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Old 2014-10-15, 03:29 AM   #1
sacherjj
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Learning Unicycle for Big Guy

I'm 6'5" guy that is pretty fat. I'm 320 and slowly decreasing. We recently bought a cheap Sun unicycle for testing some pedal to electrical power measurement. I couldn't help but try it out.

What I learned is that Sun makes a nice firm freewheel hub. Which isn't helpful on a unicycle as you commit forward and pedal without moving the wheel. Landed on my feet, but barely. This was after an hour of so of messing around. I just almost started to get it.

It is weird that working on non-solar power generation for rain forest folks would turn into a desire to learn how to ride a unicycle.

I took a job at a non-profit to work on projects that can help people, but it has made money very tight. So I don't want to spend tons of money without knowing that I'll enjoy it. But I don't want to by something that I'll break. So I've been reading a bunch of Uni stuff over a week.

Here is where I need advice. The problem I had with the Sun is just a completely cheap, poorly built hub that seems to be pressed in, not the cotterless cranks. While I know that non-ISIS cranks might not last as long with my weight, I don't know how long.

I've been debating the 20" vs 24". From what I've been reading, 20" is easier to learn on. And I would think that I would eventually want 26" for road and trail riding, so a 24" seems like a waste. Also, we have some warehouse space where I could ride inside in winter at lunch. It seems like a 20" would be more maneuverable inside.

So I'm browsing all around UDC and narrowed down to a few.

Club 20" Freestyle (will I break this?) $135
Torker LX 20" (seems like it isn't worth it to go CX, but out of stock) $156
Nimbus II 20" (most expensive, but ISIS) $250
Nimbus II 24" (only $20 more) $270

I'd love to have the Club work for me for a few months. If so, I could see getting a 26" Nimbus Mountain and slick tire for both grass and dirt trail and road. However, if I go with Nimbus II now, I probably need to go 24", because I'm not going to be able to free up enough for another expensive wheel.

Any advice?
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Old 2014-10-15, 07:16 AM   #2
joshpit2003
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a lot of us learned on junk unicycles.
... and a lot of us moved on to something better once it broke.

If a 26" MUni is what you are working towards,
then my advice would be:

Ride your junk Uni till it breaks.
Then buy a 26" (bomb-proof) MUni when it does.

Your weight isn't likely to make 'em any less bomb-proof... as your skills progress (and you start doing crazier stuff with your MUni) your weight is sure to go down.

(also: depending on your location: you can find a plethora of junk Unis on craigslist, so maybe go through 2 junkers before forking out the $ for a decent one, your call)

Last edited by joshpit2003; 2014-10-15 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 2014-10-15, 12:09 PM   #3
jcdoherty
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I agree with Joshpit2003, as long as your only riding on the road, no hopping or jumping, a cheap one off craigslist is the way to go even at your size it should do fine as a learner.

Has the Sun uni been repurposed into the power project yet? if not just ride it until you get the hang of it and then move up, probably only take a couple/few weeks.

Welcome to the forum.

Jim
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Old 2014-10-15, 12:25 PM   #4
sacherjj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcdoherty View Post
I agree with Joshpit2003, as long as your only riding on the road, no hopping or jumping, a cheap one off craigslist is the way to go even at your size it should do fine as a learner.

Has the Sun uni been repurposed into the power project yet? if not just ride it until you get the hang of it and then move up, probably only take a couple/few weeks.

Welcome to the forum.

Jim
The Sun is broken. The pedals freewheel with a little bit of force around the wheel. So when I try to ride it, I either get motion of the wheel with pedal movement or not. It chooses when. From reading about the Suns, this is a common problem due to cheap pressed fit manufacturing of the hubs.
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Old 2014-10-15, 01:11 PM   #5
Vertigo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacherjj View Post
The Sun is broken. The pedals freewheel with a little bit of force around the wheel. So when I try to ride it, I either get motion of the wheel with pedal movement or not. It chooses when. From reading about the Suns, this is a common problem due to cheap pressed fit manufacturing of the hubs.
Wow was it an older model? I bought a new one and it's fine. I've ridden a Club and also have an old 20" Torker LX. The Club didn't seem much different than the Sun (just the seat and flat crown). I don't ride the Torker much because I like to ride for distance.

Sounds like you need a uni with an ISIS hub. The Sun probably wasn't made to accommodate people in your weight range.
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Old 2014-10-15, 01:43 PM   #6
sacherjj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
Wow was it an older model? I bought a new one and it's fine. I've ridden a Club and also have an old 20" Torker LX. The Club didn't seem much different than the Sun (just the seat and flat crown). I don't ride the Torker much because I like to ride for distance.

Sounds like you need a uni with an ISIS hub. The Sun probably wasn't made to accommodate people in your weight range.
Brand new Sun Classic 20".

