Road Unicycle Set-Up and T7 Handle Modification

I’m a fighter pilot, and clipless muni scares the piss out of me. :astonished:

Second, it’s way mire fun to weld up crazy custom bars than just swap pedals.:wink:

Last, okay maybe if someone has a clipless uni I’ll try it, but that’s a lot of cheese in pedals and shoes to lay out for what is, on it’s face, a terrible idea.

your clipless idea intrigues and scares

Your idea of clipless MUni intrigues and scares me at the same time. In former 2 wheeled life,I enjoyed being clipped in and definitely rode stronger.

I would consider it only with strong solid plastic knee cups, as a maiden voyage could have disasterous consequences. For your knees, and your entire unicycling future if youcan’t get out. Alsothe best pair of wrist guards that money can buy.

Have you started with the easiest DIN in setting for the pedals.That may also be the difference between 20something rider and a 40somethingrider:)

Post a picture of what you’re riding for pedals and shoes. I imagine wide platforms are irrelevant I guess???

KH ever tried clipless riding? If there’s anyone unlikely to UPD it would be he:D

I have been thinking more and more about going clipless. Been doing it for 25 years on MTB, and so many times on the muni I wonder how much more stable I might feel if I was clipless. You have inspired me to give it a go. Although it should be said that if you’re not used to it, be EXTRA very careful. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it on technical muni (as soon as I CAN do technical muni), but for moderate 8-12mph xc rides I’m sure it’s far from death-defying.

A few people ride SPDs on the road, and I’ve ridden with at least one of them (Domesticated Ape, although I have a feeling he may have gone back to pinned pedals now). They seem to get on well with them and haven’t been killed yet.

I’ve ridden some sort of clipped pedals on bikes for as long as I can remember (traditional clips and straps, then SPD) and I feel very unsafe riding a bike without them now. But I don’t have the guts to try them on a uni, even on the road. I rode my coker to work this morning, 9 miles of mixed road and xc, without a dismount. On some of the rougher stony bits my feet got bounced around on the pedals a bit. They wouldn’t have done that with SPDs. But a few days ago on the same route I suddenly found myself running after hitting a ridge. I really don’t have confidence that I could have unclipped in time (I didn’t even notice I was falling) to save my wrists and collarbone - although Liam (Ape) says he’s fallen off a couple of times and unclipped naturally. For proper muni I reckon you’d have to be EXTREMELY sure of your abilities.

One thing that worries me about SPDs on a uni is whether the second foot would unclip without just rotating the uni. On a bike there’s a lot more machine to hold the pedal still while you twist your foot out of the clip. But then I haven’t tried it (and probably never will - way too chicken!)


i tried it for a short time on my V-frame, but a lot of people told me i’m gonna kill myself, so i took it away, and have the half clips without straps on that setup and like it alot. for roadriding i think clipless is indeed dangerous because most of my upd’s are falling in the front (and also in highspeed), in that case i take my feet straight ahead from the pedals (you don’t have this on a bike, because you can’t fall in the front, ok you can but that happens not very often).

but i think i’m going to give it a try on the muni (thats not that fast…), the problem i see there is maybe when am riding somewhere close to the edge and i start falling on the “wrong” side, and in the panic i don’t get the feet off…

ok, i can’t wait anymore… actually i wanted to show turtle’s big V (36") when it’s all done, but now it looks like it will take an other month until the wheelset (schlumpf hub) will be ready, so here it is with the 29" wheel.
thanks to everyone who is supporting me in this project!

You need to change your name to teenage mutant ninja turtle or something.

Words fail me :astonished:

Looking nice but have to see it with the 36 inch wheel.
Are you going to unicon>?
I’am not the cost are just to high, but i’am curious how the v-frames and handlebar setups are going to preform in the races.

the same here, to expensive and also not enough time (if i would go, i want to stay at least a month…)

Says someone who just orderd a schlumpf hub build a custom v out of 2 kris holm frames:p

Bit i understand your point its to much money for only 12 days or 10?

Hope to see some nice big events in europe soon.
your handlebars are looking high up not a real race looking
But therefor i have to see it with the wheel.
and on my v-setup the body position is a little on the low side so have to adjust it some more.

sander – how has your frame been? is it working out well?


Great project, and thank you for being one of the pioneers furthering unicycle science!

In looking at your frame, I noticed the bearing will not be parallel to the ground, but instead, tilted forward, in line with the KH36 frame it was attached to originally. Is your 29er like this, too? Has it presented any problems?

Perhaps ideally, the bearing should be parallel to the ground, perpendicular with the imaginary line through the center of the “V”, if they ever become mass-produced. (Hint, hint, Kris?)

Edit: What’s the mass of that beast?

Why do you think it would matter? The bearing doesn’t really have a “top” - we just fit them randomly into the bearing holders after all, they should be completely radially symmetrical in all directions. I suppose the weight would not be held centrally by the bearing holder, but I can’t see that as a problem (when it’s done up it’s pretty much a complete circle anyway).

