24" or 26"?

I’ve been learning on a very basic 20", and now looking to get my first
“proper” uni. Looking for something to do some distance and basic Muni
on. Haven’t got an unlimited budget, so was loooking at Nimbus, but the
choice is then 24" or 26". Is there a big difference? As I am looking
at distance rather than technical, big drops etc then thought 26 would
be better, but will I regret it eg when climbing hills?

I don’t think for things like hills there’s a huge difference - it’s not really that much bigger, and bigger wheels can actually be quite nice for hill climbing. I think the main advantage of a 24" wheel is the strength inherent in a smaller wheel. I’ve currently got a 24", and the idea of a slightly larger wheel to get a bit of extra pace is attractive - particularly when riding in a group with the person behind you on a 26" shouting “Fasterfasterfaster!”.


I personally wouldn’t recommend the nimbus frame. I have a nimbus trials, and I really dislike the frame. I find the crown has a nasty tendency of knocking into my legs, and I know on the 24" it hits your knees. But I guess it just depends on what you get used to.

Re: 24" or 26"?

Thanks for the info on Nimbus - I had thought the main issue was around
its strength. Are there any others at a similar price? Most of the
alternatives seem to be more than £100 more, which would require some

The nimbus II frame is fine for me, I’ve got two of them, on the 29er and 26" and they both don’t hit my knees. If you’re really short or have funny legs the frame shape might make a difference. Frame strength isn’t an issue because hardly anyone breaks frames.

For wheel size, 26 is fine if you don’t want to do big drops. You’d probably break cranks on big drops way before you’d break a well built 26" wheel anyway. There’s not much difference on uphills, I think I slightly prefer a 26" on uphills cos of the extra rolly overness for bumps, but that’s mainly just what I’m used to. I’d say go 26 if you’re more distancey. A 26" has more tyre choice too, which is handy if you’re not sure what kind of riding you want to do. There isn’t much difference between the sizes though, you’d probably be happy with a 24" too.

It might be worth phoning Roger at unicycle.com UK to talk about wheel size because he’s one of the few people out there who rides 26" and 24" unicycles with similar setups a lot, whereas pretty much everyone on here will just recommend the wheel they happen to have (you can tell I’ve got a 26" wheel right?).


I agree with Joe about the Nimbus II frame. Mine’s a 26" and I don’t hit my knees on it. There’s a nice amount of clearance around a 3" tyre as well - no rubbing even though it flexes a fair amount when pedalling hard. The only thing I don’t like about it is the colour (I’m not a fan of chrome frames) but I can’t be bothered to paint it or get it powder coated, so it’s just a tasteful mixture of chrome, mud and stickers at the moment :slight_smile:

Hey John,
LIFE IS SHORT! Get a Coker or 29. You said you are looking to cover distance and you already own a 20’ so get a BIGGER tire. I had a 24’ and it’s not much difference. You will still be squirreling around. On a Coker or 29’ it’s a whole new LEVEL of riding a uni. If you ACTUALLY want to compete with bike riders and even PASS them then get a Coker! I PROMISE YOU WON’T REGRET IT!! :slight_smile:

Yeah i had the Nimbus 24" Muni, no problems with the frame, I tried the 26" over the summer too, it is noticeably faster on the flat. The main reason I chose the 24" was so I could do some trials too, the 26" really gets too big for any kind of street/trials riding. I’ve broken the hub, cranks, bearings, seatpost clamp and seat so far, but If you don’t jump around on it alot the first three should be fine (better hubs these days) , and the seats are stronger now then when i bought it aswell. Go for the 26", it will be noticeably quicker covering distance, and still climb most hills you’re likely to come across on trails.

I’ve had a Nimbus for over a year and it has served me well with very little maintenance. I don’t do large drops so splined cranks didn’t matter to me. I don’t regret getting it, as long as you don’t reckon you’ll upgrade then it should be fine.

But when that bug bites… :sunglasses:

This is your specification: a uni that will do reasonable distance off road, rather than pure technical stuff. A cross country unicycle, if you like. The tradition in this forum is for people to recommend what they have, rather than what you need, so read all replies with that thought in mind.

Your choices are wider than 24/26.

Your choices are 24, 26, 29 or Coker.

24 has strong wheel, light weight, reasonable tyre selection, very manoeuvreable, good on steep hills, comparatively slow.

26 has strong wheel, slightly heavier, better at rolling over broken ground, good tyre selection.

29 is heavier, faster, much better at rolling over broken ground. Less manoevreable. More of a handful on hills.

Coker: heavy, unwieldy, very limited tyre selection, but barnstorming fun.

All four sizes can be ridden aggressively off road.

A 26 is a good compromise. Mine is good for 10 -15 mile rides on tough ground, but nimble enough to weave between obstacles. if I bought a specialist MUni tomorrow, knowing what I now know, I might choose a 24 with a fat tyre, or I might choose a 26 with a fat tyre. I’d use a 29 as a cross country machine on wide but rough tracks, and a Coker because it’s a Coker.

A 24 is noticeable easier up steep hills. A 26 is noticeably easier over broken and boggy ground.

Whichever you choose will be a compromise: that is the beauty of unicycling. Every non-geared uni is a selection of wheel diameter, crank length and tyre section. It will be good at some things, bad at others. There is no perfect all rounder.

A 24 inch wheel will fit in a 26 inch frame…

I would recommend the 29er. It is a significantly cheaper than a coker, and you can cover a lot of distance. If you are looking to do fun things like go down stairs, wheelwalk, and do freestyle tricks…go with a 24…or even a better 20" than the one you have now. For your purposes…I wouldnt recommend the 26 at all.

