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Old 2017-08-24, 04:07 AM   #1
lanphuonglien
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Best wheel size for me(?)

So I just recently got into unicycling as a hobby and my account here is to get help from experienced riders, or simply folks that know a bit more than me.
I am soon buying my first unicycle and I am thinking of getting the Torker LX, as I've heard it's pretty good and strong for beginners. I am completely torn, however, on whether I should get a 20" or a 24". I have done plenty of research and am aware of the benefits and consequences of each size. It's just that my lifestyle and needs demand several things at once. Any help?
I love to run and have quite a thing for speed. Since I have never ridden a uni before I obviously don't expect anything too fast, however I do love the idea of being able to do some light, fast riding for fun. The other thing is the sidewalks/roads/ground, which, in my area, aren't smooth at all. While this alone isn't any reason to need some extreme trials, I would need to do some curb hopping, and the ability to go down steps with ease would be cool (not to mention some light trials!). I totally get that I will need to sacrifice something, although I still don't know what. Hopefully I've explained myself pretty well. Anyone know which wheel size would be best?
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Old 2017-08-24, 05:03 AM   #2
slamdance
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Get to 20" size

If you're less than 6' like me, get the smaller.
I got the 24" as my first ever.
Wasted about 40-50 hrs of my total 70hrs to finally get it.
At around 40 hrs I trashed the cheapo $50 amazon.com 24" and got a 20" Torker LX...the same brand you are considering.

On the 20" I finally learned after about 30 hrs.
Now I've upgraded to back to a 24", but a better brand.
A nimbus for $300, which I don't mind paying now that I can understand/appreciate the advance features: Splined cranks, thick diameter seat post, double lever seat clamp, fat tires(...which will cost $50 to replace!),etc...

Don't think you're going to make the perfect choice and just buy 1 unicycle. Read the posts. This hobby tends to make you buy a "whole fleet", because such a tiny size change/frame/wheels,...etc. make a big difference in the ride.

Also, learn first...and don't worry about curb jumping, jump mounting, wheel stand...whatever. Learn to ride, then everything will follow.

Be prepared to injure yourself now/then, which may affect your running. I know I'm a runner, myself. It makes your legs stronger, but the only way to really cross-over to benefit running is if you ride "uphill" or on "grass". The downhill muni stuff is mostly balance/agility...remember you're going downhill so your not really cranking it...plus most advance muni's have brakes.

Anyways, buy the 20" and have fun. Whether you stick/with it or not.
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Old 2017-08-24, 05:12 AM   #3
LargeEddie
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Hi lanphuonglien. A Torker LX should serve you very well. I'll recommend the 20" just because I had both 20" and 24" unicycles when I started learning and had more early successes on the 20". A lot of skills are easier to practice on the small wheel because you move more slowly and there's less momentum to deal with. But people have learned on unicycles of every size.

There are many many "one unicycle to rule them all" threads here, people asking which one to buy to meet a whole list of needs. But most of us accept that someone who learns to unicycle and enjoys it and keeps riding will end up owning several unicycles. We have different ones for different types of riding. They aren't that expensive and they don't take up that much space, and buying them is fun.

A unicycle won't ever be as fast as a bicycle, but you can have thrills on a 36" unicycle or one with a geared hub, or a 36" with a geared hub even. But learn to ride really well at slower speeds first, and get those awkward unplanned dismounts out of the way before then. Having to leave the unicycle becomes a lot more serious once you're going faster than you can run.

Edit: slamdance got in ahead of me. I agree with all of that.

Last edited by LargeEddie; 2017-08-24 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 2017-08-24, 01:25 PM   #4
elpuebloUNIdo
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Another vote for 20". It is not only a great size for beginners, it is also great for learning new techniques. I'm 6'2", and the stock seat post that comes with the Torker is not quite long enough. Something to consider if you're tall. Replacement seat posts are cheap. Don't worry about speed, yet. You will have a better experience on a larger wheel after learning the basics on a smaller wheel. Nothing wrong with buying a somewhat cheaper starter unicycle. It won't take abuse, but I don't recommend that beginners ride down stairs or off curbs. Good luck, and welcome to the forum.
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Old 2017-08-24, 01:49 PM   #5
OneTrackMind
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Going for a mid range construction to start with is a reasonable choice. You will still have a uni that is useful in the collection you will inevitably gather if you take to unicycling. Junk is a waste of money and makes learning harder. They have very little resale value. But then they don't cost much on the first place especially if you buy secondhand. And if you decide uni isn't really for you ....

