EUC Maintenance and Prep for Jumps and Stunt Riding

EUC Maintenance and Prep for Jumps and Stunt Riding

by freshlycharged

Can you jump an electric unicycle (EUC)? YES!

Is it safe to jump an EUC? If you’re not prepared, then the answer is no. If you are prepared, the answer is yes.

How does one prepare for jumps and stunt EUC riding? That’s what this article is about.

If your EUC is not properly maintained, jumping and aggressively riding an EUC can be dangerous. In this guest article, Seth from eRideLife shares with us his EUC maintenance so that both rider and electric unicycle will survive the stresses of jumping and stunt riding.

Seth’s knowledge and experience with personal electric vehicles is impressive and I am excited for him to share his experience with EUC stunt riding below.

Jumping an EUC is an art. Just as Seth’s riding has a poetic flow to it, so does his writing.

Jump in the Name of Love: How to Fly High on your EUC (Electric Unicycle)

Seth Johnson
Guest Blogger eRideLife

The scenery whisks by, a green and yellow blur in your peripheral.  You tune in to the sound of your EUC tire humming slightly and changing tone as you shift your weight carving from side to side along the pathway.  The smell of fresh cut grass permeates your senses as the warm sticky air flows past your face and fills your loose clothing like a parachute filling with air.

Your focus turns to a small knoll with a gentle slope that increases to a knob at the top and you think to yourself “prepare for takeoff”.  The pitch of the tire changes as you turn off the path and begin to accelerate across the grass, the tire cutting through the lush green carpet as small blades of grass begin to fly into the air with each revolution.

As you approach the jump your brain shifts into overdrive calculating speed, angle, approach, and landing.  A nervous energy swells in your chest as you leave the ground and then silence… You’re soaring, you’ve left behind the earth, broken it’s gravitational force and done what humans have endeavoured to accomplish for millenia, you’re flying.

For these brief moments nothing else matters, it’s just you, the wind, and the silence as you approach the apex of your journey.  Rather abruptly, it seems, earth’s forces begin drawing you back down and you realize the brief adventure you have taken is coming to an end much too soon.

You spot your landing, and your knees absorb the force and reintroduce your tire to the earth.  Once again you hear the zip of the wheel through the lush grass and begin scanning the horizon for your next opportunity to feel that freedom again.

EUC Jump and Stunt riding

Ok, while that may seem a bit romantic and some would say borderline hyperbolic, those are the emotions I experience when I jump on my Electric Unicycle (EUC).

“But, EUCs aren’t made for jumping”, I’ve heard dozens of times.  To which I reply, “you’re right”, but if everytime in history someone stopped doing what they love due to a naysayer we wouldn’t participate in many of the activities we currently love.

The truth is you can jump an EUC, and no you don’t necessarily break it because you do so, but you must make some preparations, practice a lot, and expect to fail at first.

The purpose of this article is to detail the precautions you should take for jumping your EUC, the equipment you can use to help you jump, and the expectations you should have when you participate in this type of activity on your wheel.

If you don’t have a wheel yet and you’re trying to decide where to buy, I have nothing but good things to say about the whole team over at eWheels.com.  They’re quick to answer questions, and every time I’ve had a warranty issue they’ve been proactive in helping me resolve my problems.  They have all of the latest wheels and can help get you started today!

Can you jump on an EUC

EUC Maintenance and Preparation for Stunt Riding & Jumps

Inside your EUC there is an axle, batteries, a controller and a few meters of wiring.  If you plan to jump your EUC it is not a bad idea to get to know the insides of your wheel.

The following instructions is what I do with each of my electric unicycles to ensure that the EUC will have the best chance of surviving the stresses of jumping and stunt riding.

Taking apart the EUC also allows me to make sure all of the screws are where they are supposed to be (and tightened down appropriately) so I don’t experience a short when a loose screw contacts my motherboard in flight.

  1. Take off the cover and immediately disconnect the battery wire.  This is most often an XT-60 connector which comes apart by gently tugging on each side.  Often there are two banks of batteries so you’ll disconnect both.
  2. Drain any remaining residual energy in the system (this is important) by holding down the power button.
  3. Snap a photo at this point in case you do disconnect something you won’t be scouring the internet or YouTube to try and determine where it needs to be plugged back in.
  4. Now that the wheel is splayed out before you and it’s lifeblood has been properly evacuated you are prepared to perform your exploratory operations.  Tug on each connector gently ensuring that the silicone or other glue type substance is intact and holding each connector into their respective bays on the controller.
  5. Check each screw for tightness, and apply a little more silicone if necessary to ensure they won’t come unscrewed with each jump you perform.
  6. Wiggle the fans to make sure they are affixed properly, add additional zip ties to the wiring bundles and check each connection between wires as well.
  7. Pull and push on the batteries to make sure there is no play, and they are affixed well inside the shell.  If you see wear in the shrinkwrap of the battery apply a couple layers of tape so that additional rubbing and stress on the shell won’t pierce through the plastic layer.
  8. Put everything back together.

Do you have to do all of this before your first jump?  Only if you want to live, just kidding, but I do take wheel maintenance very seriously because we will be operating these wheels well outside their normal parameters and tolerances.  Your wheel may be rated for 250lbs but that force is multiplied when you are coming down from even a small jump.

EUC Protection

I’m assuming you already have safety gear including a helmet, knee, elbow, and wrist protection.  Here’s a list of some of Jimmy’s favorite safety gear for the electric unicycle.

You’ll probably also want to invest in some long comfortable socks if you plan to ride in shorts. I like Vans Smartwool Snowboarding socks because they are very thick and provide comfort for all of the friction caused by jumping.

The next thing we need to think about is wheel protection.  “But I just spent $2,000 on a wheel and I need to buy something else”, you may be thinking.  Not if you don’t want to ride your wheel after a big crash.

Because you will crash, and your wheel will take a beating.  You should at least consider getting some bumpers and fenders, or just a roll of baby proofing material to make sure your wheel will live to ride another day if it goes tumbling down the road after a bail on a jump.

EUC Jump hooks and Jump Pads

The next category of equipment you’ll need is something to help you stay on your wheel when you are in the air and your feet naturally leave the pedals due to centripetal force.  This can be accomplished through the use of some type of wedge or pad that helps your feet stay affixed to the wheel.

Many swear by using a foam wedge or other homemade pad that goes around or over your feet.  This type of pads are very popular and there are a variety of tutorials on how to make them.

EUC Kuji Pads

Kuji has a home made variety of these known as “Kuji Pads” and have been made popular through his youtube videos.  The advantages of this type of pad is that you can make them at home, fairly cheap, and they are custom to your feet and placement on your pedals.

The disadvantage is that depending on how you make them they can get easily broken or fall off depending on how you choose to affix them.  Kuji pads are typically made from some type of foam material like a yoga block and velcroed to the side of the wheel.

EUC Winglets

There are commercially available options as well, many of which are 3D printed and made from strong flexible plastic material known as TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane).  One of the first 3D printed varieties of these that I could find was made by Greg Delam in France of Electric Games fame and his “Winglets”.

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Winglets are technically considered “Jump Hooks”, though I have seen some use them as impromptu power pads which is how Wrong Way uses them in his video.

Winglets attach to the sides of your wheels and kind of “hook” over the tops of your feet.  This helps carry the wheel with you as you float through the air.  They also act as bumpers for the sides of your wheel if it happens to flop over during a crash.

Winglets are typically affixes using velcro which makes them highly adjustable and customizable to your riding style.  They don’t however keep your heel down as much so there is some freedom in movement which could be considered a feature or downside by some.

eRideLife is the exclusive vendor for Winglets licensed to sell them in the US, they come in a variety of colors and include industrial strength velcro for mounting.

EUC Clark Stunt Pads

The jump hook concept has evolved into more elaborate designs which incorporate additional functionality like a power pad for torque and jump hook for carrying the wheel along with you in the air.

Clark Pads are the ultimate accessory for both feeling locked in while carving and secure when jumping and (hopefully) landing those big airs.  Clark Pads are by far the most aesthetically pleasing and come in a variety of colors and styles to fit almost any wheel on the market.

The quality they provide does come at a premium price though they are made with premium filament and take a long time to produce.

Electric Unicycle Pedals & Inserts

Pedals are another attribute you may want to consider upgrading when you start jumping on your EUC.  As you can imagine when landing those big airs, a considerable amount of force is applied to both your pedals and your pedal rods.

This is what can happen when you exert more force on your pedal than it was designed to handle.

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This probably wasn’t caused by just one jump, but repeatedly jumping and weakening the steel.  There are a number of accessories you should consider to increase your grip with your pedals and prevent sliding off when landing.

EUC Grip Tape

You could opt for improved grip tape at a minimal cost, with amazing results.  Vicious Grip tape is made for skateboards, but its aggressive grit will give you a great increase in friction and therefore ability to stay on your pedals when you need to.

EUC Pedal Inserts

Another option is an aluminum pedal insert with stainless steel studs, these inserts replace your existing pedal inserts and will give you spikes on the tops of your pedals to improve your traction.

They are available for many models of wheels including Acm, Nikola, Msx, Msp, Rs19, EX, Monster Pro, Sherman, V11, 18xl, and 16x. You can pick these up for $80 from https://t.me/murlando (Murland Fish) on Telegram.

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EUC Aluminum Pedals

The best, and most expensive option is to replace your existing pedal with a machined aluminum pedal.  The Hex Tech pedals are the pedals that I ride, they are lightweight and strong.

They have set screws drilled into the top so that you can set the height depending on the types of shoes you use and how aggressive you’d like the traction to be.  Hex Tech pedals are available through contacting https://t.me/val9ri.

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EUC Pedal Rod Considerations

The other component of the pedal that is likely to fail from stress is the pedal rod.  Stock pedal rods that come with most EUCs are made from steel, but they are not rated for the forces of a rider jumping from height.  If you have a stuck pedal rod they are nearly impossible to remove from the hanger.

I have had to replace a blown controller in a wheel that the rider attempted to remove a bent pedal rod from by hitting it with a hammer.  When you do this two things inevitably happen, first you are vibrating the internal components which could cause a short and second you typically end up just “mushrooming” the pedal rod making it even harder to remove.

The best way I have found to remove a pedal rod with this problem is to use a plunge cutter to cut through the rod next to the hanger and then remove the rod in two pieces.

EUC Titanium Pedal Rods

What is the solution for bent pedal rods?  The best option I have found is to buy titanium replacement pedals rods on ebay and simply replace the stock pedal rods.  Not only is titanium extremely strong, it is lightweight and inexpensive as well.

You can expect to spend less than $20 for a replacement set, but you may need to cut them to the proper length.   A hacksaw will work, but expect to spend some time doing the work.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article has provided you with the information you need to start jumping on your EUC.  Just remember, you don’t have to do all (or any) of the aforementioned to get started.

I started jumping on my EUC by throwing a piece of wood on the ground and began “bonking” over it by gently jumping as my wheel rebounded.  You can get started today, all you really need is a piece of wood and the confidence to try.

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For more on beginner EUC jumping technique, check out this article on How to Jump an EUC.

Interested in winning a gift certificate to Ewheels or a set of Clark Pads? Check out eRideLife for details.

Here’s how Jimmy learned how to jump:

EUC Comparison Tool

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the EUC options, so we made an interactive EUC Comparison Tool. You can sort, filter, and include or exclude data as you see fit. We hope you find this tool helpful!

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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