32" for muni?

Hey guys! Been a long time since I posted. Lots of ups and downs and big life changes, and I’m trying to get back into things that used to bring me a lot of joy in order to fight off the depression.

I’m enjoying being active again and I really want to get back into muni. I recently sold my 20" trials, my 29" old school KH, and my old coker 36er. I kept my 26" Franken-Muni (Nimbus/KH hybrid) and I finally got to ride the other day. It was an old trail that used to be technical, but had since been graded and made perfectly flat. Which made it painfully obvious how slow my 26er was.

I’m trying to decide what to do at this point. I’ve loved that 26er in the past but I definitely was never amazing at technical stuff, I’m more of a roller who likes to hop over stuff on occasion to keep the flow. But the 36er was just too big, sluggish handling and heavy for me off-road, and I never enjoyed the rim brakes on the 29er or the Coker. So I’ve reached the point where I’m wondering where my perfect muni is… fast enough for me to have fun (I like to go fast, I’ve got plenty of scars to prove it haha) and nimble enough to maneuver some good lines and squeeze some small log hops in here and there.

I see the KH 32 comes with the 36er frame which is neat, because I could always build a 36er wheelset to swap on, not sure how likely I’d be to actually do that though, and if I’d need a different seatpost. (I’m 6’) or do I just go with the dedicated nimbus 32" which specs say is lighter (and I do love rounded frames) and it has a more traditional seat style (I stopped riding around the time the flat seats came out, maybe I’d like them but I don’t know)

Thinking of riding more flowy and less technical trails. Happy to hike with my uni if it gets too technical.

Any thoughts or recommendations? I love having jack-of-all trades items too that are versatile enough to enjoy a number of different ways.

36er with long cranks?

I had 150s, probably should have had 170s, it wasn’t so much the torque as it was I just didn’t like the feel in the turns, didn’t feel agile. And most of the mountain trails are steep enough around here that you’d get pitched pretty far off the front of a 36er, or down a cliff. I wasn’t very fit at the time so that could have also been an issue.

I actually was just cruising UDC and I’ve never seen this Hatchet line before, that 27.5" like the old surlys is quite appealing. I’ve never ridden any of the fat tire uni’s though, I’m guessing you give up some nimbleness and gain more ability to roll over obstacles. But it’s spec’d a 2+ pounds lighter than my franken muni which was light back when I assembled it!!

I could easily see it.

I can’t wait to use my new KH36 for cross country come spring.
I realize it’s more commitment in some ways (wiping out, energy to mount, etc…) but the payoff is the smooth flowy handling that just eats up the miles.

I’ve always liked my KH29 with the 3 1/4" Crux which made for a 31" diameter (I think). I ride semi-technical muni cross country/all mountain and I’m 6’ 3".
I’m sure my 36"er will take over half of my muni rides now.

So I bet the 32" would be the cat’s meow for the perfect compromise between control, energy to ride, and smoothness.

Having owned both a Nimbus 29" Oracle and now a KH29, I would say go for the KH.
I think the symmetrical wheel is a better thing.

On the seat… the Fusion Freeride has been my go-to seat butt I do have a Fusion One on my 36"er that I’m OK with. I’ve yet to put in the big miles so we’ll see come spring.

A number of reasons why I’d consider a 29" for your purposes.

  1. There is a choice of one type of tire available for the 32". On a 29" there are probably hundreds, from road tires to downhill tires.

  2. A 32" feels big to me. To me, it feels pretty much like a 36", just slightly smaller, a 29" feels just slightly bigger than a 26", and the gap between 29" and 32" feels massive. To me it felt like 32" combines the worst of 29" and 36". (That’s very subjective, and others feel like it combines the best of them both, but well, that’s my experience.)

  3. I’m not sure what cranks you had on your old 29", but some 125mm cranks can make you a whole lot faster than those 150mm cranks it probably came with.

Having tried out both 32" and 29" on trails, I’d say a 29" fills that criteria a lot more. It’s not impossible to take a 32" on some trails, but it’s certainly not nimble, and I wouldn’t do any hops on it. Not that hops are impossible on a 32", but they aren’t fun. To me, the 32" provided the same fun that a 36" provides on trails, it’s fun to manhandle it into turns to dodge trees, and be surprised how much stuff it rolls over. But it’s more the “it’s surprisingly how good I can ride despite this unicycle” feel, and less a “this feels right”.