Despite the strength of having 48 spokes the Torker LX has a relatively narrow single wall rim. This and the square taper crank interface limit the wheel strength. Not really suited for stair riding.

Everyone needs a 20 so you might as well start there because it is easier to learn. I have two 20s. One set up for indoors with non-marking tyre and pedals. It has 114 square taper cranks and a single wall rim. The other has a 48 spoke double wall rim, an ISIS hub with 100 mm cranks. Virtually indestructible, for outdoors.

But a 20 is always going to have limited roll over ability. That is what first drove me to a 24 for out on the street. They just stall too easily unless the rider is quite skilled and paying a lot of attention.

If you like speed I can't see you settling for even a 24 for long. It is surprising how much difference there can be in the ride between two unis that are not much different diameter.

For example, I have a 24" LX fitted with a lightweight Maxxis DTH 1.95 tyre and 125 cranks. It is a really responsive nimble combination that rolls reasonably well and is very controllable on tight sidewalks/footpaths. I love it for that. It is also quite a nice standard spec track racer. Better playing to its strength than putting a big fat tyre on it and making it do things it wasn't really built for.

On the other hand my 26 is just two inches larger but has a 48 mm rim double wall rim and ISIS cranks. For the road and sidewalks I use a DTH and 125 cranks. It is built to take the rougher stuff but is still reasonably responsive and controllable. It rolls really well and is probably the practical ideal on my streets/footpaths. If you wanted to limit to two unis I would consider a 26 (or probably a 27.5) for your next uni. Still not what I would consider fast though.

The rollover ability and speed of bigger wheels forever beckons. I went on to get a 29 then a 36. (Skipped 27.5 and 32) I still ride much the same places. The tight spots are a challenge and I have to bend my body fully horizontal under the overhanging vegetation on the 36. Must look weird but the loping speed out in the open. Ahhh.
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Last edited by OneTrackMind; 2017-08-24 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 2017-08-24, 05:10 PM   #6
bungeejoe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lanphuonglien View Post
So I just recently got into unicycling... It's just that my lifestyle and needs demand several things at once. Anyhelp?
You will always be one, two, or three unicycles less than your current need.

Unicycling demands owning at least one of every size. Give it up and buy what you need right now to learn, knowing it will only be the first of many. Trying to buy one unicycle for multipurpose will only frustrate and slow learning.

Be smart and start your collection. When it reaches a dozen or so you can start giving some away to friends interested in learning.

Owner of two or three fewer unicycles than currently needed/wanted,
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Old 2017-08-24, 10:00 PM   #7
1wheelonthefly
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20"

Some one has a 20" nimbus for sale in the trading post for 210.00 plus shipping
You won't find a better deal. You might have to get a longer seat post. If I did not have one already I would have jumped on it.
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Old 2017-08-25, 01:56 AM   #8
Kwikkash
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20 inch

I have had a blast on my new model 20 inch. I ride it the most. I have several different unicycles now. I'm glad to see the general opinion is that each wheel size and tire type has a purpose. I was thinking I might need counseling. I'm really re-learning. I have had a 19 inch uni for 40 years. It's a tank. Literally built like a tank. Heavy. My new 20 inch with a chunky tire is more fun than I ever imagined. I'm bouncing, riding down "small" curbs, learning to go backwards, idling , one foot idling (attempting). It has been crazy fun. Play with the air pressure. Get a little bounce. I wear my safety gear and get after it. So much fun. I met up with another 'unicyclist.com' member last night and rode his 36er. Actually, 2 different models. One equipped with 2 speed Schlumpf hub. Wow. Really. Cool. Great sport/hobby whatever. It's fun and crazy good workout. Jeff c
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Old 2017-08-25, 05:11 AM   #9
harper
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You don't really say whether or not you already know how to ride. If you already know how to ride, get a 24" regardless of your height. It is by far the most versatile wheel size. If you don't know how to ride yet it doesn't really matter a whole lot what you get.
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Old 2017-08-26, 05:51 AM   #10
johnfoss
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Another vote for 24", if you already ride. Much better for going places, but still very versatile. The only drawback, based on your one post, is that it may be slower than you want to go.

