29er VS. Coker

I am thinking about getting a distance uni, but am not sure what kind. I have been using a 24 inch and am going to upgrade. I do mostly just street riding between 6 and 7 miles, allthough I want to ocasionly do a longer ride. Basically my question is what are the pros and cons of 29ers and Cokers, and wich one do you guys (and girls) think would be best for my situation? Thanks!

1st strike

oh boy another 36er 29er war!? there are many threads on this. everyone knows where i stand so im not even going to start the battle.

maybe somone knows the links to the 10 or more thread battles on this issue and can post them since its all going to read the same as new posts here.

a coker is faster, but a 29er is easier to control. though with practice you can control a coker pretty easily too. if you’re going to be riding through tight/crowded areas, a 29er is better…other than that, a coker is superior.
in my not so humble opinion.

29er vs Coker is the eternal question…

I know that what I really want is a Coker with a Stockton wheel and a Hunter frame–but my current financial situation does not allow that. I can’t even afford to get a stock Coker at the moment, and the same is true of the 29ers available at UDC.

But, because I came to the realization that I really liked long-distance unicycling, and my 26er was not cutting it as far as distance was concerned, I opted for a long-term intermediary solution–I picked up an inexpensive Sun 28er, and transferred the KH saddle, crank arms and pedals from my 26er to the Sun. I replaced the stock tire with a much better Michelin Trans World City tire. Despite its cheap price (and reputation–anytime someone mentions the 28 Sun, there is always a pissed off unicycler posting some story of their unicycle falling apart) despite what people may think, the Sun I have totally rolls over those distances with ease–in fact, today, for the first time, I did five miles with only 1 stop–and when I got to my destination, I was ready for more!

I think there is a huge divide between the distance unicycles (cokers and 29ers) and the local unicycles (24inchers and below)–the Sun 28er is already proving to be highly valuable in examining the question of my next purchase–coker or 29er. I like the compactness of the 29er, but the speed and substantial weight factor of the coker make that option highly desirable as well. And yet, the 29er in of itself can handle the distances, but the coker sits you high at the speed of bikers…

With the Sun 28er, I can keep up with the 29ers and the Cokerers while I wait for my bank account to ultimately decide my options. And who knows, maybe I’ll stay with the 28er anyway…

and also, don’t the 29er’s and 28er’s have the same rim size, just the 29er has a bigger tire? I heard that somewhere. so if that’s true, you can buy a cheapo 28er, and just upgrade the tire later when you have the money. or maybe money is not a problem for you, you didn’t actually say that, I’m just kind of assuming…

“I do mostly just street riding between 6 and 7 miles, allthough I want to ocasionly do a longer ride.”

My 2 cents:
For local street rides, where there may be traffic, starts / stops go with the 29er.

For long distance cruising the Coker, all the way.

I ride mainly streets and decided on the 29" due to local traffic, hills, etc. - and I also wanted a little more maneuverablity.

Re: 29er VS. Coker

Do you ride those sort of distances daily or ride to work? If so, just get a coker, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly and you’ll soon be riding it like normal people ride a 29er. If you don’t ride so frequently, you might want to consider a 29er.

If you do work less than 10 miles away, consider starting riding to work, it’s the only way to become a really good distance rider.


Re: 29er VS. Coker

joemarshall wrote:

> heavy metal unicycling wrote:
>>*I am thinking about getting a distance uni, but am not sure what
>>kind. I have been using a 24 inch and am going to upgrade. I do mostly
>>just street riding between 6 and 7 miles, allthough I want to
>>ocasionly do a longer ride. Basically my question is what are the pros
>>and cons of 29ers and Cokers, and wich one do you guys (and girls)
>>think would be best for my situation? Thanks! *
> Do you ride those sort of distances daily or ride to work? If so, just
> get a coker, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly and you’ll soon be
> riding it like normal people ride a 29er. If you don’t ride so
> frequently, you might want to consider a 29er.

I just borrowed a friend’s 29er for a while to see what getting to work
would be like on one. It’s about 3 - 4 miles and I’ve only ever ridden
20" unis except for the odd go on 24s, a 29er for a game of hockey and
about 200m on a coker.

I rode into work yesterday and did feel I wanted (and could) go faster
so will be angling to try it on a coker when I get a bit more used to
the 29er. The caveat is of course that I am still only a beginner on the
29 and the route I usually take on my bike is probably more suited to a
29 because it there is a lot of stop-start. I am hoping to improve my
time quite a bit when I get used to riding and mounting.

The more direct route involves more hilly riding, but crikey the hills
don’t half feel easier than on a bike. These are mild hills in town I’m
talking about rather than proper steep ones…

The thing that really slowed me down though was being stopped by two
seperate people to have a chat about unis :slight_smile:

So… in conclusion: listen to Joe, he knows what he’s talking about.
Borrow a 29er and a coker to have a go and see which you like best.

Re: 29er VS. Coker

I bought a cheap 28" uni while I wait for the coker I ordered to be delivered. (It’s now been a little over 2 months.) I ride it with the local guys who have cokers. Because I have very small cranks, I can go pretty fast. With 102mm cranks, I have hit 15.8 mph, and can average wll over 9 mph rides over 10 miles in hilly neighborhood courses. I have ridden my riding partners’ cokers just a little. A coker with similar cranks would scare me in the neighborhoods. Or perhaps I would scrare myself. (The plastic bubble which protects me might break.)

I believe that a cheap 28" (a Sun) with 102s is not necessarily much easier to control than a coker with longer cranks at higher speeds. And we don’t really buy these wheels to ride slow, do we? One of the cokeurs I ride with uses 125s and another 150s, I think. Because the 28" has such a light weight wheel, it feels flimsy and is prone to wobble at higher speeds. It’s still pretty stable at 10-12 mph. I have to be pretty careful at speeds above that. I believe the extra coker wheel weight would help with that problem. So, riding slow, you might have more control. Riding fast, probably less.

This is the configuration I ordered, and it takes a loooong time to deliver. (You don’t want to know, and I don’t want to say.) If you want to ride any time soon, go buy something off the shelf. Some custom frames seem to be turned around much more quickly than others, so I recommend that you research that aspect if it matters to you. My advice is, if you’re going to wait anyway, get what you want and live with the wait.

I hear the product is worth the wait – and I’m dying to find out. But my interim solution was to buy a very cheap 28" and be happy knowing that in a few months I get to ride a really nice custom unicycle. I borrowed a seat for the 28", but I will probably buy one. And I recommend spending extra money for nice pedals. So, for around $150, you can have a cheap 28" Sun – do no drops at all – to ride while you wait.

Alternatively, there is a very good post by One on one and others in a recent thread on building your own ultra strong coker wheel. I’m not up to that yet, but you might be.

Good luck.

Re: Re: 29er VS. Coker

that’s true, but the reason I think the coker is harder to control isn’t exactly because of the wobbliness. it’s actually kind of because of the lack of wobbliness, due to the heavy rim which keeps the wheel spinning faster. makes it harder to start going, harder to stop going, harder to change direction or speed quickly…just because of the extra momentum from the heavy steel rim.

I think JP and I agree that a smaller wheel with equivalent cranks is more maneuverable, especially at lower speeds.

It will be more difficult to decelerate on a larger, heavier wheel, again assuming equivalent crank lengths.

At a high speed, the heavier wheel should be more stable.

That right, JP?

eeexactly. the coker is definitely more stable, but if you’re riding up to a street corner and a biker suddenly comes around the other side, you can’t slow down fast enough to avoid collision. of course depending how far away you are…and also, if you try to slow down quickly, this often results in a UPD. and a coker UPD in a crowded area is often a very bad thing, because the coker can go on it’s own for a while…

I waited a year for my big wheel (Tommy Miller).

Yes, 28" and 29" unicycles both use the same rim size. The rim size is 700c, which I hope to get unicyclists to start using as a size instead, to make life a little less complicated. Also it’s a new (optional) racing category in the IUF rules.

So you can have a 700c rim with like a road bike tire on there, very narrow and light (and small diameter). Or you can have a Big Apple (basically a balloon) tire on there, for greater weight, but much larger diameter and also nice cruising over bumps. That’s what I use when I road-ride my 29er.

If your purpose is to get from place to place, start with a Coker and work your way down from there if you have to. The two main disadvantages of the Coker are it size, which makes it harder to store or transport, and its relative sluggishness. So yes, if you have to ride in crowded city streets with lots of stopping, you may be more comfortable on a 29er.

But the Coker is going to be faster in almost all situations. Even if you ride it slower, you will still use less energy than someone pedaling faster on a smaller wheel.

