29er for tall beginner?

I’m looking to buy my first uni soon. From what reading I’ve done, I understand the conventional wisdom is to learn on a 20", and then graduate upto a 24" or 29" after that. As a guy thats 6’1" and 120kgs, I’ve recently got some advice to contradict this: that a 29er would be easier to learn on, because of the increased reaction times the bigger wheel affords you.

Has anyone else, especially taller people, learnt on a 29er?

I would say your choice of learner uni should be directed by what you want to do on it after you can ride.
If you are thinking of getting into street, trials, or flatland then you probably want a good strong 20". If you are after muni, distance, or “neowming” about town then a 29er might suit you.

See if anyone is in your area. You might get lucky and be able to try a few out.

That may not be the best idea.
I learned on a 24 and it wasn’t bad but I think learning on a 29er would have been more difficult, and definitly more frustrating.(I am 6’1" now, probly was 5’ 10" or 11" then). I love my 29er though now.
If you know you want a 29er then get one and if you find it overly difficult then get a cheap 20 or 24.

Thanks for your help. I think mostly getting around town, and some light cross country (fireroads etc), hence the appeal of a 29er. I do like the idea of hockey too, although not sure if theres a game anywhere in Melbourne?

I’m 6’0", about 120kg, and I learned (am still learning ;)) on a 29er.
I’ve been nothing but happy with my nimbus 29.
I suspect that it would have taken me less time to go from zero to riding >100m with a 24" or 20" wheel, but at the same time, I see a lot of posts on the forum talking about an additional adjustment period to go from a smaller wheel to a larger one.

I would think the larger wheel (also heavier) is going to slow the unicycle’s response time. If you want have more control during the learning process, use a smaller wheel.

My other thought is that the larger wheel leaves you farther to fall during the learning process. I was 50-years-old when I started learning so falling was a big concern. If you are young, maybe that is not a concern.

Give the 29 a try and let us know how it goes.

The adjustment period for me going to a 29er from a 24 was about two wheel revolutions.

Thats a 24w/150’s to a 29w/125’s

That’s only newbies who never learned to ride properly in the first place;)

In any case, I sold my cheap learner’s uni for only a $20 loss and it was well worth it, specialized parts aren’t necessarily ideal for learning with(long/short cranks, big/trials size wheel, knobbly tire, etc.) though higher-end unicycles are definitely more responsive.

If you get most of the basic riding skills down good on the first unicycle(IUF levels 1-4 are pretty much a must for most riders, ride on the curbs as well), transitions to others will most likely pose little problem, though the new wheel may feel a bit odd to begin with. When I got my freestyle uni the feeling of pedaling twice as fast was second nature after riding around the block a few times…when I got a larger wheel I was more used to the change and it happened even faster…
In fact all 5(!) of my unicycles are now extremely comfortable to ride if I don’t get totally out of practice on a particular one as I eat the tires out of another…then I have to get used to that one again-ride it to wherever I feel like using it.

As all wheel sizes(minus those reserved for clowns, aka the insanely small and the 6 foot high) have their merits, there is no risk involved in getting a smaller wheel to learn on…24"?

Also, beware…I too first thought of just riding around, amusing myself over spring break with a new challenge, maybe a few commutes…but now I’ve thrown myself deep into all major styles of riding…and some of them aren’t cheap.

Btw, on the first post…Larger wheels are harder to move and also go faster…and both attributes reduce reaction times allowed for the learner…who also has difficulty taking advantages of the speed/bump handling bits that drive many to buying them…thus Tak has been learning to ride for months now(ok, he could go decently enough a while back…), while I could commute to work after 2 days.

OK, sorry Tak- I mean 2 weeks.

Still, that’s 7 times as many days with fewer skills learned.

If you’re thinking of playing hockey you’ll want a 20 or 24: on a 29 the other riders will run rings round you, if they let you play with such a big wheel anyway (the maximum competition size is 24")
A 20 or 24 is significantly closer to the ground, and will give you a psychological edge.
good luck!

The old rule is 20" if you’re under 6 foot, 24" if you’re over. It’s by no means hard and fast. It’s also a good idea to learn on a crappy trainer, you don’t know for sure if you’re going to stick with it, or what you’re going to want to do when you’ve learnt to uni. Buy a cheap 24", learn to ride, then lend it to a buddy so he can learn so you’ve got a riding partner and get yourself something suited to what you wnat to do. Swapping from a 24 to a 29 is no big deal if you’re comfotable on the 24, in my opinion the only unicycle that takes re-learning is when you go to the 36".

There is more to a 20 then just learning to ride

Sure, once you can ride a 20 around the track a couple times, you could learn a 29 the same day.

But I think you are still better off buying a 20 first. It is way easier to learn to idle and ride backwards on the smaller wheel. You will soon want a 20 anyway, even if you can ride a 36.

However, in your case I recommend this Torker ax 24.


180 $ on your door step. I bought an ax 29 from brandscycle a little while ago, with no trouble. This is the cheapest place to get this (free shipping ), that I know of.

Get a 29 if you really want. I think most of us on the forum would guess you would have a better time with a 24 at first, but everyone is different, and as long as you are having fun it will all work out ok.

I would buy a cheap 20".

The only reasons people might want a small wheeled freestyle unicycle after they’ve learnt to ride, is to play hockey, or do freestyle. Both of these are typically done on 20".

I only have a 24" for hockey, which is okay, but I’d probably be happier with it if I’d got a 20" rather than 24".


I’m a 6’ 0’ and a 24 fits me fine, it does not feel small.

I am relearning to ride after a 25 year layoff, and watching my fiance learn to ride for the first time and watching her struggle even though she is a very athletic for her age. A 24 is going to feel plenty tall when you are teetering on top of it wondering which way you are going to fall. A 24 is a very good compromise size for learning and covering distances.

I’m 6’4 120kg, I learnt on a 24’ muni. Shouldnt really make much difference really.

Haha, no offense taken. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I accepted beforehand that it was going to take me longer to learn because I chose to learn on a 29. However, my immediate goal was to ride around on a 29, not learn on a 20 or a 24, then order a 29 and make do with the smaller wheel in the meantime.

Overall, I feel like 1/2 hour to 2 hours per day for around 2 weeks was an acceptable basic learning time for me, and I’d probably do the same thing again. Whether another should choose to do the same will of course vary with what he wants and other factors.

I bought a cheap (€50) 24" first, in Dec 2007. I am 193 cm tall and approx. 90 kg. After learning to ride a few 100 meters, I felt that the 24" would not allow me to get better fast enough, so I bought a 20" freestyle and this helped a lot.

I would really recommend to start on the 20", but be sure that the cranks are 125mm minimum, so you have enough control.

In the meantime, I upgraded the cheap 24" with a bigger tyre, metal-pin pedals and a KH saddle (altogether more expensive than the initial uni) but this way I can now use it for longer distance rides.

I would definitely stay away from the 29" for learning. I do have a 29" by now, after 7 months of riding, but I can not imagine that I would be where I am now if I had started on the 29".