Schlumpf learning journal

I have my name on a waiting list for a schlumph. I gotta say that following this thread makes me a little uncertain about following through.
Has anyone heard when they might be available?

You can buy Killian’s right now, look on the Trading Post. Great price on a low-mileage unit.

It’s true, Schlumpfs aren’t for everyone, and it isn’t like you just jump on and ride away like a multi-speed bike. There’s a learning curve. Some people take to it right away, others (like me) take longer. (A lot longer.) Still, while I’m a long way from “mastering” it, I enjoy the challenge, and the potential is tremendous. (That’s the thing about unicycling in general, isn’t it? The challenge?)
Keep in mind, there’s no free speed. Everything is a trade-off. Riding in high gear is kind of like riding slightly uphill all the time (unless you happen to be going downhill).
Anyway, you won’t know if you like it until you try. And even then, you won’t know for a while. But I recommend giving it a shot. You can always sell it again if you end up not liking it.


Florian says “Late Summer”. But many people say, in Switzerland, there’s only winter, spring and winter again:D

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(That’s the thing about unicycling in general, isn’t it? The challenge?)

I definitely agree. Which is why I’m not ready to buy one yet. At this point in my new hobby challenges abound. As I learn by both research and practise I do speculate on what challenges I might want to tackle next. Going from a small wheel to a larger one was a pretty obvious next step. I’m currently concentrating on uphills and downhills.
I’m looking forward to experiencing both a schlumph and a fatty. After my studies I’m thinking the schlumph would be more appropriate further down the line then the fatty as it would seem to require more experience to be successful(and enjoyable). Makes sense?
One thing I keep wondering about the ‘schulmph experience’ is tire size. I have no desire to go faster then I can outrun a upd. Generally speaking my 36er fits this requirement. That would suggest a 24 inch guni. I get the impression however that even riders who have a similar top speed ‘limit’ frequently ride bigger wheels. I’m curious as to why?

A side note-in addition to the challenge of unicycling I also find it good exercise and fun. And since it is fun I exercise. Something I normally find difficult.

I have a 29" Schlumpf which you’re welcome to ride if we manage to get together. I had it out at unicycle basketball practice on Tuesday and a couple people gave it a try. A geared unicycle doesn’t have to be all about speed. It can be about cruising and going longer distances with less effort.

I get home the end of November I’m looking forward to meeting you and the unicycle will be my first opportunity to be around other unicyclist. I suspect it will be a great opportunity to learn and advance my skills

Im fairly new to the G36/127mm. Have recently gone back to it from the muni 26". 1st gear is great, its excellent. I can ride as fast as the lighter nongeared now. Can lean “forward falling”, with hips raked back and handlebar at closer to horizontal position, also riding with arms in the back. Feels really fast and comfortable now. When I do put hands on bar I get that exrta control and leverage.
Second gear practice today started out beastly hard, especially with my bar down more horizonal than usual. With previous bar set up, more vertical I can sit straighter and use it to pull up for that extra leverage needed to power the virtual 54".
So I must’ve figured, my balance and spin is way out wack from all the practice on speed on first gear, leaning forward.
So , as usual, back to my arms behind back(ABB) routine. Tough balls at first. It took me 20 mins of nervously rocking back and forth riding to finally relax and find that smooth cadence. It finally clicked afterwards! Still, with some effort, I can slolom, slow down to the speed of a slow pace walk. I can almost stall now with no hands on bar. Still, Im a few rides from being able to lean “falling forward” comfortably. I know if I can do it with (ABB) comfortably than I can do it even more confidently with bar.
Really good practice today. Lovin it!

… let’s resurrect this thread shall we? :grinning:

Ride/Practice #1

To give you a bit of background. I’ve been into unicycling since learning around 2011/12.

I got hooked then and ended up riding a range of sizes and types - but would only really call myself a confident rider on safe-ish paths or tracks (some woods etc - light MUni?!?).

My most favoured wheels, where I feel the most confident is my Nimbus Oregon with its 26” Larry tyre - and a KH36er. But I’d still not say I was advanced.

Then for the last 3 years I stopped riding and gained some weight, a bad 1.5 years with a frozen shoulder - and never thought I’d pick up my wheels again.

Happily I’ve quickly found the bug again… and been riding both the Oregon and my 29er+36er. So the skill is there and I’m getting my fitness for unicycling back.

