trials when did it start???

i was talking to Phil when we made our mini movie and i relised that universe must have been in the very early stages of devlopment for trials as they only had very low grade hubs cranks ect but when did trials really start to boom and become one of the main forms of unicycling along side muni?

Trials goes back a long way, originally it was done on motorcycles, then some people tried to do the same things on thier bikes, and now we try to do that stuff on our unicycles.

I motocycle trials goes back all the way to the 1940’s or even earlier, in england.

A good site if your interested in how trials started is,

Bicycle trials started in the 1970’s as a way for kids to get into motorcycle trials and by 1980 or so there were competitions being held in the US and Europe.

More on Bicycle trials history, this is a good site.

Unicycle trials started in the Mid 90s I think. This is when riders like Kirs Holm, Dan Heaton, Adam Ryznar began doing tirals. It still is a fairly new sport and is branching out to incorperate Street riding and Observed Trials stuff.


sorry if my post was missleading i know it started on bikes ect but i only really wanted to know about unicycling but thanks though history is cool

1999 is the first I heard of unicycle trials (and the term “trials” as it’s used in biking, etc). I heard of it from John Foss when I asked him if I was missing anything in the titles of the champions for the events at that years National Unicycle Convention in Washington, which I needed for the Expert Competitor shirts. I had something along the lines of “MUni Trail Champion” or something, probably thinking of the cross country event. He then responded and corrected my spelling. :wink:

Anyways, 1999 was the first time we had a trials competition at a nationals and I think it was pretty new to everyone at that time. Kris Holm, and possibly others, have probably done it before then. I think that unicycle trials really became mainstream after Universe was released in 2000 at UNICON in China. This introduced the sport to unicyclists from all over the world.

I started doing unicycle trials and MUni in 1986, shortly after learning to ride. Mostly I did beach trials, on rocks and logs near my home. In the early 1990’s I also did quite a bit of trials on rock climbing trips around North America, including some riding in Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Red Rocks (Las Vegas area) and other Western U.S. climbing areas.

I believe I was the first person to develop the crank grab technique for unicycle trials (in late 1998) and also pedal grabs in 1999, and the first person to employ a brake for developing specific techniques for downhill MUni.

I’m not sure of the exact date, but George Peck started doing unicycle trials in Seward Alaska in the mid- 1980’s as well. In the late 80’s/early 90’s he was already riding at a high level, and I believe he was the first person to use seat-out-in-front hops for trials moves.

As far as I know, these were the earliest times that anyone did unicycle trials as a serious sport in its own right (distinct from MUni), although I’m sure it has been casually pursued before this. MUni has roots that go back further than trials, both in Europe and North America.

The earliest actual unicycle trials competition occurred at the California MUni weekend in 1998, although it was quite different than the current version of this. The first national level meet was at NUC 1999, and trials was introduced at the world level at UNICON in 2000, in Beijing. The first (and so far only) world unitrials championships happened at UNICON 2002 in North Bend Washington.

Kris Holm


what kind of unicycles where you riding when you started doing trials and muni?

1986-1992: Various Norco 24" crappy unicycles, all eventually trashed.

1992-1997: Schwinn 24"

1997-1998: early prototype 26" KH, with custom 4squaretaper hub

1998-2000: My green 26" MUni (the one in Skilletto), with a brake attachment and a very primitive splined hub turned out of solid 4140 steel on a lathe. The unicycle weighed 21 lbs and the axle still bent. I also used a DM ATU for trials

2001-2003: switched to a 20" trials unicycle when the Profiles became available, switched to my red KH custom 24" for MUni.

Fall 2003: Stock KH24 for MUni, and a prototype 20" trials uni, not yet available.


I would find it hard to believe that no one even tried crank grabbing before then. I’m sure you made it up for yourself without being told, but not everyone tells everyone else everything they have tried on a unicycle. I’d say other people might have made up the crank and pedal grab techniques for themselves after 1998, without knowledge of Kris first doing them. It only takes a skater asking a Unicyclist “Can you grind” to get them to start thinking about it. I’m not a pedal or crank grabber myself, and I don’t have a Unicycle with a brake, so I can’t claim to have invented any of those things. Good on ya Kris.

thanks for the insight but is that person with the unicyclist name kris holm is he actually you kris?

That’s him.

Re: trials when did it start???

On Wed, 19 Nov 2003 11:48:04 -0600, Gilby
<> wrote:

>thinuniking wrote:
>> *thanks for the insight but is that person with the unicyclist name
>> kris holm is he actually you kris? *
>That’s him.

Danger_uni is clearly the real Kris. But there is also a forum member
by the handle of Kris Holm. He has never posted. Is that the real Kris
also? Just curious if Gilby meant to say that.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“My butt has a crack in it , but I can still ride. - spyder”

Sorry to revive this thread, but I found this article and it has some interesting insights into the beginnings of MUni: Saratoga news

Also contains an amusingly tilted photo of Kris Holm, numerous photos of Beau Hoover and a trick called ‘wheel-locking’.


No 'nature

True, others may have done it up to 130 years ago. We only know what has been shared within the unicycling community. Most unicycle types and tricks were done by the year 1900, and not particularly shared, other than through photos and accounts of professional performers. There’s a lot more that has probably been lost over the years, at least to the effect that we can’t go “look it up” somewhere.

But within the unicycling community, I have never heard of anyone doing crank or pedal grabs before Kris. For that matter, as far as I know, grinds on unicycles were invented by Dan Heaton and Adam Rysnar. I never saw it done until I saw previews of Universe 1.

I concur with Kris about the first competitions in Trials. I don’t know of any before the 1998 MUni Weekend, which was a very crude event that we called Trials, though I was aware it wasn’t the real deal. The first “real” Trials competiton I ever heard of was at the 1999 NUC. I had the honor of coming in second! Bet you can’t guess who was first? :slight_smile:

Plus, the idea of doing “unicycle Trials,” as opposed to just hopping around on stuff, originates mostly with Kris Holm. Others pioneered it, and I learned of the idea of Trials from Bruce Bundy and David Poznanter. But neither they nore George Peck, who I think started in 1985, put together any events, they just did it on their own. Kris Holm is responsible for creating true Trials competitions with manmade obstacles and specific lines.

You can read about the 1998 MUni Weekend Trials event here:
We called it, for that specific event, the Wheel Dip.


at unicon in Germany (1998) Mike Owens was doing crank grabs/stalls on concrete ledges. definitly not for the purpose of getting onto any obstacles though.


So what is that I wondered, and read the article. From the context it seems to be ‘wheel walking’, just a tad misunderstood by a well-meaning journalist.

Klaas Bil

I think wheel locking is totally different from wheel walking. To lock the wheel you can go down a slippery surface, wet grass, clay, mud or gravel, and put heaps of back pressure on your pedals trying to make the wheel lock up. If done properly you can skid and ride out of it, but misjudge it and you can end up on your back if you aren’t quick on your feet. I’m guessing brakes can be used to lock-up the wheel like Kris Holm does on UNiVERsE. I don’t think you can determine if it was a misunderstanding just from the context.

You could be right though Klaas, he might have been learning wheel walking. Both of them are skills/tricks that a young unicyclist might aspire to learn. Ben is usually more keen to practise wheel locking than wheel walking.

That’s what I thought. Beau was a beginner at the time. Ben (you mean Edwards?) is not a beginner anymore.

I wonder, BTW, if a brake is useful for proper wheel locking. I can’t do the trick except for short skids on a muddy downhill (without a brake) so I am not sure. But it seems to me you lack any control by locking with the brake whereas there is some control if you lock the wheel manually… well, pedally, that is.

Klaas Bil