SIF riding. Is it that easy?

Has anyone done it this way?

I spent about half year “knee shaking” holding a rail, until I started getting it.


Riding SIF is pretty hard at first.

I personally think holding a rail won’t help you with this trick. Here are a few tips!

  • Hold the back of the seat, behind the seat post
    While this might seem uncomfortable, this is the correct way to hold a saddle when in SIF position, especially for hopping. Look at any trials rider with a decent level, 100% of riders whole the saddle a little bit behind the seat post. Here are two example, Márk Fábián, the world champion of trials, and Mike Taylor, high jump world champion.

  • Hold the saddle close to you, you should even rest it on your right thigh a little
    The further you hold you saddle from your body, the more unstable it will be. If you slightly rest your saddle on your inner thigh, it will provide some extra stability. If you hold the saddle with your left hand, rest the saddle on your right leg, if you hold the saddle with your right hand, rest the saddle on your left leg. You will most likely get chafing :wink: If you want a video example you can see Aidan Teleki in action here, look how close the seat is to his body: TENANDTWO - YouTube

  • Keep it light on your feet
    When you’re doing SIF, it’s difficult and very demanding physically because you have to put most of your weight in your feet, as opposed to when you’re riding sitting down, when the majority of the weight will be in the seat. When you’re pushing down on the pedal, you have to shift your weight between the left and right leg constantly. If you don’t, you’ll find it difficult to go more than half a revolution or a few at most. It will also make your unicycle swerved left and right with each pedal stroke. If you’re already familiar with 1 foot riding, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about here, once you reach the bottom of pedal stroke, you need to let go until the pedal reaches back slightly past 12 on a clock until you can push again. The difference here being while you wait to push with one foot, the other one is pushing. It requires coordination.
    To help you with this you can try to think of your hips and keep them at the same level from the ground. Like, you don’t go up and down with each pedal stroke, rather your knees come up. Here is a great example of someone learning how to do seat drag, basically SIF riding without holding the seat. You can see when the rider “keeps it light” the wheel is straight and doesn’t wobble much if at all, and when the rider doesn’t and the coordination of weight distribution/pushing on the pedal isn’t quite right, the wheel starts wobbling a lot: getting the hang of seat dragging - YouTube

  • Don’t look down too much/bend over the unicycle, and stay over the hub of your unicycle
    This will hold true for most if not all tricks when you unicycle. If you’re looking down, a lot, you’re likely to bend over a little and thus shift your center of weight in front of the unicycle, if you want to stay on the unicycle, you’ll have to rapidly accelerate to compensate you falling forward. The point which you should remain over your unicycle is the hub, the center of your wheel. To move forward, you need to slightly be in front of that point, same holds true to go back.

While SIF riding might look easy, it is in fact quite difficult when you first learn it, and especially very demanding on the legs, don’t give up! Have fun! :slight_smile:


It’s simple, but not easy. Just because the video takes only 3 minutes, it doesn’t mean you learn it that quickly… But I wouldn’t have much more to add, other than maybe making sure you don’t fully extend your legs.

I will say that I do see some advantages of learning seat in front from riding (and I think that is how I learned to do it too, can’t remember). Learning the transition will be a bit harder, but starting with some momentum is usually easier.

Has anyone tried “as shown”?

When I got SIF it was a breakthrough moment. I had tried it before and failed miserably, but I had just gotten my trials uni and I decided to try SIF again and I just did it on the first try. I tried it again with a bigger wheel and failed, but within a week I had figured that out too. IME, so far as unicycle skills go, SIF is pretty easy.

I would first try it using two hands. One grabs the handle and pulls the saddle out from between your legs. The second then immediately grabs the rear of the saddle and holds it firmly against your thigh, while the first hand releases the handle.

Balancing with your feet is key. You can overpower bad balance with a heavy grip, but everything rides easier and better if you don’t have to do that. Once you start to get it down, you can start to switch things up. Forget about switching hands and just continue to hold onto the handle or keep it further out in front and don’t use your thigh as a crutch. Hopping is pretty easy SIF. Try that too.

1 Like

Nice to hear from all the “SIF Experts” out there.
Sounds like you’all were born to SIF.

