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Old 2015-12-04, 03:58 PM   #1
1kw
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Never rode before, 26 vs 29"

Really want to get learn how to ride a Muni. The problem is I also want to ride road, roughly 75% of the time.

Afraid the 29" would be too difficult for a new rider?

Is there a huge top speed difference between the two? I do have some slight hills, located in Tennessee.

Thank you!
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Old 2015-12-04, 04:46 PM   #2
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This is a very hard thing to answer since what works for some just doesn't work for others. I would probably go with a 26 paired with some dual hole cranks.

Dual hole cranks and a quick release seatpost clamp are great for quickly converting a trailworthy MUni into a fairly quick and comfortable road-going machine. They really are a game-changer for multi-use unicycles.

I don't know if you already ride a smaller wheel or how comfortable you are with it but when starting out in MUni moderately long cranks can make the learning process easier. 150mm is a good starting point.

On the road shorter cranks will give you a faster and smoother ride requiring less motion which helps prevent chafing and fatigue. You would probably find 125mm good for starting out if you can ride but are not very comfortable on the wheel size but might want to go shorter with time.

For myself I would go with a 26 paired with 117/137 cranks but 127/150 cranks might be easier to start out with.


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Last edited by saskatchewanian; 2015-12-04 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 2015-12-04, 05:13 PM   #3
song
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Unicycle.com is having their annual sale right now. They don't have many discounts on stuff you're asking about, though they do have some discounts on 20" unicycles, which are the best kind for learning advanced skills or just for learning to ride, though learning is certainly possible on a larger wheel, if you are adventurous and determined and don't mind taking some harder falls.

Anyway, 26" is better for muni, 29" is better for road, but they are somewhat interchangeable, especially if you put longer or shorter cranks on them, or a fatter or thinner tire. 26" is slightly easier to ride generally, if you are really a beginner, because you don't have as far to fall, and I have been told that riding muni on a 29" is quite difficult.

The 29" will be a bit faster at top speed, of course. How much faster? The difference in speed of a unicycle is in fairly direct proportion to wheel radius, I think, but apparently stops increasing after 36" diameter is reached because the increasing weight of the wheel begins to negate the advantage of its larger size.
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Old 2015-12-04, 09:54 PM   #4
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can you ride already?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1kw View Post
Really want to get learn how to ride a Muni. The problem is I also want to ride road, roughly 75% of the time.

Afraid the 29" would be too difficult for a new rider?

Is there a huge top speed difference between the two? I do have some slight hills, located in Tennessee.

Thank you!
hmmm...
Can you ride a unicycle already, say 100ft?
Or are you a total beginner?
For learning I would start with a 20" or 24" and then later buy the muni you really want.
You can pick up a used 20" for way cheap (<$100), or you could buy a nice and durable one for about $300. Then after you learn to ride you could then step up to a 29" pretty easily.

You could learn on a 26 or even a 29 (I actually learned on a 24), especially if you're relatively tall. But smaller wheeler is simply easier and you will learn faster and hurt yourself less (falling from higher hurts more, duh?). And that really does make a difference.

If you can already ride (and to answer the original question): it totally depends on the trails you want to ride muni... just guessing based on my experience riding in Texas and East Coast (MA/PA), I think an experienced rider would do quite well and have the most fun on a 29" for Tennessee trails (The steeper and more technical, the more you want/need a smaller wheel). Rockies and West Coast is mostly 26 terrain and Alps 24/26. But in the end it's totally subjective...
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Old 2015-12-04, 11:17 PM   #5
LargeEddie
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Once again it's the "one unicycle to rule them all" question, the topic that will not die no matter how many times we kill it.

You want two unicycles, one for the road and one for muni, no matter how much or little you do of each. Trust me on this.
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Old 2015-12-04, 11:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeEddie View Post
Once again it's the "one unicycle to rule them all" question, the topic that will not die no matter how many times we kill it.

You want two unicycles, one for the road and one for muni, no matter how much or little you do of each. Trust me on this.
When I was in Australia with only one unicycle I was quite happy with my geared 26. I had it set up with a light 2.3" knobby, 125/150 cranks, and a mid-short handle with a brake.

It was a great commuter. Pretty darn decent, if slightly heavy Muni. And a slightly buzzy and twitchy but competent mile-munching road-machine. It sure beat dragging three unicycles around the world .
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Old 2015-12-05, 01:07 AM   #7
1kw
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a geared setup would be ideal once I can learn how to ride. Where are you guys buying a geared hub? Couldnt find any with a basic google search, other than just info from 2012.

Seems like dual cranks on a 26" would be best, or get a 29" and build a 26" wheelset. I have built roughly 3 wheels in my past for mtbs, so shouldnt be an issue. However that would leave a large gap in between frame and tire.

searching through instagram, i see quite abit offroading on 29" however.
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Old 2015-12-05, 01:57 AM   #8
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If you are interested in geared hubs the only commercially available option is built by Schlumpf Innovations.

