36" vs. 29"

So it’s getting down to the wire… about to make that purchase for a bigger ride. The largest wheel I’ve ridden on is 26". Should I go up to a 29, or go for a 36? I’ve heard sitting on a 36 puts you way up in the air but I ride a 6ft so I don’t think that would be a problem. I do mostly street riding, point A to point B. On my 26 I use 125 cranks, sometimes when I have to quickly slow down I can feel a bit of a strain, so I can imagine that would be greatly increased on a 29, and with a 36 even more so (would I need a brake?). So, can anyone give some riding experience on a 29" with 125 cranks vs. a 36" with 125 cranks (or any other size cranks)?

Coker, without question. Thats what most distance riders will tell you. Some will say"No get the 29er, its more versatile!" But most will say that a Coker will do anythign a 29er will do. And if your only riding on streets, point a -point b then a coker will get you there faster.

An important thing to consider is what type of streets you’ll be on. If you’ll be on busy city streets, then the smaller wheel will certainly have a shorter stopping distance. I live just outside of Boston and knowing the city, I’m not too keen on bringing my 29" (I ride w/ 125 cranks) into any situation where I’d have to “stop really short” - it just wouldn’t be fun. I’d be more prone to ride a 26" in the downtown core than a 29" and wouldn’t want to think about having to stop really short on a 36".

Plus, shorter cranks will also reduce the stopping distance.

It’s far from the only thing to think about when going for a larger wheel, but “going faster easier” is not the only thing to consider either.

If you’ll mostly be doing long distance for fun rides, I’d go with the coker…if you’re gonna be using it for commuting purposes, then the 29er could be better. The Coker is harder to control, or it can be, so its not as good as the 29er to ride on crowded streets…but if you live in a small town, then you can get the coker too. Depends on the streets you’ll be riding on.

Coker, absolutely, hands down, no question.

Sounds like both then. :slight_smile:


What about your experiences on 36ers and 29ers, trials_uni? How much urban riding have you done on these wheels?

None what so ever. Which im pretty sure you already kno because you said you were gonna call me out on my advice some day. I was simply offering my opinion based on my reading from other members. The Coker and the 29er both have their advantages and all i said was that “others”(seasoned distance riders) would probably recomend the Coker.

My 29er usually gets ridden one ~couple of mile journeys to work or around town, and I find it’s quite comfortable to do that sort of distance on it. I’ve never ridden a coker, but for dodging round pedestians in the crowded town centre, the smaller wheel is helpful. I suspect the 29er is quite a good compromise for threading through narrow, busy streets and still getting there at a reasonable pace. I still have to dismount when things get really busy.

The furthest I’ve done in a day is about 18 miles, and I’m sure I would have been happier with a Coker for that sort of distance. Maybe one day, when I’ve got more money :wink:

How far is your A to B, and through what types of environments?

Plus it will be more maneuverable. If it’s not the type of riding where you can just cruise in a mostly straight line, the Coker will be a little harder to work with.

I think he was trying to say shorter cranks will increase stopping distance. But on a cruising-type uni, stopping is seldom the solution to obstacles. A quick turn is usually faster and safer than possibly dismounting onto somebody’s feet.

My former commuter to work was pretty flat, and I used a Coker with 125s. I’d recommend using the 150s that come with it until you get comfortable before considering shorter cranks.

If you want to ride 3 miles at a time or more, I’d say go for the Coker. You can always get an in-between wheel size in the future if you think you need one, but if you want to ride longer distances, the Coker is what you’ll want.

Brake? You’ll only need one of those if you ride lots of hills. It doesn’t do a thing on flat ground.

I have only unied for <2 yrs, but this (my second) year, my stable of unis filled out: Original:TorkerLX24, then KHXC29, then a TorkerDX20 and a Radial 360.

I ride the LX24, never…permanent loaner;
Next, I ride the 20DX fairly often to practice trialsy stuff.
Next, the KH29 is my only Muni, and I love f*king Muni, so I ride it alot, and it’s also (with a road-slick tire) my climbing wheel.
Last, and MOST OF ALL! I ride the 36" when I have to get somewhere quick, but not car-quick or bike-quick.

