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Old 2018-02-20, 01:50 PM   #1
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Newbie with a question

I had a unicycle about 10 years ago. I didn't ride it much but it was fun to mess around with. I remember getting very tired very fast when trying to ride it around the neighborhood. Not sure of the tire size or anything else. I was wondering what type of Uni is best for longer distances?

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Old 2018-02-20, 02:20 PM   #2
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Generally speaking the bigger the wheel, the better for long distances, with obvious caveats. 36" is the biggest pneumatic tire you can currently get for a unicycle and makes a great road unicycle, though you may want to start smaller first if just getting back into the saddle.

Smaller unicycles are easier to (re)learn on. I would search for a couple used unicycles, a smaller standard sized unicycle, and a 36. It's hard to know if you will like the 36" size until you try it.

If there is a unicycle club near you and you aren't a buy before you try kind of guy, I am sure someone would let you try theirs out.
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Old 2018-02-20, 03:22 PM   #3
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Hi, welcome back to this great sport.

On the whole, bigger wheels are easier to ride fast and far, but they take a bit longer to get used to. People have learned on a 36" wheel, but for most people, 20 or 24 is a better starting point.

At smaller wheel sizes, a small difference in diameter makes a bigger percentage difference. A 24 is only 4 inches bigger than a 20, but that is 20%. That translates into 20% further for every pedal stroke, and 20% faster at any given cadence (rpm). As the heel is bigger, it is better able to cope with obstacles and it has more momentum, so in fact you can usually pedal faster and smoother, which means - all other things being equal - a 24 will be about a quarter faster than a 20. That makes a difference.

Remember that the seat height only changes by HALF the change in wheel diameter. The seat of a 24 is only 2 inches further off the ground than the seat of a 20, all other things being equal.

An easy upgrade, later, would be shorter cranks. That would allow a faster cadence, a higher top speed and a higher cruising speed.

However, once you get into riding significant distances, you will probably gravitate towards either a 29, or a 36, or - as most of us do - both. Smaller is more nimble, bigger is faster and more impressive.

My first two unis were 20s, and my second one was a 26. I found it fairly easy to ride, but a bit trickier to mount. My next was a 24 and I fell in love with it, but then outgrew it whenI got my 28, 36, and then 29. Now, many year later, it's 36 for long rides, 29 for general use including rides of around 10-15 miles, and 24 for what counts for me as Muni. And an ultimate wheel for exercise and the challenge.
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Old 2018-02-20, 04:37 PM   #4
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I went from "didn't ride it much but it was fun to mess around with" on a 26" to a 36er after a 50 year break. The actual riding of the 36er was not not much of an issue but learning free mounting took some time. I've never wished I'd started back to riding on a smaller uni, the 36er is fun to ride and will cover some ground.

As far as getting tired, I believe it is just a matter of keeping as much weight in the saddle as possible and physical conditioning of the leg muscles. Many new riders in relatively good shape have reported that their legs get fatigued very quickly. It it just a matter of getting in shape, mostly the quad muscles.

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Old 2018-02-21, 02:20 AM   #5
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Got to start with the more obvious question: how much "longer"? Could be anywhere from around the neighborhood to around town and beyond, but the answer is different.
John Foss

"Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"
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newbie, question

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