switching trials stance (as in which foot is in back)

until now, i had been riding left foot in back, right hand holding seat, hopping left. now i will attempt to switch such that my right foot will be in back. i have found that my current stance is inferior.

has anyone tried this? initial testing showed that i can barely hop in place with my right foot in back, but that i improved greatly after only minutes of practice.

it is my hope that once i get used to hopping this way, i will be able (after a little bit of extra practice) to do the same stuff i can do with my left foot in back. i dont want to learn to hop high all over again, so hopefully the skills will transfer smoothly.

any comments?

I think you’re over analyzing it. Just hop. :smiley:

Re: switching trials stance (as in which foot is in back)

Well, thats funny; when I ride, I usually switch my back foot approximately once per revolution.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

OK, apart from this smart ass comment I can only contribute that when I try to learn a skill with my weak foot, it does not take as long as it initially took with my strong foot. But I never become as good with the weak foot as with the foot I learned the skill first.


I also do it that way, and I agree that it’s not as good.
Instead of switching foot position, you could instead hold the seat with the left hand and hop right. That would be easier, methinks. But being skilled in hopping in both foot positions would probably become very useful, especially in rolling hops.

Re: Re: switching trials stance (as in which foot is in back)

i see what you are saying, but i would guess that when you learn a skill with your weak foot, you still do the trick with your dominant foot more. my plan is to switch over completely. a long time ago, i was much better at seat in hopping but now i am much better at SIF hopping.

its not that i am overanalyzing it, i have just realized that i will be able to progress more and faster if i hop with my right back.

edit: i just saw your post, james. i disagree, i think it would be much easier to switch feet as opposed to arm and hopping direction. since i already have the body motion of hopping engrained in my head, the switching of feet shouldnt cause any problems except strengthening my right foot more and getting used to it.

I hop the way you’re trying to switch to. Back when I had a functioning trials uni, for about a week or two I practiced weak side stuff. I could jump about 2’ weak foot in back no prehop, but I had a problem with landing with my feet vertical. I haven’t solved this, but I do think that learning with reversed feet will be easier but feel harder than the orginal. My biggest problem with reversed feet is that I put way too much pressure on my right foot, and I naturally want to return to that home position, so jumping lefty feels awkward. You can do it, although it seems unneccessary.

For Muniing, it’s a huge bonus being comfortable (I’m not there yet) with both hopping and landing rolling drops with your feet in their normal and “backward” position. For a long time when I’d have to line up (in the middle of a sequence) a hop or drop, if my right foot wasn’t back (my prefered position) I’d hop and juke around till it was. But on connected drops and hops (steep, angled stuff), you can’t stop and line it all up, and many times I’d jut have to bail.


Wow, I have no experience with this, but please let us all know how you get on…good luck!

Bevan, 2’ no prehop with your wrong foot forward is incredible!


I’ve heard jugglers say that they’ll deliberately learn a new trick starting with their weaker hand. That way once they’ve mastered it on the weaker side it’ll be easier to learn it with the stronger. I think this theory could be transferred to unicycling in practising hopping as well as other tricks with your weak foot first, then your strong foot. In my case I have learnt many freestyle tricks well with one foot, but never taken the time to learn the tricks with my weaker foot, working on new tricks instead.

For Muni it is definitely useful to be able to take rolling drops with either foot forward. For trials I think this is less important, though there are situations where it is useful. KH demonstrates a hop where he rotates the wheel in mid-air so that he can change from weaker to stronger foot in front in a NUC trials workshop video. I think the video is on www.unicycle.2ya.com in the trials section near the bottom. Looks like a useful skill.


They’re called crankflips. They aren’t difficult, except in the situations where you need them, such as in skinny riding or tight places. I prefer to do a half flip and repeat, although I’m not very good at it.

It’s not practical to practice hopping with your weak foot because youj don’t really have a true weak foot until you can hop (assuming you aren’t a freestylist). Also, once you do have a weak foot, it’s not much fun to go around falling on stuff you know you could do easily. I have gotten quite frustrated on a 20"+ hop where I got my tire on every time, but each time my wheel rotated and my pedals were vertical. I don’t even want to get started on how weak my gaps are…

I thought crankflips are when you jump up off the pedals and push down on the cranks when you are in mid air so they spin (with your feet in the air) then you land back on them.

Why is hopping with your right foot forward, with your right hand, and to the left bad?

Originally posted by litldude2
[B]I thought crankflips are when you jump up off the pedals and push down on the cranks when you are in mid air so they spin (with your feet in the air) then you land back on them.