However, I’d like to hear from “SIF Fails”.
I’m more interested helping new people learn this cool trick.

Not only because it’s cool, but if you want 10x more intense workout in a shorter distance than normal unicycle riding. Then, SIF is the way to go.
I can ride 6 miles on the saddle. It feels so easy, except my butt on the saddle.

However, I can barely make 1/4 mile doing SIF, and great thing is I don’t need bike shorts.



I tried to ride SIF quite a few times before it clicked. As soon as I went from riding to pulling the seat out front, I would fall over the front of the unicycle. Then one day I came across a tree branch that I could reach up and hang onto and I tried again to go SIF and it just worked. That was it, from then on I could ride SIF.


Emile described it beautifully except i’m ready to opose to that last point ‘dont lean forward’
Leaning forward over the seat is great for sif to get all of that uni in your control! Good luck

As a freestyler i go SIF way too much that its almost easier than seated riding in these days :grin:Yesterday i brought the uni to the park and it must have been years ago i did that much seat in riding in one day!

Lean over?

Thanks Ivar,
I was hoping somebody would mention this before I went on a rant to an empty room.
Does anybody care to SIF?
Actually, I didn’t when I started.
It took me 5x long to learn SIF(including quitting and starting) than to just start riding = 2 months.
Thought it was impossible. Thought my legs were not strong enough.
Almost broke my wrist. Yeah…just try to grab the “end” of the saddle as a beginner!!!
So why waste your time learning SIF?
I get it, but I want to encourage everyone to try.
Also, debunk the lousy teachers that do more harm than good.

Science 101, here kids!!!
1.) Sit on a unicycle saddle = sitting over the wheel = center = fulcrum
2.) Stand behind the saddle = not being “OVER THE WHEEL CENTER” = falling backwards 100%
3.) Lean over the seat = Restoring the balance!!
Wow…what a theory? I’m a genius. Seriously?
Anybody can figure this out, if you are not blinded by failure.

Remedial, Science 102
1.) Some people “naturally” shift their CG without even thinking about it.
2.) Hooray for them, but “don’t listen to them” . Do the opposite.

More tips for learning SIF:
1.) Lean forward(…you got that already)
2.) Crouch down, which creates body and saddle clearance, but also get’s you in a more reactive position. Yes, knee’s and thighs are burning. However, if you stand up straight which is more comfortable you will be standing on the ground soon. It’s for when you get better, and start looking effortless like Chris Huriwai. Not now. Squat.
3.) Grip saddle in middle. Dead center = less sprained wrists. Might even wear a glove for all that sweating that will happen. You will develop iron grip, soon.
4.) Be aware of your body “bouncing up/down”. Natural mechanics that can be “countered” by the action of “raising opposite knee” while the other one goes down. Don’t try to sway your body side-side, that’s what I did in the beginning until I just learn to master “weighting/unweighting” the pedal. Not unlike when idling or going backwards.
5.) Only get off(jump off) unicycle at 3/9 o’clock position. This will become instinctive after a few deep scratches on your shins.


BTW, I do all my SIF, backwards, idling, horse free mounting on my 24" which really “forces” me to manipulate the unicycle and be aware of all the forces that work with/against me. Anybody out there doing flat land tricks on 26, 29"'s?


I’ve messed around with 180s, half cabs, one footed riding, leg wraps, and leg wrap mounts on my 29er. All of those are kinda sloppy and I don’t have the lightest 29er out there but it’s definitely possible to do some stuff.

1 Like

Ya on a KH29, but I don’t call them flat land tricks.

I tried SIF about two years ago for about 30-40’ to see if I could. I thought it was easy because I had been using handlebars since the beginning. Not my thing.
My backwards riding is up to 10 full revolutions under complete control.
Idling is easy. Large pendulum, small pendulum, stall to stall, etc…
Horse freemounting?.. I don’t think so. I don’t need to slide across the hood just to get in the car.

I’m a cross country rider so I’m only looking to pick up complimentary skills.


Right with you on that 24" @slamdance​:love_you_gesture::love_you_gesture: i wish even bigger one day