I did my first ride on my new Zero yesterday. This was on Pittsburgh, my old-school MUni (KH 2004 frame), which I took out to the trails in Berkeley which include some of the steepest chutes and uphill challenges around.
I set it up leaned one notch back. The effect of sitting on my sit bones was immediately obvious; as someone who’s done a lot of long-distance biking, I really appreciated the feeling. I’m not able to get my butt back quite as far as I’d like; I definitely could see the value of having a handlebar with this setup.
It’s noticeably lighter than my previous setup (Thompson seatpost, rail adapter, Fusion Freeride; losing the rail adapter is a pretty big win).
The ride includes a grisly fire road climb, almost 50m of altitude gain in 200m distance. Only a few unicyclists have ever made it. I can do it but it’s still really hard.
Those of you who’ve seen my climbing style know that there’s a fair amount of Funky Chicken involved in steep climbs; I’ll almost stall with each pedal rev to set up for the next one. This involves a fair amount of moving the saddle back and forth. With the Zero, I felt like I was reaching further for the handle and didn’t have as much ability to flex my arm as I’m used to. But, I did make the climb pretty solidly.
Right after that climb, there’s my current Personal Everest; a longer climb, about 1km, not as steep overall but with several uphill obstacles. On that climb, I felt the same sense of having to reach further than I wanted to, but I was able to ride it as well as usual. (I fell off on the last obstacle, which is the same place I fell off last time). So overall, I wasn’t as comfortable on the uphill but it didn’t seem to hamper my riding.
From there, the ride includes several steep downhill chutes with roots and drops. Someone strangely, on the downhill I felt totally solid with the new setup. The handle position seemed natural, and I think the more solid connection with the saddle (better position, less foam) helped me control the unicycle better. I rode everything I usually ride, and a couple of obstacles felt more solid than usual.
After the ride, my grip arm was noticeably sore; the muscles used are a little different due to the different saddle position.
Overall, it’s a clear win. I’ll probably get used to the longer arm extension on climbs, and it didn’t seem to be a big problem anyway. It’s definitely going to be more comfortable for longer rides, and the butt-saddle connection seems more solid.
I’ve got a 22.2mm Pivotal seatpost on order to try it out on my basketball uni. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.