tips for learning the "balance" mount?

I need some tips trying to get the “balance” mount. I’ve been riding for almost 10 months and I can do “idle” mounts all day long with either foot and rarely ever fail. However, I simply cannot get the balance mount down. I ALWAYS end up moving the wheel backwards underneath me no matter how much weight I try to put against the seat. I have gotten better, so that the wheel moves slowly underneath me (instead of one quick motion), but for some reason I am finding this skill very difficult. I have learned other things like hopping while rotating on both a 20" inch trainer and a 24" inch MUNI, I can idle a little bit, and ride off curbs. However, it just seems like I am missing something on the technique of a “balance” mount with the cranks parallel to the ground. I don’t have anyone in my area that rides, so I’ve come to you guys for help. Do you guys have any tips?

Thanks in advance!

put something behind the wheel like a stone so the wheel can’t move, then as you learn to do it with something holding the wheel in place, keep using smaller stones until you don’t need them.

I’ve never learnt to mount using a kerb to help (probably still can’t do that, despite having my static/balance mount up over 90% since a recent breakthrough) - not saying it’s not something useful to learn, just that there are different ways.

I first learnt to freemount using the “beginners” mount / hand on wheel mount (see any of the Megan Rouch videos for a demo) within a day or two of learning to ride. I managed to get on that way within first 10 attempts despite still being a real novice. I reckon that helped a lot with moving on to the static mount, as a lot of the movements are similar, but it’s a LOT easier. If you’ve not yet tried that, I’d suggest having a go first (it’s still my fallback option when I’m tired, want to make sure of getting on, or going uphill).

Then moving on to a static mount without touching the wheel, there are a couple of things I do. Firstly, rather than concentrating on not putting weight on the back foot (which I found meant I put no pressure on at all, and the uni scooted off in front of me), I concentrate on keeping my leg fixed - ie the muscles locked in place so the foot doesn’t move relative to my hip - that effectively stops you from pushing down on the pedal. I also do a slight “rolling mount” thing - getting the uni moving forwards before I jump off my foot. This helps get a forwards motion to roll up onto the saddle and also allows you to put a little more weight on the back pedal. What I originally did was push down on the back pedal to push the saddle into my crotch, then push back with my crotch to get the uni moving forwards. I’m guessing this might be seen as a bad habit, but it works for me, and now I’ve got lots of practice at the motions I’m gradually reducing how much I do (and doing a better job of locking the back foot out to stop the roll, which helps to get over the front of the uni with a forwards lean).

I should point out I’ve only been riding just over 2 months, so not a lot of experience, but learning this is still very fresh in the mind for me! Hope that helps.

It is interesting how people learn things in a different order - I can’t idle at all, and only managed my first (and only) “idle” mount a couple of days ago. Yet I was riding off curbs within a few days of learning, am now learning to ride up kerbs and freemounting to hop (I guess you need to have a static/balance mount sorted to do that).


+1 on the curb, when it gets easy, move to smaller objects eg. brick, twig.

Practice steping over something of similar size, but deformable like a traffic cone. Push off hard w/ your back foot, onto and over the cone but don’t let your weight deform it at all.

Thanks for all the tips.

So it sounds like it is more of a jumping motion with your back foot? Sounds like I need to propel my body up and over the UNI more and make an effort to just keep my front leg “locked” in position with only enough force to keep the pedals from rotating forward. I’ll give it a try. I’m somewhat short (5’7"), so I’m guessing it’s also better to practice this on my 20" inch rather than the 24".

That is exactly correct. Imagine pushing yourself on an arc up and over to the front of the Uni. Imagine not using the leg that is on the pedal to help propel yourself up, it’s all on the other leg. It may even help to lower your saddle a bit, or do it on a sleight down hill.

Your on the right track.

Yep - all of that. Definitely learn on the 20" - smaller is easier as you need less of a jump.

Precisely. Thinking of it as a “balance” thing may take you in the wrong direction as what you really learn to do is just not bend or unbend your knee.


