36er list 2013

OK so it seems that the question “which 36er is best for me” keeps popping up, I recently directed someone to a post from 2008 without realizing how out of date it really was. Anyway I figured I would collect some basic info on what is on the market as of January 2013 to help people decide what to get. Keep in mind that not all unicycles are available in all countries and product names (and configurations) are not 100% consistent across the world.

Coker Cycles
The offerings from Coker all have:
Super wide 48h square taper hub (40mm bearings, 128mm spacing)
V brake compatibility
25.4mm seatposts
38mm double walled rims
choice of tires

Coker Big one:
Regular style aluminum frame

Coker V2
Same as Coker Big One but with a Cro-Mo “squid” style frame.

Heavier and stiffer than Coker Big One. Possibly stiffest (and heaviest) frame on the market.

The Qu-Ax 36ers have:
48h regular width ISIS hubs (not all hubs identical)
25.4mm seat post
12g spokes

Qu-Ax 36
Regular style steel frame
V-brake mounts
31.5mm double walled rim
Rim does not have a flat breaking surface

QX Series Marathon
Regular style aluminum frame
Hydraulic brake mounts
42mm double walled rim

QX Series Disc
Same as Marathon except:
Disk brake mounts and cable guides

The Nimbus 36ers have:
36h super wide hubs (127mm bearing spacing)
42mm wide double walled rims
25.4mm seat post

Nimbus Titan (US)/UDC Trainer (UK)
Regular style steel frame
Square taper hub
no brake mounts

Nimbus Nightrider
Square taper hub
triangulated Cro-Mo frame
Magura brake mounts.

Frame has great torsional strength but is a bit flexy laterally

Nimbus Nightrider Pro
Same as Nimbus Nightrider but with:
ISIS hub

Nimbus Impulse
Same as Nightrider Pro but with:
Disk ISIS hub with aluminum spindle
Disk brake adaptor and cable guides
Hydrolic disk brake included

Nimbus Oracle
Same as Impulse but with:
Regular style aluminum frame

Kris Holm Unicycles
KH unicycles have:
Regular 36h ISIS hub
Regular style aluminum frame
Magura compatibility
42mm double walled rims
Double hole cranks standard
KH-Schlumpf compatible

Pre June 2012 KH36
See above

Post June 2012 KH36
+ solid disk brake mount
Disk brake cranks

Triton unicycles have:
Hand built titanium frames, built to order
Bling factor

Mega Muni (Mountain Uni
Regular 36h ISIS hub
Regular style titanium frame
Magura and disk brake mounts
42mm wide double walled rim
Mountain-Uni disk brake system

Whatever you want, but be prepared to wait

Cheep amazon/eBay 36ers
Soft square taper hubs, single walled rims, noodley frames and suspect parts. They might be OK for a bit but be prepared to have something fail catastrophically (a much bigger deal on a 36 than a smaller wheel)

Other custom unicycle manufacturers:
If you are getting a custom unicycle built you probably know what you want

What it all means:

Frame material: Aluminum is quickly becoming the predominant 36er frame material. It is light, stiff, corrosion resistant and relatively cheap but eventually wears out as it can only handle so many “stress cycles”

Steel is still real, particularly when talking about chromoly (Cro-Mo) steel. Unless it rusts out a steel frame will likely outlast an aluminum frame and is easily repairable if it does break. It is a relatively heavy and flexible frame material though.

Titanium is light, strong, doesn’t get fatigued like aluminum, or rust like steel but costs substantially more.

36h or 48h: a 36 spoke wheel will lighter than a 48 spoke wheel but a 48 spoke wheel will be stronger.

12g or 14g spokes: It looks like Qu-Ax is still using 12g spokes. These are thicker than regular (14g) spokes which will be heavier but make a stiffer wheel

Regular width or Super wide hub: A regular hub has 100mm bearing spacing, a Superwide hub has 127mm (±2mm depending on manufacturer). A Super wide hub will give you a stronger wheel build by having greater flange spacing. This forces you to have a wider stance which is generally offset by using zero-Q cranks. In theory a 36 spoke supper wide will be slightly stiffer laterally than a similarly tensioned 48 spoke regular width wheel. You will need a frame that takes a regular width hub if you want to run a Schlumpf hub.

