learning to hop on or over

I have been riding a 26" muni for a year and a half. Very happy with my progress and how comfortable I have become riding over rocks, roots, drops etc. But I have not been making enough progress with actually hopping over or up on obstacle’s. Would a 24" or 20" be better to learn on, or is it like most things muni-practice, practice, practice with the 26" ?

If your goal is only hopping onto stuff during muni using your 26, then that is what I would practice. Just start really small and find things to hop onto, then find bigger and bigger things. I’d say that is a skill that doesn’t come unless you practice it specifically. Just make sure you spend time doing it and it will get easier. For me it’s always hard to practice the things I suck at and I just ride.

Now, would it be easier on a 20 or 24… yes probably. I’m not sure of the physics of if it , it might just be all in my mind. But it sure seems harder for me to hop onto things on my 29 than my trials 20. If your interested in riding trials at all then it may be worth it to get a 20 for doing some. Those skills will definitely transfer to your muni riding. And it’s great fun when you can’t get to the trails.

I agree with the above ^^

I personally went back and spent some time practising my hopping on my 20", so I could work on my technique a bit better. My 26" just felt too ridiculously heavy with the 3" duro. But yeah I think to progress the quickest, practice on the 26". It just probably won’t be as fun to begin with.

I have a really hard time just sitting down (figuratively) and practicing something. Usually I get bored and go for a real ride. Almost every skill that I’ve acquired has come from just regular riding. You just have to push yourself. You’ll never get better unless you ride outside of your skill level once in a while. Find a line that you have trouble with on a trail you ride, and keep doing that line until you can get it clean. If hopping or rolling is required, it will come as your body learns how to handle the situation.

If you really want to try practicing something while you can’t be out on the trails, practice rolling hops. Just riding along and hopping from any pedal position. Hop cracks, hop rocks, hop people, etc. I wouldn’t really worry to much about height, as I believe on a trail that your brain will take care of that part.

But that’s just me. I’ve been amazed at some of the things that can be acomplished when you just don’t think about it too much. Now I relish the oppurtunity to find a line that has something in it that I’ve not done before.

That 26 will hop just fine too, you don’t need a 24 or a 20. 26 is a great all around Muni size because you can roll it as well as hop it.

Bottom line, go ride and have fun! Like everything with unicycling, at some point it’ll just click and you’ll be doing it all the time.

Everyone’s different, has different experiences, different goals, different likes, different time constraints.

The problem with this approach for me is is that it’s much harder to go for a “real ride”, especially muni. There’s getting to the trail, getting away etc.

The beautiful thing about skill building on a trials or a freestyle 20" is that you can do it anywhere anytime. I do it at lunch, at work in the parking lot. I do it at home, at night when the kids go to bed instead of T.V. When I go the playground with the kids, I often bring my trials and slip in some riding when I can. These skills are definitely easier to build on a smaller, lighter wheel. The easiest for non trials stuff is my light semi freestyle uni I recently built up. The wheel is just more maneuverable and manageable.

I find the skills I build up on the 20 are transferable to any unicycle, even my distance riding on the 36. With every trick I learn on the 20, my 36 seems even more controllable. Basically if you can do something really hard on a 20, riding other styles becomes easier too.

As far as fun, it depends on what fun means to you. Remember learning to ride in the first place? I wouldn’t call it exactly fun (I broke my finger learning). But it sure was fun once you got it! It took a lot of investment and perseverance, which is one of the most beautiful things about unicycling. Each new skill seems impossible until you nail it. And it feels so damn good when you do.

Thanks for all the advice , all I have been interested in since learning muni is being able to ride my local mtn bike trails proficiently. Satisfied with where I am skill wise with that; now I want more skills, to do more of course.

Practicing hopping on a 20" wheel, or trials if that’s what you’ve got, is probably less tiring. For me that’s meant that I can work on it longer before I get tired and start messing up a lot. (OK, a lot more.) I’ve been trying it more on my heavier 26" muni now that I have the skill down more or less, like you not putting it to good use on the trail as much as I’d like yet. Once your legs have gotten wobbly from fatigue, there isn’t much gain in practicing failing. Using a lighter wheel could buy more quality practice time and reps. Seems that way to me.

I do not have 20 or 24" muni, will have to buy one. Which brings up another question. There are a couple of steep hills at my trails that drop 20-30 ft at an angle that without brakes seems impossible. Every time I try to go down them the muni just flies out from under me, cannot backpedal enough to keep the speed down. Would the smaller wheel give more control ?