So did I. Maybe a better name for this trick would be ‘crankflip no-footer’.

It’s not necessarily bad, but it makes a lot of things harder if you hop to the side of your back foot. Particularly pedal grabs.

couple things:

first, my hope is to make my weak foot the stronger. if i can get used to right foot in back, i will rarely if ever go back to left foot in back.

secondly, i will say why i am trying to do this.

  1. pedal grabs- even though its no harder to perform pedal grabs (and by saying pedal grabs i am referring to the part where i go to rubber from the pedal) with left foot in back, it is less accurate because if you want to go to rubber on a post or something small, you have to jump up and back, as opposed to up and forwards. i realize that with practice it could be just as accurate, but combined with the other reasons it would be better to try to switch now and save the extra effort.

  2. high hopping- two things with this. first, since my right hand is holding the seat and my right leg is on the forwards crank, sometimes if i miss a hop i pinch my fingers between my leg and seat and it can actually be quite painful. secondly, in order to acquire greater hopping accuracy and height, i need to hop at approximately a 30 degree angle to the obstacle, as opposed to parallel. if my left crank is forwards and i miss the hop, i will fall onto my pedal and will be able to pedal up easily without dabbing. with left pedal back i will fall completely off the obstacle.

  3. style- while this may seem less important to most people, style is undoubtably a factor in competition trials. many consider it to be the difference between expert and pro levels. the way i hop now is slightly akward and switching will look better.

still in day one of the experiment. i have worked on it for maybe an hour. i can SIF mount without problem and can hop in place and do small gaps and hops with more ease. hopefully by this weekend i will be riding actual lines. i will report more as the experiment progresses.

Surely not a factor in winning the competition. Do you mean a factor in who becomes the most popular competitor?


ive found this to be true as well…
and also with smoothness of the pedal grab.
ive taken ages to get my pedal grabs (back foot) looking resonably smooth, but then i tried with my front foot and you can see the difference straight away.

you have a lot more control when you hop the way you are trying to learn. i suggest learn it…


I have acually been playing around with switching my foot placement. I havent really done anything with it though. I was doing it to see how hard it would be.

Now that you said that it is probably better for me to switch. I hop left back right hand to the left like Trip.

ok guys, its been 1 week (well technically 8 days) and i havent given up yet. as promised i will update you on my progress.

i can hop 24", 20" consistantly. i can drop around 3’ seat out. my longest gap has been a little over 4’. i can go to rubber from pedal but i havent tried doing it on anything high yet.

while i am certainly happy with those stats, big moves are not what i have been practicing most. i spend the majority of my practice time hopping up stairs, working on precision and control. today i hopped up 26 steps “manifesto” style (meaning no correction hops, or 1 hop per step).

of course i have had troubles. when hopping i unconsciouslly turn counter-clockwise. while on a small hop (a step) i will only turn 5 degrees, on higher hops i turn more, sometimes 30 degrees. if i dont concrentrate while hopping in place, sometimes i will lose my balance because my feet will automatically react in the opposite way. for example if i am falling forwards, before i would have pushed down on the right pedal, so when i push down on the right pedal now it pushes the wheel backwards. like bevan said, the pedals twist in the air. i have gotten better at this but it is sometimes still a problem.

i have been charting my daily progress and i will post it once the project has ended. i am also taking video clips from every few days and will put together a little vid showing the progress.

my goal is in 1 month (from starting) to be as good right foot back as i was left foot back. so i have 3 weeks left and i am confident that i will make the goal. so in that time i will (hopefully) increase my hop by almost a foot, my gap by at least a foot and a half, and double my drop.

i will update again in 1 week.

i realize that in my orginal posts i made it seem that i thought that right foot back would be better for everyone. i meant that it would be better for me. sorry for that confusion. i am sure that many riders prefer left foot back and it works perfectly fine for them. i am sure that right foot back will be better for me in the long run, since my pedal grabs now are much more precise than they were before, even after much practice.


I think I always hop left foot forward. This is because the first time I took a drop of 10 inches, I did it left foot back, and twisted the crank arm slightly. So I switched my position in the hope that it was twist back to normal. 4 sets of crank arms later, I still do it that way out of habit.

I’ll have to try switching back.

Yesterday I realised I need to start hopping right foot back… I can’t do it well, tho I can hop left back no prob, and can roll drops eitehr way… But yesterday I noticed I’ve got a bald spot on my tire from hopping :wink: