36" Uni Recommendations

Hello everyone!

I picked up unicycling a little over a month ago, and I want preface by saying that this is seriously one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Currently, I ride a 24" Sun Flat Top uni I got off of a sweet craigslist deal. However, sometimes I go on ~10 mile rides, and now I’m considering getting a 36er to make commuting easier. The Nimbus Oracle looks amazing, but it’s a little pricey for me. I’m looking for a 36er that

a) has a comfortable saddle
b) can withstand the test of time

This is my first ever post, so I apologize if this question has been asked before.
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

I’m in my 30th year of riding. I have owned a total of about 13 unicycles including three 36s. Without going into lots of technical detail, I can tell you that it’s worth waiting and paying the extra for a good one. You can have fun on a budget model, but a good quality one like a Nimbus or KH is far nicer to ride, takes less maintenance, and will last longer.

You also need to consider whether 36 is the ideal size. It is faster, more spectacular, smoother and in some ways very practical. However, you need to think about storage and portability for when you’re not riding it. You also need to think about safety if you’re riding near traffic or pedestrians. A 29 wins on all of these points.

Don’t rush your decision.

For now, it is possible to do 10 mile rides on a 24. I know because I have done it many times. Some cranks around 102 mm will make that 24 smooth and quite fast. My recommendation is that you build up your skills and experience, decide what you really want, then buy a good one.

Or you could do what I did: accumulate a garage full of old uni parts because you were constantly trying to save money buying cheap gear, then spending more money upgrading it.

Just to play the other side of Mike’s post:

The thing is with 36ers, there aren’t really any duff ones, because it’s such a unique size that it’s not like you can get a WalMart-branded one.

I’ve got a Qu-Ax 36er (Which is about as cheap as it gets, unless you go for the UDC Trainer uni which is a fine choice too) and it’s been solid (but heavy) as a rock. Done many 50+ mile rides on it, and commute to work every day 5 miles each way. If you want to lighten it a bit, get a better tyre (Mine has the newer ‘lightweight’ TA tyre but the Nightrider is almost as light too) and put a 29er or FOSS tube in it. It’s been solid as a rock and basically the only maintenance I do on it is fix punctures and re-tape the handlebars every now and then.

Yeah, a ‘better’ 36er is obviously better. But the budget ones aren’t terrible, and well worth a look if you just want to try the size out.

Heya Sea,

I’ve been unicycling about two months now. Started with a 26", tried a 20", and got a 29" about two weeks ago. I’m able to go faster and farther with less effort and risk of exhaustion thanks to the bigger wheel. Originally I was gunning for a 36" like you, but was sidetracked by a nice deal ($150 for a very used {but still functional} Nimbus Venture).

As a Nimbus, it’s nicer than my Torker and Sun in every way. Like Mike said, it’s good to purchase a QUALITY product. The tire is better, the cranks are stronger, the pedals are better, the frame doesn’t chafe my legs, the seat is more comfortable, the seatpost actually has marks on it so I can properly adjust it, and the dual clamps are clamping levers so I don’t need to use an allen wrench. And finally, the thing even has brake mounts welded on for when I decide to upgrade.

I’m 5’6" so mounting bigger unicycles is tough. It took me a while but I’m on the road to consistently static-mounting my 29". I did not anticipate that free mounting the 29" would be far harder than my 26" or 20". At the same time, it’s also harder to mount when supporting myself with a post or fence; it’s just harder to mount. Have you considered this? The 36" would only be harder. I’ve heard from unicyclists that some people can’t even static mount the 36", and must do a moving mount, or something… Are you ready for that?

The 29" gives me more speed than a runner, but with barely enough maneuverability to navigate sidewalks and tight turns. It fits in my trunk. I’m not sure the same could be said about a 36". I still want a 36", but likely only for dedicated rides along paths, not rides around my neighborhood’s streets, sidewalks and transition paths.

My opinion is that 29" is as big as unicycles get before you start sacrificing maneuverability. With 114mm cranks my average speed over the last week seems to be 6 mph, over ~6 mile rides.

Saddles are easily switched, and you will probably end up trying more than one. Don’t base your decision on which saddle the unicycle comes with. Also, first impressions are not always right with saddles. Your butt will toughen with more riding. You might change your mind about what kind of saddle you want.

I’ve been riding for 28 years now, and the 36er is quite a different toy! The 29er is much more comfortable and safer, and you get that extra punch you’ll need for longer rides. The 36er is not for playing around, I guess

Just received a 36 UDC Titan last week and have thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it. I’ve been riding a Nimbus 29 on our trail system and it is no comparison for the comfort that the 36 provides. I certainly don’t feel less safe on the 36. As far as mounting, I use the tire grab method on both and have found the 36 easier than the 29. Everything happens slower.