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Old 2003-12-21, 09:22 PM   #1
onewheeldave
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Muni commuting

When I was deciding where to go from 20" I found advice from people on this forum to be invaluable as I was quite bewildered by the effects of wheel size and crank length on speed.

I wanted something fast and lacking the pronounced 'wobble' of 20"-ers and opted for a Nimbus 28".

I found it a challenge to ride and a few months later bought a Nimbus 24x3, at which point, the 28" was relegated to the storage cupboard whilst I spent many happy hours riding the muni.

Strangely, much of that riding was spent on road and pavement; I found myself using it as a short range bike i.e. for commuting.

Traditional wisdom says that 20" is for freestyle/trials, 24" muni for off roading, 28"/29"/coker for communting and coker for hard core long distance.

After a couple of years of riding my muni I wanted to offer my perspective on the commuting issue; whilst the above are a good basic guide, I feel that in certain circumstances, the muni has advantages over the 28/29-er.

By muni I mean a 24x3 with 150mm cranks and by 28/29-er I mean with 125mm cranks (these are the combinations I have personal experience of).

By commuting I mean short/medium trips, starting from where you live (I don't have a car so wherever it is I want to ride, I have to actually ride there on the muni) and including trips to town/shops etc.

One factor is speed, and here the 28/29-er has a clear advantage, but other factors include: -

1. safety for pedestrians- as much of the ride wil be on pavement it is important that one can ride safely close to bystanders
2. ability to roll up/down curbs
3. ease of mounting and idling

The nice thing about a muni is that it is easy to control, the longer cranks=better control which means that it's safer for bystanders.

Also, the slower speed of a muni makes it easy to ride behind slow moving pedestrians who are blocking the way.

The muni is definitly superior to the 28" for going up/down curbs and on bumpy terrain, though the fatter tyre on the 29" makes it very good for these.

Another factor to consider is one that has been raised by several people here in connection with 29-ers and Cokers; whilst the Coker is a faster and smoother ride than a 29-er, people have found that in a town situation, the 29" can complete a journey in less time because of the number of stops necessary for traffic lights etc.

I think the same can be said of the muni and 28/29-er, though the latter is the faster machine, on journeys that involve crowded pavements (sidewalks) and frequent stops, the muni can be a less stressful ride, and sometimes, a faster one.

The final factor, and a very relevant one for me, is that the muni is better on steep hills, and, in Sheffield, there are a lot of very steep hills!

I must admit that, when I converted my 28-er to a 29-er, over the few weeks I spent riding it I really came to appreciate the speed and smoothness of the ride, and the muni felt like a tank in comparison when I got back on it.

My 29-er riding was developing nicely until I switched to 110mm cranks and had a nasty fall. When I recovered and wanted to ride again I didn't want to risk another fall onto the same place and with the muni I knew that it wouldn't happen.

Whilst I must confess that I've spent a lot more time on the muni than the 29-er and do understand that the more one rides a 29-er, the better one gets; I believe that the muni is a machine that can be ridden with great control even after a few months lay off.

This isn't the case with the 29-er; I took it out a couple of nights ago (with 125's) and felt pretty inept; admittedly it was a night ride and I hadn't ridden the 29 for ages, but this wouldn't be a problem with the muni.

I do fully intend to get back into 29-ing, maybe next spring when there's some daylight, cos it is a great ride when you've spent time getting used to it.

Also, a lot of it is due to Sheffield hills; I took my muni to Milton Keynes last year, and, if I lived there I think my ideal uni would be a 29-er or even a Coker- Mk is flat and has an amazing cycle path network that is independant of the roads.

But for steep hilly urban areas like Sheffield I would say that a 24x3 muni is preferable to 28/29 for commuting.
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Old 2003-12-22, 06:18 AM   #2
Klaas Bil
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Re: Muni commuting

On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 15:22:37 -0600, onewheeldave
<onewheeldave@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

>for steep hilly urban areas like Sheffield I would say that a 24x3
>muni is preferable to 28/29 for commuting.


Much if not all of what you say is valid. But you leave out the
29'er_and_150_mm_cranks combination - might be a good 'compromise'.
One more remark: when you say 'muni' does that include an off-road
tyre? For city use, a smoother tyre might wear less, cost less, roll
lighter on pavement and possibly weigh less.

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Old 2003-12-22, 06:46 AM   #3
pete66
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You've made a good call dave, one other nice thing about smaller wheels is that if you happen to live too far away to commute purely on a unicycle (like me), it'll still be easy to take your MUNi in cars/trains/buses/helicopters.

cheers
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Old 2003-12-22, 08:53 AM   #4
wobbling bear
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isn't that a compromise? (a "road muni?")

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Old 2003-12-22, 10:48 AM   #5
joemarshall
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On pavements (sidewalks to Americans), the 29er takes some getting used to, but in the end you can ride around pedestrians fine. However, If I am just riding on the pavement, I usually prefer my 26" or a 24x3.

When I commute, I ride on the actual road. It's so much faster and you don't have to worry about running down pedestrians or stop anywhere near as much.

Joe
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Old 2003-12-22, 08:05 PM   #6
onewheeldave
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Re: Re: Muni commuting

Quote:
Originally posted by Klaas Bil

Much if not all of what you say is valid. But you leave out the
29'er_and_150_mm_cranks combination - might be a good 'compromise'.
One more remark: when you say 'muni' does that include an off-road
tyre? For city use, a smoother tyre might wear less, cost less, roll
lighter on pavement and possibly weigh less.
Yeah, I should try out 150's on a 29, and also 125's on the muni, I'm a little lazy with switching cranks.