I'm thinking that I might just bite the bullet and go 26" ISIS and deal with the extra learning curve. I've always been annoyed by cheap tools that make you spend more money in the end when you buy the good tool anyway.
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Old 2014-10-15, 01:44 PM   #7
jtrops
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I don't think anyone needs a splined hub on a learner regardless of weight. This sounds like poor quality control on the part of whoever made the hub. I built a wheel on a Sun hub for a student who is about the same weight as the OP, and he destroyed the rim, but the hub was fine. That was a 20", but I'm pretty sure they don't have different hubs unless you get one of the top end Suns with ISIS.

All things being equal having had suns, and a club in my hands and riding both I would say they are both decent learners, but that the UDC Club is a better built uni. The hub is better, and the saddle is much more comfortable. Those two things are worth the price bump.

As for size, unless you want to learn tricks I would say a 24 would be a good learner. In the beginning any unicycle will seem next to impossible to ride, and so 20 or 24 won't make a difference. You're tall so the 24 may be a little less squirly for you. 20 is good for inside mostly because it won't go as fast, or as far in a limited space. If your indoor space is decently big you might do as well with a 24.
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Old 2014-10-15, 12:34 PM   #8
Vertigo
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I learned on a 24" Sun Classic five months ago. It wasn't expensive but it's held up fine. Lately I've been riding between 4 - 8 miles daily. Soon I'll be moving up to a 29" wheel not because there is anything wrong with the Sun, I just want to go a bit faster.

I think with your height a 24" or even a 26" would be fine for learning. I'm only 5'5".

Good luck.

PS, I did buy a KH seat for the Sun once I could stay on and ride around.
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Old 2017-09-14, 04:54 PM   #9
sacherjj
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I decided to revive this old thread. I stopped posting progress, as I came off the back of my Nimbus and hyperextended my knee pretty bad. This took a month or so before it didn't hurt and over a month more until it felt back to normal.

My Nimbus has sat unused, as just after I went to China and work started piling up. I decided that I wanted to pick up a 20" to start again, just to make the drop a little less when I UPD. I think part of it is a confidence thing about getting injured again.

I found a good condition 20" Sun Flat Top for $35 on Craigslist that I picked up. I may need to add a 400mm post on it, but I'll see after a little time. It was strange to have such a small movement when I tried to back pedal it under me. I've definitely lost something in the balance department in 2+ years off.

I've been also doing very well with watching my nutrition and dropping weight. I will probably wind up ragging out this wheel, but hopefully it will take a while. We have a 1.1 mile trail through the woods and many acres of space off trail that would be a blast to Muni at lunch, once I get to the point. But, I'm not planning on letting anyone know that I'm working on this, until I can jump on the uni and bust around the parking lot and roads a bit.

Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-14 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 2017-09-16, 04:04 AM   #10
sacherjj
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I've forgotten how much energy it is to suck at unicycling. Starting to get it back. Only have a few feet of flat around, so doing the garage door walk. Next week I'm back to where I have access to a tennis court.

This is about an inch too short at full extension, but ridable. The 20" wheel is much less intimidating.

Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-16 at 04:08 AM.
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Old 2017-09-20, 01:22 AM   #11
sacherjj
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Put in about an hour of good practice. I started in a hall with walls on both sides. This felt good to get back a feeling for the balance. I wish it was longer than 10 feet.

I moved to the tennis court and was using the net wire to work along for a few cranks. A few times I could feel my mind telling my muscles to make the correct inputs and did a under control 2 revolutions. Other times, I felt out of control after half a crank.

I could feel my coordination start to fade as some leg muscles started to fatigue. Coming back to the hall helped a little, but finally called it a night.

When I mentally go back through my practice along the net, I am replaying images of my wheel and the bottom of the net a bunch. This means I was looking down, instead of forward. I'm also not sure if I was really keeping my posture well, or just flopping. I wanted to capture both of those points in here, so I can remember as I review this before going out for my second practice.

I wish I had gotten a 20" to start. For me, it seems like the 26" was just too big of a jump and to intimidating. I'm really happy with this $35 uni, even if I trash it just after learning. It is much less intimidating and I'm feeling more comfortable with UPDs without injury.

Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-20 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 2017-09-20, 12:21 PM   #12
Uni Klein
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I remember when I was learning, that I wouldn't make much progress while riding, but I would come out the next day, hop on, and I would be a little bit better.

Persistence, time, and practice is what it takes.
Keep up the good work.
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Old 2017-09-20, 05:59 PM   #13
LargeEddie
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Agree with Uni Klein. Even if you can't say what you took away from a practice session, it adds up. Maybe you're just a little more comfortable being on the uni, or a little bit quicker to make a correction when your balance gets off to one side. You'll be riding as far as you want before too long.

And sacherjj, I agree about the 20", even with it being just a couple of inches closer to the ground and moving a little less distance with each turn of the pedals. For those of us with more mass to move around, it makes a difference. At six feet tall I got by with the stock seat post on mine for a couple of weeks before putting on a longer one. It wasn't a night and day difference but it helped as I got better and thought more about keeping weight on the seat.
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