24" vs 26"

What are the benefits of a 24" wheel over a 26"?

I am considering switching to 26" to gain these benefits:
Larger tire selection
Cheapter tires
More availability at local stores
Bigger diameter (26" x 3")
Seems lighter
Easier to get repaired (at bike shops)

Aside from having a 3" tire (at lighter weight) is there an advantage to the 24"?
I’m guessing it’s a tad more durable, and there may be less pinch flats?


The 24" is far more manouverable in tight spaces or on difficult terrain, if the same type of tyre and rim are used it will be lighter and therefore easier to hop on. The lower gearing helps steep ascents and descents, and the wheel is stronger because the spokes are shorter and moments aren’t so large.

Certainly, on hills, the size of the wheel makes more difference to the ease of pedalling than the length of the cranks. I’ve done direct comparisons of a 26 with 170s and a 24 with 150s. The reason is that there is an ideal length of crank for each rider (for each style of riding).

Simply lengthening the cranks for more leverage isn’t the answer because it changes the “engine configuration”. Put simply how much easier would it be with 300 mm cranks? It would be all but impossible.

So, for really steep stuff, a 24 will out perform a 26.

For those who haven’t fully understood that wheels were designed to roll along the ground, and who seem to feel that unicyclic progress should be balistic, the 24 will be lighter than the 26.

Other than that, the 26 has all of the advantages you listed at the start of the thread.

If I were to design a pure MUni for my own use, it would be a 24 with a very fat tyre. For something more general purpose, including longer distance and higher speeds, I’d use a 26 with a fat tyre, or possibly a 29. (What I actually use most often in real life is a 28 with a road tyre, but that’s because I’m some sort of a crazy weirdo purist.:wink: )

Mike has mentioned nearly all the benefits of 24" over 26". One little bit that made a difference to me when I moved from 26" to 24 “, was free mounting is a lot easier on a 24”.


I have both a 24x3 muni with a Gazz and a 26x3 muni with a Gazz.

The 24x3 is more maneuverable and easier to hop or jump with.

I believe that part of the maneuverability problem with the 26x3 is the different tread design on the 26x3 Gazz compared to the 24x3 Gazz. The 26x3 Gazz is more of a front wheel tire while the 24x3 is more of a rear wheel tire. It is more difficult to do a scuffing style turn with the 26x3 compared to the 24x3. Changing to a different 26x3 tire could eliminate or minimize that problem but I haven’t tried a different tire on that muni yet. Tire choice for a 26x3 probably makes a significant difference.

I hardly ride the 26x3 any more because I have more fun with the 24x3 and fun is what it’s all about. I haven’t done any time trial rides to determine if the 26x3 is faster than the 24x3. It would be interesting to find out if the 26x3 is faster on various trails but I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to that type of testing/comparison. I’ve got 175’s on the 26x3. I typically ride with 170’s on the 24x3 but also have 160’s for it.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that the gap between a (true) 24 and a (true) 26 is only 2/24 or 1/12 = 8%.

That means the wheel is only about 8% bigger, and only travels about 8% further per revolution. At MUni speeds (usually under 10 mph) that’s less than 1 mph difference. Most MUni is not about big distance, and most peope out to do big distance will choose a 29 or Coker, or put shorter cranks on their 26.

A 24 fat tyre is about 26 inch rolling diameter. A 26 fat tyre is nearer to 28 inches. the difference between these sizes is even smaller - 2 inches is a smaller proportion of 26 than it is of 24.

Which leads me back to one of my general hobby horses that many of the differences that people pay so much attention to are little more than fine tuning. They are important but… 100 miles of riding hard will make many riders 8% better than they were before.

My own recent experience is instructive. There are certain tracks that used to be “defining challenges” on my regular routes - if I made them without a UPD then that was good. Things that used to be a defining challenge on my 26/150 are now easily achievable on my 28/110, or even in some cases on the 28/102 set up. The obstacles haven’t got easier - I’ve just got better.