Enter the chance - and challenge to learn to ride a Schulmpf/Geared uni!!!

I’ve seen and read enough to know this can be a bit Marmite - some love GUni-ing, others can’t stand the speed or feeling it gives. But some how I believe I can learn and ride this new rotating machine, and in fact will love riding it - so I’ve gone in eyes wide open to the difficulties.

Plan to learning is broken down into this:

  1. Familiarise myself with riding in 1:1 on the 26” Hookworm
  2. Ride ride ride until confident in 1:1.5 high gear
  3. Riding 1:1 test an up shift with the realisation a UPD can easily be the first or fiftieth result
  4. Try downshifting with the same expectations.

After all this comes the freemounting aspects. But I have learned you needs to be ace at riding the machine and know its every mood and quirk - and how it reacts under load - before even really worrying about freemounting it. It will come with overall ability riding.

Today: had a proper test ride.

Very basic route. Converted railway path now bike path. But with a good few long inclines and a bit of a camber in part.

I can easily ride the uni in 1:1 gear but the hookworm is new to me. I’ve normally had much more knobbly tyres - but the lack of rolling noise was nice. However the noise was oddly a feedback loop that helped me know where my tyre was. With the Hookworm it just feels like I’m floating. Probably all in my mind really, due to just liking the rumble feedback from my usual tyre types.

However. For a GUni that I’ll likely only ride in roughish bike paths and maybe a little lite woodland pathways, it’s probably fine and with the fact it is 2.5” and I have the older KH26 frame that precludes any 26x3 tyres. For the moment I’m sticking with this.

Riding is high gear today was a bit more up and down than my first test ride in a nice flat street (when I first got uni!).

But once I’m up on the uni with it in high gear - my wife helping me to shift myself up there (phew!) - I was pleased to see how smooth the actual ride is. It feels like a higher minimum speed is almost needed to make the control feel more natural.

The up and down nature of today’s mini ride was more due to feeling like I was learning unicycling all over again. Going up a slight incline or decline which wouldn’t phase me on other unicycles, felt more edgy with this set up - but it was pleasing to find I could push through the cranks and power over what seems like points of wiping out.

Core takeaway observation from my experience of riding high gear :

  1. Going up hill is “easier” - still a huge puff, and workout, but somehow the speed and rate of attack made me more willing to keep going. Often on non-geared unicycles when a hill gets too slow for my tastes. I’ll just decline to push and walk it. With this I was happy to use the speed to help make it more like riding up - than struggling one half crank rotation at it time it would be on a non-GUni!

  2. There’s a weird sense of not being able to gage your actual speed. On a regular unicycle I have never had the feeling of needing to check if I was going “too fast” to run out of a UPD. With this the cadence of pedal movement not being in step with the rate of the wheel meant I didn’t actually have a total handle on if I was going faster than I’d normally like. Not sure if this is making sense when I write this. But I found I had to actually check my speed with a bit of back pedal pressure now and again to say: OK I can run out of any UPD here - type check. In short the geared may give you a feeling of almost over confidence with the speed your going at, and for the first time I think I realised why I’d welcome a decent brake on a unicycle like this, to help me if I were finding the speeds a little too “out of control”.

  3. The cranks have ever so slight forward-backward play which makes it just feel different (not bad) to other unicycles. I did check all bolts with tight and the cranks are firm and there’s zero play away from or inwards to the wheels sides. I am sure this is part of the gearing’s design as with other any micro play the cogs with be mashing together all the time and shifting would be scrape-scrape / miracle! - but it was an observation worth nothing in that in both 1:1 and 1:1.5 the cranks didn’t feel as connected to the wheel as a regular uni (by about 1%). (Sure this feeling will increase during shifting up and down)

  4. At times - I just felt out of control. I mean it would creep up on me and suddenly I wasn’t sure if I was riding the GUni or it was riding me (with me hanging on in hope I’d make it a few more meters).

  5. In spite of this feeling - it was easier than I’d pictured high gear. Once power is applied to the cranks it just GOES and flies forward which is like no other unicycle ride I’ve had. Love 36ers and the big rolling feeling. But this is much more like a revved up mini flywheel that hurls you forward. Downhill also feels different. And normally it feels like you let a unicycle descend a hill (controlling this) - where as for me the GUni felt like it was still riding with power on the gas forwards even down hill.

