An electric unicycle (EUC) is a versatile mobility device. It has many benefits, including the ability to be used in a seated position. This can be a great option for those who want to ride for long periods of time, or for those who may have difficulty standing on an electric unicycle. However, there are also some drawbacks to using an electric unicycle in a seated position.
In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of seated riding on an electric unicycle. I’ll also share some tips for riding your EUC seated, as well as some great resources for learning more about this topic.
- Some electric unicycles (EUCs) do not have the option to be ridden in a seated position. This can be due to the design of the EUC, e.g., too small, or it may be because the EUC does not have the proper ergonomics for a good seat attachment.
- Riding an EUC seated can be more comfortable than standing, especially for long periods of time, but this depends on the terrain you’re riding on and whether your EUC has a suspension system.
- If you’re going to be riding your EUC in a seated position, it’s important to get a seat that is comfortable and sufficient support for your hips to move around for steering and balance. You’ll also want to make sure that the seat is properly attached to your EUC.
- Some people may find it difficult to balance on an electric unicycle when seated. This can be due to the weight distribution on the EUC, as well as the fact that you’re not able to use your legs to help with balance.
A Good Seated EUC Ride Depends on the Type of Electric Unicycle (EUC)
The first thing you need to consider when thinking about seated riding is the type of EUC you have. If you have a smaller wheeled EUC, then it might be more difficult to balance while seated. However, if you have a larger wheeled EUC, then it should be easier to balance and stay seated while riding.
Of course, your body dimensions also play a role in how easy it is to stay comfortable while seated on an EUC. If you are larger or have longer legs, then you will likely find it more difficult to stay comfortable and balanced.
This is especially true if you find yourself crouched low with your knees sticking out and most of your body weight on the EUC’s seat (instead of spread out to your feet).
Your body type matters for any seated EUC ride
I know for my 5’7″ height that I’m pretty comfortable on most EUCs with a seat. But, I’m also more confident riding seated when I’m not squeezed down into a squatting position on the wheel.
There are many ways to DIY taller seats on an EUC. You can 3D print seats or even just craft one out of foam blocks, for example.
For some shorter legged riders that the taller the seat, the less room you’ll have to maneuver your EUC while standing.
This means that if you’re a shorter person, you might want to consider a shorter seat (or even no seat at all). A shorter seat will provide you the space for your knees and lower legs to move around while standing, which is important especially for those riding over unpredictable terrain.
Overall, when it comes to a good experience riding an EUC while seated, you want to make sure the seat isn’t too low or high, and positioned properly over the EUC (i.e., front to back). Whether a seat will work well for you depends on the type of EUC you have, how you position yourself on it, and your own body dimensions.
If you’re thinking about adding a seat to your EUC or are considering buying or using a DIY seat, then hopefully this gives you some things to think about!
Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of seated riding, and a few tips and resources to improve your ability to ride your EUC while seated, comfortably.
Why I Started Riding my EUC Seated
It wasn’t about comfort. In fact, I actually found it quite uncomfortable when I first started riding my EUC while seated.
I started riding seated because I was starting to get bored riding the same bike trails over and over. Although it was easy to get to my local trails, which is why I frequented them often, the scenery was getting commonplace.
I live in the rural neighborhood, so even my “wild” bike trails were becoming too familiar. In this case, if I could find a way to ride my EUC while seated, then I could open myself up to a new EUC experience and longer rides.
I also wanted to learn a new skill. And, who doesn’t like learning more about their EUC?
After everyone in my ride group saying that riding seated is a wonderful, eye-opening experience, my curiosity was really peaked. So, I took the plunge and tried it out for myself.
But, it wasn’t all wheels and roses.
Yes, I Got Hurt Teaching Myself Riding my EUC Seated
Let’s just say that learning to ride seated wasn’t pretty. I sprained my medial collateral ligament (MCL) in my left knee, which spawned my need to upgrade my knee guards to a knee brace.
As many of you experienced EUC riders know, as you shift from a standing to seated position over a moving wheel, you get wobbles. Well, I got speed wobbles during the transition and my muscles were not strong enough to recover from it.
Without the strength to stop the wobbles AND return back to standing, I put my left leg down on the ground while going 15 mph. As the asphalt caught the bottom of my shoe, my Veteran Sherman torque sideways, pivoting around my knee joint.
I went down HARD and my left knee made a loud “pop” sound. This was the MCL ligament in my knee stretching and snapping out of place around the bony parts in the joint.
Anyway, the lesson I learned is to never put your foot down on the ground while in a squatting or seated position on your EUC when it’s moving.
So, while I don’t recommend that you learn to ride seated the way that I did, I do want to caution all of you that it’s important to be careful and patient as you’re learning this new skill.
Seated Riding vs. Standing on an EUC
Here are the key differences between standing and seated riding on your EUC:
- When you’re seated, your center of gravity is lower to the ground. This makes the wheel more responsive and twitchy. Your stability while seated will improve quickly the more you practice seated EUC riding.
- Your body is in a more relaxed position when seated, so you can ride for longer periods of time without getting as tired.
- You may end up going slower seated, even if you feel like you’re going faster. Your perception of speed changes when you’re closer to your environment, e.g., the road.
- Air resistance doesn’t necessarily decrease when you’re seated, as your cross section (the surface area facing your direction of movement), but this depends on how you’re riding. If you’re leaning forward while standing, then you may actually have more of an aerodynamic position and better stability.
- You arguably have less stability and control as compared with standing. This is because you have less contact with your wheel (as your knees and lower legs are splayed outwards), so if you hit a bump or make a mistake, it’s going to be harder to recover. You can’t tighten your legs around the wheel while seated, like you can when you’re upright.
1. EUC Steering Response
The most obvious difference between seated and standing is, well, you’re sitting down. This means that your center of gravity is lower to the ground, which makes the moving EUC more responsive to your body movement and control.
Because your EUC is more responsive when you’re sitting on it, you may notice how much more “twitchy” your wheel becomes with slight movements of your arms or body.
You’ll have to get used to making smaller steering and leaning inputs when you’re seated, as opposed to the bigger ones you’re used to making when standing. This is made worse when you’re trying to ride seated on an EUC with a smaller wheel.
2. Relaxed Position and Muscle Engagement
The second big difference is that your legs are now working in a completely different way than when you’re standing. When standing, most of the power comes from your quads and glutes (large muscles in your thighs and butt), with your hamstrings (muscles in the back of your thighs) shifting in and out to help with acceleration, braking, and stabilization.
When seated, however, your quads and glutes are pretty much taken out of the equation since they’re not bearing as much weight. The power now comes from your calf muscles (as you may be tip-toeing on the pedals), hamstrings, and your core, e.g., abs, torso musculature.
So, don’t be surprised if you’re just starting out and your body feels sore after a short ride. There is a learning curve to using different muscles when seated, and you may find that some of the muscles being used are ones that you don’t normally engage.
But, as with anything else, the more you ride seated, the stronger those muscles will become and the less soreness you’ll experience. You’ll also naturally become more stable and confident with time in the saddle.
3. Speed Perception
You’re also more aerodynamic when seated, which could make you ride faster (more about this below). Of course, you may notice like I did that you’ll feel like you’re going faster while seated because you’ll be closer to the ground; and as a result, may end up going slower.
In other words, your perception of speed is relative to your environment.
While seated, which some people find to be more comfortable. When you’re standing, all of your weight is on your feet.
Seated riding also opens up a whole new range of motions and options for controlling the EUC because your legs are no longer restricted by being in the standing position.
You can now use your upper body to lean and help steer the EUC using your body weight to control the wheel, rather than your legs.
I find this part about riding an EUC seated the most fun and exciting. Because you’re close to the ground and you don’t really see anything below you except the blurry road, you feel like you’re flying.
It’s almost like what I imagine a low altitude fighter jet pilot may see; or that scene in Star Wars when Luke pilots his X-wing through the valleys of the Imperial Death Star.
4. Aerodynamic Profile
You may think intuitively that you become more aerodynamic and safer while seated. But, I found that this may not be the case. And, this is corroborated by some anecdotal observations that have been done on the subject from downhill skateboarders.
While you may be lower to the ground while seated, which makes you less exposed to wind resistance, you’re also creating more of a “block” for the wind to push against.
In other words, while you may be more aerodynamic while seated, it’s not by a large enough margin to make a significant difference; especially when compared to the increased stability and control you have while standing.
5. Stability and Control
The final big difference between riding an EUC seated vs. standing is that you’re more stable and have more control while standing. This is due to the fact that your center of gravity is higher up, which gives you better “range” or freedom of movement over your EUC.
When you hit a bump or need to make a sudden turn, you have more options while standing to correct your balance and maintain control.
You can shift your weight around more easily, lean into turns, and use your legs as shock absorbers to absorb impact.
In contrast, when you’re seated, your center of gravity is lower, making it harder to make sudden adjustments; and if you do need to make a correction, you’ll likely have to get off the seat to do so.
Also, as mentioned above, an EUC is going to be more responsive to smaller, sudden movements in your body. This gives you less room for error.
For safety reasons, this is one of the reasons why I think it’s important to learn how to ride an EUC standing up really, really well, before sitting down.
Once you’re comfortable and confident with your balance and control while standing, and over varied, unpredictable terrain, then you can start experimenting with seated riding.
Pros and Cons for Seated Riding on an Electric Unicycle (EUC)
Okay, now that you have a better understanding of the main differences between seated and standing riding, let’s break down the pros and cons for each.
Seated Riding Pros:
- The EUC ride experience becomes more responsive, likened to flying at low altitude
- You feel like you’re going faster, and more engaged with your environment
- While you may or may not be more aerodynamic, you need to “pilot” your EUC using more of your whole body
- You can ride for longer periods of time without getting tired since you can switch back and forth between standing and seat
- You’ll become a stronger EUC rider overall, since your entire body’s muscle groups will be used
- A good seat adds another layer of protection for your EUC, providing a cushion or impact armor for the top of the wheel. It may even protect your EUC from water ingress from rain or snow.
Seated Riding Cons:
- You lose a safety margin for managing unpredictable terrain and engaging sudden stops or turns
- You limit your options for how you can use your legs to assist in control and balance
- A tall seat could disrupt the way you ride while standing, especially if you’re shorter or have a big EUC
- A seat adds a monetary cost for upkeep and a liability if you crash or take a spill (e.g., the seat gets lost or damaged)
- Riding seated for long periods of time could lead to discomfort in your back, neck, and/or legs. This is mitigated by finding the right EUC and seat for your body’s shape and natural posture.
Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons for seated riding, let’s switch gears and do the same for standing.
Standing Riding Pros:
- More control over your EUC since more of your legs are in contact with the wheel (power pads like these help).
- You can take full advantage of your leg strength to assist in accelerating, turning, and braking
- You’ll “feel” the EUC more since you’re not isolated by a seat
- Other riders, cars, pedestrians, etc., will see you better, and you’ll have more visibility of your surroundings while standing. Upright EUC rides improve your situational awareness
- Standing on an EUC is probably the only way to navigate off-road, technical trails, or when you’re in a urban setting with unpredictable road conditions
- You can do some pretty sweet tricks on an EUC while standing that you couldn’t do seated (or at least not as easily). This could be a pro or a con depending on your riding goals.
Standing Riding Cons:
- Foot fatigue, e.g., numb or tingling feeling, or soreness sets in with long rides standing up on an EUC
- You could be less aerodynamic (although this may not make much of a difference at lower speeds); and this likely depends on how you stand, e.g., crouched, sideways, etc.
- Stylistically and functionally, you may get bored standing upright like a zombie riding an EUC. Sitting on an EUC may be more fun for you!
So, there you have it! These are the main pros and cons for seated vs. standing riding on an EUC. As you can see, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which style of riding is best for you and your needs.
Best Seats for Riding an EUC?
This is kind of a trick question. There is no best seat because every EUC model has a different design; and your comfort may require something different than someone else.
Nobody will really be able to tell you what’s going to work for your seated EUC riding needs. So, when it comes to finding the best seat for your EUC, you may have to go online and do some guess work. Here’s a popular, affordable example of an EUC seat.
One of the challenges our EUC community has is that it can be difficult to “try things out” before you buy. Unless you ride in a large group that meets on some regular basis, it may be tough to find people with different models of EUCs with different seats that you can try out.
And, even if you do have the opportunity to test ride a friend’s EUC, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their seat will work for you. Just like a regular bicycle, two people of the same height and weight can have completely different saddle preferences.
This is why it’s important to have a budget for trying out different seats until you find the one that’s right for you.
When it comes to seated riding, the most important thing is to be comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to enjoy the ride; and you may even start to dislike EUCs altogether.
No rider wants that! So, if you’re going to be spending any significant amount of time seated on your EUC, make sure to do some research and find a seat that will work for you. Ask around and don’t rush into things.
A DIY option may be a good idea, of course, if you’re experimenting with the idea. Just make sure you secure the seat to the EUC and wear your protective gear.
There are a few different factors you’ll want to take into account when choosing a seat for your EUC:
Size: The size of the seat will obviously have an impact on your comfort while riding. If you’re on the taller/larger side, you’ll want to make sure you get a seat that’s large enough to accommodate you. Conversely, if you’re shorter/smaller, you’ll want to make sure the seat isn’t too big or it will be uncomfortable.
Padding: This is a big one. The amount of padding on the seat will have a direct impact on your comfort while riding. If you’re going to be doing a lot of seated riding, you’ll want to make sure the seat has enough padding to keep you comfortable for long periods of time. Conversely, if you’re just going to be doing occasional seated riding, you may not need as much padding.
Shape: The shape of the seat will also impact your comfort while riding. Some people prefer a more rounded seat, while others prefer a flatter seat. Again, it’s all about personal preference.
Cost: Obviously, the cost of the seat is also going to be a factor in your decision. If you’re on a budget, you may want to look for a less expensive option. On the other hand, if you’re not as concerned about the cost, you may want to invest in a more expensive, higher-quality seat.
As you can see, there are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing a seat for your EUC. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s most important to you and find a seat that meets your needs.
Do some research, ask around, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect seat for your EUC riding needs. Trust me, it’ll be worth the effort!
And, there you have it: my thoughts about riding an EUC seated with tips, thoughts, and some inspiration for those who are on the fence. I hope this helps you in your journey to find the perfect way to enjoy seated riding on your EUC.
Thanks for reading!
Do you have any tips or thoughts about seated riding on an EUC? Please share in the comments below!
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