I recall a book called “Moving Towards Stillness” in which the author compared traditional Japanese archery with modern western archery.

The traditional Japanese archer says, “I cannot hit the target, therefore I will look to my technique, and practise until I can,” where the western archer says, “If I am to hit that target, I will need a better bow, telescopic sights, balances and carbon fibre arrows.” He may have somewhat simplified his argument, but I think there is some truth in it.

I didn’t mean to compare a 24" x 3" to a 26" x 3"

I was really wanting to compare 24" x 3" to 26" x X".
My theory is that a 26" x 2.6" will be lighter, just as manuervable, just as durable, a tiny bit faster, AND offer the benenfits I started the thread with.

Moreover, I saw a distinct possibility to put a REAL road tire on the 26" wheel (not the Hookworm). And, as you might know, changing the tire and maintaining a 26" will be easier (if you use bike shops from time to time like I do).

Right now, I have a 24" x 2.3" and a 24" x 2.125 tube on my uni BECAUSE there is no where in town to get a replacement 24" x 3.0 tube (or anything close to it).

I’ll probably stick with the 24", but not before I take more time to consider a 26 x @2.6. JerryGruss has one, and it rides about the same as my current setup.

My guess is that a 26" rim could turn out to be MORE versatile than the 24".

I have a 24x3 in my DX (it barely fit). I got it at university cyclery, but it was around $15 which is a ripoff. I’m using it because it’s very very resistant to pinch flats.

Freewheeling had some 2.4-2.8 (ish) ones a while back, but I bought them out of those. They should have more in a week or so.

I’m glad you asked about the 24 vs 26, because I have been asking the same question.

As for the 24x3 tube – I just put a 24 x 3 Gazz on my DX and am using the original 24 x 2.125 tube which is working fine for now.

Just in case, I ordered a 24 x 3 tube from the Bicycle Exchange in
Carrollton, Texas (972-245-5510) – north side of Dallas, if your interested. They have several in their book that they can get and their prices are reasonable.

“Moreover, I saw a distinct possibility to put a REAL road tire on the 26” wheel …"

If your plans are to ride on the streets go for a 29er.

24" is good for everything

Re: 24" vs 26"

The 26" will make your legs hurt more after a muni ride. That’s not an issue if your legs are not prone to pain, but if they tend to hurt after a ride–let’s say to the point that you publically complain about it–then you’d definitely want to stick with the 24". That tactic, along with lots of rest and cutting back on your exercise routine, will be the best way to have those legs :)-ing again.

Re: Re: 24" vs 26"

I think you are right.
I’m planning to stick with the 24" now.
My enthusiasm declined when I figured out that a standard mountain bike as 32 HOLES. Profile has 36. The LBS said “Don’t do it.”

I guess I’ll just buy extra spare parts for the 24"

there are loads of mountain bike rims in 36 hole, most freeride / downhill rims are available in 36 hole. If you were considering a 26x2.6" tyre, you’d want one of those rims anyway.

I ride a 26"x2.6" gazz tyre. It rides about the same as a 24"x3", a bit more rolly, but not quite so bouncy. I don’t think you’d notice a massive difference unless you do a lot of trials, pedal grabs etc. I notice much more difference between crank lengths on a 24". I’m faster than quite a few of the people I ride with, but I think that’s mainly due to riding several miles every day.

You do have the choice of running an XC tyre if you want. I know a few people who ride with 2.0 or 2.1 tyres, this makes it noticeably different. If you run a road tyre and short cranks, it’s not that different from a 29er.

Personally I think a few very very good riders actually ride hard enough for there to be any difference and for the extra durability of the wheel to matter, pretty much everyone else just rides 24" not 26" because it’s what unicycle.com mostly sells and because it’s what Kris rides. Like Mike says, don’t obsess about equipment, just ride more.


I didn’t want to come off as “obsessed about equipment” like a weight-weiny or anything. I just saw quite a few benefits from a 26" that I could really use NOW. The 24" has some frustrating downsides (that have nothing to do with riding).

