Schlumpf shifting techniques

hmm. maybe I should get some 150’s. I’ve got the dual-hole 135-167’s on now. 135 seems a bit short at this point. I think I’ll wait to try it on the trails with the long cranks before I change.

I started with the 150s on the geared 36, but it would be interesting to try out the 165s. It might make the high gear a little easier to ride with.

In low gear, I would hate to have anything longer than 150s though.

Ok, I know old thread, but now that more and more people have been using the KH/Schlumpf hub on various sized unicycles I thought it would be interesting to see if people have evolved their shifting techniques.

I, finally, got my new KH/Schlumpf from Florian (after destroying the inner bearings of my 1st one after a mere 20 miles! :frowning: ). I know I’m going to have to adjust to using it again but I’m having a devil of a time down-shifting. I’m using the shift-with-heel method right now with high success while up-shifting. I guess I’m not as dextorious with my left foot so down-shifting has been more difficult. I did notice that adjusting the shift buttons inwards helped quite a bit; I’m starting to think it may be much easier to shift-with-heel with the buttons adjusted quite a bit inwards? Any thoughts? BTW, I’m riding a KH24 with 150mm cranks. I’ll keep on practicing! Boy this thing is fun in the woods!

I still use the same method. It is about the same as Corbin has described, minus the 2 middle steps. It is all about the correct angle and movement of the foot as you hit the button. I angle my foot slightly inwards then twist the heel away from the button slightly then give it a good kick. It really just takes time and experimentation, I find it really hard to explain shifting now that it has become second nature. Once you get the timing, angle, and movement down, you hardly even think about shifting. Keep practicing.

I experience all of the things that Corbin has noted:

Another little tidbit:
When I’m up shifting while riding down hill, I apply the brake just slightly. So if there is 30 degrees of play with that shift then the wheel won’t free wheel out from under me quite so quickly. If the shift ends up having minimal free wheeling then it really doesn’t matter much either way. In that sort of a situation I tend to shift at a relatively low speed.

As a bonus, applying the brake allows me to unweight the back pedals a bit, which helps the shifting mechanism release a little easier.

Anyone else do that?


I’m still learning to shift (sometimes takes ten attempts in a row), so who am I to say something :o
But it seems to me that if you can shift reliably, you wouldn’t need that brake. Allow the wheel to pick up speed while you shift (so unweight the pedals), because you will be in high gear soon anyway. The wheel won’t free wheel out from under you, because you anticipate it to go that way. And the shift (within the hub) will happen at once because you have no power on the pedals.

I’am wondering why the easy shift is not applied to the unicycle hubs yet.

looks like it would help a lot with shifting
if you go to the schlumpf website and then bicycle gearing, under the page function you can see a gif image to see how its working.

I do think the brake can be useful to smoothen the transition for downshifts. Also when going downhill in high gear and braking without the brakes the uni frame develops quite a strong pull that has to be pulled against strongly. So the brakes help a lot there too.

I took my new geared KH36 for a first ride yesterday night and got my first impressions:

-It can go very fast!

-In comparison to the geared 26x3 the transition between gears seems to be somewhat easier.

-My feet hurt after a while from the increased pressure on the pedals in high gear. I will have to wear shoes with stiffer soles.

-I have a feeling that I may go back to regular KH uni seats instead of the bike seat. But I’ll see if I can get used to this setup first.

-My pants kept touching the tire (I’m used to a super wide hub), so maybe I will have to wear some tight bike pants after all :o:( :roll_eyes: . I really don’t like the way they look, though…

Florian advises against using this on a unicycle because it increases the probability that you shift inadvertently, which can have nasty consequences.

I still have the hub-style buttons rather than the Devo-hat style buttons. I think that the newer buttons would make shifting a LOT easier.

My actual problem with shifting has more to do with pedal pins. I switched over to medal pedals with serious pins, and my feet can hardly swivel. So I gradually move them a bit closer to the hub and do the knock-kneed trick where my ankle strikes the button. It’s not always effective, and in fact, I believe that this combination of things has led to some mis-shifts since my ankle hasn’t adequately moved over, causing the button to depress only part way. This happened a few times while I was getting in shape for my recent Century attempt. On the actual Century ride, I barely used the buttons out of fear.

I’m considering getting different pedals and getting the newer buttons.

This might sound a bit sacrilegious but I’m wondering if the down-shift side of the hub might should be on the same side as your most dominant and dextrous foot? :astonished: I say this because it seems to me that:

  1. Down-Shifting is more critical than up-shifting because when the uphill grade/terrain gets difficult you need to be able to down-shift quickly. Up-shifting is more of a “nicety” the worst that happens is that it takes you a bit longer to get going fast again.

  2. Most of us are more or less right or left foot dominant and are more dextrous with one or the other.

  3. Putting the above two points together would lead me to conclude that the down-shift side of the hub should be on the same side as your dominant foot.

I’m probably saying this mainly out of frustration with not being able to down-shift as cleanly as I can up-shift (right foot dominant). I’ll keep on practicing never the less so perhaps this really isn’t a big issue, but something to consider…:slight_smile:

Yes, the ankle trick is not the way to shift properly and consistently. I used to use my ankle, but I had to learn to change my method to be consistent.

I am using flat shoes that grip quite well (worn out new balances) with metal pinned pedals(mg1s) and I can still swivel my foot quite well by releasing pressure and turning my foot at an inwards angle before trying to swivel.

@eenwieler-sander: Using the easy shift would be a really bad idea. That would increase the chance for an accidental shift as others have pointed out and I see no reason for it on a geared uni. The buttons are so easy to shift with once you get used to it.

In the end, I think it is more important to keep the “gold button” on the right (the gold button shifts into high gear), and the “silver button” on the left (for downshifting into low gear).

that way, one can hop onto anyone else’s geared uni and ride it without getting confused.

Shifting with either foot because natural enough after enough miles and practice (I probably have 800 or 900 on a 24", and at least a 1000 on a 36").


I wish I had that problem! :frowning: I’m the only off-road unicyclist around my area!

I agree, practice makes perfect, I was just trying to stir things up a bit! :wink:

If it’s any consolation, I am right foot dominant and my downshift button is on the right (I’ve got a 2nd generation Schlumpf with the torque arm that requires a bolt in the frame. So I’m not switching sides just to be consistent with the rest of the world.) and I’m still better at up shifting than down shifting. My impression is that other people have reported that they too are better at up shifting than down shifting. In my case it seems to have nothing to do with foot dominance.


After reading all those threads about difficulties and problems with shifting I was quite afraid of learning it. Today I received my first GUni and after about an hour of practicing I achieved a success rate of 80-90% (let me brag a little bit… I am just so happy that I nailed shifting that fast :stuck_out_tongue: ).

At first the shift-button seemed so far away from my heel on the 165mm cranks. I didn’t even know how to reach it. My first successful up-shift was when I released my foot completely from the pedal and hit the button with my forefoot. A few tries of that technique later I found out that it really isn’t the most controlled shifting technique :smiley:
I tried really hard to move my foot on the pedal so that my heel could hit the button but nothing really worked.
Finally I just moved my foot back on the pedal so that my toes and the pedal front where nearly aligned. Then I moved my heel and ankle a bit towards the button and TA-DA immediate shift. I improved this technique till the end of my training session so that most of the time my heel hits the button instead of my ankle (I wear high top shoes and 661 race braces but I think its “cleaner” to shift with my heel instead of my ankle).

I need about one or two revs to adjust my foot on the pedal and then I can shift almost immediatly (in case nobody is watching because then i become nervous :smiley: ). My only concern is that the shift button or something else could be destroyed because the pushing force comes more from above the button and not with a hit of the heel (if you know what I mean) but on the other hand why should the button be rounded if I wasn’t supposed to shift that way :thinking: This technique is all about foot positioning but if you have small feet I really do not recommend 165mm cranks.

Another nice thing I found out is, that I will not shift often by accident if I have to move my foot that far back and due to the foot position on the pedal you don’t put much pressure on it therefore slop and latency are at a minimum most of the time.