Disk hubs will result in a dished wheel build, which won’t be as strong as an equivalent symmetrical wheel build.

ISIS - vs - Square taper: ISIS is a spline interface which results in a stronger connection between cranks and the hub.

It used to be much easier to find short square taper cranks for road riding but ISIS cranks have since caught up and possibly surpassed square taper cranks in this reguard. There is now little compelling reason to get a new unicycle with a square taper hub unless you have specific cranks you want to be able to use with it.

ISIS hubs use 42mm bearings and Square taper hubs use 40mm bearings so you may not be able to put a ISIS wheelset in a non ISIS frame etc.

Magura - vs - V brake - vs disk brake: Magura brakes are hydraulic rim brakes; they are more expensive than conventional rim brakes but very smooth. V brakes are what are found on most non disk mountain bikes. They are cheaper than maguras but can work almost as well if set up properly.

Disk brakes are relatively new in the unicycling world but have the potential to be both very smooth and powerful. Internal disk systems (Nimbus, Qu-Ax) mount on the left side of the hub, moving in one hub flange resulting in a dished wheel but allow the use of virtually any crank you choose. External disk systems mount the disk to the crank (KH, Mountain-Uni) requiring either a custom crank (KH) or disk (Mountain-Uni) but allow the hub to remain symmetrical and does not exclude the possibility of a Schlumph geared hub.

Rim width: Wider rims tend to be stronger, give a more stable ride, and allow lower tire pressures. Skinnier rims may do better with road crown with certain tires.

Feel free to chip in if I missed anything or if I got something wrong.

Great write up Eric. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

Great write-up Eric. Thanks for taking the time to collect all this information.

While the Titan frame does not have brake mounts, the frame I had came pre-drilled for a crown-mounted caliper brake.

Eric you are always dead on!

Very nice work, Eric – thanks for taking the trouble to do it clearly and objectively. When I finally pull the trigger on a 36er your writeup will be very useful.

First hand experiences with 36 Qu Ax seem scarce – have you ever ridden or inspected one?

thanks very useful. i suspect i may be a buyer later this year, this guide is great and up to date!

Jordan, one of the guys I did RTL with special ordered one for the race. It was a good strong quality build with an ISIS hub and minimal Q-factor.


great reviews! Thanks so much!
You say: Coker V2 “squid” style frame. Heavier and stiffer than Coker Big One. Possibly stiffest (and heaviest) frame on the market.

For some reason, this has not caught on (I could be wrong). Why? Should it be made of titanium?

My Cokers and Nimbus 36" are dong me fine for road and light off road, but maybe in 2014 I’ll go for something super just for the status factor! I’m waiting!

PS: I’ve had 36 with brakes but never used them. Then I have the brake removed. I need a ride with more braking challenges in 2014.

Eric, thank you for taking the time to post this thread. That is extremely helpful to a 36-newbie like me, who has been reading about 36-inchers on the forums for about the last year, but never got a good, clear overview until now. Thank you very, very much for sharing your knowledge.

Before I bought my used Coker a couple weeks ago, I occasionally searched eBay and Amazon, but never found any 36-inchers. Looks like that was a good thing or maybe I would already be dead from a catastrophic UPD caused by a disintegrating chinese unicycle. :slight_smile: Speaking of which, when I first got into unicycling, I bought a brand new eBay 20-incher for about $45 shipped for my daughter. We had numerous problems with that piece of junk from the beginning. I can only imagine those problems scaled up to a 36-incher.

The heaviest and stiffest frame…


You say: Coker V2 “squid” style frame. Heavier and stiffer than Coker Big One. Possibly stiffest (and heaviest) frame on the market.

The stiffest and heaviest “Coker”-type ever built was probably the 40" one I made from a wooden Amish buggy wheel with a hard rubber rim back in 1968! Go to the “Challenge Each Other” forum to see my story about it posted earlier today containing the question: “Who made and rode the first Big Wheel?” -Clair in Canberra


Wow, that’s cool!