Why do lift handles help?

Sorry if this has already been asked by someone else but I got my Miyata saddle yesterday and I still don’t see how the lift handle on the fron can help for hopping or just generally holding onto the seat. To be honest I was a little disappointed with the seat because the handle really does flex a lot and doesn’t feel very strong and the sides are quite sharp and hurt when hopping with the seat out. I know that I can at least fix the second problem and I’ll check all the other threads about the first problem but I’m not sure if it was really worth getting. The seat in general is really comfortable and I can imagine it’d be much better than my previous Viscount for longer distances but I haven’t been using the handle much at al because I’m worried about it breaking.

My question is why do lift handles help?

Andrew Carter

Handles allow you to pull up on the seat while pushing down with your feet, creating more power than just your body-weight, so you can power up hills, or control your speed while going down hills. They also enable you to pull the uni up with you when you jump.


Absolutely! Pushing down hard on the pedal when climbing a hill will lift you off the seat if you don’t hold yourself down. I also use the handle to stabilize and even help steer the MUni through rough stuff like rocks and roots. For me a handle is a must.

Steve Howard

You definetly don’t ‘need’ the lift handle. I’ve been MUni’ing for about 2 years now. You really need to hold the seat to get the push/pull/lift effect, but this can be done (as I’ve been doing) by ‘pinching’ the seat. (thumb on top, 4 fingers underneath)

My Miyata equipped Bedford trials uni is coming tomorrow, and I’m anxious to see how much better it will be. (I’ve tried them out, but have yet to get accustomed to them)

The lift handle is for sure better, but no way is it needed.

Re: Why do lift handles help?

On Mon, 18 Nov 2002 23:30:36 -0600, Sofa
<Sofa.ecogz@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>You definetly don’t ‘need’ the lift handle. I’ve been MUni’ing for
>about 2 years now. You really need to hold the seat to get the
>push/pull/lift effect, but this can be done (as I’ve been doing) by
>‘pinching’ the seat. (thumb on top, 4 fingers underneath)
>My Miyata equipped Bedford trials uni is coming tomorrow, and I’m
>anxious to see how much better it will be. (I’ve tried them out, but
>have yet to get accustomed to them)
>The lift handle is for sure better, but no way is it needed.

I used to MUni with my Semcycle seat without any form of handle, and I
grabbed onto the front of the seat itself similar to how you describe
it. Now that I have the Velo seat with handle, I can tell you: you can
pull on a handle with much more force and more easily, and that sure
helps in MUni.

Klaas Bil

A can of Spam is opened every four seconds.

i’m not saying there isn’t an advantage, that’s obvious.

i guess i was just trying to point out to someone thinking that because they don’t have a lift handle. that they can’t go out and enjoy a muni ride


those sharp seat edges…

Being my bored self, I have time to think of messed up solutions for my personal uni problems. Being a person with a thin wallet, I use cheapo stuff that works.

“the sides are quite sharp and hurt when hopping with the seat out.”

To remedy this on my own unicycle seat (which is not a miyata), I used duct tape and put this over the sharp parts. This keeps it nice and smooth, thus not hurting my legs. This has helped me greatly with hopping. A smoother surface will indeed mean a more comfortable seat. Also, it doesn’t look all that pretty, but it is so much better. I call them racing stripes… oh yeah. Do you have silver racing stripes on YOUR uni seat?


I have a viscount on my United 20". Then I got my Sem XLW with the miyata seat on it. YOu really notice a difference with the handle, especially when working tightly on trail, back and forth between small rocks. It gives you added torque left and right.

What made the torque increase even more, was when I put a CNC handle on it. They are about 1/2" longer and that little extra length gave me more torque and helped me negotiate some tight bits o’ trail even easier than with the miyata.

Just FYI, here is what I did with my miyata handle to help stop jamming my middle finger.


I really recommend it if you have some time.

After riding some more with the new seat I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t use the handle at the moment. I think this is mainly because I’m really worried about it breaking but also because I prefer to have my hand around to the left more. You can see in the picture the way I prefer to hold it. When I’m holding like this, the handle just gets in the way. How much force does it take to break one of these handles? It seems like they do help a lot, but I haven’t really had a chance to try it out properly because I haven’t been trying to hop high with the handle. The large amount of flex in the seat in general has me a bit worried. This is only because I don’t want it to break and I’ve heard so many people talking about how theirs broke.

Thanks, that seems like a good solution. I’ll definately keep it in mind if I have this problem (if I end up using the handle).

When I was hopping on top of the wheel today with the new seat, I noticed that there really is a lot of flex in the entire seat. How much force will it take to break this part?


myiata saddle 5.jpg

Today’s new unicyclists are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled! Hope I don’t sound too much like a grumpy old man, but some of us learned in the pre-handle days.

Back when I got into unicycling there were two basic seat types on “real” unicycles, Schwinn and Messenger. In fact, the Schwinn seats were also manufactured by Messenger, but they only came on Schwinns. The other seats were of a more rectangular design.

None of these seats had any kind of edge or shape on the bottom to hook your fingers on. If you don’t need a handle, you’re obviously fine without one. But as you ride more, it will become more obvious where a handle can be useful.