Yeah a smaller wheel would help, but I don’t think you’d notice much of a difference between the 24" and 26". And a you’d probably find the 20" too slow on everything apart from the downhill. I started on a 20" and then got a 26" and now I’m riding a 24". It all depends on the kind of riding you want to do. I found the 26" to big and heavy for my liking, so I went for the slightly lighter and more nimble 24". If you ever plan on doing any trials or street riding then I would advise getting a 20" rather than a 24" because there’s really not that huge of a difference between the 24 and 26, nothing that can’t be overcome with a bit of practice.

Longer cranks and/or a brake are the other options for steep hills.I personally don’t like riding with cranks any longer than 137’s, which provide very minimal leverage, so I went with a brake. If you want a cheap solution, I made a cheap brake by using an old standard bike v-brake that l got for $5 from my local tip shop (don’t know if that’s an Australian term, basically a shop with salvaged stuff from the rubbish dump). You just need to find one that’s big enough to fit over the 3" tyre if that’s what you’ve got. I can show you a photo if your interested…

Can somebody give me some pointers about the important factors and how to hop at all?

Have you searched the forums first? I’m sure there are plenty of threads.

Something like five members of this forum bought hybrid Impact/Nimbus/Kris Holm 20" unicycles when unicycle.com put them on sale last November for $200. And it seems like they’ve all gotten used a lot. It’s worth watching for deals if you aren’t in a huge hurry.

I don’t know but it seems possible. I’ve been thinking that being able to control speed on downhills with back pressure, all the way to the point where it’s so steep that the wheel starts to skid, is a skill I should be working at, although a brake is a knee-saver for long downhills. But you know, at some point it’s ok to get off and walk down too.

Riding a 20" off road made me want to practice hopping, because it didn’t want to roll over anything! Then again, it’s a way to get a big workout and work hard on balance and handling obstacles without having to go off to find a challenging trail. Any random field will do. And if you really need to get down the trail quickly, get a bike. Or jog. :slight_smile:

I remember that there were lots of tuturials on youtube. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember which ones to recommend. But watch a few and try it yourself. The basic skill isn’t all that tricky, though it takes practice to develop height and to be accurate and in control. If you work at it for a while you’ll get it.

Yes but very thread I hit has a link to video that returns a 404 error. Page not found.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Yes, it is extremely helpful to have a 19" or 20" for all learning activities. In a way, I don’t see the point of a large wheel. A friend recently went crazy and Fed Ex-ed me a 29er. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, and I’m very grateful, but it’s not nearly as fast as a bike if you want to actually travel with it, and my 20" has so many more possibilities. I couldn’t find any threads about tricks you can do on a 29er. Some small-wheel skills switch over easily, but others don’t. Hopping is no problem. Any other suggestions? SIF might be a nice way to give my crotch a rest on those long-haul journeys, but I haven’t had the nerve to try it yet on this new wheel…

Hopping advice: Getting to where you can do little hops for pretty much as long as needed is important. Then try to use little hops to recover from the bigger hops, instead of idling or riding away. This advice might not be included in the existing bunny hop tutorials, as it’s the sort of thing that will only be useful for a brief period during your development, and that you may forget about afterwards, but for me it’s been useful lately.

This is probably the best video i could find on rolling hopping when i was learning.

I did find it hard to find any tips on the specifics of what to focus on when hopping though. I am by no means a rolling hop master, but here’s some things i found helpful…

  1. Pre-Hop

Just before you are about to execute the hop, push down with your whole body compressing the tyre, then as you hop you will get the extra spring of the tyre bouncing back to its original form. You’ll have to muck around with the tyre pressure to see what gives you the optimum bounce. When i hop, i tend to just concentrate all my attention on the pre-hop, it stops me worrying about the thing i’m about to hop onto and whether i’ll make it or not :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. Folding

As you would of seen in the video, to get big height, you need to fold your body, basically try and bring your feet up towards your head. I found trying bring the wheel up and touch it with your hand was a good way to practice. Just make sure you don’t cheat and bend over forwards to make it easier.

  1. Hop onto stuff

I put off hopping onto stuff for quite a while, because i didn’t think i could hop high enough. Then when i actually tried, if found i could make it quite easily. I think you get a little extra kick of adrenaline when jumping onto something, because you know that if you don’t make it you might hurt yourself. Also instead approaching the object straight on, come at it at a 45 degree angle, this means you don’t have to jump as far in a forward direction, because you will jump sideways slightly as well. It basically means you don’t have to cover as much distance in the air and i found it a good intermediate step before attempting it straight on.

Thats about all i can think of at the moment, haven’t done any hopping for a while, been to busy trying to master my new freewheel :smiley:

No doubt i’ll be learning to hop on that soon :wink: