What makes a good freestyle unicycle?

I’ve been thinking lately about my future collection of unicycles. One of the unicycles on the list is a freestyle one and I was wondering what makes a good freestyle uni. I’m considering replacing the old bent hub and cranks from my 20" with a new set (same quality), buying another Miyata seat or maybe a Velo one, and changing to a slicker tyre. Would this be an acceptable freestyle uni (my old 20" is only a basic one) or is there something more that I need?

Trials and mountain unicycles both have to be quite strong. What is it about freestyle unis that separates the good from the bad?


What makes a good freestyle uni

Here is my checklist, in order of importance (to me)

20’’ wheel
Main cap bearing holders. To make sure the frame doesn’t break when hopping or jumping.
Strong and rigid wheel and frame
Square fork crown for footrests when doing onefoot skills
Long seat tube. Personal preference because of my height
Minimum free space above the tire. This makes wheelwalk easier
A reasonably narrow saddle makes it easier to get seated after seat out skills

I have had two freestyle unis. One broke when the lollipop bearings destroyed the frame. The other (taiwanese torker equivalent) is OK except that the seat post broke and that there is a lot of space between the fork crown and the tire. Also the narrow fork only limits your choise in tires.

actually miyata bearing holders hold up well. Lots of people in TCUC have these: http://www.unicycle.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=211 . They are about as good a frame as most people are going to get. put in a rhynolite rims and suzue hub, your preference of pedals and crank length, a carbon miyata upgrade, and a primo or maxxis tire and you got yourself just about the ultimate freestyle unicycle.

Personally I think this is a fantastic freestyle, especially for outdoors: http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/albuo49/aaa

Paul Wyganowski. But he’s a who, not a what.

I love my new Wyganowski. It’s similar to a Miyata frame, using all the same hardware (seat post and bearing holders, but stronger. It’s also a little heavier, but that’s because it’s a professional-level frame. It’s made to take a beating for a long time, without any effect on it. I have broken Miyata frames over the years. My only complaint about the Wyganowski is that it’s not available in chrome. I’ll do that to mine eventually, when the paint gets chewed up. Paint on unicycle frames always gets chewed up.

I agree with Borges on the 20’’ wheel, Strong and rigid wheel and frame, Square fork crown, Long seat tube, and minimum free space above the tire. You don’t want a bunch of bolts in your seat tube, as with a Miyata, to gouge out your legs. I’ve had custom posts that were real long, with the bolt up near the seat, since 1984. You need a good platform for your foot, for one-foot, gliding, coasting, and stand-up skills.

I currently have 102mm cranks on there, after 18 years with 125s. So far they’re still coming up a little short for my tastes, and I think I’m going to try 110s. Shorter is better for spinning and fast-pedaling skills, but the leverage is bad.

A colored tire and plastic pedals are important for indoor riding, and you want a seat that can take lots of drops. Miyata seats are great, though the handle gets in the way for some tricks. You can cut off the handle (which should basically cure the problem with the newer Chinese ones), or get the Kris Holm Freestyle seat. Don’t know if those are available yet, but I’m sure they’ll be worth the wait.

Also make sure you have a good, strong seat post clamp, so your seat isn’t always jerking to the sides.

Thanks everyone, I think I’ll modify my old 20". It’s got a rounded crown, but I’ll wait until I can do stand-up things (if I ever learn) to get a frame made.


You can use automotive hose clamps to make good foot-holders on a rounded (or Schwinn) crown. Hope you have the same kind in Australia. It’s a metal band with slots in it, and the screw turns through the slots to tighten it. Put it screw-side up, and your foot will hook right on there.

Thanks John. Those things sound really handy. I don’t think I’ve seen them before, but if I need to I’ll have a little search for them. I’ll have to get better at one-footed stuff first.


Search no more!

See below.



Here is a picture of a hose clamp
Clamp it on the round part of the crown so your foot will have something to hold on to. Put some tape or something over it to keep from scratching your leg on it.

For me an ideal freestyle unicycle would be a Wyganowski that could fit a 2.1" or 2.25" tire. Unfortunately the Wyganowski can only fit a 1.85" tire and that’s a tight fit.

A good freestyle unicycle is something with a flat crown that is close enough to the tire to allow for gliding and that won’t get in the way of wheel walking.

I have a Ringmaster Advanced and I love it. The crown isn’t perfectly flat and may actually be a little too close to the tire. Both of these factors may make it more difficult to do standup skills. But I’m so far away from ever doing standup skills on the crown that it’s not going to be an issue for me.

DM also now has a Custom Ringmaster Advanced
Looks nice. If I get to the point that I’m trying standup skills I might have to get the custom version.

The nice thing about the Ringmaster Advanced is that it fits a 2.1 or 2.25 tire which makes for a smoother ride on pavement and concrete. The frame is strong and great for one foot skills. It will also be good for gliding once (if) I learn how to glide. The downside is that it’s rather expensive over here in the USA.

Thanks Eli and John.

I have a cheap freestyle 20" uni made by Raleigh, its a Cyclepro, but I believe the name has changed. I have a round crown on mine, and have always wondered of a way to modify it so that I may more easily accomplish one-footed tricks, I had considered welding, or jimmy-rigging something onto it, but the hose clamp is a phenominal idea! Thanks John!

I now have a Semcycle XL advanced freestyle. That uni is also very good, for learning the basic things of freestyle. (ww, hopping on wheel, ride with seat out in front, back, side… etc…)
The material is of high quality!

2weeks ago, I have ordered a Custom Advanced DM ringmaster.
This uni is the best you can get in Europa (i live in Belgium).
Julien monney (freestyle champ. ) has adviced me that uni.
Julien also uses that uni.

THe Ringmaster has a very good stability.

SOme negative points :
Bad pedals (not good for riding with hands)
Tire : best freestyle tire = Primo to the wall !
Seat : Best freestyle seat is : semcycle seat !


I would disagree about your views on the pedals and seat. many of the top riders around here ride those type of pedals, with great success. and no one around here rides sem seats, Carbon Miyata upgrades are deffinatly the way to go.

The hose clamp idea was great, and works pretty well, but does anyone have any other idea as to how to modify a round crown for better foot support when doing one-footed tricks? (I would rather that you give ideas that don’t involve any serious work, or that could possibly mess up the unicycle if done wrong ((like welding)), thanks)

cloth tape, stuck to the frame ( use the sticky backed tape, its simpler) can be use full for one footing, it gives just a little extra sticktion to the frame so keeping the foot there is easier. String wound rond and fixed with nail varnish or paint can be a cheap option that does the same sort of thing.
Skate board atpe ( sticky backed sandpaper) can be used, but tears up your legs if you get it in the wrong place.


what i have done before is attach a hose clamp then build it up with duct tape till its semi-flat then top it off with some grip tape.

the picture here was my fist attemp and it was ok but my lastest crown jobs on my Stealth Torker are totaly flat and work great.

basicly,use the clamp as a base then build on it with tape and stuff till it looks like a flat crown.

muni frame squeeze.jpg

Thanks for posting that, I’ll give it a go.


See a close up of the fork crown…

Also I believe DM can make splined hubs and cranks to custom length. Will has a Monty tyred custom with 125mm cranks (and a wider clearance frame).

Leo White

Nice! That looks like a really good uni. DM makes good stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised at all that he can make custom 125mm splined cranks. I beleive the 150mm splined cranks he makes are custom shortened cranks.

Is the crown clearance in the picture with the 2.1" Primo The Wall tire?