I can’t blame you for being wary of the flexy handle on your new Miyata seat. I have one on my Deluxe Coker, and I’m afraid to lean too much on it. It seems like only a matter of time before something gives. But the older Miyata seats weren’t like that, and they were real solid. Hopefully the next shipment from them will be as well.

You can pull up on most any unicycle seat, including the old Schwinn (today’s Deluxe Semcycle). Some just have less to grab onto. Viscount seats have enough room in the “notch” for two of my fingers, which gets real old real fast.

Taiwanese “beater” seats, the ones that came with all the old Savages, Cycle Pros, and other cheapies, have a great handle for lifting. They just suck in every other possible way.

The Miyata seats of recent years, with the handles that stick out, are not only good for lift, they are good to lean some weight on as well. I only got my first one of these saddles in 1998 or so, and I fell in love with the handle immediately. It took much less energy to hold on whilel pedaling through the trails, and my hand wasn’t crammed up against me as it used to be. I like it.

But the same handle does get in the way for freestyle. There are a lot of tricks where you rotate the unicycle, or where your legs go around the front of the seat. In all of these, that handle gets in the way either a little or a lot. So I’m hoping the new Velos will come in a Freestyle version as well as the “regular” one with the handle.

Re: Why do lift handles help?

Klaas Bil wrote:

> A can of Spam is opened every four seconds.

Ah, but for our Canadian friends, how often is a can of Spork opened?


I for one, hold the handle just like you do, except that my thumb sits on top of the handle, sort of forward of your drawing. I also wrap my fingers around the side and only the forfinger actually sits under the handle. The remaining fingers sit under the edge of the seat base.

I can’t hold the handle out directly in front, it puts my wrist in a very awkward position, so, I do much as your graphic suggests.

In this position, jumping to the right is stronger, but jumping to the left is awkward for me.

That’s how I use the handle, but I’m not sure if others grab the handle directly in the front, or not.

I grab the handle rather than the seat, but the left side of it rather than directly at the front.

I think this has contributed to the death of one miyata handle, and the impending death of the other, in that it gets twisted rather than pulled up straighter.

Phil, just me


The drawing wasn’t exactly an accurate one so I think I hold the seat very similar to how you do. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Has yours broken at all yet?



I was one of the lucky ones and got one of the older Japanese made handles that is stronger than the current ones. I don’t ride that hard and have been plagued by injuries, so it is still holding up well.

There are ways to fix the new handles. I think the most successful was done by Bruce Edwards(yoopers) called frankenyata or something like that. You can do a search for it and it has a description with pix.

Check it out.

Welcome to unicycling, NOW. Meaning, once you start riding, you start to realize that there is always something to upgrade, i.e. your seat base. Just wait…

The seat base may seem flexy, but ride until it pulls apart, then get a carbon fibre seat base and you will be “set”. My base hasn’t ripped yet, though, I have read that it is a slow process, so you will have some warning when it fails.
I actually have the CF seat base in my garage right now waiting to get drilled.

BTW, the CF plate is light, so shipping can’t be that expensive.

You will find your comfort zone with the handle and seat with time. That’s a given in the sport.


Apparently my seat is one of the older ones. I asked www.juggleart.com where I got my seat from if they had the older ones and they told me they only sold the older ones and hadn’t gotten any new ones. I’ve seen Bruce’s solution and it seems really good. I’m going to do it as a preventative measure.


d’ont do that repait if it is in fact a old miyata
my friends and i have been riding Really hard Trials for a while and we’ve only broken a few old handles. If i were you, i’d leave it as it is, ignore the flex(everything has flex) and just ride, oh ya and buy another one of those old miyatas, you’ll probably eventually be getting a new uni, and they’re very hard to find over here, and then you could hold on to it. Oh and another thing, the older saddles, over a very long time, develop small cracks, and if you spot them when they’re small you can crazy glue them back together.

i’m just speaking from my experience, do you know in fact that it isn’t a new saddle (it says “sustek” underneath if it is)

-Hope that helps



Thanks for that, although I don’t know that I’ll buy a spare yet. I’m currently getting a new unicycle (see my signature) and I’m spending a lot of money on that so I can’t really afford to spend an extra $80AUS at the moment. I just hope that www.juggleart.com continues to sell the old ones for a while. Am I right in assuming that they don’t make the old ones any more?


If you have an old made in Japan Miyata seat don’t do the Frankenyata modification to it. There is no need. You can identify the old seats because it will have “Japan” stamped on the underside of the seat base near the rear bumper. If you have an “old” saddle be very very happy.

With the Miyata seats you are most likely going to break the seat base. I would highly suggest getting a stiffener plate made for the Miyata seat. Something similar to this
With a stiffener plate the Miyata seat base will last a lot longer. If you are pulling on the handle while climbing, descending and jumping an un-reinforced seat base may only last you a couple of months. I only got a couple of months use out of the last plastic Miyata seat base I had on my muni. I now use a carbon fiber base.

Take the Miyata seat apart. Inside is a thin sheet metal stiffener that is not very stiff and will eventually crack. Replace that wimpy stiffener plate with a stronger plate that extends the entire length of the seat. With a good steel or aluminum stiffener plate in there you’ll be good to go.