I do wonder what I'd gain though by having 150's on a 29, given that I'd lose the advantage of speed and small crank turning circle, am I not going to be better off on the muni?

For the tyre I use 3" Halo Contra, a fat off road tyre which is slightly smaller than a Gazz and has a rounder profile, it's effectively a slick now cos the treads gone.

I would love to try a proper fat slick though, but the only ones available are sub 3" (no one in UK seems to stock the 'Big Apples')
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Old 2003-12-23, 12:03 AM   #7
cjd
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Re: Re: Re: Muni commuting

Quote:
Originally posted by onewheeldave
...
For the tyre I use 3" Halo Contra, a fat off road tyre which is slightly smaller than a Gazz and has a rounder profile, it's effectively a slick now cos the treads gone.

I would love to try a proper fat slick though, but the only ones available are sub 3" (no one in UK seems to stock the 'Big Apples')
The german muni guy has the Dyno Fireball 24x3. It's a nice looking tyre, but I think I'm too lazy to change tyres, and the Halo/Duro/Contra/Wildlife does OK.

http://einradladen.net/catalog/produ...roducts_id=113
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Old 2003-12-23, 04:20 AM   #8
onewheeldave
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I meant to say Fireball, not Big Apple (I think the Apple is for 29-ers?).

It'd be nice to try a 24x3 slick tyre but I agree that the Halo/Duro/Contra/Wildlife is a really good tyre- inexpensive, ok for roads/pavement and, when the knobbles have worn down it still lasts for ages.

While on this subject I'd like to say what a great machine the Nimbus 24x3 is; I must have had mine a couple of years now and, despite a lot of use it's still in excellent shape.

Whilst that's partly due to the fact that I mainly just ride it and don't do drops or trials type stuff, it's held up really well with the wheel as true as the day I got it and the cranks still at 180 degrees.

I think for the price it's one of the safest bets for beginners who don't know exactly what kind of unicycling they want to get into.
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Old 2003-12-23, 06:28 AM   #9
Klaas Bil
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Re: Muni commuting

On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 14:05:36 -0600, onewheeldave
<onewheeldave@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

>I do wonder what I'd gain though by having 150's on a 29, given that I'd
>lose the advantage of speed and small crank turning circle, am I not
>going to be better off on the muni?

Well, you said you have 150's on the muni too.

>For the tyre I use 3" Halo Contra, a fat off road tyre which is slightly
>smaller than a Gazz and has a rounder profile, it's effectively a slick
>now cos the treads gone.

Are the treads also gone on the sides? If not, the footprint may have
become wider, impeding turning and the like (similar to how the Gazz
doesn't like pavement). I think a dedicated road slick may work
better.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
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Old 2003-12-24, 05:00 PM   #10
onewheeldave
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Re: Re: Muni commuting

Quote:
Originally posted by Klaas Bil
On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 14:05:36 -0600, onewheeldave
<onewheeldave@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

>I do wonder what I'd gain though by having 150's on a 29, given that I'd
>lose the advantage of speed and small crank turning circle, am I not
>going to be better off on the muni?

Well, you said you have 150's on the muni too.

>For the tyre I use 3" Halo Contra, a fat off road tyre which is slightly
>smaller than a Gazz and has a rounder profile, it's effectively a slick
>now cos the treads gone.

Are the treads also gone on the sides? If not, the footprint may have
become wider, impeding turning and the like (similar to how the Gazz
doesn't like pavement). I think a dedicated road slick may work
better.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
--
I hope to be a 90 year old guy who rides his unicycle to the store for whiskey and condoms. - J.D. Miller

I meant that a 29-er with 150's wouldn't be that much different to a 24x3"(effectively 26") with 150's, so there didn't seem much point to it.

After todays ride I'm happier about the 29 with 125's (see next post) and reckon I'll work on getting used to it one the roads because, even though the 125's=less control, I do like the smoother ride they give.

As for the worn down Muni tyre, there doesn't seem to be any turning problem; I'm sure a dedicated road slick would be better for concrete riding, but there aren't any 3" slicks available in UK.
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Old 2003-12-24, 05:02 PM   #11
onewheeldave
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Today I went out again on the 29-er, bearing in mind what Joe said about riding on the road I decided that I'd stay off the pavements as much as possible.

Though I feel ok about being on the road with my muni(24x3) I don't do it often cos of its slowness and I've tended to avoid roads with the 29 as I've not got as consistent, in terms of control, as I have with the muni.

As it's Christmas eve I thought this would be a good day as there are less cars on the road, and I actually felt very safe, the smooth wobble free action of the 29 and extra height made for a good ride; in fact I enjoyed it so much I think I may have seen the future!

I look forward to improving my 29 riding over the next few weeks and takeing advantage of the roads, it's great to not have to be planning which bits of curb are low enough to roll up.

I still stand by what I said in the original post about the 24x3- it is ideal for commuting with a large pavement/sidewalk element, and it's very accessible for those who ride intermittently.

The 29-er is much better for road riding, is a much smoother ride; but I feel that riding a 29-er on the roads requires a fair amount of experience to be safe.

Lastly, Joe, you seem to have a lot of 29-er road riding experience, I saw the photos you posted of you riding to work on it. Have you considered posting a 29-er road riding FAQ?

I think a lot of people would be interested in reading of your experiences and ideas for safety etc as I'm sure there's some tips that only become apparent after a lot of riding.
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