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Old 2012-08-13, 09:11 PM   #1
kahunacohen
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26" CromMo Nimbus vs. 26" Oracle vs. KH26

Hi. I am a pretty experienced unicyclist (ridden 25+ years, but took off many years). Recently gotten into street riding and now have found I really love muni.

I've been doing muni on my 24" Sem Cycle. I put a knobby tire on (24X1.95). I am thinking of picking up either a 26" Nimbus Cromo frame, 26" Nimbus Oracle, or a KH26. If I get a muni I have settled on a 26" because the trails around me are pretty technical, though not overly so. A mix of some cross country and hopping is required.

I am 5'8", 150lbs. A couple questions:
  1. How long do you expect the sem cycle to last doing this kind of riding? I hop over logs, drop off of rocks, say about 8" to a foot etc. before the cranks and hub break?
  2. What is the main difference I will notice between by Sem and a purpose-built Muni? Will I notice a big weight difference? I ride a bit of trials, so I can imagine that a fatter lower PSI tire will make the tech stuff easier. And I know the new seats will be much more comfortable.
  3. Assuming I get a new muni, what do you suggest? Obviously I want to not spend more than I have to, but at the same time, I know I really like it, and I have ridden for years--so not that likely to just stop riding, and not a beginner unicyclist. Will I notice much of a difference between the Cromo Nimbus for ~$400 with upgrades and a ~$700 KH26 or Oracle with upgrades? Do you think buying the cheaper uni will be penny-wise, pound foolish because I will want to upgrade at some point anyway? The AI Oracle comes with disc brakes for the same price as the KH26, so is the KH26 noticeably better and if so how? Anyone with similar experience choosing between mid-grade and top-end munis?
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Old 2012-08-13, 10:51 PM   #2
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Hey, i cannot speak for the sem cycle but my Norco lasted me about 8 months and i had the cranks and hub no longer running true and it was a 2011.

I own the 2012 26" Nimbus Muni, red. Its kind of on the heavy side, but its a TON of fun to Muni. The 3" wide tire with a lower pressure makes it a buttery smooth ride. I have had to use a KH fusion seat (i use the street) i have not been able to comfortable ride any other seat... I just upgraded to the KH spirit cranks and will be retro fitting a hydraulic disk brake to it in the future.

MY recommendation, purchase the KH from the start, comes with the seat, cranks and disk caliper mount so if you want disk brakes in the future it is a breeze!!!

At some point i will be purchasing a complete KH, i have about $600 tied up in mine and its not nearly as light as the KH and is going to require some custom machine work to get the brakes to work. I am satisfied with my nimbus, and have had no quality issues. Its upto you =D
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Old 2012-08-13, 11:07 PM   #3
jbtilley
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I ended up with a nimbus 26 (non-Oracle) and a KH29. Likely both are heavier than your sem cycle, but either the nimbus or KH will take an absolute beating.

I've noticed that despite being the larger uni my KH is much lighter than my nimbus, a lot of that is in the tire/rotational weight which is the most important place for weight savings. You can ride with the same tire/tube in any frame so that leaves the rim. I don't really know how much weight savings is to be found between the nimbus rim and the drilled KH rims. That and you can always swap out wheel sets. Anyway, the lower rotation weight on my 29er makes it more ideal for climbing and helps over distance.

I suppose the frame weight factors in when hopping, but again I'm finding that the tire is more of a contributing factor than the frame. Despite being heavier, I feel more comfortable with hops on my nimbus due to the voluminous tire.

I don't know a thing about the oracle. I'd be interested in hearing some reviews. The little I do know/remember is that the frame is aluminum (matching the KH frame material) as opposed to the steel frame I have, so it's lighter in that department. Don't know about the rim. Of course the main draw is the disc break on the oracle.

Last edited by jbtilley; 2012-08-13 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 2012-08-14, 12:09 AM   #4
aracer
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If you're sure your going to spend lots of time riding and the difference in cost isn't crippling to you, then go for the more expensive, lighter, better option now. I bought a standard Nimbus muni when I first got into muni, and whilst I can't really say I regret the choice (I did buy it when I'd only been riding 2 months, so wasn't really sure), I'll certainly sell it at some point and get a better custom built one. Which is another point - personally I'd not buy an off-the-shelf high end uni now I know what I want, as I want to spec each part myself.
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Old 2012-08-14, 01:25 AM   #5
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All I can say is that I've beat the living hell out of my Nimbus and it's still going strong. Yeah, they're affordable, and yeah they aren't perfect, but Nimbus is a great brand.
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Last edited by Killian; 2012-08-14 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 2012-08-14, 01:33 AM   #6
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I got a normal nimbus 2 26 and i am 220 pounds and have done 6ft drops with no issues.
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Old 2012-08-15, 04:13 PM   #7
kahunacohen
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Ben, as far as a 26" being a transition to 29, I am not sure that's quite accurate.

Or it's as accurate as a 20" being a transition to a 36". It depends on the use case. Doesn't Kris Holm generally ride a 26" geared? Although I've seen him on 29" too. Given my skill level, which is probably intermediate, wouldn't a 29 be too much effort uphill and over the more technical stuff? Rocks over streams, fairly big rocks etc.
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Old 2012-08-15, 04:38 PM   #8
aracer
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I see the argument for a 29er - however whilst I do very non-technical riding, the limiting factor for me are the climbs on the routes I do. I'm gradually working up to riding more of them, but certainly a long way off being able to ride everything. I can't see that a 29er would do anything but make things more difficult, and whilst I'd be happy to go a bit faster on the flatter stuff (and some of the downs) it's not something I worry about too much.
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Old 2012-08-15, 05:35 PM   #9
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Kahuna,
You are welcome to come along with Chuck and I on a ride in Germantown. We both ride 29ers so you can see what is doable on the local trails. You can also try one out if you like and you can fit on it. We are both on the tall side.
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Old 2012-08-15, 06:49 PM   #10
kahunacohen
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I'd like to come. We've talked about this right? You are on vacation aren't you?

I am gone this weekend, here next, and gone the next one at the NYC unicycle fest.
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Old 2012-08-15, 08:00 PM   #11
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Yes, I am back from vacation. Next weekend should work for me.
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Old 2012-08-16, 03:59 PM   #12
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I've owned a chromoly Nimby and now I'm expecting delivery of a new Oracle next week. I will post a Riding & Review about it. Stay tuned...
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Old 2012-08-16, 04:41 PM   #13
kahunacohen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuniAddict View Post
I've owned a chromoly Nimby and now I'm expecting delivery of a new Oracle next week. I will post a Riding & Review about it. Stay tuned...
What size? 26"?

If I get a KH26, will I have to do anything special to put disc brakes on? A D mount? Will it cost much more than rim brakes?

Any advantages to rim brakes over disc?

I don't think want to run the stock 3" tire on the Oracle, I like the idea of a bit lighter tire that comes stock on the KH. I found out the rim is wider on the KH which is good because you can run larger tires will lower PSI, but the Oracle I can fit down to 1.75" tires, which might be more flexible for the road. Decisions, decisions...
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Old 2012-08-20, 04:55 PM   #14
kahunacohen
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> I'm not trying to knock the crank mounted rotors, but they have some issues that really can't be resolved. Sure, they are an easy retrofit, which is really why they are so cool, but there's a reason bikes have them mounted on the hub...

What are the disadvantages to crank mounted discs? Are they more easily damaged since they are outside the wheel? If so, why doesn't Kris Holm offer hubs compatible with discs because of the incompatibility with the geared hub? seems odd since very few people are going to get the geared hub.
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Old 2012-08-29, 06:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahunacohen View Post
> I'm not trying to knock the crank mounted rotors, but they have some issues that really can't be resolved. Sure, they are an easy retrofit, which is really why they are so cool, but there's a reason bikes have them mounted on the hub...

What are the disadvantages to crank mounted discs? Are they more easily damaged since they are outside the wheel? If so, why doesn't Kris Holm offer hubs compatible with discs because of the incompatibility with the geared hub? seems odd since very few people are going to get the geared hub.
Well-designed versions of both crank and hub-mount systems work. It depends on your balance of priorities. Neither system is a merely a retrofit, and both have issues that require resolving (by good materials and design). While all good unicycles take from bike technology, I would never use "because it's used on a bike" as justification for (or against) applying a bike related design on a unicycle. There's a lot more to it than that.

Hub-mount disk systems are familiar technology in the bike world and they place the disk furthest away from the foot. It is easy and clean to install, and looks good. On the negative side, the rotor mount requires a dished wheel and narrower flange spacing that is geometrically weaker for a given hub width. Whether this a problem or not will depend on the rider, the wheel size, and the strength of the rim. In many cases this will not be an issue and I expect the hub-mount approach to be popular just as it is on bikes.

For crank-mount systems I'll comment on the Spirit setup specifically, and why I chose to go this route:

1) Strength-weight ratio. Many riders push the limits of wheel strength, even (or perhaps especially) beginner-intermediate muni riders. This is true for both catastrophic wheel failure and long-term durability. At the same time, weight matters, especially rotational weight in a wheelset. If I added a disk brake system to KH unicycles, I did not want to accept either a compromise in either geometric wheel strength or increased weight. This is particularly the case given that rim brakes do work - braking performance shouldn't come at the expense of riding performance. Spirit cranks allow installation of a disk brake while maintaining the same symmetrical wheel build and wide flange spacing as a standard non-disk hub: in other words, a strong and durable wheel geometry. The crank rotor mount is also very slightly lighter weight than a hub mount (adds just 2 grams to the right crank), although you would never notice a difference in practice.

2) Compatibility. While I'm personally in favor of using a brake, many (actually most) riders choose not to. I also wanted a system both compatible with disk brakes and 100% functional without them.

3) Versatility. From a design perspective, it's helpful if the exact same system can work from 24" to 36", with a single, standard 100 mm hub that works across the entire line (from 20" to 36").

4) Q-factor. Debates on the "best" Q-factor will go on forever. While too wide is undesirable, I do think that "narrow as possible" is too extreme and simplistic. Thousands of riders in the past 7 years, including myself, have found the Q-factor on original Moment cranks with a standard 100 mm hub to be a good balance of priorities: pedaling stance & knee comfort, saddle comfort, avoidance of pedal strikes, and just enough outwards flare to avoid ankle bashing, heel clipping, or accidental shifting on a geared hub. As such I wanted to keep this similar on Spirit cranks.

4) Easy install. With high-end materials (7050 Al cranks) and a spacer between the crank and bearing, Spirit cranks consistently mount at the same position on a standard ISIS hub. This is a requirement for the crank-mount system that must be resolved by good design. Unlike the standard Moment hub, some (resolvable) fit issues do exist with the close tolerances of the geared hub. However, these are issues associated with the geared hub design (that can and will eventually be resolved), not the Spirit cranks or crank-mount setup.

5) Compatibility with the geared hub. The Spirit cranks are the only compatible disk brake setup with a geared hub. For a variety of reasons, the KH/Schlumpf hub design benefits from using the full width of hub for the gearing, so this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

The potential negative of the disk-mount setup is that it appears to place the rotor in a more vulnerable position for clipping the rotor with your foot or ankle while riding. After more than 1.5 years of testing on all kinds of terrain, I have yet to hit the rotor with my foot. I can't even do it if I try to do it. Personally I have not heard reports from anyone else having this issue, either. I'm sure that someone, somewhere, will manage to do this sometime, but generally it appears to be a non-issue. Of course, all bets are off for wipeouts, for either hub or crank-mount systems: getting caught up in a unicycle while wiping out can get you tangled in ways that you'd never otherwise foresee.

In terms of inadvertently bashing the rotor on the ground, I don't think either the hub or crank-mount system is more or less vulnerable, and in both cases it is probably less vulnerable in practice than it appears to be when you look at it. I have tossed my disk brake unicycle hundreds of times now, without damaging the rotor.

I will say that the Spirit cranks were a challenging design project, so I'm pretty relieved that they work well.

Kris

Last edited by danger_uni; 2012-08-29 at 06:16 PM.
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