I didn’t UPD or wipe out once and was happy to be able to chose when I’d stop and gracefully dismount. This too feels different in high gear.

I’ll try and keep posting now with my progress and hope it’s interesting. This is just my way of working with my fears and the GUni. But by summing you the experiences of each new ride / practice it should be a good way to positively reflect on micro improvements in the project to master the GUNI-Schulmpf-Machine :gear:


Photo is in this thread: Post a picture of your unicycle(s) - #187 by mindbalance


Ride 2

G-KH26 is now fully set up with Magura HS33 (changed to blue tube and bled myself - that was “fun”). Decided to leave well along with this nice uni-build and run rim brakes as I don’t think I’ll be needing disc brakes for what I plan to do any time soon.

From more testing of 1:1.5, it’s an amazing ride in high gear :gear: but…

My simple summery after today’s first proper ride along my favourite path is that a G-Uni is:

Absolutely terrifying :scream:
Absolutely achievable
Absolutely enjoyable

I suspect that the achievable and enjoyable sides will come up in volume and drown out the fear I had today. But unicycling without a bit of terror here and there wouldn’t be the challenge we all enjoy right? So I’m going to embrace the fear of high gear :gear: and go with it.

Today, I rode to warm up in 1:1 and then was thinking.

How would it feel to shift over to 1:1.5 with my heel?

And I half-tested the action, thinking nothing would happen having read it’s super hard to do. But it changed and I rode three revolutions when sadly my brain :brain: kicked into its gear - and that’s when I wiped out fast and flat on the road in front of me. Silly brain.

It’s a case of needing a new lexicon of muscle responses to the terrain, all for riding in high gear.

I can ride on a flat rode no issues - but my reflexes for any root or incline or bump, are still hard wired to exert pressure form a 1:1 gear mind set. The rest of the day’s ride felt like living in terror - but happily I ended the trip by forcing myself to test shift again in an empty car park… this time consciously - and I was pleased to again hit the super amazing sensation of having more torque in the wheel than normal (I’d shifted to high). But I wiped out again shortly after it shifted.

Main takeaway is that high gear on paper doesn’t sound much but it really is a big jump in real money / wheel terms. I think I finally realised the notion of going from 26” to a virtual 39”.

It’s just takes a lot of tumbles I feel to learn this shifting malarkey.

Going to try more riding start in high gear without shifting more to get that feeling fully soaked into my muscles - and likely change the slightly slick tyre (Hookworm) for something more knobbly, as today I feel I was in part fighting that tyre in ways I’m not used to from other more MUni-ish kitted out wheels I have around me.

Fingers crossed :crossed_fingers: for some more successful stages ahead. I sense next time I try the shifting up I’ll wipe out a few more times but then it’ll start to click.


Great to read about your experiences, how long have you been riding this setup? Personally I cannot mount my 36" in gear it seems impossible to me and not really worth learning since it’s far easier to take off in low gear and shift.

You’re right that you need to learn to ride everything all over again in high gear. I’m reasonably proficient at it now where I can ride rough terrain and go over the odd bump without a UPD. I haven’t tackled many hills in high gear since mine is in a 36" but I think should be ready to try some moderate hills in gear now.

There’s this sensation when riding in gear and you do a regular pedal rotation and you feel the uni pull yourself forward which is kind of odd at times but after a while you sort of get used to where your body/weight should be positioned when pedalling in gear.

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I’ve only been in possession of the Schlumpf for a week or thereabouts - so I guess it’s early days.

Do enjoy the feeling and cadence when I get helped on to the uni in high gear (by my wife!) and the I’m fine riding for a bit of a stretch as long as it is an easy path.

It really does pull on you when you shift. The machine is just incredible and I hope it’ll keep running for years and years. Hats of to Mr Schlumpf. Such engineering!!

I’m in the learning stage. 100% like learning unicycling again. Same fears and caution I had when I first started.

I don’t think I’d stomach a G36er as this G26er feels already too fast for me to run out of safely.

If I ever changed the build or get another hub I’d probably prefer it in a compact 24” unicycle. But at the moment I’m just so happy to have found a second hand GUni that has needed barely any updates or changes.

