36er Muni: Yes Virginia, a 36er can be ridden off road

Penny Farthing would be an appropriate translation, wouldn’t it.

Greetings

Byc

Got to be something else, since Penny Farthing doesn’t apply. Never ridden one. The only “PF” I know about is for “PF Flyers”! For anyone over 45, you’ll remember the comercials. :smiley:

So I made a plan to dedicate one of my rides each week of the summer to 36ing on trails. This week I double dipped, one ride was technical single track, hard but fun all the same. Tomorrow I’m heading to an XC riding area to do some high mileage trail riding, not sure how far I’ll ride since it’s a smallish area and I will be doing 7-10 mile laps depending on route, looking to ride for four to six hours.

36er riding feedback:

For climibing and descending I find that the 175 cranks on a 36er are about equivallent to riding 135 cranks on a 29er; of course they feel different, but they have about the same level of “capability”. I am contemplating some 180’s if I can find some…

I found that at my weight of 200# the Coker Non Skid rides well over rough terrain at 18-20psi. At the lower end of the psi I can get rim shots over abrupt edges like bridges and big roots if I’m not careful, so I’m running 20psi to play it safe.

In terms of bridging rough terrain, the 36" wheel is amazing! It’s like the difference in rollability between a 24" and a 29". The downside of that rollability is that on occassion I carry to much speed or don’t have time get the best foot position, so into tight turns and have to walk off to prevent running off the trail. Also, hitting off angle roots and rocks can create a wash out effect.

So far I have had plenty of UPD’s but have yet to hit the ground except on my feet. The unicycle itself has not suffered ill due to off road use, then wheel is straight as new, about the only thing I have adjusted is the occassional UPD where the seat gets crooked, then it’s just a matter of opening to QR and putting it back to straight :smiley:

The Foss tube has been holding up well, but it does not hold air pressure as well as a standard tube, so I have to pump the tire up before each ride. Has anyone else noticed this?

FYI: "pf"is how you spell “of” when you miss a key and don’t proofrread :stuck_out_tongue:

All I need now is a better tire…

+1 my FOSS tube needs to be aired up from 40 to 50psi every other week or so whereas the “heavy” tube in my Impulse held steady at 55psi for years. Both were in Nightrider tires and neither qualified to be mentioned in this thread as I only ride the big wheel on paved (rails-to-trails) bike paths.

+1
I took the 36" out again last weekend. The trails around here were a bit damp from some recent rain and the Nightrider had me sliding around any wet spots a bit too much.

The 29x2.3 tube in my 36" seems to be somewhere in between; it needs air every 4 months or so.

Last night I did another mtb race in my 36er, and I think I’ve found the perfect place for 36er muni! The only problem is that it’s private land, and it’s normally used by golfers…

The 36er was the perfect unicycle for this race, as most of the ground was grass (obviously :p), and there wasn’t anything too technical.

The race started of at the bottom (it’s set on a hill) of the golf coarse on a section of grass next to the fairway, and then onto the hard-pack-golf buggie track. There were pot holes scattered along the track, which the 36er rolled over as if they weren’t there. At the end of the hard-pack, there was a short, sharp, climb, which was 40-50%, and about 3m long. I slowed down the let the bikers in front clear it before I got to it, and then I sprinted up as fast as I could, and the momentum of the 36er carried me up, which I don’t think would have been possible on a smaller wheel. The course then went up the side of the golf coarse, and this was fairly smooth hard-pack again. The track then went through the car-park, and then through a fairly tight chicane, which got quite greasy towards the end. This, and the night rider at 60psi, meant that there was some sideways skidding towards the end. Then the track passed the timing gate, and I had to duck to get under:D

Then the track went across the rear bank of the driving range, (there were still people using it! :astonished: )which meant riding along a steep cross slope, (about 40%) and covered in golf balls, and then ascending out of the driving range and along the top of the bank and then back down and out of the driving range, and then along along the edge of the golf coarse on a track that had been mown specially for the race. Then, the track, narrowed into tight single track that twisted around the trees at the edge of the golf coarse. This was great fun as I maneuvered the 36er around the tight turns, and ducked under the low hanging branches, and I occasionally had make room for bikers as they began to overtake on my 3rd lap, which was easier said than done :stuck_out_tongue:

