Muni Climbing Techniques

So I’ve been practicing climbing with the muni lately and I was wondering wat kind of techniques are used to overcome obstacles during the climb (for example roots, holes, etc).

So far I’ve tried various techniques:

  • leaning backwards and rolling over it (root)
  • hopping sideways onto or over the obstacle
  • giving up :stuck_out_tongue:

So what do the skilled riders use for technique? @Becky98 ? :sunglasses:

I typically stand up on the pedals when hill climbing. If that doesn’t work I hold the saddle with one or both hands and pedal in a non-circular motion where my feet actually touch the ground.

1 Like

Climbing over rough ground is really hard. I am not that good at it, so take my advice with a grain of salt…

Over time I have gotten better at the short still stand. I use that pause between half revs to change my direction as needed to go around things. I try very hard to go around instead of over in order to keep as much forward momentum as possible.

I find riding over things is not always easy because the cranks are not always in the right position. If i hit a big root with the cranks at 6-12 and not enough momentum, I usually need a corrective hop to fix the crank position or else I pick option #3. Hopping takes a lot of energy, and it’s hard to get going again afterwards, so I only do that as a last resort.

Hopping is a very inefficient energywise, but when you lack the speed and it’s to steep and you don’t want to dismount often the only way (even I do sometimes🙈, but mostly I see all climbs as a fun challenge).

My favorite technique is to pull on the handle when the obstacle comes. I don’t do a jump while using that technique (since pedal position isn’t perfect and I am not great in rolling hops).
Here is a good example on one of my favorite uphill lines starting at Second 47:


Hey Becky which model are the race face knee/shin guards are you wearing and have you been happy with them?

I’m trying to follow exactly what you were doing there because the video moves pretty quick. Is it a combination of standing up and pedaling down hard while pulling up on the handle to power up and over the obstacle, or is there something else I’m missing? It looks like there is a little bit of a hop in there too… I’ve used that technique on smaller obstacles, 7-8cm, but am not to where I can do it over larger obstacles like curbs yet.

Too bad there isn’t an exclusive “skilled riders” section of the this forum. I would reply to Mark’s question, but I’m not sure I make the cut for “skilled riders”.

Momentum, weighting and unweighting, and timing.

Those are race face ambush knee pads and seperate Shinpads. The Shinpads are an older model, don’t remember the brand, but a lot of people use Fuse Shinpads these days. I am very happy with this combination, only had some rubbing issues with the second pair of kneepads I bought, probably I washed them wrong or to often. With my first pair I never had those problems and with the third one also not (yet).

1 Like

I think that’s it. But I don’t do hops I think. Haven’t analysed that technique that much.

1 Like

If you can, please do. What I meant was: here’s what I do, but what do skilled riders (not me) do. Is it different or am I on the right track?

Thanks all for the answers, I’ll analyze ny technique some more, make some video and post it here.

Technical uphill is the bane of the offroad unicycle. It’s my biggest frustration with the sport. There are just tons of sections that I can readily ride on a bike that are unrideable on the unicycle, other than as trials sections.

The biggest reason is that a bike can effortlessly unweight either wheel. On a unicycle you have to basically jump, and it’s exhausting, and the unweighting is very temporary (and preceded and followed by putting extra weight on the wheel).

On the bike, if I come to a ledge on an uphill, it’s easy and automatic: approach it with weight forward; shift weight back and lift the weightless front wheel over; shift weight forward; let the weightless back wheel follow. On a unicycle it’s a big obstacle that requires some speed coming in, a clean takeoff point, and a ton of energy jumping. On a longer section, with tons of roots and rocks and ledges, I might be shifting weight back and forth on the bike every few feet, every second or two. On a unicycle I’d be walking.

What do skilled riders do? Sections like the little step ups in Becky’s video are ridable, but if it’s even vaguely challenging by bike standards, the skilled riders walk it. There’s a reason all those muni videos are all downhill.

I’ve been wondering for a while now if it would be possible to ride up this stairset with the 27.5" muni. Something which is very easy with the bike (just have sufficient speed and unweigh the front) but which would be awesome on a uni…
I want to believe that it’s possible, but I haven’t got the confidence yet to give it a try… But I will, once I get used to the 27.5" muni…

UniGeezer posted a video of himself riding up stairs. The rise of each step was not so great as in your photo, there was more of a platform between each step, and Terry was doing it on a 36". But it was still amazing to watch.

I was riding with Jamie Mossengren. We were crossing a street, and when he got to the other side, he laid into the curb, causing a loud *bang". I am pretty sure there was no un-weighting happening. More likely the opposite, it seemed he pressed really hard into the curb. That curb was about the height of each stair in your picture. I’m pretty sure Jamie had to get his weight behind the unicycle as he hit the stair. I don’t know how that technique could be applied to more than one stair, however, as there is a great loss of momentum while crashing into the curb / stair.

There is a rock garden at the end of a long hill, on one of my local trails. At one point, I have to lay into a certain rock to get over it. Typically where I fall is the next rock after that first rock. Which speaks to the point I made in the last paragraph, that it’s hard to slam your way over successive objects. I ride with pretty high tire pressure.

The opposite technique would be to un-weight (rather than press/lay-into), but, again, is it possible to make successive un-weightings on each stair? I think not.

Theoretically, to make it up the stairs, you’d need maximum speed, maximum rotating mass, a high volume, low pressure, compliant tire, and an un-weighting that distributed itself over all six stairs.

You may not be doing actual hops, but your tire visibly leaves the ground on the second to the last stair. Maybe thats just spring from the tire compressing as you climb.

Techniques? I pedal really hard :grin:

Yeah, I agreee. But you just have to know your limitations and the unicycle’s.

Someone suggested in an earlier thread that you should choose what looks like an impossible hill to climb, for you, and then practice climbing it. I’ve been doing just that and about 9 days ago I conquered one of my unclimbable hills, standing up almost the entire time. When I first started practicing on it I only made it about 10% of the way up. So your limitations aren’t set in stone.


That’s one thing for sure!

Curious what changed in your technique that allowed you to climb the hill? You mentioned standing up the whole time. Anything else?