riding down hill on my 29er

I really dislike riding downhill on my 29er. For me it is a lot more work than riding on level or even uphill. I don’t have a brake on it. Tips for riding down hill w/o a brake?

Mike A.

Get comfortable with going faster.

Let the wheel spin when you are most of the way down, once you feel comfortable with that start letting it spin earlier and earlier.

It can be scary but will save you energy and give you lots of speed for the flats.

I only started doing that after my breaks failed during RTL, made me a faster rider.


Start slow at the top of the hill and learn to know when to let it roll out. Like everything else it is just a matter of practice. When I first went 29 I had trouble with downhills that weren’t a problem on the 24" now they are easy.

I bought a Magura brake for my 29er a year ago and never installed it. Steep downhills are just another game to me.

I agree with their advice… going with the flow near the bottom helps get you up the other side of the creek…

and mostly it’s just a matter of confidence, going fast enough to maintain some directional control while pushing back smoothly. Practice. Just jump off when things get away from you.

Thanks for the tips. Another note: It seems to me that when I am on my 29er I have more time to adjust if my balance starts to go wrong than I do on my 20 inch. Is that the case?

As with most things to do with unicycling, it has a lot to do with how much you practise.

Long cranks give you more control.

Being confident at holding and pulling up on the seat gives you more control.

Have your insteps on the pedals, instead of the balls of your feet, to reduce the risk of “folding back” your feet - which can not only hurt, but can also lead to a flying UPD.

Lean the uni back into the hill. If you are going down hill, the contact patch of the tyre is behind the hub of the wheel. You therefore need to move your centre of mass backwards further than you might think to compensate for this.

When riding down hill, it is easier to lose control than it is to regain it, so keep the uni on a tight rein until you are sure that you can pedal fast enough to “spin out” at the bottom.

I dont ride downhill on a 29er but what i do with the 24inch is start off slow and be sure to be in control the entire time. If possible try to zig-zag down the hill so you arent actually going straight down the hill. Also if you start to go fast on a steep downhill and you are afraid you are going to fall just lean back and pull up on the seat. This does two things: helps you slow down and if you do fall you just fall back onto the hill and not down the hill which i find much worse.

The most important thing about doing steep downhills is to be calm the entire time and THINK about everything you are doing. I find steep downhills to be quite dangerous since there are a lot of things to go wrong and they happen quite fast.


The rotation is slower and your leverage is less. Being higher up can contribute to the fear factor. Just keep riding and get to know your beast. I’m sure you will be more confident soon!

I ride a 26 but the tire is very tall which makes it a 27. I definitely have more time to adjust my fore-aft balance than on a 20. My tire is also wide so there is a lot of stability left-right as well compared to a thinner tire. If you run with a little lower pressure you put a bigger patch on the ground which is really nice, though it does increase drag on the pavement.