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Old 2018-05-18, 11:59 AM   #16
aj1500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
There is no consensus across all unicyclists about crank length. There are opinions, specialised needs, and fashions.

I have ridden my 28 on cranks from 80mm up to 150, my 24 on cranks from 102 to 170. I ride my 29 mainly on 150s but at the moment I have my 36 on 125s.

150 mm on a 29 is a good all round size for control on and off road, easy mounting, idling,and reasonable speed. Shorter cranks will cruise faster, but with some losses in the other things on the list.

There is also a macho aspect to riding short cranks.

I look at it this way: you may need the long cranks on a steep hill, and you can always learn to spin faster on the flat. Racing cyclists in the Tour de France etc. spend tens of thousands on a bike and could have any cranks they wanted and I think they all have cranks somewhere around 165 - 175 mm.
OK maybe I said it wrong, consensus may have been a bit strong
I just want to make an informed choice when I am ready to get one
I don't see myself as ever being one to switch out cranks for different riding
so I look for the best overall performance that meets my needs as close as possible then I adjust to it.

that's an interesting point about the racing cycle crank length
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Old 2018-05-19, 12:21 AM   #17
LargeEddie
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Bicycles as a rule always have longer cranks than unicycles. It's easier to use your legs' full range of motion on a bike where you aren't also using your feet to maintain balance, and where you have a widely space pair of wheels and very stable handlebars to keep your body steady while pedaling.

I was simply sharing my experience with my 29" unicycle, and I don't think of myself as being especially macho about my riding. There sure isn't much there to justify that. I've never had a handlebar on that unicycle or on any of my smaller wheels. When I've tried 150 mm cranks on a couple of them I found that I wobbled around too much and just felt there was too much herky-jerky motion going on for it to be enjoyable.

I could climb 10% grades on pavement just fine with the 137 mm cranks I put on first, and with a little more experience I did just as well when I switched down to 125s. There weren't any cases where I needed more "control" (actually it's more work for me controlling 150s on pavement with a small-to-medium wheel because of the amount of leg motion and wobble) or where I wasn't able to easily navigate anything I encountered.

I do have 150s on my serious muni and on my 36" with a handlebar. They feel better there.

But decide for yourself. Switching cranks is common and easy to do. You'll know more about unicycling and your own preferences after trying different lengths than any of us could ever tell you.
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Old 2018-05-22, 04:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj1500 View Post
if the consensus is the 29 is better with 125 cranks why does it come with 150
The imagined "consensus" is between enthusiasts who talk to each other online instead of being out riding.
In other words, not necessarily representative of the average buyer of a unicycle. So it comes with 150s as they offer good control and confidence for someone new to riding a 29". I will ignore the fact that 36" unicycles also come with 150s as the default.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aj1500
...would it be better to start with the 150 and then move to the shorter cranks or just get the shorter from the start
Based on what you've written so far I would say start with the 125s. Depending on your tastes you might want to go shorter, but if you're riding on mostly level ground, you are less likely to want to go longer.
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Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
Now after 2.5 years of riding I found that 140mm is very fine for me, but for offroad, I still prefer my 150mm.
I find my 29" with 140s great fun on trails that aren't very technical or "climbey" but for more difficult stuff I would also use 150s.

My two main unicycles also have 150s. Those are a 26" KH Muni and a geared 36". Both have the dual-hole spirits, and the 125 hole can be really fun on "easy" trails, but hard work on technical or climbs. I doubt I will ever use the 125 holes on the 36" as long as the geared hub is there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Setonix
I find 125mm way too short. Braking is harder, mounting is harder.
This is probably more true as you and your knees get older (the braking part), but can also be mitigated/eliminated by adding a brake. But you really don't want to add a brake if you're only riding on flat stuff.

For me, riding a 29" on pavement with anything longer than 125 is too much work. If you need to make a sudden stop, often a quick turn works better than jamming on the leg-brakes. If I want to get somewhere on a 29" I'll opt for 102s, but if I'm learning, and just cruising around, those would probably be annoyingly short.

On an ungeared 36", I wouldn't go any longer than 125 for pavement (mine has a brake). For my local bike path, my "sweet spot" was 114. But when it was new, I was happy to ride with the 150s until I built up some confidence on the beast. They ride very differently from the 45" wheel with the solid tire I'd had for 20 years before my first Coker (and my 45" has 165mm cranks!).

