26" CromMo Nimbus vs. 26" Oracle vs. KH26

Hi. I am a pretty experienced unicyclist (ridden 25+ years, but took off many years). Recently gotten into street riding and now have found I really love muni.

I’ve been doing muni on my 24" Sem Cycle. I put a knobby tire on (24X1.95). I am thinking of picking up either a 26" Nimbus Cromo frame, 26" Nimbus Oracle, or a KH26. If I get a muni I have settled on a 26" because the trails around me are pretty technical, though not overly so. A mix of some cross country and hopping is required.

I am 5’8", 150lbs. A couple questions:

  • How long do you expect the sem cycle to last doing this kind of riding? I hop over logs, drop off of rocks, say about 8" to a foot etc. before the cranks and hub break?
  • What is the main difference I will notice between by Sem and a purpose-built Muni? Will I notice a big weight difference? I ride a bit of trials, so I can imagine that a fatter lower PSI tire will make the tech stuff easier. And I know the new seats will be much more comfortable.
  • Assuming I get a new muni, what do you suggest? Obviously I want to not spend more than I have to, but at the same time, I know I really like it, and I have ridden for years--so not that likely to just stop riding, and not a beginner unicyclist. Will I notice much of a difference between the Cromo Nimbus for ~$400 with upgrades and a ~$700 KH26 or Oracle with upgrades? Do you think buying the cheaper uni will be penny-wise, pound foolish because I will want to upgrade at some point anyway? The AI Oracle comes with disc brakes for the same price as the KH26, so is the KH26 noticeably better and if so how? Anyone with similar experience choosing between mid-grade and top-end munis? [/LIST]
  • Hey, i cannot speak for the sem cycle but my Norco lasted me about 8 months and i had the cranks and hub no longer running true and it was a 2011.

    I own the 2012 26" Nimbus Muni, red. Its kind of on the heavy side, but its a TON of fun to Muni. The 3" wide tire with a lower pressure makes it a buttery smooth ride. I have had to use a KH fusion seat (i use the street) i have not been able to comfortable ride any other seat… I just upgraded to the KH spirit cranks and will be retro fitting a hydraulic disk brake to it in the future.

    MY recommendation, purchase the KH from the start, comes with the seat, cranks and disk caliper mount so if you want disk brakes in the future it is a breeze!!!

    At some point i will be purchasing a complete KH, i have about $600 tied up in mine and its not nearly as light as the KH and is going to require some custom machine work to get the brakes to work. I am satisfied with my nimbus, and have had no quality issues. Its upto you =D

    I ended up with a nimbus 26 (non-Oracle) and a KH29. Likely both are heavier than your sem cycle, but either the nimbus or KH will take an absolute beating.

    I’ve noticed that despite being the larger uni my KH is much lighter than my nimbus, a lot of that is in the tire/rotational weight which is the most important place for weight savings. You can ride with the same tire/tube in any frame so that leaves the rim. I don’t really know how much weight savings is to be found between the nimbus rim and the drilled KH rims. That and you can always swap out wheel sets. Anyway, the lower rotation weight on my 29er makes it more ideal for climbing and helps over distance.

    I suppose the frame weight factors in when hopping, but again I’m finding that the tire is more of a contributing factor than the frame. Despite being heavier, I feel more comfortable with hops on my nimbus due to the voluminous tire.

    I don’t know a thing about the oracle. I’d be interested in hearing some reviews. The little I do know/remember is that the frame is aluminum (matching the KH frame material) as opposed to the steel frame I have, so it’s lighter in that department. Don’t know about the rim. Of course the main draw is the disc break on the oracle.

    If you’re sure your going to spend lots of time riding and the difference in cost isn’t crippling to you, then go for the more expensive, lighter, better option now. I bought a standard Nimbus muni when I first got into muni, and whilst I can’t really say I regret the choice (I did buy it when I’d only been riding 2 months, so wasn’t really sure), I’ll certainly sell it at some point and get a better custom built one. Which is another point - personally I’d not buy an off-the-shelf high end uni now I know what I want, as I want to spec each part myself.

    All I can say is that I’ve beat the living hell out of my Nimbus and it’s still going strong. Yeah, they’re affordable, and yeah they aren’t perfect, but Nimbus is a great brand.

    I got a normal nimbus 2 26 and i am 220 pounds and have done 6ft drops with no issues.

    I can see that doing a few customization quickly adds up the close to the cost of a KH26.

    I know Nimbus is a good brand, but am specifically interested in anybody who has ridden both the Nimbus 26 and the Oracle26 or KH26 and if they can provide impressions about the differing ride characteristics, especially on more technical trails.

    I have ridden a KH 26 and my steal nimbus and the KH is lighter but the only real difference i felt was the rim with.

    Depends how close to the KH spec you get with your customisation and whether you’re starting with a stock Nimbus and just discarding the parts you’re replacing! When I did the calcs after I bought my off-the-shelf Nimbus I realised I wasn’t really saving any money by buying that way rather than totally custom building (though that did rely on building the wheel myself, something I’m comfortable with). Hence my recent 19" trials purchase was custom so I didn’t end up with any bits I didn’t want.

