Question about coasting on different wheels

I practice coasting on two unicycles: a 20" Nimbus X and a 20" Kris Holm Flatland. The Nimbus has a 32mm wide rim and a Primo The Wall 1.85" tire at around 80 psi. The KH has a 47mm wide rim and a Maxxis Grifter 2.1" tire at around 50 psi. I’ve found that I do considerably better coasting on the Nimbus (longer and more consistent runs) despite giving each considerable practice time. I normally ride the KH with a lower seat post but as an experiment I switched the frames and raised the seats so they’re nearly equal. I found I still coast much better on the Nimbus wheel set. I wonder which, if any, of the following factors come into play:

  • rim width
  • tire pressure
  • wheel weight (the Nimbus wheel set is heavier) [/LIST] #1 and #2 combine to affect the friction of the tire on the ground. Maybe #3 is some kind of flywheel effect? Does anyone want to chime in with their own experience? Does this make sense based on physics? I'm thinking about trying to take at least tire pressure out as a variable but my methods are far from scientific.
  • I never got so scientific about it. In my experience, coasting’s biggest variable is the frame, where you lock in your foot (or both feet) to control the thing. On the one hand, a heavier wheel might perform more consistently, but on the other hand, a lighter wheel might be more responsive and so easier to keep under you. Of course a smooth tread is probably better than a highly textured or knobby one.

    That’s coasting, right? Not gliding, where one foot presses lightly on the tire for wheel control. Then the tire (and the shoe) are probably the biggest factors, followed by frame grip.

    Coasting is fun!

    I definitely prefer using my 20" Nimbus Equinox freestyle with 80-100 psi in the grifter tire. I have a trials unicycle too that works ok but I am not really used to it and if the seat is lower it makes coasting harder. I imagine the trials wheel is more forgiving on bumpy terrain but coasting seems best done on smooth surfaces.

    24" unicycles seem ok to coast but the bigger the frame the worser your leg bend gets and it hinders control. My 29" coast attempts only lasted a revolution at the most but I guess it is possible with a bit more precision.

    Coasting downhill is quite a thrill. Landing a coast back to pedals is so satisfying but I tend to get too greedy and just go until I fall off and don’t get much landing practice in.

    I love Arthur Richard’s section on Unicycling is not a Crime, his coasting is inspirational.

    Thanks for the feedback, John! The KH frame has a flatter, knurled top which is more rectangular while the Nimbus X rounder, smooth top which is slightly trapezoidal (narrower at the top than bottom). Both seem decent for coasting but maybe I’ll see a difference if I get the other factors closer.

    Yes, I’m talking about coasting (not touching the tire). I’ve tried practicing gliding but that seems much more difficult to me.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply! I’ve considered the Equinox but UDC is currently out of stock in my size. That would answer my question as to whether a heavier wheel helps at all.

    I’ve just started practicing getting back to the pedals after coasting. I found one revolution (not looking) was much easier than I thought it would be. I managed two revolutions (looking) a couple times yesterday and with some more practice I should be able to get back to pedals after a longer run (at least once in a while). Thanks for the tip on the video! I’ll check it out.

    I have both Nimbus X and Equinox. The Equinox has an ovalised knurled top similar to KH. I’m not sure the weight makes much difference but maybe lighter is better. Another type is the really square top with the hook bit, like Arthur uses and like the older nimbus 2 frames. I learned on one of those with shortneck frame. Christian’s frame is slightly tilted upwards towards the outside edges making it hook better too.

    What??? Gliding is so easy in comparison but it engages your tire and shoe creating friction and wearing both of them out. The beauty of coasting is it only wears out your shoes when you fall.

    I didn’t answer your question about heavier wheels cos I was thinking the time lag from the heavier wheel compensates for the lack of nimbleness.

    I haven’t been practising coasting much lately, stand up gliding has been taunting me, going downhill. I posted a video called Coastal a while ago when I was getting into it a bit. I haven’t gotten much better since but can still coast.

    Hey Rowan, that was some nice coasting! Makes me want. To go practice coasting :slight_smile:

    Thank you. If only it was 5 minutes of continuous uninterrupted coasting. It feels over too soon- I’ve been told I need to practise it slowly but I like to go fast. I’ve also been told I should have both hands out when I coast one foot on crown but I like to hold the seat for inevitable fall off and hopefully safe landing. is one of the best coasters I know. I love his coast to drop trick which may have been inspired by the coasting over the ledge of doom game we were playing once, trying to land a steep dip at a skatepark while coasting.

    Great video! I coast with both feet on the frame and have only recently been practicing with one foot so I can put the other foot back on the pedals. I should probably practice one foot on the frame more and maybe that will help with gliding. I noticed that my foot position is different from yours and I may try that to see if that makes any difference. I put the mid part of my foot on the frame and it’s level to the ground where you seem to touch the frame around the ball of the foot and it’s angled to the ground. I looked back at the video I shot a few weeks after I started practicing coasting:

    It looks like I may have started out more like you so I’m not sure what happened. I could be imagining it. I’m going to work on it this weekend and try different things, including pumping up my KH flatland wheel to see if that one change makes a difference. Thanks for the tips, especially sharing your experience with the Nimbus X vs. Equinox!

    Carl I don’t think switching the wheelsets can help you to awfully much, considering you can coast for quite a while most the time, I think you just need to practice getting some alright coasting with one foot on the frame, and then back to pedals. I also recently saw the new Huriwai Hippo video and I believe he goes from both feet on frame to one foot on the frame to 1 foot riding to pedals. I don’t know how hard it is, but maybe you may find it easier to get longer runs back to pedals this way considering you aren’t great with 1 ft off the frame.

    O I guess it wasn’t in that video( and I realized someone put a link for that video already) I watch a lot of videos. Maybe I’ll post a link of the right video when I find it.

    Probably the biggest factor in my experiments was tire pressure so I’m going to swap the frames back and pump up the KH flatland wheel and try that. My plan is eventually to go from both feet on frame to one foot on frame to one foot riding like you describe. I haven’t landed this yet but got close a couple times.

    Good luck