Setonix mentioned dual hole cranks, which make it easier to switch sizes, but if you go for the Trainer, or any other uni with square taper/cotterless cranks, I don't think unicycle.com has any with dual hole. But at $15 a pair, it's a much, much cheaper proposition to experiment with different sizes of cotterless! Yes, the cheap ones are steel, but that's fine, especially if they're short. Once you find your favorite sizes, you can then upgrade them to the lighter stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
There is also a macho aspect to riding short cranks.
Interesting -- I never got that. Never felt the urge to boast that "Mine are shorter"... That's right ladies, I once raced a Marathon on a 36" with 102s (and it was my fastest one ever!)... Nope, I'm still not feeling it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule
I look at it this way: you may need the long cranks on a steep hill, and you can always learn to spin faster on the flat.
This is true. I once tried to race George Peck (the grandfather of Mountain Unicycling) on a singletrack trail, him on 175s and me probably one 150s. I wasn't quite keeping up, and his feet were making BIG circles! So you can definitely learn to spin fast, but it will still take a larger amount of energy. Call me lazy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule
Racing cyclists in the Tour de France etc. spend tens of thousands on a bike and could have any cranks they wanted and I think they all have cranks somewhere around 165 - 175 mm.
True but basically irrelevant because they have all the gearing they need to turn those cranks at the optimum cadence to climb the Alps or speed along the flats. We always have to pedal faster if we want to go faster.
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Old 2018-05-22, 02:59 PM   #19
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good post John, Thank you for that
I didn't mean to start a fire with my comment about the cranks but I learned a lot in all the replies

OK another question along the same
is there a real difference in a 28" and the 29"
other than the obvious wheel size, I don't see a lot about 28" so it makes me think it's not a popular size
I am ready to move up to a bigger wheel but have to watch $$$ so looking for the best bang for the buck
I keep looking, found a 29 trainer on CL and e-mailed with the owner but haven't heard back about shipping cost so I don't know if that will work out
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Old 2018-05-22, 05:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj1500 View Post
good post John, Thank you for that
I didn't mean to start a fire with my comment about the cranks but I learned a lot in all the replies

OK another question along the same
is there a real difference in a 28" and the 29"
other than the obvious wheel size, I don't see a lot about 28" so it makes me think it's not a popular size
I am ready to move up to a bigger wheel but have to watch $$$ so looking for the best bang for the buck
I keep looking, found a 29 trainer on CL and e-mailed with the owner but haven't heard back about shipping cost so I don't know if that will work out

The difference is tyres (US = "tires"). What is generally called a "28" is a 700c which will take a tyre of between about 19mm (ridiculously skinny for unicycling - I tried it!) and 35mm or so. It's the size of wheel you might typically see on a road bike.

A 29 has a broadly similar diameter but with a wider rim and a fatter tyre, which makes the rolling diameter greater.

In terms of rolling diameter, 29/28 = 1.04, so the 29 is 4% "or so" bigger. Even if you say 10%, then the difference would be between riding at about 10 mph and 11 mph at a given cadence: negligible.

However, the handling and versatility are wildly different.

I have a 28 with a lightweight road bike rim and 114mm cranks. I don't ride it often, but when I do, it's like a fencing foil. It encourages (and needs) pinpoint accuracy of control on a rough surface. It is light, fast and responsive, but takes concentration to ride.

I also have a KH29. It is heavier, but the weight and cushioning effect of the fatter tyre makes it more restful to ride. It will cruise on a variety of surfaces, and its momentum will carry it over uneven patches that would slow down or stop the 28.

No doubt at all, of the two unis, the 29 is the most capable and versatile. The 28, though, has a special charm all of its own. The reason to buy a 29 is because it is a good all round size. The only reason to buy a 28 is if you particularly want a 28.

I own or have owned a variety of 20, 24, 26, 28, 29and 36 inch unicycles and ridden on cranks ranging from 80 mm to 170 mm. In terms of indefinable "character" the 29 leaves me a bit cold, but in terms of "if I could only keep one unicycle" then its versatility would persuade me to choose it.
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Old 2018-05-22, 08:51 PM   #21
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Sheldon Brown, in describing the 29, says
Quote:
This is a marketing term for wide 622 mm ("700C") tires.
These tire sizes look scientific, but they are not! They are just spin (so to speak).

What we all think of as the Schwalbe Big Apple 29 x 2.0 tire, if you look carefully, has a barely visible label that says (gasp!) 28 x 2.0!

According to Sheldon Brown’s website, if I have understood it correctly, what Mikefule says about tire sizes is not correct, except in Northern Europe, which does include the UK, I guess, at least for a little while longer! Maybe one of these days some clever person will come up with a new post-Brexit bicycle tire size and be pointed out as a Russian agent.