Or did you mean it purely aesthetically?


at the 29" it’s the same, no problem so far. it’s also in different angles, it depens how i ride (more upright or not), the same for the hight of the handlebar…

In Turtle’s case, it seems fine, because he’s got plenty of miles on his V-Guni 29.

A geared-36" wheel will likely exert more force on the frame/bearing setup. I think the frame/bearing-holder could be affected in a non-straight-down set up, though I’ve no idea whether the affect is greater than a negligible one.

There would be different properties between a purely downward force, (which wouldn’t put any pressure toward forcing the bearing holders open) and Turtle’s setup, which looks like it would be putting some force into popping them open at the “top” side.

Consider the extreme case, with bearings mounted right/left instead of up/down. Wouldn’t there be a fair amount of force wanting to open up the bearing halves? Would there be any deformation of the aluminum bearing holders? Would there be some affect on the hub bearing? Maybe even my hypothetical case would be plenty strong and never be a problem. Most likely, as in Turtle’s case, where there’s much less than in the left/right scenario, it’s not an issue.
[/uneducated hypothesis]

Anyway, Rob, should we, unicyclists of the world, be fortunate enough that such a rig as this becomes developed and marketed, I’d like to see a bearing holder parallel to the ground. Just sayin’.

Turtle - rock on, dude, and keep us updated!

Yes its working very good;)

The new riding position is way bether than the ‘‘traditional’’ position of riding a unicycle.

Alsow a big inprovement is that you can ride with a bicycle seat wich is way bether for road riding.

I’am now looking if i can make a new frame with a different angle because this one is a little on the big side, and its heavy because its made from sollid aluminium.

I’am currently working at a bicycle company so there is a chance that i can make a prototype. working on the development floor.
alsow the new sturmey archer 3 speed fixed hub will be availibe within a couple of weeks for this company we already orderd one.

I didn’t mean instead of your guys’ crazy bars, I meant as a compliment to them. That’s why I posted in this thread. I mean that you guys are doing some really cool things (things that I wish I had the money to emulate), but there seems to be just one tiny bit missing from all of your ride reports. Something that isn’t quite there yet, which is making it a bit more difficult for all of you. And I think that clipless fills that void very well.

I guarantee you, that whether or not this is what you’re missing…it is in no way a terrible idea…it’s actually improved my riding tremendously. And my shoes and pedals only cost me a little over a hundred dollars total.

The VERY infrequent times that I do fall, I ALWAYS unclip without thinking about it. However, you are right on a bit of what you said. Although, I’ve never hit my knees at all, a pair of wrist guards would help those with weaker wrists. I never fall bad, but because (I realized this after falling more this year with clipless than I had last year, and then analyzing what I was doing differently, as I posted in another thread) I am riding much harder (not the terrain, but physically pushing myself to fight against falling) I do tend to fall to my hands, instead of just being able to run it out. A good roll helps as well.

I use these shoes and these pedals .

And yes, I started with the pedals on the lightest setting, but I’ve since upped the right one a couple turns, and the left one about three turns. My right foot usually stayed put, but my left kept comming out when I was powering uphill and spinning it out downhill. And, though I’ve never been a fearful person, I have become somewhat more cautious in the last few years, and still I assure you, I NEVER worry about falling. I actually feel quite a bit more confident that I won’t get hurt clipped in.

I’m very glad that I could inspire at least one person to try something that I think is truly the missing piece of the puzzle. And let me state for the record, that I had never used clipless on anything before I tried them on my unicycle. So I have no experience using them at all. And believe me, once you realize that you’re actually MUCH more stable, you’ll be huffing up the hills and just letting your legs fly as you spin out downhills. You never need to worry about staying on, ever again. You never need to use a handle to hop or jump, or keep yourself planted when going over bumps and rough terrain. It really is quite remarkable.

Trust me, you don’t even think about it. You fall, your feet come unclipped. It’s really just as simple as that. And no, there’s no problem at all with the uni twisting instead of unclipping. If you bail every time the going gets tough, you’ll never “fall”. The only reason that I fall, is because I hang in there, like a captain on a sinking ship. And 90% of the time, I fix the leak, and the ship stays afloat. I went from falling about a dozen times on a 10 mile trail, to falling MAYBE once. I ride a 7 mile trail, that has bumps GALORE. I can’t say for sure, but I’d probably upd 20 times or more. I ride that whole trail with never falling once.

Yes, every three or four times out, I’ll fall, I have a small cut on my shoulder to prove it, but saving myself 100’s of falls for an occasional cut or bruise, I’ll take in a heartbeat. Especially considering that at least one out of those 100 or so falls that I didn’t take, would most likely cut or bruise me just as badly.

I actually think that the half clips are probably (I’ve never used them, so obviously can’t tell for sure) more dangerous than clipless.

The only one time that I didn’t get my feet out was during a dismount, when I first started. I forgot what to do, and just fell to my butt. So, yeah, if you’re prone to panic, that MIGHT be an issue. But I think only when you’re first starting, after that, it just happens.

I need to get a video of me riding, because it’s so much different than seeing videos of anyone else. Even the amazing KH’s, and Terry’s cool videos too, I think it’s detracting, for both the viewer and especially the “actor” to have to go to the handle in the rough stuff. I just swoop and glide through the forest, my arms going to and fro as I round bends, and take on dips, and bumps, and even log piles. I just never need to use a handle, and it really is nice.

But again, that’s a close handle, I still get quite numb from even short rides, I would LOVE to have a nice far handle to distribute my weight, and get more aero when the time calls. But when climbing a steep hill, or going over the really rough stuff, and the far handle doesn’t cut it, that’s where the clipless comes in.

Cool - sounds like it’s working well for you.

I did that (sideways) at least twice when I first had SPDs on my bike - I think that’s pretty normal!


Wow turtle! That’s going to be one fine 36er! Cool green too. One month is a long time to wait… But you have the 26er and the 29er to play with.
By the way I just got my new KH26 frame for the geared setup and it’s a dream!

Excellent thread…

Thanks, everyone.

As a newbie, this post may not have a lot of value to add, other than an outside perspective:
A lot of the issues that appear in here have been things I have thought of in my (very) short unicycling life. I come from a bike racing background (road and track) and, as a 47 year old, was very interested in the new lessons learnt in picking up the unicycle.
As you all know, bike racing is deeply concerned with efficient and effective power delivery. Coming from riding fixed on the track (and one of my road bikes), I surprised at how much effort went into staying upright when I was starting out on the unicycle (a 26" Torkx). In the early stages, most of the effort is in trying to stay upright (fighting forward / back / left / right), with what’s left over going into creating motion. As the brain starts to gradually adjust to its new OK / not OK balance parameters, the pedalling gets smoother, and more effort translates into positive motion.
When I first got my daughter a unicycle (I figured I’d try her first - That way, if it hurt too much, I could avoid doing it myself…), my bike riding was telling me that she should be able to obtain a better riding position, and how much better and smoother power delivery would be with clipless pedals (she’s a current State track champion, so is a good bike rider in her own right). The seat also ran against everything I have learnt from spending many hours in the (bicycle) saddle.
When I started riding a unicycle myself, naturally all of those thoughts went out the window. However, as I gradually got the hang of it, those thoughts returned. As with a child learning to walk (walking is essentially a permanent state of controlled falling), it takes time and experience to become cogniscent of the new ‘normal’, but once one does, the impossible becomes conceivable. For example, there is nothing logically wrong with using a freewheel - In a (much) younger incarnation, I could wheelstand a road bike with a freewheel as far as I liked, with the control coming through forward pedalling, and feathering the brake when required. I think Sander is on an fruitful path with his plan for a Nexus 7 (my original thoughts were for a 1970’s SA hub). It may take getting used to but, as he points out, it takes a lot to get used to a unicycle in the first place.
In bike riding positions, except for full aero positions, little weight is transferred down through the handlebars (if the rider’s position is correct). In our coaching sessions for our Junior riders, core strength exercises include riding up hills in a low position with the hands hovering just above the tops.
If lightness is an issue (and unicycles are not generally built light), the forward section of a V-Frame could afford to be relatively light, and yet still achieve sufficient strength.
I have a long way to go before my riding skills are up to where I feel constrained by my equipment, but here is the approach I thought of for myself:
In setting up a V-Frame, utilise a bike fork and pivot it off the front of the rear fork (easy enough to braze on a pair of pivots). Then, where Turtle has run his curved fore-aft brace, use an adjustable pinned link (ie one that is robust under tension and compression). The correct reach would be achieved by extending or retracting the link (setting the angle of the V).
On the clipless pedals front, whilst the idea is scary (as it is for anyone first starting out clipped or clipless on a bike) but, following the learning curve, I can see how it would provide a level of control that may well make those UPD’s less frequent. Indeed, many of the injuries appear to come from trying to run out a fall which shouldn’t be run out - perhaps it’s better not having that option?
Has anyone tried riding a 25mm 700c wheel long enough to get over what I would expect would be a different set of dynamics to standard unicycle rims and tyres? How much do unicycles rely on the inertia of the tyre & rim for stability at speed?

Again, my apologies for jumping into the thread of a very experienced group of riders, when I am still in that state of wild-eyed terror (mixed with pleasure), but I am sure that, particularly for distance riding, the lessons of bicycles have some relevance.

I’m enjoying my riding immensely, and am using my unicycle over in Singapore (good roads) during a project I’m working on there.


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