The nice thing about a 24" is that a 3" tyre works well on it- I use a 24x3 for most of my riding (3" contra rather than a Gazz)- that set-up is definitly nothing like a 20" and will not be squirrely.

I’ve also had a 26x3, but found the 3" tyre wasn’t as suitable as on the 24"- faster, but, IMO, too heavy. I prefer a 29-er set-up over the 26x3.

Bear in mind that a 24x3 is not a 24"- it’s actual diameter is closer to a 26" wheel.

My favourite ride is currently the 24x3" (a Nimbus- I’ve never found the frame to be anything but good), but part of the reason is that I live in a very hilly area.

My feeling is that you won’t regret getting a 24x3", but I’d definitly stay away from a 24"-er with less than a 3" tyre- the fat tyre makes a huge difference in ridability if you’re going off road.

I also enjoyed the Nimbus 29, though, due to the hills, I installed 150 mm cranks rather than the more usual 125’s; I just find the 24x3 to be a good compromise for off-roading, moderate distance, riding amongst pedestrians; also, if my riding gets intermittent, i find the 24x3 to be something I can ride well if I’ve gone a few weeks without riding (more so than the 29-er).

But, the extra speed of the 29-er is very nice.

I would say that a 24x3 is not ideal if your goal is to ride distances on non-technical or moderately-technical terrain. Yes, the wheel diameter is about 26", but that fat tire is tiring to push over those kinds of distances. On easy trails you can probably go faster on a slick 24x1.75", or the stock Torker LX, than on a knobby 24x3", despite the smaller tire diameter.

A 24x3" will help you on rocky, sandy, or muddy terrain, but overall it’s probably the slowest option, so if it’s speed and distance you’re looking for, I would choose something else.

A 26x3" is marginally faster than the 24x3", but also has some of the same issues with the energy required to push the big fat tire around. I went with a 26x3" as a compromise; it is noticably faster than a 24x3" on easy trails, but still buff enough to handle technical stuff. But it’s a lot slower than a 29x2.1" on easy trails.

A 29er is a great unicycle for cross-country riding. As long as things don’t get too technical you can keep up good speed, and the lesser weight compared to the hard-core MUni setup will help you on uphills. But I wound up buying my 26x3" after I taco’ed my 29x2.1" wheel in Moab; the 29er is just not as effective on really difficult terrain. Some of the best times in 24-hour races have come on 29" wheels; depending on the terrain, a 29er may be the fastest uni available.

I have not done much off-road Coker riding, but some people swear by the big wheel. On really easy terrain, the Coker is faster than anything else, and there are some kinds of lightly to moderately technical terrain where the Coker will float over obstacles that you’d need to deal with on a 29er. If there’s a lot of steep up and down, or sharp turns, a 29er’s weight manuverability can make up for the speed difference on flat ground.

My personal experience is that while I can go slightly faster on a coker in offroad races, the ride is more FUN on a 29er or 26. The exception is if the course is very smooth with no sharp corners.

I’ve also noticed that on the courses we’ve raced a given rider will pull off almost identical lap times on a coker and 29er (in some cases the 29er is actually faster). A 24" wheel produces significantly slower lap times.

For pure cross country a 29er is a good choice. If you plan on tackling a few technical obstacles which require largish drops then a 26 or 24 inch wheel is a better size. I’ve ridden both a 24" and 26" offroad and find that the 24" is easier going up hills but the 26" rolls over things nicer.

Depends on what you are trying to do exactly.
I use the 24X3 knowing that I’ll get a better workout (in less distance).
If I really wanted to cover ground (or have decent speed), I’d use a fixy bike.

My advice, being one of limited riding experience outside of my current Onza 24" and my previous 20" is to try to find somewhere where you can test out several unicycles in varied conditions. while i was staying at my moms this summer in seattle i went to a couple of Unicycle club meetings and go to try out both a coker, a 29er, and a 26er. the coker is awesome, i fell in love…again, and once again need another 500 bucks! try before you buy if possible, there aren’t enough words in the world to describe a personal feeling. the 29er was really awkward do to small cranks which im not used to, 125’s versus my usual 165’s, but was screaming fast, the 26 was noticeably faster than my 24 but didnt fair as well going up hills as has been said before, though the hills weren’t horribly substantial i did notice a difference. hope any of our motley crew of opinions helps!

My vote goes to 26"

Also, one other point: a 26" gives you an extra inch of clearance between the rock/protrusion and your pedal…those aren’t fun falls.

That’s very nice for you. Now let’s try to address the concern of the poster.

I have the nimbus 26" and i love it. I am short so the seat is only a couple of inches above the frame but i can still fit my rail adapter in (the seat is so far down that my 26" looks like a coker :slight_smile: ). i only hit my knees on the frame when i’m hopping, but if i’m going really fast i hit my leg on the tyre. The overall dimension of the nimubs 26" muni with the 3" duro tyre in nearly 28" !!!
So don’t get a 28 over the 26 because the 26 is a 28 and you can go muniing. The 26 is so much easier to go uphill then my 20, my 20 with 140’s has more torque but the 26 with 170’s has so much more rolling Inertia (if that makes sense)

Re: 24" or 26"?

Thanks to everyone for the input! And to summarise? 24, 26, 29 or
I think given the discussions I am now tending towards 26 or 29. It
would be great to be able to try various sizes, but expect I will just
have to make my mind up and go for it! Can always add to the fleet
later (when budget allows).