Anyway, Sun unicycles has a 28-inch uni, but other than that, I have never heard of that size. I was always under the impression that road bikes have 27-inch wheels, and apparently that was true at one time, but not anymore! I guess 700C is the most unambiguous way, in any country right now, to refer to a wheel whose diameter is large but not crazy large. The metric system is best, of course. No one has yet tinkered with that for marketing reasons, as far as I know, though many people might feel sad or deflated if they knew that their 622 mm rim is only 24.5 inches across!
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Old 2018-05-22, 09:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by song View Post

-sizing.html"]Sheldon Brown’s website[/URL], if I have understood it correctly, what Mikefule says about tire sizes is not correct, except in Northern Europe, which does include the UK, I guess, at least for a little while longer! Maybe one of these days some clever person will come up with a new post-Brexit bicycle tire size and be pointed out as a Russian agent.
When I started riding full sized bikes in the 1970s, the common large wheel sizes were 27 inch and 26 inch.

27 inch was for "racers" (any bike with dropped handlebars was called a "racer") and 26 inch was for sit up and beg stye granny bikes. There were also a few very old bikes around with a 28 inch wheel size.

Tyre widths were in Imperial in units of 1/8 of an inch.
So a "racer" used for riding to school would be 27 x 1 1/4"
A racer actually used for going quite fast would be 27 x 1 1/8"
A serious racer would be 27 x 1"
Narrow sizes were available for real hard riders.

Granny bike tyres were typically 26 x 1 3/8.

(1 inch is 25.4 mm)

Some time around the early 1980s, we started to hear about 700c. This new size had the same place in the market as 27 inch wheels but were a metric standard of roughly the same size. Many of us rebelled against this foreign invasion.

However, for the last 25-30 years, if you went to a high street cycle shop and bought a "road bike" it would always have 700c rims and usually a 23mm tyre.

I bought my first "28 inch" unicycle from UDC.UK around 15 years ago (?) and it was a 700c with about a 32 mm tyre on it. It was "headlined" as a 28 but was really the metric equivalent.

I later had a custom 700c wheel made up and tried various tyres down to either 19 mm or 20 mm. A tyre that narrow needed to be run at about 120 psi and I had several tubes burst on impact when I hit bumps. 28 mm was a good all round size, but in the last year or two, I put a 32 mm on with a bit more tread.

The 29 also runs a metric size rim, but the tyre is labelled in inches.

The problem over here in the UK comes from a general resistance to the metric system despite the fact that it has been taught in schools for nearly 50 years. We still use a mishmash of imperial and metric units. It is not unknown to hear someone measure something as "Three foot six inches and about 10 mm." It reminds me of the old song, "A bushel and a peck."
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Old 2018-05-23, 01:22 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
The problem over here in the UK comes from a general resistance to the metric system despite the fact that it has been taught in schools for nearly 50 years.
Dysfunctional as it may be, you're still ahead of us here in the US. When I was growing up, I used to think part of the resistance (inertia) to switching to metric was the way towns and streets were laid out. The state of Michigan appears to have been surveyed out into 6x6 mile squares, called townships. Today, Detroit's suburbs still show these outlines in many areas. My home town, Livonia, is a complete 6x6 mile square. Come on out to NAUCC in July and see it for yourself! Or check out the gray square in this image.

But not just that, it was the east-west major roads, named for what mile they were, including the famous "8 Mile Road". I grew up between 6 and 7 Mile.

But the rest of the country mostly doesn't have such mile-specific roadways, so we don't even have that for an excuse for still resisting most of the metric system...
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Old 2018-05-23, 04:50 AM   #24
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But the rest of the country mostly doesn't have such mile-specific roadways, so we don't even have that for an excuse for still resisting most of the metric system...
There doesn't need to be an excuse. People are just like that. For example, we use Fahrenheit on hot days ("It's 90 degrees in the shade") and Celsius on cold days ("It's minus 5 out there") just because it sounds more dramatic. However, strangely, a man would add one inch rather than 2.5 centimetres when describing his todger, and boobs are always in inches too.
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Old 2018-05-23, 07:50 AM   #25
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28" and 29" tires indeed have the same inner diameter. When manufacturers started to make them for mountain bikes, they called them 29" as those are bigger volume tires - much bigger than race bikes for sure - and their outside diameter is closer to 29" than 28" for sure.
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Old 2018-05-23, 09:59 AM   #26
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Interestingly, the C in 700C used to refer to the tyre width. In the older French sizing system there were 700A, 700B, 700C and 700D. All four of these sizes had the same diameter tyres, each at a different width. This necessitated different diameter rims for each tyre width.

Modern road bikes just use the rim diameter from 700C wheels but do whatever they like with rim and tyre widths. The same is true of 650B (AKA 27.5) wheels currently in vogue - originally there were also 650A and 650C wheels available, which would yield the same tyre diameter but at different standardised tyre widths.

Sheldon Brown has the good stuff, as always: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#french and https://sheldonbrown.com/650b.html
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