get used to it. Its a pain, I know, but you do get used to it after a while!

hope this helped!

I failed to mention that often times, the “leaning”, “pulling”, and/or “listing” to one side is almost ALWAYS because the wheel is not properly “dished” and off center to the frame!

Same thing happens on bikes. When you or your LBS trues your wheel, MAKE SURE you are keeping the wheel centered to the frame as well! Over time, truing the wheel for side to side wobble only, can pull it more and more out of center, so you need to pay attention to dishing while you are truing. It is really an integral part of the process.

A Unicycle wheel that is even moderately off-center to the frame can definitely cause the “pulling” or leaning to one side sensation. Some people, myself included, used to think that an off-center wheel was due to the frame not being perfectly symmetrical, and would try to correct the problem by “Shimming” the frame bearing cap on the side with more space. WRONG! The WHEEL is off-center, NOT the frame! It is a dishing error 99% of the time.

Case in point. Yesterday during my 29er MUni ride, I was fighting against a right leaning pull for the whole ride! Halfway through I noticed that my wheel was at least 1/8" off center. I dropped it at my LBS for dishing. It was centered perfectly and I took it for a test spin. Absolutely ZERO pull or leaning. So if you experience even the slightest pull or lean–on flat ground–check the wheel to see if it’s perfectly dished/centered to the frame! It can make a HUGE difference!

Some info on dishing a wheel.

Only when

  • the wheel is not spoked in the center
  • the hub is mounted not centered (bad frame-parts or welding-‘dirt’)
  • the seatpost or frame is bend
    and last but not least
  • when you have an big difference in lenght of your legs.
  • and any possible reason I forgot

Anyway; twisting the seat I see as fighting the sympthone, and ignoring the cause.

The first thing to rule out should be ‘beginner rider syndrome’. If you are a new rider, work on the basic techniques before focusing too much on any off-centered tendencies. You can look at the equipment also, but it could be a combination of factors, like the ones listed above, and physiological ones, like spinal or other joint alignment issues. Chiropractic stuff.

But first get the riding solid. Learn to freemount, ride straight, and make smooth, controlled turns to the left and right. Even, various-sized circles to the left and right. Rinse and repeat. Make sure your riding surface isn’t the problem. If you always ride on a cambered road shoulder, for example, try going the opposite direction.

There are so many factors to consider, being patient and trying to eliminate them one by one is a good approach after getting the basic riding skills down and solid.

I beg to differ with you on this one John. The first and foremost thing a rider needs to do if there is a leaning/pulling problem–whether you’re a new rider out or not–is CHECK THE EQUIPMENT! Just like doing a flight check before you fly your plane. With a uni it’s pretty straight forward. Look to see that the wheel is not only true, but centered in the fame!

If the tire is old and has uneven wear on it, this can also cause leaning. Psi and the saddle being straight can be factors, but the first thing to check is the dishing of the wheel. If it is off-center, even a little, this can cause a pulling to one side. My 29er had been pulling and sure enough, the wheel was more than 1/8" off center. As soon as this was corrected, no leaning and straight as an arrow! Riding on a slanted/cambered road will obviously be a factor, so always test for pulling/leaning on smooth, level ground.

I also don’t buy the argument that a lot of the leaning/pulling is because the rider lacks enough riding experience. “Just keep riding and you will get used to it” is poor reasoning. If the problem is an off center wheel, which is highly likely, than that person continues to think it is his/her bad rising technique, and it just prolongs the problem until they discover the real cause is not them, but the wheel being off center!

You should never have to resort to “shimming” the frame bearing holders as a way to center the wheel! It’s almost 99.99% caused by inaccurate dishing, or the lack of centering the wheel during the truing process. The bottom line is, don’t assume the problem is in your riding, when all along it is probably the wheel being off center! Check that first! :slight_smile:

I would suggest both; check the equipment AND get more experienced :slight_smile:

Simple suggestion:
remove the seat, place it back on the post but reversed, ride your unicycle again.
Now if you’re suddenly lean to the other way: it’s in the unicycle, else: it’s in you (and that can mean in your body and/or brain).

(and, after the experiment: place the seat back correctly!!!)

Just don’t put the cart before the horse, so to speak. Make sure your uni is in sound, ideal condition and adjustment first, then go from there. Other, less likely culprits could be bent crank(s) and/or pedal(s), bent frame, seat post and so on.

It his highly unlikely however, that you will be leaning or pulling to one side or the other, if your uni checks out to be in optimum adjustment with nothing off-center, and you are not riding on a slanted/cambered surface.

If you still find yourself leaning or fighting a pull to one side, after a careful examination and testing of your uni, and it checks out 100%, then yes, it is probably you, and more riding experience will likely help the situation. Just don’t waste time and drive yourself crazy thinking it’s you, when it might very well be your uni! Check the uni as stated above first! :slight_smile:

I discovered I’m leaning when I started working on stalling into Idling. I’ve been riding for years so the answer is its not more riding. I’ve feel like the uni is always cocked a little bit to the left. The seat moved to the left from center line. Like I’m slightly seating on the right ‘corner’ of the seat.

It’s a very subtle thing. I’ve been doing a lot of turning to the right so that I can cant the uni to the right, (leaning the Uni instead of leaning in the turn) hoping that would get me centered on the seat. That hasn’t helped so far. Now that I’m aware of it, it’s annoying.

When I go to idle on with my left foot I have to make a conscious effort to lean slightly to the left and shift the uni to the right. In other words trying to shift my weight to the left side of the seat so that I feel like I’m sitting square on the seat.

I’ll read the other link in this thread and check my wheel later tonight, switch seats, see if I do the same thing on another uni, etc.

Edited to add: I’m riding on a flat playground so no road chamber to adjust for.

On the Uni where I feel like I’m leaning:

Problem 1 found: The saddle plate (on the seatpost) is not square to the seatpost and the surface that mates with the saddle is very uneven. I used a bench sander and a file to get the seat post plate surface flat. Not square, not true, just flat.

Problem 2 found: Once I got it flat from edge to edge and front to back it revealed that the plate itself is twisted. The four corners are not on the same plane.

Problem 3 found: The seat post plate does not match the contour or the saddle base by quite a bit. Only the four corners touch touch the saddle base and that would be the four corners that are twisted.

I need to do the forward and backward riding and swap out another seat post/saddle to see how much of this I can detect while riding. I"ve been on a self imposed break from riding to try and get ahead of my aching knees, but I might have to break that to see what is going on with this saddle/seat post combination.