    In time you’ll want disc brakes, and you are getting a new muni, so I’d suggest getting a hub mounted rotor, so either a KH/Nimbus with an Oracle hub or a complete Oracle muni. I’m not trying to knock the crank mounted rotors, but they have some issues that really can’t be resolved. Sure, they are an easy retrofit, which is really why they are so cool, but there’s a reason bikes have them mounted on the hub…

    And yeah, you didn’t ask, but you should really consider getting a 29er. You can hop a 29er, but you will likely find that the big wheel negates the need to hop, plus they are way faster. There are lot of folks who ride muni on a 29er, tech stuff that is rooty, rocky, and steep. Think of a 26" as a transitional size between the 24 and 29.

    In terms of frames, the difference between aluminum and steel is minimal, weight is very close, stiffeness is similar, price is higher on aluminum. I’ve had aluminum in all sizes, currently only have aluminum on my 29er, otherwise all my frames are now steel. Steel is real :smiley:

    If I was getting a new muni, I’d get an Oracle or have a custom Drak built with the Oracle hub. The Oracle is a nice rig, but it still uses the D Brake and it has a narrow 42mm rim, also you’ll want to upgrade the seat and post, so in the end you are building a custom Oracle. The Drak is a really solid frame, similar in design to the Oracle but made of steel, it comes with magura mounts in case you want rim brakes, you will still use the D Brake adaptor, the best part is that when you do the custom build on the Drank you will get to pick your own brake and you can get a wider rim.

    Nurse ben brings up some very valid points. I have found my 26" muni a more appropriate fit for my 5’ 6" frame, and my brothers 29" UDC trainer to feel a fair bit more sluggish. I will be purchasing a 26" at some point but that will not be my intense Muni machine although i will have to try it out >_< The oracle looks pretty beast, and when i get all my disk brake setup onto my 26" with the spirit cranks i will have surpassed that price for the same effect. I am researching my brake set ups and i will probably end up with a shimano system, my Rocky mountain runs shimano deore and they was been a very reliable system and my local shop carrys there products. The 26" vs 29" battle is an intense one haha… if only the sport was mroe mainstream and there was more access to trying them…

    Thanks for the feeback. About wheel size, it’s hard to say because I’ve never tried a 29" I think a brake is probably key with a 29. The trails around my house are fairly technical and there are some pretty intense up-hills. I am 5’8". You don’t think a 29 would be too big for me? I am relatively comfortable with my 24" on these trails, but maybe with a 29 I could roll over more stuff.

    Ben, as far as a 26" being a transition to 29, I am not sure that’s quite accurate.

    Or it’s as accurate as a 20" being a transition to a 36". It depends on the use case. Doesn’t Kris Holm generally ride a 26" geared? Although I’ve seen him on 29" too. Given my skill level, which is probably intermediate, wouldn’t a 29 be too much effort uphill and over the more technical stuff? Rocks over streams, fairly big rocks etc.

    I see the argument for a 29er - however whilst I do very non-technical riding, the limiting factor for me are the climbs on the routes I do. I’m gradually working up to riding more of them, but certainly a long way off being able to ride everything. I can’t see that a 29er would do anything but make things more difficult, and whilst I’d be happy to go a bit faster on the flatter stuff (and some of the downs) it’s not something I worry about too much.

    You are welcome to come along with Chuck and I on a ride in Germantown. We both ride 29ers so you can see what is doable on the local trails. You can also try one out if you like and you can fit on it. We are both on the tall side.

    I’d like to come. We’ve talked about this right? You are on vacation aren’t you?

    I am gone this weekend, here next, and gone the next one at the NYC unicycle fest.

    Yes, I am back from vacation. Next weekend should work for me.

    Just to confirm what’s already been said, if price is not an issue and you’re not worried about burning out before you properly get to use your unicycle, go with the nicest unicycle you can afford. One of the main reasons I love the sport of unicycling is that products at the very top of the line still cost a fraction of what b*king and other sports’ equipment costs.

    So in the end, you might pay a couple hundred dollars more, but I’ve never met anyone (save those who quit riding entirely) who’ve regretted having a nicer unicycle. Plus, if you’re not worried about something breaking, you’ll ride with more confidence and freedom.

    My two cents.


    I’ve owned a chromoly Nimby and now I’m expecting delivery of a new Oracle next week. I will post a Riding & Review about it. Stay tuned…:smiley:

    What size? 26"?

    If I get a KH26, will I have to do anything special to put disc brakes on? A D mount? Will it cost much more than rim brakes?

    Any advantages to rim brakes over disc?

    I don’t think want to run the stock 3" tire on the Oracle, I like the idea of a bit lighter tire that comes stock on the KH. I found out the rim is wider on the KH which is good because you can run larger tires will lower PSI, but the Oracle I can fit down to 1.75" tires, which might be more flexible for the road. Decisions, decisions…