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Old 2012-06-04, 05:59 PM   #1
chaugsby
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Which unicycle for a tall/big rider

Hi Folks -

I'm a tall/big rider - 6' 7" and 240 lbs and am asking for some advice on purchasing a new unicycle. First, a little background.

I learned to ride as a kid, and probably hadn't ridden in 25 years. (I'm 37 now.) The other day I took my two girls to a bike shop for some parts, and ended up walking out with a unicycle. After two false starts I was back up and knocked out 1.5 miles on the road while my girls went berserk at the sight of their old man on one wheel. The neighbors simply looked astonished. For my part, I was immediately brought back to how much fun unicycling is and, frankly, am just hooked on it again. I was also surprised that I could still ride.

Unfortunately, the unicycle I got was somewhat poorly constructed, and surely not strong enough for me. The left pedal came out and the machining on the crank was very poor. I've returned the unicycle and am looking for a good strong model for street use.

My goals right now are to ride a lot with my kids, and to ride on pavement. I'm sort of looking for an all-arounder, if that exists. I don't plan to ride off-road (for now), and I frankly know nothing about "trials" or track riding. I just want a unicycle that is well made, strong, and comfortable for cruising. I've looked initially at Torker and Nimbus. As far as price goes, I'd like to pay between $200 - $400.

Thanks for reading this, and for any recommendations you can share.
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Old 2012-06-04, 06:19 PM   #2
anton005
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You could get a decent 24 (like a Nimbus see unicycle.com) that would be good for you to tool around on and would also be good for your kids to learn on down the road.

You could get a 26 or 29 which would be good for cruising around on the streets and if the mood struck you could take them off road on some trails and have even MORE fun

I'm partial to the Nimbus brand, you get a solid product for a good price. You could even look on the classifieds here for a used 26 or 29 Muni which will be nice and strong for your size, but even the road versions on unicycle.com will be plenty strong for you.

Sorry for not being able to help more than that, but there is a reason people have 3 or 5 unis...

Give them a call and they are always glad to help.


Not sure why they don't put this in a sticky at the top of the forum ???

Last edited by anton005; 2012-06-04 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 2012-06-04, 06:56 PM   #3
chaugsby
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Thanks so much for your reply - the Nimbus II 24" looks like it will fit the bill nicely. I was amazed to learn about the various wheel sizes and types of riding that people do -- I'm intrigued by the bigger wheels, and wouldn't be surprised if a 29" or 36 wound up in my garage down the road!
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Old 2012-06-04, 07:13 PM   #4
Nurse Ben
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You are a big guy, you need a big unicycle, and since you already know how to ride, you might as well start at the top, get a 29".

It'll seem big at first, but it'll be well suited to road riding with the kids and some trail duty if you're so inclined. I have all sizes of unis and the 29er is my go uni for 99% of my rides.

If a 29" seems to big, then get a 26"; a 24" is slow and awfully akward for a big guy. My son is 6'4", he graduated to a 26/29 after he hit 6'2", he's not looked back since.

The Nmbus 26muni is a high quality unicycle that has the wheel build to support your weight. I'd avoid anything with a single wall rim as it'll be more likely to bend. The Nimbus Drak would be the muni version of the 29".

You don't need a brake, you can add one in time, that'll keep your price down.
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Old 2012-06-04, 07:25 PM   #5
chaugsby
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Thanks, Nurse Ben! Although it's currently out of stock at UDC, the Nimbus 29" looks like it might be a good choice for me, and is reasonably priced. I really appreciate the advice and am really excited I stumbled upon this site.
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Old 2012-06-04, 07:33 PM   #6
chaugsby
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The Nimbus Drak looks like it might be the choice, based on your recommendation. Two related questions. Can you recommend a good crank length? Second, am I right to assume I can swap out the knobby tire for something a little more street-friendly, while retaining the benefit of a double wall rim that comes with the Drak?
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Old 2012-06-04, 08:02 PM   #7
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The Drak would be a great choice.

Anything from 150-125mm is a great length for general use on a 29er. I would probably start with 150s then go shorter later if you want. They are easily changed.

Tires are also easily changed and they might even it for you at UDC if you call them (I have had much better luck with them using the phone as opposed to e-mail). The Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0 seems to be pretty popular amongst 29" roadies.


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Old 2012-06-04, 08:14 PM   #8
Nurse Ben
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Like Eric suggested, the Drak is beefier, 36 v 32 spokes, and I believe the Stealth II rim is the same as the one being used on the Oracles. Personally I prefer the round crown frame, it looks nicer and it's not as harsh on the knees.

Tires, well, see what you think of the tire it comes with OR ask UDC if they will swap out tires and give you some credit. The Big Apple is a good tire and they have them in stock.

Start with the stock cranks, I think they're 150 Venture II. If you decided to upgrade down the road, the new KH cranks will be disc brake compatible, so you can use that as an excuse to get brakes

You might also consider upgrading the saddle, esp as a big guy, those Nimbus saddles are kinda tight on the jewels, so a KH Freeride or the new low Profile KH street with the center relief channel would be a more comfortable ride.