  • Put dominant foot on the (rear) pedal
  • Swing your arms forward as you step/leap forward; this will help your momentum
  • Dominant foot stays where it is; no change in knee angle
  • Hit the front pedal with non-dominant foot
  • WAIT (if necessary) for your center of mass to move in front of the axle (that's the part most often missed)
  • Unfreeze your dominant leg and ride away [/LIST] You can practice the leg-locking thing by just putting your foot on the rear pedal and jumping partially up onto the cycle, but not enough to balance up there. Just practice the jump-up without the foot moving.
  • Thanks, I still haven’t gotten this, but your tips definitely got me moving in the right direction. I can actually get my jumping foot onto the pedal before the cranks move, but I still haven’t gotten enough forward momentum to prevent a roll-back. I haven’t tried the “arm-swing” technique you just mentioned, so maybe that will be the kicker.

    BTW: I believe what you refer to as the “balance mount” is generally thought of as the “standard mount”, it’s the first one most people learn. When I initially spotted this thread I thought there was a new mount I must have missed! :slight_smile:

    I can see why one would call it “balance mount” as, when done wrong, you end up trying to ride away from a perfect balance (usually with your pedals in the dead spot). So it’s actually neither. A Standard Mount is (supposed to be) when you do a half-revolution backward, then put your second foot on the now-rear pedal. But most people have trouble learning that, and end with the one pedal stuck at the bottom.

    The goal here is to do a good Static Mount, where the wheel doesn’t roll back at all; instead, the rider moves forward and gets the second foot onto the front pedal, then rides away from there. This is the most useful mount for a quick takeoff, and what you’ll usually see people use in basketball and hockey games, or whenever they’re in a hurry.

    Sounds like you may be rushing it, along with not enough “committment” in your lunge forward. The arms act like a pendulum, giving some extra oomph to help you get forward. Remember, the spot you’re aiming for is not on top of the wheel, but a little in front of it.

    I learned to freemount (static mount) with the pedals level, my left foot on the back pedal and then kicked off with my right foot without putting any weight on my left foot.

    When I kick off, I support my weight with my arm on the seat. I sort of lean on my left arm, wich gives me a little more time to place my right foot on the front pedal.

    True, and this is also requires minimum space - I find it very useful when dropping from small ground surfaces.

    The terms balance mount and idle mount came from the English translation of a book I bought “Unicycling: First steps and First Tricks.” However, I agree that the term static mount and roll back mount are more accurate. The book I own was written by Germans, and possibly translated to English inaccurately. I’m not sure. Sorry for any confusion this caused.

    I was going to ask what a “balance” mount was. Now I’m assuming it’s just your typical mount where the pedals are in the horizontal, you put one foot on, then hop up? I guess I always called that a “free” mount.

    WOOHOO, I got it! - although it is sorta sketchy. I think these count. I posted a video below. I just got my Nimbus Blizzard Trials UNI today and after assembling, I left the seat lower than normal. It took some getting used to, but after about 30 minutes, I started getting a few decent static mounts. I even attempted to go straight into a hop, but I couldn’t hold it. I was able to ride off twice, though. I know you can’t see my arms, but trust me I wasn’t holding on to anything… I’ll keep practicing until they feel natural and get smoother. Thanks again for all the tips, they definitely helped!

    Not sure to what extent the OP question has been answered, but what made the difference for me was not thinking of mounting as “put foot on pedal, STEP up to other pedal” but rather thinking of it as “one foot on, JUMP up to the other”

    I found it easier when first starting this to lean the unicycle back slightly and jumping forward slightly to allow some counterweight when I put weight on the first pedal.

    Hi MadFurai!

    That’s exactly how i would describe it.
    I only learned it that way, never tried the “foot on pedal, wheel rolling under you”-mount.
    You don’t have to think about the foot on the pedal, you have to think about the foot that has to come to the other pedal. And when you want to start riding instantly just think about moving forward instead of just mounting.



    Yes, much of my problem before was because I was thinking of it all wrong. Once I realized the initial leg must stay “locked” and only provides resistance, it came pretty quickly. I can now do static mounts with either foot and they are getting smoother. Another thing that helped me was to concentrate on jumping in more of a forward motion and riding the seat up over the arc (instead of jumping “up”). I can now do very quick static mounts and start riding forward almost instantly or I can go straight from the static mount to hopping. Thanks again for the tips, this is a great skill to have. I already used it to mount a “skinny” and do a “drop.” Yes, the skinny is 12 inches wide and only 8 inches off the ground, but its a start!