Time to reduce the saddle height ?

Hi all,

I am trying to increase the height of my hops, with the hope I can do some basic trials riding in the future. Doing some tricks would be cool too. I want to be able to jump onto and over obstacles. To do this I have reduced my saddle height. This has made unicycling more difficult again. My directional skills are all over the place again and I am UPD alot more than I had been.

My skill level would be basic, I have been riding for about 12 months. I can ride forward and backwards, idle and hop, freemount, side mount. I am learning seat out in front riding at the moment and one foot idling but I have a bit of a way to go before I can do either of those skills.

My question to you good people is, was it too soon for me to drop the saddle ?

Many thanks.

Learn to ride SIF (seat in front) and you won’t have to lower your seat. I actually raised my seat more as I was learning SIF. Now I can perform freestyle techniques, then pull out the seat for jumps/drops/technical stuff. If you envision riding a larger wheel with the comfort/power/control of handlebars, I suggest starting to learn SIF riding on a smaller wheel right now. It’ll take some time, and you’ll realize what a great upper body workout it is. Just my two cents…take it or leave it.

Thanks. I am finding SIF difficult to say the least. Its like learning the ride the thing all over again. The uni goes all over the place and I tend to fall to the side.

How high should I be standing whilst riding SIF ?

I do plan to get a larger wheel for muni in September so your suggestion is useful.


Probably an incremental approach should work. I started practicing SIF with only one hand at a time, and that put a lot of stress on the tendons in my forearms. Now that I’m better, more balanced, and spend more time with both hands on the seat, the stress in my arms has gone away. Here are some suggestions for learning SIF:


  • Practice riding with your hands on your thighs and your elbows pointed outward for balance; this will get you used to keeping your hands close to the seat.
  • Learn to place one hand, then the other, then both on the seat handle.
  • Once you get both hands on the front of the seat, apply some downward pressure on the seat (BTW when I discovered this, my cadence jumped way up).
  • Use that downward pressure to push the seat out forward, so you practice sitting on the back of the seat.
  • Eventually, you'll be so far back on the seat, you'll have the back of the seat pressed against your body. At some point, you'll feel comfortable holding the seat away from your body for a moment...then longer, later on.
  • Practice lifting your body off the seat while riding; this will make pulling the seat out easier.
  • Hopping-in-place may be a good skill used in the transition from seat-in to seat-out. When I first practiced the transition, I typically hopped in place for a moment. Now, I can ride through the transition.
  • Practice mounting into SIF. Attempt a static mount by pushing both hands down onto the seat with a force equal to the pedal's backward-riding force. You may not successfully mount, but see if you can "hang" for a moment in this isometric position. Practice this mount starting with either foot. Hold the seat with one hand on the back of the seat, one hand on the front (this will create front/back stability).
  • Practice riding on surfaces with great resistance, such as thick gravel, thick grass or uphills; this will get you accustomed to gripping the seat more firmly. [/LIST]

    If my memory serves, learning SIF involved a lot of “baby steps” and thinking-through things. Also, the “legs burning after 100 ft.” syndrome I’d endured as a beginner…returned while practicing SIF. But, like anything else, things improved. I encourage you to learn SIF. Be patient. Keep practicing!

  • Thanks a million. I appreciate your advice. I will give it a go now !

    Just back in from practicing your advice. Wrecked, sweating like mad. Putting both hands on saddle is very hard. Keeping straight is very hard.

    Thanks !

    IMHO that’s not going to help you with your new situation.

    Nothing is different, except the seat height, so: just learn to sit.
    Cross your arms over eachother and drive figure eights.

    Because the moment you’re not sitting, you loose control over that part.

    Sounds like you are not sitting down properly, seat height (within a certain limit) doesn’t make riding harder. If anything it is probably a good thing you lowered it, since it helped diagnosing a problem you might have with your riding technique.
    Theres lots of things to be said about seat height and jumping height.

    I am riding a pretty low seat, personally, because I do many flip and unispin tricks, where having your seat low enough that your feet on the ground are your first point of impact as opposed to your family jewels on the seat in case you miss the pedals saves you from considerable pain. I also find that a low seat makes it easier to roll out of hops on a 26" muni, because you can reach more height without having to get your wheel infront of you. But if my observations are to be trusted maximum rolling hop height isn’t affected much by seat height.

    Seat in is good for basic trials, and IMO it’s fine to learn seat out when it becomes the limiting factor of your jumps (somewhere around 60 cm for most). When doing seat in sidehops, a low seat helps a lot though (very different from rolling hops!) . You probably won’t want to go full oldschool koxx one style though, in my experience it’s not good for your back.

    Tip for seat in front riding: bend your knees a bit, your leg should not be fully extended at any point. Your crotch should be a bit below seat height.

    Keep on practicing!

    Like I said, you can take or leave my advice. I can give suggestions, but only you know where your “zone of proximal development” is, regarding practicing. In my own experience, I have many times failed 50x on a hard mount, landed it the 51st time…then the next day nailed it on the first try. So, I admire you for trying something hard, and I apologize if my suggestions only caused pain and suffering.

    To be sure, there are a lot of disagreements regarding SI (seat in) vs. SIF riding, particularly which one is superior. After spending a ton of time learning SIF skills, I should probably lower my seat and practice SI, to acquaint myself with the virtues of that kind of riding.

    While seat-in may appear easier than SIF, I actually think that SIF, once you learn it, is easier. With seat-in you need really excellent balance to keep your gravity roughly centered over the seat. Conversely, with SIF, the rider can make larger corrections, specifically by adjusting the relative position of their body and the unicycle, and they are able to overcome imbalance and keep riding.

    Trying hard stuff always makes the easier stuff easier! Keep practicing!

    Thanks for the advice everybody.

    I think first of all, I need to get my weight back into the saddle and practice with my hands on the seat. Sounds like that will improve my overall technique. I assume this is what you all refer to as SI riding.

    I will persevere with SIF practice and see how I go.


    Thanks for advice guys. It helped me a lot.

    “I am riding a pretty low seat, personally, because I do many flip and unispin tricks, where having your seat low enough that your feet on the ground are your first point of impact”

    Always wondered how low the seats were, so that was helpful. Perhaps it will make a difference to getting the seat out from between my legs too. Something I have never been able to do…

    If you are still practicing getting your seat out, a saddle that low will likely not be beneficial. A really low saddle should only be used when you do a lot of flip/ unispin tricks where you get away from your uni mid air and land again, with the risk of missing your pedals. a bit lower helps with gettig the seat out though :slight_smile: