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Old 2002-11-09, 10:09 AM   #4
Mikefule
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Long Bennington, Lincolnshire, England.
Posts: 7,068
I used to do lots of bicycling (regular 80 - 100 mile days) and I think the effect on your knees will be different.

Most bicycles have 170 or 175 mm cranks (or did in my day!) but you are typically pushing a gear equivalent to anything from about a 65 inch to an 80 inch directly driven wheel, and can gear up to 100 - 120 inches, even on a standard bicycle. The lowest gear on my tourer was about 36 inches and my tandem went down to about 24 inches.

Compare that to your unicycle which will have a standard gear of say 24 inches. (i.e. whatever wheel size you choose.)

So, on the flat, there is virtually no resistance to pedal against on a uni. You just 'twiddle' along. On a bicycle, you'd feel silly pedalling a 24 inch gear on the flat.

This means that a unicyclist will pedal fairly fast but at low levels of torque. A bicyclist will tend to pedal at a lower cadence but higher levels of torque.

There are other factors too: you will tend to ride less distance on the uni, and will be less inclined to load up with luggage, or do 25 mile time trials... (unibiker may ignore this last point )

So don't worry too much about the knees.

150 mm cranks are comfortable. 170s feel a bit long and do work the knee joint a bit more. 110s or 102s do require a bit more torque. I'm sure you can't go wrong with 150s as long as you know to stop if you feel pain on a long ascent or descent.

On a good smooth surface, a 24 with 150s will go up or down most hills you will meet. There is no shame in walking now and again.
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