Just looking at tyres now to make this feel more MUni and grippy….

Roll on the weekend and 9 days of holiday where I can get some daily practice in :grin:

I’ve been riding my KH36" guni since February (6 Months). It took about a month to reliably shift gears with upshifting being easier. I highly recommend safety gear for riding a guni even though I was very proficient riding ungeared 110mm crank 36" but learning high gear I had many UPD’s in the early stages and still do occasionally.

You should practice shifting on the fly more as it’s a fundamental skill for riding guni’s. If you haven’t seen it already Corbin did a great video on guni’s.

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Saw that and hoovered up tons of vids.

But that’s really reassuring to hear what you’ve achieved in 6 months.

I’m itching to get back out to a nice big flat and empty car park and just hammer away at shifting up and later down - I don’t think I mind the odd tumble when I know I will be getting the skill in my arsenal :slight_smile:

Fully protected with KH gear for sure. It boost confidence too.

I’ll prob post updates here and there in this thread - while trying not to bore everyone with my GUni diary :joy:

Thanks for your insights!

New Tyre - Test Ride

So a very short update on progress (or going backwards, kind of!…)

I have made some updates the the G26er.

Namely a Maxxis Minion DHF 26x2.5 which happily fits the older narrower KH26 frame - and a KH T bar set up (along with maggies)

Now the Minion rides so much more like I expect my unicycles to ride in 1:1 over the Hookworm - which is great…. But in 1:1.5 gear it feels totally like I’m back at the beginning of learning to Schlumpf.

Could a tyre feel fine in 1:1, but markedly different/harder to ride in 1:1.5?

Doesn’t seem really logical like it would, but I guess the pressures applied are “different” and the balance envelope may then change.

I was riding late and it was a bit dark so I’m going to put this backwards step in progress down to lower energy and the dusk gloom making my road awareness less assured and ‘in control’ feel. And maybe just having the T-bar there threw me off a tad?- I know it did when I first added one my to 36er… :thinking:

Wish me luck for my proper trip and practice session tomorrow - and hopefully I’ll report back the Minion is working in both high and low gears like a champ :crossed_fingers:

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Wow that’s beautiful looks very clean and sharp love the blue brakes. You really look after it.

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Thanks! It needs riding more. It’ll get more dirt on it soon… think the person I purchased it off second hand had it unused in a bedroom/cupboard. To my eyes it is hardly used and a 10 year old version.

I’ve enjoyed giving it a bit of TLC with a blue Magura brake hose and T-bar. Currently I can’t believe I managed to find a Schlumpf and have the scary-joyous challenge of learning this new UNIque-skill!


Not had the time yet to update this thread with my thinkings and learnings re GUni-ing - but yesterday I did confront a build up of fear that had crept into riding my G26er - and I was so happy when something clicked and I turned a corner. Both literally and metaphorically!

Not the most thrilling or advanced show of unicycling skill. But for me this was an achievement and I know I will now be ready to face my normal ride proper in high gear for a good stretch of the way :grinning:


Some decent progress this weekend - two rides on G26er.

Not that impressive by experienced Schlumpf riders’ standards… But for me this is the start of being physically able to ride it for a decent distance (3-4miles) in High.

And I know this can only propel me forward to get more confident with the wheel / gearing overall and then introduce on the fly shifting.

Hope some here find this interesting or enjoy that simple fact of seeing my development in GUni Land :gear::heart_eyes:


Great videos, it looks like you’re just casually riding but inside you’re razor focused. At least you didn’t take your daughter for a ride there was some debate about doing that I recall. Have you run anything to track the speed you’re managing?

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Thanks! Watching it back, I’m thinking why does it feel so hard and scary. But all aspects of unicycling are small mini personal milestones overcome - bit by bit. So I’m sure I’ll get more confident with things the more I ride. Just been a huge relief to actually be able to ride more than 100 meters.

I think from the back up speed of my wife in our Urban Arrow riding at the same pace behind me - I’m only at 8-9MPH - but this is not very accurate. I think I’d be happy to push myself one day to 10MPH but not at this stage.

If anything I’m working hard to keep the wheel slow and controlled as if I just rode it like a bike it could go really fast but I’d not be able to run out of it and I don’t feel like a bad UPD while in these early learning days.

Can’t wait to ride again! Fingers crossed for a nice weekend