|2003-12-21, 09:22 PM||#1|
Semi Skilled Unicyclist
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Sheffield UK
When I was deciding where to go from 20" I found advice from people on this forum to be invaluable as I was quite bewildered by the effects of wheel size and crank length on speed.
I wanted something fast and lacking the pronounced 'wobble' of 20"-ers and opted for a Nimbus 28".
I found it a challenge to ride and a few months later bought a Nimbus 24x3, at which point, the 28" was relegated to the storage cupboard whilst I spent many happy hours riding the muni.
Strangely, much of that riding was spent on road and pavement; I found myself using it as a short range bike i.e. for commuting.
Traditional wisdom says that 20" is for freestyle/trials, 24" muni for off roading, 28"/29"/coker for communting and coker for hard core long distance.
After a couple of years of riding my muni I wanted to offer my perspective on the commuting issue; whilst the above are a good basic guide, I feel that in certain circumstances, the muni has advantages over the 28/29-er.
By muni I mean a 24x3 with 150mm cranks and by 28/29-er I mean with 125mm cranks (these are the combinations I have personal experience of).
By commuting I mean short/medium trips, starting from where you live (I don't have a car so wherever it is I want to ride, I have to actually ride there on the muni) and including trips to town/shops etc.
One factor is speed, and here the 28/29-er has a clear advantage, but other factors include: -
1. safety for pedestrians- as much of the ride wil be on pavement it is important that one can ride safely close to bystanders
2. ability to roll up/down curbs
3. ease of mounting and idling
The nice thing about a muni is that it is easy to control, the longer cranks=better control which means that it's safer for bystanders.
Also, the slower speed of a muni makes it easy to ride behind slow moving pedestrians who are blocking the way.
The muni is definitly superior to the 28" for going up/down curbs and on bumpy terrain, though the fatter tyre on the 29" makes it very good for these.
Another factor to consider is one that has been raised by several people here in connection with 29-ers and Cokers; whilst the Coker is a faster and smoother ride than a 29-er, people have found that in a town situation, the 29" can complete a journey in less time because of the number of stops necessary for traffic lights etc.
I think the same can be said of the muni and 28/29-er, though the latter is the faster machine, on journeys that involve crowded pavements (sidewalks) and frequent stops, the muni can be a less stressful ride, and sometimes, a faster one.
The final factor, and a very relevant one for me, is that the muni is better on steep hills, and, in Sheffield, there are a lot of very steep hills!
I must admit that, when I converted my 28-er to a 29-er, over the few weeks I spent riding it I really came to appreciate the speed and smoothness of the ride, and the muni felt like a tank in comparison when I got back on it.
My 29-er riding was developing nicely until I switched to 110mm cranks and had a nasty fall. When I recovered and wanted to ride again I didn't want to risk another fall onto the same place and with the muni I knew that it wouldn't happen.
Whilst I must confess that I've spent a lot more time on the muni than the 29-er and do understand that the more one rides a 29-er, the better one gets; I believe that the muni is a machine that can be ridden with great control even after a few months lay off.
This isn't the case with the 29-er; I took it out a couple of nights ago (with 125's) and felt pretty inept; admittedly it was a night ride and I hadn't ridden the 29 for ages, but this wouldn't be a problem with the muni.
I do fully intend to get back into 29-ing, maybe next spring when there's some daylight, cos it is a great ride when you've spent time getting used to it.
Also, a lot of it is due to Sheffield hills; I took my muni to Milton Keynes last year, and, if I lived there I think my ideal uni would be a 29-er or even a Coker- Mk is flat and has an amazing cycle path network that is independant of the roads.
But for steep hilly urban areas like Sheffield I would say that a 24x3 muni is preferable to 28/29 for commuting.
"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."
--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
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