Overview of trial techniques

So I’ve seen various sources of info for flatland / street tricks, but hardly any info on trial techniques.

I did find this one:


But are there any other sources of info where you can find specific trial tips and techniques?
For example ranging from seat height to static drops from 3m and everything in between.


Well, there’s the Kris Holm book from a few years ago - The Essential Guide to Mountain and Trials Unicycling. But you’d probably have to find a secondhand copy somewhere.

It doesn’t have the kind of detail you see in e.g. the video series from Eli Brill and Chris Huriwai, but I did learn from it. And it’s got lots of inspiring photos!

Thanks! will look that one up!

I’m afraid there is no bundled resource (at least nothing recent), at least I’ve noticed a lack of it as well…

This is a great sidehop tutorial:

For everything else, there is a lot of great knowledge around, but I’m afraid it takes a while to get it. I learned most things I know about trials at events, unfortunately no one (that I know of) has put all the techniques into a video. (Seat in front sidehops, pedal grabs and rail rides are really the important basics, but there is also a million small things to know)

Yes, although various of my questions aren’t mentioned :smile:

  • Why does he choose to jump towards his back foot?
  • How high should the seat be for maximum control?
  • You can have a bounce at 40psi and at 20psi. Should you aim for as low as possible without the tire hitting the rim or losing it’s shape sideways?
  • How do you bail out safely if you can’t hit the tire height? Aim for the pedal grab or let it slide off and potentially land on your back?
  • Do you use the same technique for maximum distance or is that different?
  • What material would be suited best to practice to jump on? A pallet is solid but has holes in between the boards making you lose balance quicker and if you land too hard, the planks might break. Concrete can be very painful to crash on. Perhaps a rubber tire like from a tractor?

I’ve downloaded a copy of the KH book (I paid for it :D) and will look at that one as well.

Unfortunately that might take a long time before those are happening again :wink:

I’ve got a tutorial on the first 2 now, and compared to the other techniques I’m doing ok on the rail rides, so the first 2 should be my main focus anyway :wink:

I can answer a few of those (to the best of my knowledge). I’m no pro trials rider, but not exactly bad at trials either.

Jumping towards back foot allows a slightly higher maximum (but that really only comes into play above 1m). Honestly I’ve never 100% understood why, but I trust what the experts say (and it happens to be the preferred stance I have).
Where hopping toward the backfoot has it’s downsides is pedal grabs (going up from the pedal grab will make you go a bit backward, which is not ideal), but that is only an issue when hopping onto something small. Adding a half rev is a way around that problem.

As always, hard to answer in definitive terms, but relatively high (for an “urban” rider). The tricky thing is that on a good tuck, the seat changes from below your belt, to shoulder-ish height. Pretty difficult to make it good for every part of the way - you kinda need to find the best compromise.

I think that is pretty much where you end up, yes. At least for me that is what has gotten me the highest - but choosing a tire pressure for overall trials is a bit more tricky, since you also want to not hit the rim when hopping forward onto a thin rail/edge.

You’ll mostly learn that from instinct. Both can be a good choice, depending on the situation. “Accidental” pedal grabs can be nice, but sometimes you can’t make that happen - if you ended up taking off too close to the obstacle for example - ending up with your butt sitting on the obstacle is pretty much the best case then.
Luckily, there is plenty of opportunity to practice falling at “safe” heights while learning how to jump higher.

Pretty similar, at least the landing. For me, long sidehops are easier static than with a prehop. Position yourself on the edge of whatever you are jumping of (that way you can push against it), lean to the side you are jumping towards, and hop.

Pallets are great - stackable, readily available, and you can build a lot of different things with them. Turn one around, and you have something to practice precision on, lean one on an angle onto a stack, lot’s of ways to build fun trials lines.
There are different “qualities” of pallets, even if they look the same, find the heaviest one (that will generally be the strongest) and put it on top. But for high jump, you don’t have a lot of force left once you are on top (because all the energy is converted into height), so it’s not too much of an issue.
With some practice, you won’t notice the holes much, on highjump competitions they usually add a flat board on top, to make the issue disappear completely. If you are worried about strength, that will also fix that issue. If you drop down onto a pallet from height, aim onto the “supported” parts.
The problem with softer materials is that it is harder to balance on them (especially tires really can be tricky, since they move around so much). It’s tricky enough to balance a full “butt on tire” tuck on a hard surface, on a wobbling object it’s even harder - I’d guess having to land on a tire will take a good 20cm of a lot of peoples maximum highjump.

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It’s been 3 months ago since I started this topic and I’ve gained some more insight in the mean time, which might be helpful for others as well:

Seat height:
I’ve tried everything from as low as possible to as heigh as possible and this is what I prefer most now:

  • as high as possible while still being able to easily switch between seat out and seat in during a standstill. This makes the seat out / SIF hops more controlled due to the heigher seat and also the riding itself becomes smoother / more accurate. Of course it does make it a bit harder to gain height with seat in, but since it’s trials you’ll mostly have the seat out anyway :wink:

tire pressure:
Again tried everything from below minimum to maximum recommended pressure for my tire (currently running a Monty Pro Race V2 on the trials uni and a Maxxis Creepy Crawler on the street uni).
Both of them are at 40psi, where I’m currently trying to find the preferred pressure between 38-40psi for the Monty.
At 38psi side dropping and landing of a stair set still caused the tire to fold too much for my liking (I weigh around 200lbs) and at 40psi (maximum for the Monty) this is better.
If you land faced forward this is no issue at all and rolling out is easy with these pressures. Rolling out with much lower pressures created a delay due to the compression of the tire during the landing.
In terms of grip I haven’t found any situation yet where the 40psi Monty is out of grip. Perhaps riding a rail might have it slide of quicker, but it’s been a while since I’ve last done that.