I could see myself with a
26" x 2.3
26" x 2.8-3.0
26" x road racing tire + short cranks

and being happier than running my 24"

However, I can also see myself happy simply sticking with my 24" and becoming my own bike shop.

I like the 3" tire size because a lot of the trails that I ride have roots and rocks that I like to plow over. The 3" tire makes a big difference. You can aim straight for the roots and just go right over them. A 2.6" Gazz doesn’t quite cut it. A 3" tire is also better on stunts and things.

Back when I was riding the Pashley MUni with a 26x2.1 XC tire I would have to zig-zag my way around the roots and avoid the bigger rocks because the tire can’t just plow into and over things like a 3" tire can. The same trail is very different on a 2.1" XC tire compared to a 3" DH tire. I like the experience with the 3" tire better, much better. It’s completely different even on the exact same trail.

A 2.6 Gazz Jr lets you plow into things harder than you can with a 2.1" XC tire. But a 3" tire lets you plow into things harder than you can with a 2.6 Gazz Jr. It’s evolution.

I keep thinking about getting a 29er for faster and lighter XC riding. But there are very few trails that I ride where the 29er would be a better choice than my 24x3. I’ve ridden all of the trails I ride on my old 26x2.1 Pashley so I know they can be done on a 29er, although I’d have to skip some of the stunts and jumps and drops. But the experience on the 29er wouldn’t be as fun. So if I got a 29er (like the new KH 29er) I’m trying to figure out when I’d actually ride it. There’s only a few trails I can think of where I’d ride it and they’re the smooth buff style XC trails. There’s a few epic class XC trails where the 29er would work but those are the kinds of rides I do once per season at most.

There are trails where the 29er would do well and if you ride those sorts of trails then the 29er would be a good choice. It would also allow you to mix in some road riding or dirt logging road riding along with the singletrack riding. It all depends on where you ride and what you like.

I’m running a 26x3" Gazz on a 26" Large Marge Rim, and I’ve found it to be a fabulous machine for speed trails, distace and Muni. I’ve put 170mm cranks on as standard but switch to 140mm for distance, and it performs admirably in either situation. Yes it is heavier than a 24, but it makes up for this by being higher off the ground (less pedal strikes causing painful UPDs), easier to roll over rocks and roots, more controllable on steep downhills and more rolling momentum to get up short, steep ascents. I’ve got a 24" Onza as well, but thats running a 2.6" Kenda Kinetics (I think) tyre, so the difference between them is marked enough to warrant me having both.


I’m riding a 26" nimbus muni with 140mm cranks and the standard 3" tyre and it works great for me.

I don’t do much jumping around just riding round some of the local trails and it’s great. I haven’t done much on a 24" so I don’t know how that would compare but I think if you are going to be doing any serious hills then you may well be better with the 24. It really does depend on the sort of riding you want to do but I’m going to stick with my 26.

Re: 24" vs 26"

You might get more information by telling us a little more about what
you trying to do. It sounds like you have problems with your 24x3
Muni and are looking for alternatives. What you haven’t said is what
sort of riding you plan to do, the number of unicycles you think you
may need, or how big you budget is.

What I can offer is an opinion of my own unicycles. I have a 26x2.5
Hookworm equipped unicycle and a KH 24. Despite its claim to be a
downhill tire, the hookworm is far less friendly when the terrain gets
evel a little bit rough. On even terrain, the hookworm is smooth as
silk. The 24x3 Duro can be run with far less pressure and can easily
roll over obstacles that require stomping hard on the pedals on the
26" tire. On the other hand, riding a knobby 24x3 on the road is a
chore compared to the round, semi-slick hookworm. Since I don’t like
riding the Hoookworm offroad, I put shortish (125mm) cranks on the
uni and am very happy with the result.

Does this help you? I don’t honestly know. I think the point I am
trying to make is that these unicycles are so different, I wouldn’t
consider replacing one with the other.