The track then went down the long hill back to the bottom of the golf coarse, which was interrupted every 50m or so by drainage channels, which where about 10-20cm wide, and the 36er rolled over these like they weren’t there. The track then took a sharp right turn and went along a the bank of a lake. This section was fairly bumpy, which, along with the strong crosswind blowing across the bank and towards the bank, left me with a fear of getting wet. After passing the lake, the track descended the bank. The descent wasn’t too steep, or long, and allowed me too go down without the using the brake, and get some speed (on my 3rd lap I had a UPD, after getting too much speed. I don’t really know what happened, other than my elbow made a hole in the turf :astonished: )

The track then went round through a chicane,Then the coarse went across the rear bank of the driving range, (there were still people using it! :astonished: )which meant riding along a steep cross slope, (about 40%) and covered in golf balls, and then ascending out of the driving range and along the top of the bank and then back down and out of the driving range, and then along along the edge of the golf coarse on a track that had been mown specially for the race. Then, the track, narrowed into tight single track that twisted around the trees at the edge of the golf coarse. This was great fun as I maneuvered the 36er around the tight turns, and ducked under the low hanging branches, and I occasionally had make room for bikers as they began to overtake on my 3rd lap, which was easier said than done :stuck_out_tongue:

The track then went down a long hill, which was interrupted every 50m or so by drainage channels, which where about 10-20cm wide, and the 36er rolled over these like they weren’t there. The track then took a sharp right turn and went along a the bank of a lake. This section was fairly bumpy, which, along with the strong crosswind blowing across the bank and towards the bank, left me with a fear of getting wet. After passing the lake, the track descended the bank. The descent wasn’t too steep, or long, and allowed me too go down without the using the brake, and get some speed (on my 3rd lap I had a UPD, after getting too much speed. I don’t really know what happened, other than my elbow made a hole in the turf :astonished: ) The coarse then went around a chicane, and then back to the starting point.

I managed 4 laps in 50:05. I was glad I used my 36er and not my 29er, and there was no point where I wishing I had a smaller wheel, or anything else different, for that matter.

Last night I did another mtb race in my 36er, and I think I’ve found the perfect place for 36er muni! The only problem is that it’s private land, and it’s normally used by golfers…

The 36er was the perfect unicycle for this race, as most of the ground was grass (obviously :p), and there wasn’t anything too technical.

The race started of at the bottom (it’s set on a hill) of the golf coarse on a section of grass next to the fairway, and then onto the hard-pack-golf buggie track. There were pot holes scattered along the track, which the 36er rolled over as if they weren’t there. At the end of the hard-pack, there was a short, sharp, climb, which was 40-50%, and about 3m long. I slowed down the let the bikers in front clear it before I got to it, and then I sprinted up as fast as I could, and the momentum of the 36er carried me up, which I don’t think would have been possible on a smaller wheel. The course then went up the side of the golf coarse, and this was fairly smooth hard-pack again. The track then went through the car-park, and then through a fairly tight chicane, which got quite greasy towards the end. This, and the night rider at 60psi, meant that there was some sideways skidding towards the end. Then the track passed the timing gate, and I had to duck to get under:D

Then the track went across the rear bank of the driving range, (there were still people using it! :astonished: )which meant riding along a steep cross slope, (about 40%) and covered in golf balls, and then ascending out of the driving range and along the top of the bank and then back down and out of the driving range, and then along along the edge of the golf coarse on a track that had been mown specially for the race. Then, the track, narrowed into tight single track that twisted around the trees at the edge of the golf coarse. This was great fun as I maneuvered the 36er around the tight turns, and ducked under the low hanging branches, and I occasionally had make room for bikers as they began to overtake on my 3rd lap, which was easier said than done :stuck_out_tongue:

