Street vs. Freestyle

Maybe this is a really dumb question, but I don’t care.

What is the difference between street and freestyle unicycling, both in unicycles and style?

I guess you could say street unis are beefier than freestyle unis.

I’ll let other answer the other ?'s.

Freestyle unicycling is more like dancing. The unicycles are lighter, more maneuverable, and are easier to break.
Street unicycling is like BMX. These unicycles are made to stand big drops and grinding and things like that.

What about location?

Would you do freestyle in the same place as street?

I wouldn’t say easier to break, they will break easy if you do street on them but not as much if you do freestyle on it…

Fresstyle is done in a gym usually, a place where there is a flat surface.
Street is done at skateparks, down curbs, down stairsets/handrails, off/up ledges, ect




Freestyle can be done anywhere, but most riders prefer the smoothness of gym floors. Conventional street riding requires obstacles, but street has evolved and become so technical that “street” tricks can be done on flat ground.

I believe the original definition of street unicycling is “taking freestyle tricks to trials obstacles.” Since street has some tricks that are exclusive to it, such as the crankflip(and variations of the crankflip), doing these tricks on flat ground is still considered street riding.

Lol really really weird question… With an obvious awnser. +1 to all those above me.

Yes, a Freestyle unicycle is generally fine for Freestyle, but may not be strong enough for droppy/grindy Street moves. Freestyle can look more like dancing, and often is very flowy though not necessarily. The key element of Freestyle is that it’s a performance, intended to be watched by an audience.

Street is generally intended for outdoors.

Yes. Or, as Dan Heaton probably thinks of it, it’s adding tricks to obstacle riding. That’s how it started out, but now the obstacles are optional. In other words, not all Street moves require obstacles.

Not exactly. Anything that can be done on flat ground can also be used in a Flatland performance, and anything at all can be used in a Freestyle performance. Though crankflips (and a plethora of other recent, skate-derived tricks) have their origins in Street riding, Flatland kind of grew up to include them as well.

There’s a definite style of riding in Street and/or Flatland that’s distinctly different from what we see in Freestyle these days, but some of this will probably converge. Also Street and Flat are so new they’re still evolving pretty fast. Lastly, in Freestyle “anything goes”, which includes props and any types of unicycles or tricks that will entertain.

I think we are slightly mixing up freestyle as a competition discipline and freestyle as a way of riding (something you would probably call “artistic unicycling”?). Typical for freestyle are continuous tricks like wheel walk or coasting as opposed to all the jumps in street. There is no reason you can’t do this without an audience or on the street :slight_smile:

Actually Freestyle unicycles are heavier, but that is mostly because they are technically inferior (e.g. steel instead of aluminum alloy). Unfortunately there has been almost no progress in the last 15 years, much unlike street.
With proper parts they could be brought down to about the same weight (e.g. the Koxx Signature is already very lightweight, but unless you are as light and skilled as Philipp it will break in no time :)).

Also one typical feature on a freestyle uni are very short cranks (90mm). This adds to the flowy style.

So what exactly is ‘Flat’ riding. I’ve assumed it’s doing tricks without obstacles - wheel walking, flips etc…is that right?

I’d still consider it a street trick. Even though unispins are a big part of street now, they are still a freestyle trick. If someone were to include a couple rolling wraps in a street line, the rolling wraps would still be flat tricks.

You’ve got a little more knowledge about unicycling than I do, however, so I may be completely wrong.

Flat or Flatland is done without obstacles but that is not all it is. The main type of tricks in flat are crank rolls. The rider stands on the cranks and kicks(scuffs) the tire with the other foot to roll forward or backward. There are lots of body varials, uni spins and walking, or standing on wheel tricks thrown in. The idea is to fluidly link many tricks together in a creative hopless way. Turning many tricks into one long single combo.

Think Flatland BMX. Smooth and rolly.

