John Eucist

How to ride an electric unicycle - understanding the dynamics

203 posts in this topic

I rode all around my neighborhood today. Almost ready for all over town. I love this thing.

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I rode in between a couple old ladies and even told them it was an electric unicycle when they asked. Slow too. Practicing tiny slow turns right now.

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I'd second everything @Carlos E Rodriguez said, and add these skills to the list if you are going to ride on sidewalks:

  • tight turning (hip turns) in the width of a sidewalk.  This is hard to do but very useful.
  • ability to handle unexpected bumps, cracks, holes, etc in the surface without flailing!
  • ability to look 90 degrees left and right without weaving, flailing, or changing direction. You need this skill to watch for cars and cross streets safely. An alternative is to always stop & dismount at every intersection, driveway, alleyway, etc., but that gets old quickly.
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Yeah. It took me a couple of time to be able to look left or right without having the wheel want to turn on me. Every time I turned my head myvwheel would turn also. But after a week or two I got the hang of it. 

And yes. Always plan ahead for the bumps and blockages. Make sure you have plenty of time to prepare or avoid. 

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looking to the sides at 90° was a nobrainer to me. 180° took me a while to figure out, because you need to turn the hips for that. I think it's also quite important, at least if you ride in traffic, not only on sidewalks.

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On 11/7/2015 at 3:20 AM, Mono said:

is the best how-to-balance vid that I know of. Another illustration can be found in this post: 

I think the main reason why the (necessary) compensation magnitude goes down with increasing speed is that the effect of the compensation in a given time (i.e. the magnitude of the side-displace of the wheel) increases linearly with increasing speed. For the same reason, the compensation becomes effect-less with zero speed, i.e. balancing becomes impossible without moving the wheel. Additionally one needs less effort to twist the wheel at higher speeds (because of reduced tire friction), making compensation less difficult in particular on sticky grounds. 

I've been ridding the struggle bus since I bought my V5F+ from Jason last week...  This post finally made it all come together and it finally "clicked" today.  Thanks!

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The only real problem I have is tension in the legs.. In case of a wobble of the wheel I notice my legs starts trembling and although I know you need to 'relax' the legs, I cannot stop them from trembling.. I guess this is something that will go away over time, but that is still my main problem.. As soon as the surface is a bit uneven I notice it the most and makes the driving even more worse.. 

 

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5 hours ago, MichaelHensen said:

The only real problem I have is tension in the legs.. In case of a wobble of the wheel I notice my legs starts trembling and although I know you need to 'relax' the legs, I cannot stop them from trembling.. I guess this is something that will go away over time, but that is still my main problem.. As soon as the surface is a bit uneven I notice it the most and makes the driving even more worse.. 

 

Once you have total control over the wheel, most of your riding will occur with relaxed legs that barely touch the sides. Unless you're a savant, that's just going to takes hours on the wheel to accomplish. Fortunately most of those hours are fun :D  Hang in there.

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23 hours ago, MichaelHensen said:

The only real problem I have is tension in the legs.. In case of a wobble of the wheel I notice my legs starts trembling and although I know you need to 'relax' the legs, I cannot stop them from trembling.. I guess this is something that will go away over time, but that is still my main problem.. As soon as the surface is a bit uneven I notice it the most and makes the driving even more worse.. 

 

I'm into about 10 days since I bought my first wheel and basically I noticed the similar wobbling issue in my first few days due to: foot cramp, weak stabilizer muscles, fatigue etc.  it's much better now because the muscles have become stronger and the brain has figured out the correct and most optimum muscle coordination.  I would recommend taking it easy and take your practice with lots of breaks in between!  I know I needed the breaks from all the weird foot cramps. 

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Posted (edited)

For what it's worth, I've been struggling with the wobbles a bit, but being a new rider, I just assumed that it would go away as I got better, so I haven't been stressing too much about it, just slowing down when I get them.