The track then went down the long hill back to the bottom of the golf coarse, which was interrupted every 50m or so by drainage channels, which where about 10-20cm wide, and the 36er rolled over these like they weren’t there. The track then took a sharp right turn and went along a the bank of a lake. This section was fairly bumpy, which, along with the strong crosswind blowing across the bank and towards the bank, left me with a fear of getting wet. After passing the lake, the track descended the bank. The descent wasn’t too steep, or long, and allowed me too go down without the using the brake, and get some speed (on my 3rd lap I had a UPD, after getting too much speed. I don’t really know what happened, other than my elbow made a hole in the turf :astonished: )

The track then went round through a chicane,Then the coarse went across the rear bank of the driving range, (there were still people using it! :astonished: )which meant riding along a steep cross slope, (about 40%) and covered in golf balls, and then ascending out of the driving range and along the top of the bank and then back down and out of the driving range, and then along along the edge of the golf coarse on a track that had been mown specially for the race. Then, the track, narrowed into tight single track that twisted around the trees at the edge of the golf coarse. This was great fun as I maneuvered the 36er around the tight turns, and ducked under the low hanging branches, and I occasionally had make room for bikers as they began to overtake on my 3rd lap, which was easier said than done :stuck_out_tongue:

The track then went down a long hill, which was interrupted every 50m or so by drainage channels, which where about 10-20cm wide, and the 36er rolled over these like they weren’t there. The track then took a sharp right turn and went along a the bank of a lake. This section was fairly bumpy, which, along with the strong crosswind blowing across the bank and towards the bank, left me with a fear of getting wet. After passing the lake, the track descended the bank. The descent wasn’t too steep, or long, and allowed me too go down without the using the brake, and get some speed (on my 3rd lap I had a UPD, after getting too much speed. I don’t really know what happened, other than my elbow made a hole in the turf :astonished: ) The coarse then went around a chicane, and then back to the starting point.

I managed 4 laps in 50:05. I was glad I used my 36er and not my 29er, and there was no point where I wishing I had a smaller wheel, or longer/shorter cranks, or anything else.

@Jam96: what’s your 36er set up?

Hi Ben, my 36er started life as a stock nimbus nightrider pro, but I’ve:
-Added a HS33
-Swapped the T-7 for a KH-bar after braking the T-7
-Swapped the stock T-bar ends for BBB bar ends
-Swapped the nimbus gel for a nimbus flat
-Swapped the double bolt clamp for a QR clamp, not sure on the brand

I normally use 125mm Qu-ax lightweight cranks, but for muni I sometimes use 145mms.

Only problem with it (other than the exploding tyre, and T-7, and all the seat posts that have broke) is that the frame is bent, and the brake bosses are out of line, so at the moment the left caliper is all the way in, and the right hand caliper is all the way out, and the left hand cailiper is still further from the rim. I also get alot of tyre rub on right hand support tube, which is rather annoying. Other than that, I like it :sunglasses:

SL272401 resized.jpg

My lil beauty:

175mm of super wide yumminess :slight_smile:

Can you see the hint of green peeking through the frame? Yeah baby, Oregon toughness, go big or go home!!

I am so wanting that new 36er tire to be ready…

Nimbus Impulse Disc Frame
Nimbus Oregon 125mm Hub
Nimbus Stealth 2 Rim
KH Freeride, KH Adj Post
Hope QR Seat Collar
Coker Non Skid Tire, Foss Tube
Try All Comp 175mm Cranks
NB Custom Grab Handle
Bengal Helix 3 Brake, 185mm rotor
Fyxation I pedals

It feels fast and light. it makes my 26feel like a slug and the 36er a sports car

Even on a 24. I got some hand clippers and a small folding saw to trim branches I sometimes didn’t even notice when on my mtb.

At the beginning of the Summer I had commiteed to a weekly trail ride on the 36er. The first few rides were sketchy, I didn’t feel like the 165’s nor the 170’s were long enough for ups and downs, so I splurged for some 175’s trials cranks. At first I was concerned about the stance being so much wider than my KH 36er; an additional 2” inches wider! But so far I find this stance comfortable and quite possibly better for offroad use.