However the real treat for me is aking the 36" for a good exercize ride - the bliss of riding a big wheel through miles of empty farm roads is a release of the sweetest proportions.

All that being said, get the 36" :D.

Brake? You don’t need no stinking brake! If you have to stop fast, jump off. I walk my 36" through crowds, but I’d probably walk my 20", too, because non-uniers have no idea if you none, some, or complete control.

A 29er has a number of advantages over a coker.
It’s lighter,
It’s smaller and easier to transport and store.
Easier to find tires and tubes
Easier to adapt to than a coker
Easier to mount
Easier to start and stop with a given crank length.

That being said, i LOVE my coker, and I find it to be an ideal city machine.
It DOES take more time to adapt to, but once you do.
It’s plenty maneuverable.
It’s faster
125’s usually give enough leverage for ok stopping times.
More than adaquate leverage with 150’s
It’s SAFER than a 29er for riding in the city for the following reason: You are higher up, and theremore more visable. Cars go out of their way to avoid you. When I go riding with my girlfriend (her on bike) she almost gets run over, but cars go in the opposite lane to avoid me.

Mounting is frustrating at first, especailly in a city where you have lots of lights. I deal with this by holding on to sign posts, or doing still-stand hop still-stand at lights (this impresses people a lot)

My vote is for 36er.

Note: As for the brake, they are only useful on steep decents. I don’t use one.

Thanks for catching that - that’s exactly what I meant. slaps forehead

coker… i have both… the speed is nothing like one another… get a coker with 125’s and a nice seat… you adapt to it like any other uni



There are only two good reasons not to buy a Coker.

  1. The terrain your riding is the mountains of Santa Barbara, California
  2. You are a trials nut. (but, I would still keep one for long trips)

I can ride my Coker to, from and through any place that anyone else can ride a 29”. (almost anyone else)

It’s all practice. Once you master the Coker, you can do everything you would on a 29” It just increases the fun factor.

All your initial fears and those Coker misconceptions about the size, weight and maneuverability will disappear with practice.

I’ve been riding my whole life and have tried all the different wheel sizes and types of terrain and there is nothing like the feel of a Coker when you’ve finally mastered it. I’m not against other wheel sizes, I own one of each but, The Coker experience blows them away.
Plain and simple, it’s just BETTER!

If you don’t buy a Coker now you will regret it. More people have been buying Coker’s for a reason. :astonished:
On my monthly Muni rides the number of Coker riders has tripled. It’s only because people are just first learning about the possibilities you have with a Coker.

Once you can ride a unicycle, you can ride any size wheel, it just takes a small adjustment period.

It’s worth it.

I promise!




i agree, get 125 cranks with a brake to take away the strain. if ur not gonna be going majorly long distances i rekon a 29" would be fine.

Thanks for all the replies. It seems like the majority lean towards the 36". Right now when I’m on my 26" I generally stay on the sidewalk and only venture out on the road if there’s a wide shoulder or bike lane. I feel very meager on the road riding a 26". I liked what someone said about really standing out while riding a 36.

Most of my street riding has been done around London and Los Angeles. People are much more bike aware in England, in LA everyone is just zooming about trying to beat the next traffic light. I’ve never had problems riding the roads in the UK (aside from someone trying to be funny and screaming at me right as they drove by). In LA I’ve had quite a few things happen, including twice having cars backing up out of driveways/parking lots (both times I got their attention by slapping the trunk of the car, which causes the drivers to put on the brakes and give you a nasty look).

So I think that settles it, 36". A few more paychecks and I’ll make the purchase!

give me a nimble 29er over a boat anchor 36 anyday.

I love my 29ers and ride every day when I can. However, I have given in to temptation to buy a 36". It will come in a couple of weeks, so give me a couple of months or so to get used to it and I’ll tell you how they compare.