I would hold off on buying one though because there are tradeoffs when using one. When in fixed or 1:1 mode there is a tiny amount of movement in the hub which can be a bit unnerving until you get used to it. Geared up the hub uses your frame as a lever-arm causing some interesting dynamics that definitely takes some adjusting. Plus they are heavy, expensive, and can break when it's inconvenient... I have two

It sounds like you don't currently ride at all (nothing wrong with that, it's how we all started off) In that case I will just let you know that most people seem to learn to ride the easiest with the 20-24" unicycles. Having said that I feel I would have learnt best on a 26, and I have seen people learn on a 36 that didn't like the feel of the smaller unicycles.

It also sounds like you are drawn to the 29. Why don't you get a 29 and try it out? If you feel it's too big build a second wheel, possibly a 24.
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Last edited by saskatchewanian; 2015-12-05 at 02:02 AM. Reason: gramar
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Old 2015-12-05, 02:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeEddie View Post
Once again it's the "one unicycle to rule them all" question, the topic that will not die no matter how many times we kill it.
It's like "Where's your other wheel?" -- it's not going to go away.
Quote:
You want two unicycles, one for the road and one for muni, no matter how much or little you do of each. Trust me on this.
Absolutely right. When trying to decide on a uni for two different things, your best bet is to pick the one you're going to do most, and buy one for that.

In your case it's different as you are a learner. Best uni for road, especially with minimal hills, is a 36". Not recommended for starting out with, however. I absolutely agree with saskatchewanian's first post above, on getting a 26" for a mix of muni and road. You can also learn to ride on it. Take your time and enjoy the process.

Then, when you're getting comfortable riding on road and off, decide what to get for a dedicated Road machine. 29" isn't a lot bigger than a 26", though with short cranks you can go pretty fast. Or 36" for a dedicated Road machine. But don't decide that now.

Many people will recommend a 20" for learning. They're great for learning on, but if your end goal is to go places, you won't want to use it for that. A 20" is always great for learning new skills and tricks, and can be handed down (or loaned) to the next person learning to ride. But if you don't like the idea of buying so many unicycles, you can start with the 26" and you'll be just fine. They are all hard to learn on; don't let the size make you think you made a wrong choice there.
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Old 2015-12-05, 02:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1kw View Post
Couldnt find any with a basic google search, other than just info from 2012.
Which makes it totally irrelevant...
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Old 2015-12-05, 03:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeEddie View Post
You want two unicycles, one for the road and one for muni, no matter how much or little you do of each. Trust me on this.
That's it!
There's no such thing as a polyvalent unicycle. And if the geared 26" sounds like the holy grail of unis, the steep price would get you at least 5 decent (if not high end) unicycles of different flavors...

29" seems pretty big for learning. Unless uni is built in your system, which is pretty rare among humans, that beast takes some getting used to. Even for proficient riders when they first go up to that size. And they might be good for XC, but for Muni, they are quickly limited - as it's harder to climb up with those, and harder to go down a hill unless they have a brake.

Lots of good advice here. But the best way is almost always the same scheme: get a cheap one from Craigslist, and once you master it, sell it for the price you bought it - or keep it for new tricks or to lend to friends who want to try. And if you don't master it, sell it and you'll get your money back.

There is a sort of popular belief that once you start learning, at some point it clicks and boom you're a unicyclist. It doesn't quite work like that, it's more of a constant uphill learning curve (at least for me), but at least, every little step you make is a very rewarding victory with yourself.
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Old 2015-12-05, 05:52 PM   #12
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The perfect travel wheel

Thanks to Craigslist I have at least one uni in every size but 36". They're not top end unicycles but are good enough to give me a better understanding of what size works well for me. My dilemma now is which one to take on plane trips. A geared unicycle sounds perfect but that's lots of money to spend if it turns out to be too difficult. Lately I'm thinking a 26" is the best for travel. Easy enough to get in a box as checked luggage. Also take two tires, one for muni and another for road.

But what do I take to unicon? I want all of them. I'll definitely take a 29er for standard marathon and 10k but would like to have another size for hanging out.

1kw, it's hard to know what would work for you without knowing more about your situation. I learned on a 24" and moved to a 29" a few month later. The 29" wasn't easy but I've grown to love it. I always thought I could switch the wheel to a 26" if I was having trouble with the larger wheel. My 29er can also accommodate a muni tire if I decide to use it for that.

If you end up riding roads and muni you'll probably end up with at least two unicycles.
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Old 2015-12-11, 03:57 AM   #13
Engineer on a Unicycle
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I switched to a 26" after just a few weeks learning on a 20". It wasn't difficult to ride (if anything it was actually easier, as balance changes more slowly, and it's a lot easier to free-mount) however it was definitely intimidating - I joke that my first "several blocks at one go" only happened because continuing to pedal was less scary than trying to get off!

Within just a few weeks more I was doing multi-mile rides on paved bike paths, feeling the 26" was rather small and wishing I had waited another week or two and purchased a 29" instead. But I think it would have been quite intimidating to start there! Someone locally got a 36er to start, and was courageously trying when I met him but not yet managing to ride in control... I'm curious if he ever figured it out.

It's worth seeing if you can get a 20-26" on the used market to play with, and then once you've manged to ride short distances with a feeling of control decide what you really want.
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