All this talk has made me start wondering again. Maybe it’s time to pull my 700c wheeled unicycle out and start riding it again while I comtemplate selling my custom Coker :thinking:

110mm crank

Regarding control on a Coker.
I have tried different cranks sizes from the stock 150mm to 89mm and discovered 110mm(4.5inch) crank is best in distance and control. Unicycledotcom has these new QU-AX 110mm that are light and strong, I LUV EM! :smiley:
Also having a KH bumper helps with control while “trying” to freestyle on a Coker. :roll_eyes:
I have sold all my uni and now joined the ranks of Cokerheads!
I weave around people at the local mall area and have not trouble w/ stopping. On distance riding, the heavier Coker does give more stability.

One of the things I have come to like about the Sun 28er is its light, flimsy feel–in many ways, I have more control over it than my heavier 26er with the Yuni frame. There is a certain give and take that is pretty nice.

As soon as I got my Sun 28er I transferred the KH seat, my Nimbus X crank arms, and my amuminum pinned muni pedals from my 26er to the 28er. I also got a new tire for it–a Michelin Transworld City 700 X 47c–I was experiencing a fair amount of leftward drifting road crown hugging with the stock street tire , but with the Michelin, I ride as straight as an arrow.

A drawback to the Sun 28er is that the frame can’t accomidate a tire as fat as, say the Big Apple. That’s not a problem for me because I don’t ride well on Big Apples, but still, I would like to find a nice big fat 700c tire (one with a flat surface, Hoggy-like) that would fit the Sun28 frame—the michelin is a bit bigger than the stock, and it rides really well, but I’m keeping my eyes open for something bigger.

That was a nice thing to discover about going up from a 26er to the 28er—you really save energy when riding slow. Its almost the same as stopping and resting. In the past, where I would have jumped off to take a breather, I now just ride slower. One of the nicer things about a bigger wheel—I’m sure its even better on a Coker.

Just to toss in my small change…

I’ve only had the briefest of goes on a Coker, and it felt huge and monsterous, which has its upsides in certain ways. I then bought a Nimbus 29er with a Big Apple and 125 cranks. This I’ve used for lots of road riding, and though it’s not as fast as it could be on long, flat roads, it doesn’t frustrate me much of the time.

I rode 103 miles on it in a day earlier this week, which was satisfying (Bath to London, on the A4), with average rolling speed of 11.5mph. With my airseat I think I increased my longest stretch between dismounts to over 15 miles, in little over an hour on a glorious section of smooth road, early in the ride. Mmm… spinning…

Maybe I’m just masochistically disinclined to bother with minor changes to stock supplied setups, believing that the biggest difference is likely to be a PMA and a good supply of water and Jelly Babies rather than any 10% tweak on the machine. At numerous urban junctions and traffic lights I was glad to have the leverage of relatively non-short cranks.

A UDC Nimbus 29er is certainly lightweight. Really. When I first got it I lent my 24 muni to a friend, and when I got the muni back after 5 weeks of exclusively 29er riding, I picked up the muni and it felt heavy like a cast-iron tank. Under 6kg or something absurd.

I wouldn’t fancy the annoyed looks from others on the Tube if I had a full sized Coker. The 29er was quite large enough to hold still and try to look nonchalant.

So yes, 29ers are great. You can go everywhere on them. Not supersonic, but they are still fast. And I’ve yet to see a Coker rim come in shiny red.


103 miles in a day! Cor. This was you then, I presume… :slight_smile:


It’s a beast! And there’s nothing else like it! And since it hasn’t been said yet on this particular thread…

Coker, Coker, Coker!

Long cranks take most of the “Coker-ness” out of a Coker. I just put my suuuuper-long 175s back on. They really help with quick starts and stops and weaving through pedestrians on the sidewalk. But out on the “open road”, you can still go fast (well, if I were a GOOD Coker rider I could go fast, in spite of the long cranks).

And as I’ve said before, if you want a nimble, maneuverable unicycle to replace your lumbering, hard-to-turn Mack truck Coker, then simply practice (I’ve been inspired by the Coker riding finesse of Joe Merrill, HardcoreCokerRider, Brian MacKenzie, and shadowuni).

I once cared about that, too. But after doing some MUni with Jeff Prosa in Central Park in NYC, I had my first subway-ride-with-unicycle. Jeff pointed out a lady with a baby carraige on the subway. The baby carraige took up more room than a Coker. So, just tell them that it’s your baby. You have a right to be there. And they have a right to be annoyed. To each his own.

Phil: yes, it was probably me. I was wondering if anyone would have spotted me. It would be further ammusing to hear the reaction of someone who knows where I live, if they had seen me riding so far from home.