You should try to hook up with some other riders...
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Last edited by Nurse Ben; 2012-06-04 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 2012-06-04, 08:24 PM   #9
chaugsby
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You guys are just fantastic. I'm going to call UDC and make this thing happen -- really appreciate the thoughtful advice.

And, regarding other riders, that was actually what might have inspired my impulse buy. Every evening on my drive home from work I see a guy riding a unicycle along the Susquehanna River here in Harrisburg and it must have gotten me wondering if I could still do it ... Next time I see him I'll introduce myself.
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Old 2012-06-04, 08:28 PM   #10
Nurse Ben
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I think there is a unicycle group in PA, not sure where, but if you do a search you are sure to find them; the rider you saw may be on this forum

Unigoat, search for him, he has a group website and blog.
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Old 2012-06-04, 08:48 PM   #11
zeus661
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Somewhat like you I bought my second uni at the age of 50. It is the Nimbus 36"/ I learned about 40 years ago on a 20" then purchased a 24" which hung in my garage the last 40 or so years.
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Old 2012-06-04, 09:41 PM   #12
uniShark
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+1 to getting a 29er. My primary unis are a 29 and a 36. Once I got used to the 36, the 29 now feels small. And I'm only 6'4".
I'm not real current on the models, but Nimbus is a good way to go. Get one with an ISIS splined hub for your weight. Schwalbe Big Apple 29x2.0" is a good choice for a street (and light gravel) tire.
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Old 2012-06-05, 04:58 AM   #13
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The recommendations you've received are right on target. I'm about your size with a similar history - had a unicycle as a kid and took it up again after a lot of years off. In the last year, I've bought a 36", 29" and 26". Though I think the 29" with a street tire is the best solution for the reasons you were given, a 26", if you can get your hands on one more quickly, is also worth considering. It's not much smaller than the 29". There is at least one used 26" listed for sale in the trading post. The only drawback in my opinion there I that you won't get to pick your own seat post length, and at your height a longer seat post is probably a good thing.
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Old 2012-06-05, 12:12 PM   #14
jbtilley
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Really good advice, so much so that I don't know why I'm even bothering to post

Anyway:

I learned and commuted on a 24" back in the day. My unicycle lapse was only 10 years though, but I picked it back up again after seeing someone coming out of a local single track area while I was out on a walk.

I was roughly the same age as you when I got back on for the first time in forever and just like you it was more of a see if I can ride deal with a clause that I wouldn't ever dare take the thing off road. Well after that first ride I was hooked. I still had a decent schwinn from my commuting days but after about two months of greenways I got the itch to attempt off road.

I ended up getting a used 26" nimbus muni from the trading post. It had a KH Freeride saddle (VERY important, can't stress that enough) and right away the difference in quality was extremely apparent. I was used to the seat pain of riding a unicycle, but the saddle on my new uni was so nice it didn't even feel like I was riding a uni at all. The ride was as smooth as glass, a stark contrast compared to my older uni with the hard saddle.

Anyway, after time I discovered that the larger 26" wheel fit my height better than the 24" (I'm 6'1"). After putting in a few miles I no longer used the 24" at all. I eventually moved up to a 29" wheel and that's become my primary uni. At first I wouldn't consider taking the 29" into the woods but I worked my way up to it.

Just remember, the plan now may be to ride pavement but if you're anything like me you'll eventually get the itch to do off road. I started back on the uni about 10 months ago and now I've got about 6 months of off road experience. When you attempt off road just remember to be patient with yourself. Those first outings were tough, like I seriously questioned whether or not I could even ride a unicycle tough - despite having a few thousand miles under my belt from the commuting days. Let some air out of the tire, expect to get knocked off often, and expect your cardio to be tested. Most important, stick with it. I've had some serious "feel like a kid again" moments out there, nothing like it in the world.

Any size wheel is probably a good choice as you might end up owning multiple sizes. Like I said, I found the larger 26" to "fit" my height better and that size is still small enough to get a good introduction into muni (I still haven't ridden a 24" in the woods). Of course if you want to keep up with family on a bike the larger the wheel the better.

Final notes:
1) KH Freeride: The upgrade is something like $15 on UDC. No brainer.
2) They make dual hole cranks. I've got a set of 150/125s on the 29". 150 for off road, 125 for getting some extra speed when on the greenways. Something else to consider as a possible upgrade.
3) If you do end up picking up a used uni from the trading post and the seat post is too short, just remember that UDC sells seat posts.

Last edited by jbtilley; 2012-06-05 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 2012-06-08, 02:07 PM   #15
chaugsby
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Thanks again for all of your recommendations.

I wanted to follow up to let you know that I wound up ordering the Nimbus 26" NoDie from UDC, which should arrive next week. This purchase was something of a compromise between all of your recommendations, and the limited stock that UDC currently has. I got 138 isis cranks for a little more speed, and a longer seatpost. The NoDie comes with doublewall 36 hole rims that Nurse Ben recommended for my weight. Overall it seems like a very sturdily built unicycle that I think should support my height and weight well and help me get back into things.

I really did want to go for the Nimbus Drak muni, but figured it's probably just a matter of time before I get a second unicycle, and I can go bigger at that time.

Again, thanks for helping me transition back into this!
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