I had plans to ride at one of the regional XC areas (Enterprise and Bent Creek) which have smooth single track that would allow more cruising, but for family reasons I have stayed closer to home and so I have been riding the more technical single track I typically ride on a 29er; rooty, rocky, extremes in gradient. At first this was really tough on a 36er, I was getting kicked off by obstacles, losing my side to balance as the tire leaned/steered hard into off camber situations, and I felt so tall. But I persevered and yesterday was the reward :smiley:

I went riding at Haw Ridge, a local mtb hot spot; this is where I first tried to ride muni, it’s only five minutes from my house, so I ride there a lot. I didn’t start off with the intent of riding far, but it was going so well that I did ~4 mile single track loop. What got me so wound up was that I felt more “normal” than on previous rides, I was getting better at staying centered, so I had fewer side balancing issues, also I was learning to use speed control to manage obstacles; slow and fast are important for muni.

So some of the things I’m working on:

Riding free hand and letting the wheel run.
Using a more aggressive side lean to carve through tight turns
Using my knee/thigh to bump the tire into turns
Using more pedal control and less brake, esp on downhills

I am currently riding a new KH Freeride with an older KH vinyl cover. The vinyl cover keeps the sweat from soaking into the seat and keeps the foam from squishing out, but it is also slippery. I am going to try using a double cover, putting a new KH seat cover with the stretchy Kevlar over the vinyl cover to see if it gives me more seat grip, also considered adding some sticky stuff to the seat cover, like beads of shoe goo.

Again, I am amazed at what is rideable on the big wheel given some time to adjust (my attitude).

So yeah, the riding is coming along nicely, I feel like my skills are growing quickly, comparable now to where I was on a 29er a few years ago, but still not where I want to be 

On yesterday’s ride, I met up with a couple bikers, one guy road into a hole while scoping out my 36er :wink: Anyway, they wanted to see me ride, so I took off fast, seeing if I could stay ahead of them, which I did, yeah! So when they caught up with me I was taking a break, leaning against a tree. The first guy asks me if my uni has gears. Priceless!

I put 165s on my Impulse and tried Coker MUni for a while. I did not like it but I’d like to try again now that I’ve gotten a lot better at MUni. But alas, my new 36er is much too nice to throw about. Besides, IMHO a wheel that large belongs on the road or preferably the paved multi-use (rails-to-trails) so that is where King lives. Speaking if bike paths, our mayor cut the ribbon on a new 5 mile section of the Loop today (need to update my sig)!

I’ve got a Coker. Steel hub, 48 spokes. I smash it around plenty, and no worries. Unicycles should be able to handle being dropped.

I did by far my most aggressive 36er ride Friday evening. 10 miles of single track trails, more down than up, but still a good amount of climbing, as well as some rock gardens, and many more roots than I’m used to. I would not have chosen my heavy Coker with 152’s for this ride, but it’s the uni I’ve got with me. Went to the Brown County mountain bike trails, a little more then an hour drive south of Indianapolis, with padawan. I fell plenty, and was exhausted at the end, but was amazed at how much more I was able to do on the 36 than I would have thought. I’m strategizing for how to get myself a new 36 with an ISIS hub, longer cranks, the new lighter tire, and a disc brake.

David, the 36er is plenty tough enough as long as you aren’t running the aluminum spindled Impulse hub. I have a “built” 36er Impulse with an Oregon hub, KH Tbar, 165/137 Moments, and the new muni tire. I have ridden some hairy stuff, most recently I did a Tech 3-4 downhill in Pisgah, all roots and rocks, drops up to 18" and it was awesome. Riding a 36er off road is faster and more fun that a 29er, rarely do I miss my smaller wheel.

Don’t underestimate the big wheel, the limits are all in your mind.

I’m beginning to see the light. I’ve set up my new KH29 to do MUni. 165mm Spirit cranks, lowered the seat, brought the handlebar in a little, and dropped the air pressure to 18 psi. Having learned MUni on a 26er, I can definitely see how a bigger wheel helps get the speed needed to get up the hills on a Mountain Bike trail so it would follow that moving from a 29er to a 36er would help that much more.

Bigger is better :wink:

And yes, Virginia, it’s also possible to do trials and tricks on a 36er too! I put this little video together to help give some insights into the wonderful world of 36ers, mostly for those just getting into it. :slight_smile: