Nimbus Shadow Handle

My first impressions using the Nimbus shadow handle.
I have been riding a 36” Nimbus for approx 12 months and I am very comfortable riding for several miles holding the seat grab handle with one hand. I can ride for miles holding it with both hands but it does not feel as natural. Any way I decided to try a proper handle partly because I am sick of splitting the plastic grab handle when it hits the ground after UPDs. So I fitted it today pretty much how it looks on UDC website i.e. curved handles at the front pointing up. After several practice mounts in my garden I removed the rear part of the handle as I was banging my inner thigh on it.
So my first ride I was expecting it to feel easy straight away being so used to holding the seat handle, however it felt completely alien at first and took approx 5 miles before I began to feel comfortable. I have only done 15 miles with it so far but I am starting to quite like it most of the time. I still find when cornering I have to let go with one hand, and when going up very steep hills I revert back to the seat grab handle as I really heave up hard on it. When I am on easy straight sections it is definitely more comfortable.
I have a few questions
When mounting is it better to hold the seat or the Shadow handle?
When going uphill where I really need to pull hard should I work at holding the shadow handle or just use the seat grab?
Lastly does anyone have any good tips for riding with a handle.

Regards Phil.

1 : definitely always hold the seat when mounting, or keep both hands in the air if you like, but don’t hold the T-bar when mounting, that is just weird.
2. Why would you pull so hard when going uphill. I find when it is really steep (steep for me) then I find it easiest to have both hands in the air and nearly walk up half rotation after half rotation.
For small inclines I can hold on to the T-bar. When going downhill, I use the brake which is attached to the T-bar, but I find it sometimes difficult to keep balance with it.

  1. What I like about a T-Bar is that it keeps the wheel more steady and I don’t zigzag so much. And it is nice that my arms don’t flail so much anymore and just rest in a relaxed way on the handle.

As for turning, I always think that the real pros do the balancing and turning from their hips and not with the upper body, so technically it should be possible to steer while having the hands on the T-bar, but I find it still easier to turn my upper body and hang towards where I want to go. For longer turns I can keep both hands on the T-Bar.

And also important, should you decide to hop with your uni, you shouldn’t hold on to the handle, but to the seat, or the uni will prolly roll away from under you

Whatever works for you; there’s no hard and fast rule. I hold the seat when mounting my 36er and the handlebar when mounting my muni.

Again, it’s really whatever works for you, but I couldn’t imagine not using the handlebar at all times, including hill climbing. In fact, I removed the plastic handle from my 36er saddle as I found I never used it.

I’ve never found the “pull up really hard while climbing” technique to be that useful. Maybe my hills aren’t steep enough.

For most of us that ship sailed years ago :p.

Grab the handle wherever you want when you mount.
I’m a fan of the two hands on the bars when I mount but I’ll do whatever works for the moment.
I’ll mount one hand on the bars when I’m traversing a slope. I grab the downhill side of the bars.
A “no hands” mount seems very sketchy and a beginner move. Maybe because you need your arms for balance?

You’ll learn to pull up when you need it. You learn to push down when you need it as well.
If you’re pulling real hard just riding up a hill then you need to relax your upper body and put that energy to your legs.

My tips for mastering a handle is to practice the hard stuff.
Force yourself to work on your offside.
Instead of being a “one trick pony” work on being a “many skills man”

One thing I remember about learning was to keep my hands on the bars no matter what.
If I needed to throw my weight around then I would swing my elbow out while trying to keep my fingertips touching the bars. Sometimes I would let go but eventually the elbow swinging was reduced and the hands started staying on the handlebars.

Like LBJ, I removed my front bumper handle as soon as my bars went on.
You do not need a front handle to hop. (sorry Setonix)
I will guarantee that two hands on the wheel will be more stable than one. It’s physics.

Again, I think bringing up all the skills equally will result in a much more efficient rider. I don’t agree with learning asymmetrically as it just gets in the way later.

Put your time in.
You’re getting used to different weights and balance points with your new setup.

Occasionally, I try a “no hands” mount, just to remember how hard it is. Feels quite sketchy, indeed. I suppose a beginner could learn to mount with both hands on the seat, then remove the hands for balance once they were on the uni. I used this technique while mounting directly into a wheel walk. I needed the stability more than I needed the balance, at least at the very beginning of the WW mount.

I am a big fan of the Shadow handle. My 26" Oracle shipped stock with a grab handle with a hole in it. Very bad design, IMHO. Danger of getting fingers caught in it. I replaced the grab handle with a solid one. Over time, the seat post broke and the seat turned to oatmeal. Replaced those. Then I started using the KH t-bar. It caused the seat post to break pretty fast, due to all the flexing an extra pressure placed on the seat. Then I installed the stiffener plate for the saddle, but I still broke another seat post. In the meantime, I installed the Shadow handle in my 29" road unicycle. I liked how stiff the Shadow was compared to the KH. Eventually, I moved the Shadow to my 26" Oracle.

Don’t expect handle bars to feel / work right from the beginning. I have done a lot of experimentation getting the bars the way I want them, and I will probably continue experimenting. I’m including a picture of my current setup. The bar setup looks really long, partly because the grab handle is missing. The brake is protected from falls by the bar ends. I used bumpers for lacrosse sticks on the front-facing bar ends. The nose of the saddle is facing downward, but the curvy bar end is curved upward. I’ve never gotten “caught” on the bar ends during a dismount. That is because I keep at least one hand on the bars at all times. Bars can be dangerous for beginners, however. If you can learn to bail out without throwing both hands in the air, then you’re ready to install some bars.

Whether or not you hold the bars while mounting…depends on the length of the bar setup. Mine is a short, muni/XC setup, not a long, touring setup.

I don’t normally mount with 2 hands flailing in the air. My normal way is one hand on the seat, but when mounting the 32" and 36", I sometimes find the mount too high and lean too much to the left. Then my thought was to keep both hands in the air so Im in balance on both sides, but I agree it feels very strange and out of control.
I will try to mount with both hands on the seat bumper tomorrow, which is kind of the same balance wise, but no flailing hands. The problem I had with the 36" was simply that I didn’t keep my right foot low enough (it was more towards 9 than 6 o’clock).

I don’t have a T-bar on my munis 26" and 29" and removing the bumper from them doesn’t make much sense to me, I will always hold the seat while hopping. I can’t hop without using my hands, if that was what you meant.

I mount with one hand on the seat handle. I keep the T bar fairly short. Sometimes I have bar ends fitted, sometimes not. On the Nimbus, having the handle at the back as well is only useful if you want to improvise a rack for light items.

When I ride up hill, I stay in the saddle as long as reasonably possible, but when I stand up, I hold the seat handle and, if the hill is very steep, I sometimes have to pull hard on it.

A Nimbus handle, especially if also extended behind the seat, puts mass away from the vertical axis of the unicycle and can slow the steering.

Ive been looking on youtube, but everybody seems to mount with one hand on the seat. I haven’t found a vid with peeps having 2 hands on the seat, maybe with seat in front, but not normal mounts.

I don’t make videos, but I definitely mount with both hands on the seat/handle. However, my two main unicycles are a 26" and a 20". I am tall, 6’2", and somewhat top-heavy. Having a higher center of gravity on a smaller wheel works for two handed static mounts. If I were learning to mount on a 36", though, my center of gravity would not be high enough to perform a true static mount (without a jump or some added momentum), and one hand out for balance/ballast/swinging/transfer would be necessary.

I’m just writing what I think works and I’m talking about mounting with handlebars like the original post was asking about.

Oh ya… another pointer (for me) is to use your inside corner hand to hold the bars as you go through a corner. (if you’re not using both!)
This means changing your dominant hand regularly.

Nimbus Shadow Handle

Thanks to everyone who replied. I certainly got a good few pointers.
I have done three rides with the handle now and am starting to really like it.
One interesting thing i have noticed is that my trip computer is recording my ride as slightly shorter than it should be, Which must mean that i am riding in a straighter line

Regards to everyone Phil

Yesterday I managed one time to perfectly mount with two hands on the seat and riding off without moving my hands. All other times I was forced to take one hand off the seat for balance, though then I tried on uneven ground.

Then I also figured I could hold the seat with my non-dominant hand, but that was impossible. Mounting hands free is easier even than that. The main reason for mounting with 2 hands for me is that I hope to better be able to ride off on single trails. I always swerve to the left when mounting. If single trail then often they have higher sides, so I tumble off again.

Good for you Setonix.

If you’re having a hard time switching hands, try switching your dominant foot as well.
They (starting positions) all have slightly different weighting positions. Maybe the other foot may compliment your offside hand.

That’s interesting, as I’ve come up with the opposite. Looking at pictures of Corbin Dunn and other fast riders in races, I see the outside hand on the bar and the inside hand often out into the turn. This seems to work for me (I’m not going as fast) because that position also turns my upper body into the turn (outside shoulder forward), which makes a heavy 36" wheel more cooperative with the turn, and that inside hand can “flail” if needed if you get a little off course.

But if the turn is wide, and if I’m not trying to go fast, it doesn’t matter which hand is holding, or both.

Mounting:
The vast majority of all unicycle mounting I do is with one hand on the seat (or handle on my 36"). Really the only times I don’t do it that way are when I’m doing something intentionally, such as a kick-up mount or otherwise showing off, generally. I never really thought about mounting with both hands on the handle, though I think it would be a good way to train yourself to be able to ride that way, learning to make the necessary motions without having to use your whole arms. Good discipline if you can do that on a 36" with a long handle! Also it will make you look cool and confident, if any non-unicyclists ever notice the difference…

On my 36", I usually get on while holding the handle midway, or holding the seat handle. I use the seat handle if I’m crossing a road in front of stopped cars (want to get it right on the first try, and intersections often have big bumps in them), or if I’m mounting up a hill.

While riding, I consider both hands on the handle to be the most efficient “cruising” position. I run my handle long and low (it’s a Nimbus Stealth bar on a KH T-bar mount), so that position makes me somewhat more aerodynamic than sitting upright. But I often hold with one hand if I’m sitting up and not trying to cruise efficiently. I rarely ride hands-free, especially in high gear. Usually that means I’m taking a picture or something.

BTW, to take good pictures, I won’t be riding. I usually only shoot on the fly if I want to capture the riders around me, or something that I can’t keep up with otherwise. :slight_smile:

Not impossible, but pretty awkward if you’re mounting with your hand on the same side as the foot you use. I think it’s pretty easy if you get used to it, but don’ consider it something anyone needs to do. I’m almost always left hand on the seat, right foot first onto the pedal.

If it’s something consistent like that, it should be relatively easy to correct. Normally I’d ask which hand/foot you are using, but that doesn’t really matter. Just practice deliberately swerving to the right when mounting. Once you get the hang of that, you’ll magically also have the skills to take off in a straight line. :slight_smile:

Maybe my style is from the type of cross country riding I do.
I’m riding fast through tight corners and a lot of weaving through trees.

An inside hand flailing could be potential for an injury on the tree I’m passing.
I’m not too sure why, but it feels better to flail my outside hand if needed.

I’m to the point now that most of my ride is two handed.
One of my goals is to sweep a whole ride with two hands on the wheel.

I might be changing the subject a bit here, but since it is under shadow handle and equipment I will try here.

I’m thnking about getting a Shadow handle, but I’m not sure quite how it works with seats. I want to use to use it to carry baggage a la Ed Pratt style.
Ideally, I want to just change seatpost/saddle depending on what I ride I’m going for. Can I change the saddle only? It looks like it comes with a stadium on (which I do like), but for touring I want a flat KH saddle.
I’m unsure if I can do that due to the pivotal setup.

I hope I’m making any sense here :stuck_out_tongue:

You cannot (without modification to the shadow handle mounting) use a flat KH saddle (Fusion One/Fusion Zero).
I seem to remember seeing it done, but I can’t find the link now.

The saddles mount to the shadow handle using the handle and bumper mounts on the saddle itself, so a drop-in replacement needs to have a standard shape and size base so that the mounting holes are in the right place. The KH Fusion Zero/One has a slightly different shape base to the Stadium saddle.

Yes, thought so. So im out of luck getting different saddles on.
There isn’t any real anternatives orther than making it all myself.

You can use a Fusion Zero on a Shadow base with minor modification. Probably a Fusion One too, but I’ve never played with one of those to confirm.

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