Understood, but the definitions get blurry if you remove the riding styles from their well-defined competition environments. Without the competition, Freestyle is doing tricks on unicycles. Any tricks. There are many riding styles within Freestyle, the most famous probably being the Japanese style of flowy, dance-like riding. Similar to Philippe’s video above. But it doesn’t have to be, because it’s free.

Also, if you’re just messing around with Freestyle-type tricks, you don’t have to think about an audience, making eye contact, having a good ending, etc. More likely you’re just practicing tricks and stringing them together, and having fun. But that’s the same for Street, Flat or any other riding style. When you’re practicing, you’re just messing around and the “style” of riding is a lot less important.

To train for Street you might be learning to make higher rolling hops (a Trials skill). A Freestyle performer might be practicing crankrolls, because there’s no reason they can’t be good in a Freestyle performance. And the Flatland guy, he can really practice any tricks he wants, though flow must be a consideration in a Flatland competition.

I think what we’re getting at here is that currently, there are certain tricks/moves that are associated with these styles, but those styles are not defined by those moves. The moves will change, evolve and get harder over the years. So will the competition definitions, but it’s the competition definitions that really describe what each riding style must be to win.

I think you’re right about the weight thing. I’m pretty sure my Wyganowski longneck Freestyle uni (steel, very strong not splined) would weigh more than a new KH Trials uni, for instance. That’s even though the KH has fat, heavy cranks, a thicker axle and a fatter wheel. My Wyganowski is designed to be very long-lasting (would be suitable for pro riders on the road), so weight was not a big consideration. There’s been a lot less attention paid to Freestyle unicycles for a couple of reasons, but mostly it’s because they work well enough for the intended riding. Trials and Street unicycles still break, so the R&D is focused more on them. Which is awesome. Those riding styles depend on the equipment to be sustainably doable. Back in the 80s and early 90s we just broke a lot of axles. And seats. And bent lots of cranks… :slight_smile:

As for crank length, short cranks are definitely associated with the flowy, Japanese approach, though longer cranks lend themselves better to other types of tricks, generally those that require more leverage. My whole competition Freestyle career was done with 125mm cranks, and they worked well enough at the time. We even had 140mm cranks on 20" unicycles to win the first Pairs world championship. That was the standard equipment on Schwinns at the time (we used Schwinns because they would match and didn’t have any color on them, just black & chrome).

True, which currently makes it kind of boring compared to Freestyle. But expect the menu of tricks to keep growing pretty rapidly. In a few years the crankrolls might be considered passe, while newer stuff is what everyone’s working on.

In terms of origins, you’re right about those. Up until a few years ago there was no distinction on trick origins. They were all unicycle tricks and most of them had been done 100 years ago by professional entertainers.

It was always hard to tell which ones were truly new, and which had been documented by guys like Auc Cocett or Mel Hall before any of us was born. But a lot of this newer stuff, especially the stuff that would break ordinary unicycles, is definitely original (though we’re still not sure exactly what).

Tricks that came from Street riders are considered Street tricks, old or traditional tricks are considered Freestyle tricks and new tricks invented by non-Freestylers seem to be thought of as Flatland tricks. It’s all kind of silly. None of those disciplines limits you to what you can or can’t use in a performance, as long as you comply with the rules of that event and do what works best for that event.

In other words, no unicycle trick is “owned” by a particular riding style. But we can honor them from where they were “born” though…

So basically freestyle is like dancing or ice skating in a gym on a less durable unicycle, and street is like bmx mixed with different unicycling styles on a tough unicycle with a thick wheel.

In a few words, you have it about right.

Would you get a freestlye uni for flat or a trials?

That is a hard question. I think most people would say get a trials uni with KH cranks and rolo-disks (, but some would recommend to shave your tire to make it smooth. Freestyle unis are getting stronger though and some of them have the newer ISIS axles ( I don’t ride flat so I’m not the best person to ask though :D.

use street for freestyle?

so… if street unicycles are both sturdier and lighter, why can’t you just use street for freestyle? -is it just the cost?
Also, what would the limits of a freestyle unicycle be when used for street - what tricks can do without breaking a ~$200 freestyle unicycle.