tips for trilas riding anyone?

im really looking to improve my trials skills for the near future because im going to nf with brian in a few weeks along with some other riders and i dont want to just have my mediocre skill cramping the style of the movie. im looking for help in the following areas: hieght of hops, gapping distance, and riding skinnies. if anyone has any tips other that the word “practice” i would appreciate it more than you could imagine.


this wont help you jump higher to aneything like that but it will make you look beter. kris holm helped me with it once and a demo once. He said dont think of hopping as hopping. think of it as a hop to where you wana go than a standstill than your next hop. if you get good at this it will make you look like a better rider not haveing to make a bunch of little corection hops

Yeah, don’t “pogo-stick” as in bouncing the tire on corrective hops.

But also, don’t spend all your energy trying to do good looking hops. :slight_smile:

i alrady kno that…i dont hop too much at all. my hops are pretty controled. i just want some tips on getting higher and moreso than that anytips on how to get the b*lls to do some of the stuff…anyone got anytips for that?

Well, for getting the balls the only thing is pratice. Sorry :P.
Um, for hopping higher, explode more. Bend down more, pop up more and tuck your uni under you more. Try SIF hopping if you haven’t. For the movie, you don’t have to be that great if there is other riders. Some comic relief is always necessary if you know what I mean :P.

but thats the ting…i dont want to be comic relief…i think id like it alot more if i was a part of the movie that meant something…not just jammed in as filler.

When I was learing how to hop high I would stretch my legs, Then get on the uni and practice bending up and down up and down entill my butt hit the tire. once I could hit the tire every time with no problems I started stacking pallets and half inch plywood. I started out at 4 pallets, once I could do that I would stack a half inch piece of ply wood. When I could do the 4 pallets and 1 piece of plywood I would add another peice entill I got around the hieght of 5 pallets. once I could do 5 with no problems I would add a piece entill I got to 6, and so on and so on. After about 6 monthes of stretching, bending down on the uni and stacking plywood and pallets I got to about 8 pallets and a couple half inch peices of plywood. I think trials is all in your mind, Once I could tell myself “Ok Im going to do this” everything changed. You need to figure out your own way of telling your self I can do this. Make your own style of practice. You need to make yourself comfortable in every situation. Doing big hops, big gaps, and riding skinnies is all mind control. Just learn to make yourself do it. You dont need to ask people how they do it because your most likely going to do it a totally different way.

thanks zack…thats probly the best piece of info i could have gotten out of this…i cant ride unitl thursday but as soon as that rolls around ill go for it.

ya man, and dont stop riding! Because like me you have to start the whole procces over!

Ha, that mind prepping thing is sorta what I do, and that’s a way better way of explaining it that I would’ve done.

Another thing, is don’t quit your practice session untill you’ve landed whatever it is your working on. Don’t walk away and let the move beat you, you have to get your mind over it and know that you can do it. Then you’ll be ahead mentally for the next time.

we’ll need a water boy, so you know, don’t practice too much :slight_smile:

don’t just think of height, think of distance also, you’d hate to get your shoes wet

I haven’t practiced trials stuff in like 6 months but when I did I would get thirsty alot and I wouldn’t go in to get a drink until I landed what I was doing, unless I got realllly thirsty, I don’t want to collapse because I didn’t land my hop;)

I think Zack’s advice about stretching and working on your butt hitting the tire is excellent.

I used to be really inflexible but I’ve been working on my leg flexibility for about 10 months and have really improved. Flexibility has added many inches and a lot of control to my hops.

I think that the really important muscles to focus on are the ham strings, it bands, quads, calves and achilles. It takes time and dedication to improve flexibility but its worth it. Look up some stretches on the net and see what suits you.


Zack that was really good advice for SIF hop heights do you have any practice techniques for seat in hop heights i hop 65 cm over a stick, apparently it would be a bit higher upto a ledge or something, do you have any advice for this

cheers Lucas

That’s about the best advice you could hope to get. Just remember to compress the tire quickly, and suck the uni up under you quickly. If you pull your uni up with your legs, and not by your arm only, it seems really light and easy to get in the air. To compress the tire, you don’t need to bend down with your legs…that actually doesn’t help, because you’re supposed to be pushing off from the ground.

Zack is right about telling yourself what you can do. Keep yourself relaxed and cool mentally…focus. More importantly, be confident. Sometimes I work my self up on a ride…starting small and then gradually going bigger and bigger, until my muscles are loose enough, and my mind is confident enough to try something newer, or bigger.

Hey Zack…How did you learn to keep your seat way out in front of you for bigger hops?

This is the bit I’m stuck on - every time I try a big hop, I’m ok to leap way up in the air, but I lose the pedals with my feet. Any tips?

And how are you supposed to “pull your uni up with your legs”? We’re not using clipless (SPD) pedals here, right?? Or do legs != feet ?



Here’s a couple tips on increasing your gapping distance:

  • Before gapping, get your tire on the very edge of the obstacle you're starting from. You can even hang the first row of knobs off the edge to get that extra inch.
  • I find that I get the most power when I gap with my wheel at an angle 1/2 way between a sidehop and a forward hop... 45 degree hop if you will. I believe it has something to do with the muscle groups that are involved with each hop position... a 45 degree hop seems to utilize the most muscles.
  • Fall towards your gap direction and wait until the last possible moment before you take off. You can and should practice falling over (in a safe, controlled environment, of course). This will help you determine when that "last possible moment" is... Taking off later gives you more sideways velocity which 1) helps you gap further and 2) helps you stick the landing.
  • At some point you're going to have enough sideways velocity that you're going to have problems sticking the landing. Here you're going to have to re-orient the wheel in mid-air. Here you have two options: tilting it in the direction opposite of that in which you fell (instead of tilting the wheel away from your landing, you're going to have to tilt it towards that spot) or turning the wheel as if you're landing a rolling hop. The tilt is better for precise trials, while the turn makes for easier landings.

Good luck… post up a video soon!

That’s a poor description of the actual skill needed to achieve height. You need to pull up on the seat and tuck / fold your legs up underneath you at the same time (as if you’re going into crouch position). Watch some of Ryan Atkin’s / Zack Baldwin’s videos and you’ll see that they pull the seat up and out at the same time, to get the seat out of the way. Pulling up on the seat keeps the pedals against your feet.

So you say.

It’s mostly called “tuck” or “sucking the uni up with your legs.” Sometimes people don’t understand what that means. I used to read those statements, and still think that I would achieve great height from pulling everying, including my lower body/legs up just by using my arm to pull the seat up. That doesn’t work. It feels way to heavy, and impossible. And a lot of people are still doing this, and’s why they aren’t getting the height they want.

What I meant by saying that, as bluntly as I could–because I was working on a term paper due today, when I wrote that–is that far more work goes into what the legs do than the arms. A SIF hop is essentially like jumping on your own two feet by pushing off of the ground and then pulling your knees up to your armpits, and your feet up to your butt, with your spine angling almost parallel to the horizon.

Anyway, I always tell myself to, “make my legs weightless” and in a sense–I’m not forgetting the other parts that make up a hop, just not discussing them here–my unicycle feels light, and I feel quick and nimble, and save a lot of energy, while increasing my hops and gaps.

There’s more to be said…especially about what the arms do during a hop. Yes. That’s right. I said arms. Most people only think about the one that holds the seat. But, there’s a lot the other arm can do during a hop or gap, too. I don’t have time for that though. I have to run to my next class.


brian thats hurts bad man…i dont wanna be the water boy.

but to all other thansk for all the great help im gonna go ride this weekend and when i get my DV cam fixed ill post a vid.