36 Muni

I’ve had my 36er for about 7 months now and do quite well on the road, doing my 16km x 2 commute about 2 times a week, see
Transitioning to 36" from 24"

In the past I had tried the 36er on my local XC MTB trails and liked it but just wasn’t ready for the big wheel yet. For the last year I’ve been riding these trails about once a week with my 24" Muni with 150mm pedals. A few weeks ago I switched to 127mm pedals and really liked the speed increase. On the 24" I can ride almost everything and only have one or two hills that I have to walk but these I frequently walk with the mountain bike anyway (they’re doable on the bike, but only if you really really try).

So last weekend I took the 36er out with 150mm pedals (and removing the KH T-Bar I use for commuting). The first half hour I was like, “This was a stupid idea and it’s just too crazy to ride a 36 inch wheel offroad”… Well, the last hour I really had fun and was amazed at how much better I was getting and the things I could ride.

I rode again the next day with high hopes and again the first 15 minutes or so I was again convinced I was crazy… But then I just kept progressing. I rode one long section of about 2km of trails without dismounting once and cleared a bunch of log/bump sections that I rarely ever make on the 24 (using momentum and the big tire to roll over). I even made it up two different steep ramps each about 1 meter high, plus another ramp + ledge where I rode up and pulled the seat and made it (on the 3rd try, but hey).

Anyway, as I have a brake I did fine with the 150mm pedals on the downhills, but a lot of the steep uphilss I just can’t hack. Plus, I feel like some control is missing.

I borrowed an old pair of steel 170mm cranks from a friend and will try them soon.

Ok, so here are my questions:

  1. what crank length do people run on 36er for Muni? is 170mm just way too long? Pedal strike and pedal clearance shouldn’t be a problem? (as the 36 is so big, should be way more clearance than a 24" with 150 pedals) For me the hope of the advantages of the longer cranks is not just more leverage for climbing, but also more precise control and almost more importantly, a LOWER seat, so less distance to fall! (plus more clearance for the low-hanging branches). If I do like the 170mm cranks is there any way to get a dual pedal with 165/130 or 170/125 or something? (I mean stock rather than self drilling, although there was a group action here in Germany a while back, so maybe that’s an option some time)

  2. Tire pressure: I’ve read some other treads, but how low can you go? I have the Ardent with the Foss tube, so I was scared to go too low as I don’t want to kill my tube. I weigh about 165lbs (70kg). Someone mentioned riding with like 20psi, but I can’t see that working with that tire?? On a mountain bike I have a really good feeling for how low I can go with the pressure as I also “feel” when to load/unload the tire and transfer weight to the other tire to prevent a snake bike, but with the Muni I only have one wheel. My feeling is that the maximum weight is MORE than when I ride the bike, i.e. so I need more pressure to prevent a pinch flat.

  3. I was also thinking a 29" might be a better size for off road, but right now I don’t want to buy another unicycle yet (my wife is already complaining a little about storing them). Somewhere I read about running a 29" wheel in a 36, but from my basic search this doesn’t look so easy or cost-effective: you have to buy a second hub+tire+rim (cranks and pedals I have)., which is like the second most expensvie part after the frame, and then to change it you have to remount the brake (I have the D-Brake on the Oracle). Or is it easier than I’m envisioning??

Oh, and does anyone regularly do “real” Muni?? not downhill (I have the 24" for that), but with roots, small drops, lots of berms and rolling up and downs? Or are people only doing “light XC” on the 36??

Anyone able to ride with mountain bikers? i.e. to more or less keep up? On a relatviely flat section of the technical trail, I was more or less the same speed as on very slow mountain biker, but right now I still can’t imagine keeping up with a fast biker (obviously not on long downhills or extended road sections, but on trails with technical stuff and climbs it could be possible??). In Kris Holms’ book I remember he wrote that he did a multi-day stage mountain bike race and finished in the middle of the field or something (I think that was a geared 26 if I remember right, but I’m not sure).

Next weekend if the weather holds I’ll try a ride with the 170mm cranks and see how it is.