However, today I decided to try something that I believe @Chris Westland had suggested (maybe others too), which was to reduce the tire pressure a bit.  I have an inmotion V8, which apparently has a tire tread that some believe to be conducive to the "wobbles"...anyway, after lowering the pressure a bit, it was like night and day, no more wobbles!  I can't say exactly what pressure I'm currently at, but I think I was previously riding around the 50 psi mark and I simply let a bit of air out mid-ride.  Once I get access to a pressure gauge, I'll follow up with my current psi is at in case others want to try that mark.  In case it matters, my weight is about 185 lbs.

Update: I checked the tire pressure to see what I actually lowered it to and it was at 35 psi, so a little lower than I was hoping.  I've increased it to 42 psi for my ride today to see how that feels and if the wobbles are still lessened.

Edited by Maximus
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Wobble is due to Muscle memory and fatigue when learning. also high pressure not exceeding tire rating is great for slow speed and turning but I also notice it makes the wheel too wiggly at high speed. My tire rating say 40-50PSI.  I ride 40 to 45. I like 40 very much. Lower pressure risk getting a flat tire when going over stones and pinching the inner tube when the tire compresses and pinches against the rim. Tire should not be soft and mushy. look at the tire rating and try 10% below max and then 15% and 20% below max.  I would not go lower than that.

 

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Oooh, I'll have to try that. I'm getting wobbling only near max speed, 18-19 mph, and my tire is as hard as a rock. Gonna let a little out and see how it does. 

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I had the wobble exactly once, and ended it instinctively by pressing both legs against the wheel for a moment (as soon as it started). If the wheel physically can't wobble (back-forth or to the sides), you won't have any wobble problems;) So you could try that.

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1 hour ago, meepmeepmayer said:

I had the wobble exactly once, and ended it instinctively by pressing both legs against the wheel for a moment (as soon as it started). If the wheel physically can't wobble (back-forth or to the sides), you won't have any wobble problems;) So you could try that.

Agreed that stops it. For me personally it starts when my legs get tired specially when I was learning. It would happens after 5 minutes because I was fighting for balance in the learning process. Then I got better and then the wobbling would come later and later as I got more efficient. Meaning my muscles learned how to coordinate and not power/force balancing. 

I experience the same thing when learning to slack line balance. The beginners have this crazy shacking on the line until their muscles master the new way to balance. 

So just be patient. It will get there. Pinching the wheel will stop it but is not the reason. 

Also play with placing your feet a little more back. Make sure your ankle bone is centered or behind the axel of the wheel. 

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Do solowheels have huge pedals or does the person in that video have tiny feet? 

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2 hours ago, kasenutty said:

Do solowheels have huge pedals or does the person in that video have tiny feet? 

I believe it is the latter, but I am not absolutely positive. 

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On 4/16/2017 at 5:30 AM, MichaelHensen said:

The only real problem I have is tension in the legs.. In case of a wobble of the wheel I notice my legs starts trembling and although I know you need to 'relax' the legs, I cannot stop them from trembling.. I guess this is something that will go away over time, but that is still my main problem.. As soon as the surface is a bit uneven I notice it the most and makes the driving even more worse.. 

 

That is normal. Your muscles are retraining. When that happened you need to rest. 

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On 1/19/2016 at 9:10 PM, gmusser said:

How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch, whereas in all the videos, people are riding down the sidewalk within the hour. It's depressing and zero fun.

This post is a year old.. did you stick with it and figure it out? A vid from Dion at MyFunWheel.biz led me to begin practicing in my hallway. It was winter outside anyway, so I went for it. I ended up putting ten miles on my EUC in my hallway. I still train there when I want to attempt something new (as long as it's straight).  😀

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9 minutes ago, GoinPostal said:

How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch

After several days, that's as far as I could go too. I practiced about 30 minutes a day for about a month before I was able to ride around freely. So you're not the only slow learner!

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I saw a semi-pro surfboarder get on, step off, then get on and wobble around.

Basically on his second attempt he was able to step on without support, make a u-turn on the sidewalk. I mean, he was still wobbling but it took him under a minute to ride it.

Of course, this means he has lots of experience falling off other things, but still very impressive.

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