I’m down for at least two hubs to replace my JR P-hubs, as the tech in them is a game changer.
Hopefully they’ll sell them in complete unicycles as right now freewheeling feels like this extremely small niche within a niche and the lack of pre-builts no doubt discourage some people from trying it.
At Municycle.com I bought a freewheel 20" a few years ago. After a hard tumble backwards, I decided it was not for me. I remember being so happy to roll so many metres, but there comes a point where you have to counterbalance, which automatically happens by pushing backwards pressure with the feet. When you don’t generally use brakes, by the time that happens it is already too late. The video does look cool though. Becky clearly mastered the skill.
I finally learned to ride a wheelie on a bike, and I’m working on manuals (wheelies while coasting, standing on the pedals), and it’s got me interested in trying freewheel uni.
I’m a little worried about hard falls off the back, but I’ve literally never fallen that way on the bike. On the bike I practiced braking to save myself, and stepping off the back deliberately to get a feel for it. It became automatic quickly enough. I think I would start out practicing the same things on the unicycle.
AJ Kinsella-Johnson recently posted a couple of tutorial videos; he’s really good at it.
He is sick, not using a brake. What if you ride downhill over roots, like Becky. You will tumble off in no-time. Really can’t imagine how to get your balance back where you would normally give counter weight (haven’t watched the full videos as I write this though).
Wow I should have seen that first video when first trying to ride my freewheel. He knows his stuff. It was very informative.
The twitchy body motions A.J. was making while brake-less free-wheeling…reminded me of videos I’ve seen of people coasting. I can imagine that freestyle unicyclists who are already good at one-footed, gliding, coasting…might be the ones learning brake-less free-wheeling. Unicycling, in my own, ungraceful fashion, is more a matter of steering the unicycle under me, rather than balancing on the unicycle. The brake-less free-wheel unicycling A.J. demonstrated, on the other hand, is very much about balancing on top of the unicycle.
I am not engineering-minded, but I wonder if the following is possible: A penguin (short giraffe) unicycle with a small wheel and a free-wheel hub between the cranks. The seat/handle is fashioned in such a way to allow it to be pushed forward and backward. The hub/pedals/feet acts as the fulcrum, and the seat/handle acts the lever. When the wheel gets out in front, the seat/handle can be pushed out to the front, bringing the wheel back behind the center of gravity.
That’s pretty much how you ride a manual on a bike - you coast along, standing on the pedals and pulling back against the handlebar. You balance by pushing your feet back and forth. People who are good at it can do amazing things (e.g. drops and big hops up).
You should be able to do the same thing on a freewheel unicycle if the hub were between the wheel and handle, like on a penguin (no need for the freewheel to be at the cranks).
It seems ironic that a freewheel bicycle would be easier to ride on one wheel than a freewheel unicycle, but there you go.
So as it’s been confirmed on Becky’s Instagram, it seems fair game now to say that this hub has a sprag clutch, which means instant engagement (or about as close to instant as you can get), and no noise when freewheeling.
Im glad I didn’t just sell my free-wheel uni when I decided to give it a rest. This thread shows some very good info to give it another try at some point. When A J rode in his second video, then he does twitch a lot as soon as he stops pedalling to keep balance. Though it is nice on the legs not to pedal, it does seem like you’re very strained to keep the balance. In his first video, my first thought was “I hope ur not gonna ride the free wheel in your garage. There is not enough space there” and a few moments later, there he went, showing full control in riding a circle before hopping off.