Love it on light muni, 165mm cranks. Gets nice leverage and momentum for climbing.
What a blast today was! Just rid of the touring bar and go do it, regardless of the status quo of 36er being for roads only…20141104_121830_opt.jpg

I haven’t ridden my kh26 since I tried 36er Muni. I love the speed and feel of how the 36" wheel rolls over obstacles. I have ridden all summer on the 36er and gone on quite a few rides with Killian on his 36er. He is running KH 165’s I have some Shimano 175’s. The longer cranks work great for me and don’t feel to slow. I will also say that my single handle shadow bar has made long distance muni much more comfortable for me. I run fairly low pressure probably about 20psi and haven’t had any issues yet I weigh about the same as you. I also ride with my sister who is a intermediate mountain biker and it seems to work ok. I wait for her sometimes and she waits for me. :smiley:

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Heres my short vid of the day

36er Muni is da bomb. I rotate between that and my phatty. I do do better in certain technical sections with my 36er and the speed is the best part. It took me a while to get used to the weight when throwing the wheel around, but now I can jump and stuff on it like I did with my 26. I ride with 165’s like Fugs said.

I hate to say it’s my favorite or ideal Muni, because I have my phatty and want to ride every Muni out there; but I have a hard time finding something setter. If you can stay on top of the gearing, the momentum of the wheel will pull you along, literally uphill. It’s amazing.

If you ever want to get an earful about how great 36er Muni is, come ride with me and Fugsworth.

People who poo-poo 36er’s for muni are narrow minded and ignorant.

I think most people are reluctant to try it because they are afraid to.

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Yeah, same here, love the momentum for uphills. Such a blast! I need to improve for technical rocky downhills , though.
Lemme train my leg muscles some more and im sure theyll be more to see. As for now im up for the light stuff, and lovin it so far!

I get all these looks from mountain bikers, but i dont care…just loving it, im in my own zone. Nothing else matters at that current moment.

Wow, so many replies!! OK, I guess it’s good to know I’m not totally alone. I’m already well used to all the comments, although I have to say that on the trail with the 36er, they’re almost all positive and more like people are impressed (rather than the classic, “Where’s your other wheel?”)

It’s turned cold and rainy, but Saturday looks like it’ll be dry enough, so I’ll mount the 170s and give it a try! Does the Q factor make much difference in pedals?? From what I gave, low Q factor is good if you want to spin fast (i.e. for distance and commuting), but high Q could almost give you more leverage?? as you have a wider stance? I think the ones I’ve got are pretty straight.

I do really wish there were other 36 Muni riders, but here I ride with about 4 friends who have 24/26 Munis, but no one has a big wheel. I know tons of mountain bikes, so I guess my best chance of not riding alone is to get better :slight_smile:

Actually Germany has quite a lot of unicyclists, but mostly in freestyle, flatland and trial…

@Killian/flugsworth: I was in Moab for a week summer of 2013, but was only able to bring my mountain bike and no room for my unicycle :frowning:

Next summer I’ll be out in the Northwest (Oregon/B.C.) for about 6 weeks, and I’m trying to figure out if I can manage unicycle(s). I think the 24 should be doable, but flying with the 36 seems like quite a hassle… and then it has to fit in the rent car.

Looking forward to my next ride on the big wheel!!

I like to ride my 36er offroad too!
And i live in Regensburg not far away from you.

I can’t make a comment on the 36" unicycle (I ride a 24"), but just recently I bought a 29er mountain bike after riding a 26" for years. I didn’t think that 3" would make such a difference, but it does! I can definitely roll over obstacles that I couldn’t pass on my old bike. I’m assuming that the bigger wheel on a unicycle has the same effect.

Nice weather today and mounted the 170s and WOW. INCREDIBLE! I had such a blast.

On the short distance on the road to the trailhead I could tell that I was slower, but on the trail the control was absolutely great. I now understand what I’ve read on some other posts: with the longer cranks you may actualy be slower on moderate uphills than with shorter cranks (at the end I have a relatively short but sustained climb of about 10% - i.e. not possible to make it with momentum - that I do twice a week on my commute, and I think I am faster with the 127s).

But the control with the 170s was awesome! My guess is that with some practice the ideal length would be something around 160/165, but I’ll have to see.

I had a total blast and again cleared so many sections that I can’t do on the 24" by using speed/momentum to roll up/over things. And the speed going down on the moderate downhills was really cool, plus of course the speed in the corners!

