Static SIF hops

I’ve been doing trials for about 8 months now, and my SIF hopping has never been what I felt it could be. I used to do a SIF sidehop like so: hop, hop, hop, hop, slightly bigger hop, push the tire down, spring up, fold, and land. Now, this was very hectic, and I was paying more attention to my little hops then I was to the actual jump. Then I did it like this: hop, hop, stand still, slight hop towards the object, push the tire down, spring up, fold, and land. In short, just a SIF with prehop. But now I found the static SIF hops. Hop, hop, stand still, push the tire down, spring up, fold and land. Only these pose a problem for me, because I’ve always used the little prehop to get spring from my tire, and now I don’t have that.

I just watched Ryan Atkins amazing video, and when he does a static hop, he does a standstill, folds over, and then somehow magically folds open again, pushing down the tire. Could anyone explain to me how I should properly do a static hop, because atm I’m succeeding only very sporidically (Though the times I do succeed, I can jump as high as I can with a prehop (Slightly less then two feet)… Why is that?)

Just kick the ground and tuck. Other than that, just practice. If you are landing even a few of them, then you already know how it’s supposed to feel.

If you aren’t getting extra height from a prehop, it means you aren’t using it correctly. DO a search on them there’s plenty of info out there. A good prehop should add 2-6" to your hop height. Mine brings me up from 32" to 36", to give you an idea.

I’d like to add a little to what’s been said…And I’m pretty sure that I say it in every post related to this subject.

While I’m no authority on hopping, nor try to sound like I know everything on the effin’ subject, I do my fair share of hops by just being a trials rider.

I’d add that timing is also a key issue to hopping/jumping. You’ll have to play with your own personal feels for timing to see what’s best for you. This also might be one of the reasons that when you pre-hop you get as a jump without one…When, really, you’re supposed to be getting 4+ more inches than you normally would.

After you compress the tire, getting off the ground is just a quick “snap”–(and this is something that Kris Holm mentions in the 2001 NUC Trials Workshop Vids)–. So try doing that. You’ll notice that it conserves your energy too. Just pull up and tuck as quickly as possible.

You might want to go look at a clip of Zack or Ryan doing a bigger static sif jump onto something frame by frame…But what’s best is to practice, practice practice

Maybe take some video of your progress, so we can see what you’re doing that’s either helping you, or holding you back. We’d be able to take a good look at the technique you’re using then.


PS…I’m trying to work on getting as high as I possibly can before I need to use a pre-hop to get up something.

I strongly reccomend that you don’t do this. Prehops are really difficult to re-learn. When you finally do need a prehop, you’ll find that you’ll be so rusty that you have less control and actualyl jump LESS high with them. When I go for more than 2 rides without using prehops, I find it takes at least 30 minutes of frustration to get any semblence of a good prehop back. Prehops are really useful, as Ryan’s video testifies to.

Also, it’s just nice having a cheap way to add 4" to your hop height. The other way to do this is ride trials on a muni for a month or two, then go back. Bam! another 2-3", easily.

Now it’s winter in Michigan…and I re-sprained an ankle two weeks ago. But, I was planning to work on more static skills indoors at school or at home once I get back in the saddle 100%.

I haven’t ever really “learned” pre-hops. I’ve been going up 30-32"+ without them so far.

I quit unicycling for six months, before I bought my trials unicycle back in August 2004. So I’ve really learned how to do everything from curbs on up again since last August. And this summer I went from having a mental block with ledges that were higher than my tire, to those higher than my seatpost clamp (which is about 30"). I think next it will be a mental block with my seat (what else is left…haha), which is near a meter high.

What I meant to say is that I practiced pre-hops a little…but I’ve never done them on to anything near 30" high…Never!

When the Doc’s give me the ok I’ll have to give big pre-hops a go.

I would eventually like to hit a meter. I don’t think that’s asking too much. I really don’t. And it’s not the most important thing in the world…this business of hopping high. Judging by most, I can already hop quite high. And even if I can learn to jump onto things a meter high, I’d like to do it even on to more narrow objects, and start getting better at the more technical aspects of large jumps.

I’ve been more concerned with evolving my style into largly seat-out riding. From video footage, I’ve now realized what’s possible with sif-rolling-hops. I’d like to learn how to rail-ride (and I’ve been getting near mounting and riding one…because I was playing with mounting and riding narrow–and even curved/angled–edges…sometimes even riding backwards along a narrow surface).

My main concern with my riding has been in taking somewhat of my own personal ‘manifesto’ as it were. Unless I’m tired, you’ll barely ever see me corrective/recovery hop. If I do, and it was completely avoidable (or especially during an easy line), I’ll stop what I’m doing, and go back to the beginning, to start all over, and fix the problem. Does that sound like I’m being too hard on myself? There’s nothing more rewarding, to me, than knowing I just pulled a smooth, quick, clean line like it was a piece of cake.