I guess the summary is: I think 29" with a disk brake, and short cranks is better for your purpose.

Everybody has his personal opinions. I like my 32" very much. Only have the 29" Muni. bought the 36" after that and always had problems with mounting. Then got the 32" which is right in the middle. The road tire and the fact it isn’t so big maxes it very flexible. I can make much sharper turns with the 32" than the 36". As the size is quite close to the 29", mounting it is nearly the same, but it is slightly bigger and I can get a higher speed out of it.

I don’t use the 32" for offroad though, only on bicycle paths. It is one of my more favourite unis.
The problem with unicycles is that you can only really buy them online and you can’t just go to the bike store to try out a certain size and then decide to make a choice. You should basically buy all sizes to find out what you like best in what situation :slight_smile:

It’s mentioned briefly above but worth noting that 29ers now come in a wide range of plus-sized tires, which your old KH probably didn’t.

A 29er with a 3/3.25" tire is almost the size of a 32 but lighter and more nimble. There are loads of tires available and they’re all MUni appropriate.

A 29+ with shorter cranks (as finnspin mentions) would help with speed a LOT. 125 still offers a lot of control on a 29. On gentle trails you could even go shorter.

In addition, I think it takes time to really get used to a new wheel size. So even if you could try it, you might not have the full impression of it until a few rides in.

That’s something that has always confused me, rim sizes & how much a tire will change the outer diameter of my wheel. I do like the size of a 29", I had that KH one and I used to ride it to college many years ago & around town on my breaks.

Does anyone have any experience with the Hatchet line of unicycles and the different tire sizes? I see they have a 29 with a more narrow tire, and a 26 with a fat tire, and a 27.5 with something in between, and they all generally appear to have the same outer diameter from just looking at the space between the top of the tire and the frame. I’m wondering how it might compare in diameter to my old KH 29 franken muni.

I like the idea of a larger wheel with a beefier tire, but again, I’ve never tried one.

Or maybe I should even look for something in the schlumpf variety?

If you’ve been out of the loop for a while you may not have seen the newer Mad4One munis. Really nice machines, albeit not the cheapest option. The 29 comes in standard and plus versions (Same rim but wider tyre and frame on the plus version. Personally I’d always get the plus version for maximum tyre compatibility.)


Oh that’s rad! They were just starting out when I stopped riding they were making I think only cranks for trials unis.

A 27+ (27" = 650b) tire will have about the same diameter as a standard 29er.

Hey Dane, I might go for a ride in Santa Barbara on one of the upcoming weekends. I have several mad4one munis that I could bring if you want to try different setups. I’m mostly riding 27.5 & 29ers nowadays, one of them with a Schlumpf.

Wow awesome thanks so much for the pic!

Yeah I’m down! I’m off on friday saturdays usually. I haven’t ridden much in years so I’m terribly out of shape but still down for some riding! Just need something with a disc brake to save my legs on the downhill.

If you ever head down to the OC (“Behind the Orange Curtain”), you can try my G26. While that size could end up being your dream uni, a Schlumpf hub takes more than a little getting used to.

So my remaining Uni is a 26x3, my 29 was x2.3 with one of the old KH undrilled rims. Pretty skinny.

I did try one before for a few minutes and couldn’t get the hang of shifting. I kept missing when I thought I would hit it then I’d finally get it at a time I wasn’t expecting and UPD. I also had a hard time overcoming the bizarre sensation of static mounting it in high gear. My brain wanted it to be a 26, and even if I told it to think like I was mounting a bigger unicycle it couldn’t seem to figure out how to apply the right pressure to the pedals and I didn’t make it anywhere haha.

I wouldn’t get a hatchet. They are very bouncy and my legs touch the wheel all the time. Only ride every so many months to remember what it felt like. It is too heavy and has too much friction. I think it is a bit over the top (won’t sell it though :))

I have a hatchet with a 27.5 x 4.5 tire. Not my favorite . I use it mostly for snow. It 's slow, takes a lot of effort, heavy, and sometimes that’s why I use it.
Maybe I’ll feel different when I get more comfortable on it. I might try a skinnier tire and/or tweaking my tire pressure…

Everything just feels better on my 26x3, like a pair of old comfortable shoes.