With the longer cranks I am definitely slower. Based on my crude measurements, my cruising speed on flat asphalt is so:
127s = 19km/h
150s = 17km/h
170s = 13km/h

And like I said, on moderate uphills I think I am just as fast with the short cranks, but the differences are in control and confidence:
I don’t think I missed a single mount today, whereas with the 127s I’m about 60% when I’m fresh and the when I’m tired out I usually try and find a tree, and with the 150s about 85%, but with 170s something like 96%. This means I was confident enough to mount in all kinds of places, for example off-camber slight uphill before a downhill or in the middle of a technical rooty section or the top edge of a downhill section. With the 150s I would walk and look for a flat area or a tree.

I cleaned a few technical fallen-log sections, plus lots of up-down-up and almost all the downhills (ok, this is a “flat” trail along a riverbank, so no real downhills). Had such a blast. The only thing that was maybe a touch disconcerting was that with a few dismounts in technical sections I was basically the same speed as trail runners: 2 times I was travelling in sight of trail runners for 5-10 minutes. Both runners were very impressed (one said that was the most amazing thing she had every seen), but I kind of felt like I should be faster. but alas no. I passed one trail runner one time and then dismounted about a minute later and then let him pass and then had to catch back up (on the fire road sections I was then much faster).

But I’m definitely hooked on trail riding with the 36!!! Can hardly wait for my next ride (tomorrow is a family hike in the mountains, so no unicycle).

Now for what ever reason, I’ve had it in my head the 36’r tires can’t handle the rocks so well. Not traction but getting flats. Is this thought false? I’ve got an old gravel road by me and I’ve been hesitant to ride it just for that reason. Don’t feel like fixing flats if I don’t have to…thanks

Yeah, i love my 165mm, love my 36er!. I can nearly throw my wheel as well as the 29er on 145mm. To me, it was a very similar transition. Once again, my sad QX 29er sits around, poor thing, i might sell it already. Its either my Oregon or my Nightrider out for play. With practice, 10% grade should be very doable for you. Im amazed what i can power up, its all about the angle, and momentum and maintaining it with strong , well conditioned legs.

Did you find out what is puncturing your tire? I doubt is just normal rocks…
At the current moment, i really like my Coker ( with Coker treads) tire. Heavy, but i guess im not (yet) obsessed with weight, ( good leg training though) 4 plys, rubber, so tough that it looks like it could belong on a vehicle:D

The 36er rolls through everything…so fun indeed!!!:smiley:

For gravel surface you need to raise the tyre pressure. I’ve ridden my night rider tyre over gravel on 40 psi. with no problems. I dunno about cycling on gravel for long distances in which case I think 50 psi+ might be ok.

i suppose you can use a tire kevlar liner such as, panaracer flat-away…

I haven’t had any flats on the 36 coker ribbed tire because I haven’t rode it on anything but blacktop. Many times I’ve wanted to ride down a good trail but the thought of a flat kept me from it. Sound like this is an unfounded fear. So I’ll give it a shot and see what happens. Don’t want to miss out because of a false impression…thanks.

The TA tyre’s max psi is (32psi) but it looks like a tough tyre. Let us know how you get on…

It’s a great thread to follow. My 36" has mainly been on nice roads and some double-trail (more like old road with no more tarmac). And it’s not like I use it much, it still scares me a bit.

I’m surprised by how strong they seem to be. I wouldn’t dare throwing it at obstacles, but you guys do it… any problems with the wheel getting out of true or bumped? No broken spokes yet?

Oops… I’ve been running my TA at 55… :astonished: Not for hardcore MUni though, just roads and canal paths… :smiley:

I have been running a Nightrider tire tubeless between 20-25psi all summer with no problems. I do have the spare tube but so far I haven’t needed it. The tire seems very durable and floats over small rocks nicely
No problems with my wheel/spokes either but it was built by a master wheel builder :smiley:

I have the Maxxis Ardent and I’ve been impressed so far. At the halfway point of my ride I let out more air (sorry, no measurement, but I think it had been about 30psi and I let it down to about 25psi, but only guessing), and had no real fear a flatting. I admit that this trail doesn’t have rocks like some downhills, but there were some rock ledges/corners and such.

As far as the traction goes I was thoroughly impressed. It was wet and muddy and one spot over a water hole has been “filled” with about 15 short logs about 2-6 inches in diameter and looks totally slick and scary (it’s also a corner and a big dip), so the last few rides I’ve dismounted it. Yesterday I was feeling good so I just rode into it with a little momemtum: leaned into the corner in the middle of the muddy loose logs… and the tire held and I rode it!! (ok, 10 meters later I dismounted as the tire basically stopped when it sunk deep into a mud pit, but that’s not the tire’s fault).