Thanks for the heads up!
Sorry for the long post…and all of this explaining of myself. I’m psyched-up to unicycle thanks to Jess’s new-old vids that he posted the other day, and now Ryan’s video…If I order Defect for Christmas I’ll only get more cabin fever than I currently am battling…But I’m going to buy the movie anyway.

Can’t wait until Spring and a healed ankle,

It’s good to eliminate corrective hops, but eliminating prehops is just shooting yourself in the foot. I also prehop very little, except in large pedalgrabs and natural lines. However, I DO do them enough to retain the skill, which is what is important. No reason to let them go to waste when 5 min of hopping per ride keeps them in good shape.

I know there has to be something wrong with my timing, because once (about a month or two ago) I managed to land two 28" jumps with a prehop, but that was only because I was in an ecstatic mood, having landed something completly new for me at that time. Luckily, I think a prehop is more or less baked into me, as I’ve been doing nothing else to get my air. I’ll make a vid (maybe today, if I can find that crappy camera), and post it to here.

Well, I have two vids of me jumping both with, and without prehop (Both not getting it exactly right, but I went out just to get the videos, as it’s wet and raining). I already noticed one big thing I’m doing wrong, and that is that I’m not tucking enough. There is royal space between my ass and the tire. (I’m talking 10 inches here). I’ll upload the videos later, because they need some editing.

I also noticed that I sometimes sneakily do a tiny prehop when I try static jumps, is this bad, or acceptable?

you should put the vids up in the gallery, and post a link in this thread so we can see them.

I’d recommend against this, too. Unicycling, especially trials, just isn’t safe if you’re not sober.

Both are crappy-ish jumps, as I immediatly jump off when I get on the object, which in this case is a 4 inch wide wall. It’s about 55 cm high (Just under two feet). The first jump is with prehop, the second is static (Should be, I think I detect a hint of a prehop, but…) As you can see, my tuck is awfull, I think I could get another 3 or 4 inches by just improving that. Any suggestions?

I don’t think you’re really doing anything wrong. All it takes is more explosiveness, more tuck, and more practice.
As far as the mini prehop goes, when i’m doing a static hop, i pound the uni down before jumping up, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things wheather you leave the ground or not.
The times that static hops are actually useful is when you don’t have the space on the ground required to do a prehop (from a rail or small ledge). In this case you’re forced to do a static hop, in which case the higher you can static hop, the less limited you are.

I hope this helps

I’ve just been watching your vid again, and the major difference I see is that my frame doesn’t change angle (I don’t push the seat forward), whereas yours is approaching 45 degrees. I’ve always wondered how you can then still ‘lift’ the unicycle under you, do you just exert a force along the seatpost, ‘glueing’ your feet to the pedals? Luckily, I’ve got the explosiveness covered, I’ve speedskated for roughly 12 years, and my sprint (100m) was always among the best of my region, and I even got into the top 10 of my country at one point.

How do you like the '05 KH Ryan?

I can’t speak for Ryan, but in most SIF jumps, by the time you are maxing your tuck, the unicycle is virtually weightless. So, when his seat is out at 45 degrees, he isn’t really lifting any more.

There’s nothing really that wrong with keeping your seat close to you, in my experience. Of course I don’t jump as high as Ryan (well, nobody does), but I do my tuck by folding up and putting the seat next to my head, right above my shoulder. This is similar to what Kris does.

Basically, whatever gets you to tuck fully while in control is what you should use.

Watch that video again…and watch examples of the two different types of hops ‘frame-by-frame’ as it were.

I do know what you are talking about regarding the seat post.

What you mean about ‘lifting’ the unicycle underneath you…is tucking. It’s mostly done by bringing the knees to the chest.

Watch a rider when they are at the apex of their maximum jump. You’ll notice that the knees are up to the chest (near the armpits), tire is touching the butt, and their back is almost paralellel with the horizon.

I think what you’re talking about is how the frame/seat post is angled at the apex of a jump (which would be a landing if it’s on to a really high object) in regards to the horizon. I think a lot of this is due to how high you ride your seat, what brand it is, and what angle it’s at.

I think what you’re doing looks fine.

I would say that it just looks like you can go on to a lot higher ledges

Come to think of it…I just watched your clip again

I noticed that you use your right foot for the forward foot…while you hold seat with the left hand, and hop towards the left.

Commonly, as I’m sure you’ve noticed is that riders either hop left with the right hand on seat, and left foot forward…or right foot forward, hopping right, with the left hand on the seat.

I don’t think this makes any difference in your performance. I think there are a few major riders that do this too…But it may also be another answer to your questions of why things seem different when comparing your hopping technique to that of ryans…

I think that’s just the way a person learns and is used to. I would doubt hand/pedal oreintation matters much…

The only thing that matters is you should make your preffered hops be AWAY from the hand that holds the seat. So if you hold with your left hand, jump to the right. This makes tucking far easier.

… in your opinion.