If you're just starting out, a 20" will also be fine as a learning machine. Then, you can decide if you want to go a little bigger than 24" for your faster ride.
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Old 2017-08-31, 11:53 PM   #11
Uni Klein
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What size would you guys suggest for 10-20 mile rides on pavement?
I was thinking either 32'' or 36''. And, are handle bars good for long rides? what's the advantage of having them?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 2017-09-01, 04:37 AM   #12
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by Uni Klein View Post
What size would you guys suggest for 10-20 mile rides on pavement?
I was thinking either 32'' or 36''. And, are handle bars good for long rides? what's the advantage of having them?

Thanks for any advice.
Handlebars are helpful only after you've learned to ride with both hands holding the seat handle. They make you balance from your hips, rather than from your arms. They provide leverage for climbing hills. They help you adjust yourself on the seat, and they take some of the weight off the seat. They stabilize the unicycle. They solve most problems associated with road camber. They make you look cooler, because you no longer look like a clown flapping your arm(s) madly in the air. They are great for longer rides. I first learned 2-handed SIF (seat in front) skills on a 20", then I was able to, with no problems, use handlebars on larger wheels.

For 10-20 mile rides on pavement, a 36" sounds good, but first learning skills on smaller wheels may make you a stronger 36" rider.
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Old 2017-09-01, 05:20 AM   #13
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Welcome Uni Klein, from a former 'gander! I'm from Livonia. How about you?

For wheel size I'd say either one, though there are more choices in 36" machines. The downside of 36ers is heavy wheels/tires. A 32" will be lighter, but in part because it's also smaller, which goes with being a little slower. But both are plenty fast compared to smaller wheels.

For handlebars, what ElPueblo said. Don't worry about them until you're real comfortable riding your big uni.
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Old 2017-09-02, 12:07 AM   #14
OneTrackMind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
Handlebars are helpful only after you've learned to ride with both hands holding the seat handle.
That is overstated. I haven't seriously ridden with both hands on the seat handle of any uni but I do use a short KH handlebar one handed to great effect on my 36.

Quote:
They make you balance from your hips, rather than from your arms.
I have been balancing from my hips for a long time but I still generally prefer to leave one arm hanging loose to act much like a harmonic balancer. By this I mean I use that arm very little for actively balancing but it responds spontaneously to movement in such a way that it prevents the build up of cyclic wobbles.

I do occasionally work at using both hands on the handlebar but it hasn't really grabbed me yet.

Quote:
They provide leverage for climbing hills. They help you adjust yourself on the seat, and they take some of the weight off the seat. They stabilize the unicycle. They solve most problems associated with road camber.
I do use the handlebar for these things especially for to control the angle of the uni on hills. I also ride though a lot of kerb ramps and often hit rough joins in the concrete footpaths at speed. That extra leverage is great for control or quickly recovering from what would otherwise cause a dismount or force me to take it slower.

Quote:
They make you look cooler, because you no longer look like a clown flapping your arm(s) madly in the air. They are great for longer rides.
Plenty of riders don't flap their arms despite not having a bar.

I don't much use the bar for taking weight off the seat. The hills on my rides demand quite a lot of getting out of the seat anyway so I don't have problems with the derriere. I tend to keep fairly neutral pressure on the bar until it is needed to resist some undesirable force or pull up on it powerfully during climbs.
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Last edited by OneTrackMind; 2017-09-02 at 12:08 AM.
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