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

Added some color, rebuilt the adjustable Trans X bar end, running the prototype mtb tire tubeless at 20psi (the Foss tube died), 165 Moments, 200mm rotor and Magura MT 2 disc brake, no complaints, this 36er kills it!

I rode two different trails this week on the 36er, none of that easy stuff, both had some tough downhill, rocky and rooty, even some wild berm action and a boardwalk through an old marble quarry.

Don’t underestimate the big wheel :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve been doing quite a bit of 36er muni and I’m really starting to get the hang of it. Last year I tried taking my 36er off road a few times and it always felt so unweldy, impossible to control and even scary! My first few attempts were with 150s and then I decided that was just too short for my comfort.

So I tried some 170mm cranks. This was great and I immediately felt way more comfortable. I rode these for a while and then got 165/137 spirits and felt the 165s were actually better. I’ve been doing a 36er muni ride with the 165s for most of the spring (summer I was away for 3 months without the 36) and then this fall… and really really improving, both uphill and downhill. Most of the downhill sections that felt so scary I can now ride controlled and without UPDing. I’ve even managed a few technical spot including one off-camber drop (only about 1.5 ft).

In the last few weeks I did 2 rides on my 26 with 127mm cranks and had a great time. I was able to ride down almost everything except for one really steep downhill (but it was just mental). That motivated me to think about trying the 36 with shorter cranks.

Today I rode with 150s and it went really well. Sure, I didn’t make a few of the longer uphills that I can ride with the 165s. And on some of the steeper downhills I again felt that I was missing a little control. However, it wasn’t near as scary as the first few times when I was learning (back with the 170s). And I made it up a few rolling things more easily b/c I could carry the momentum. So in sum, I really had a blast and can really see the potential with the 150s. The increased speed and more momentum to go over and up is really fun. I just need to improve my skills more so that I have more control and feel really comfortable on the steeper downhills.

One really great thing with unicycling is that you can easily keep challenging yourself and stay on the edge of what you can do without having to seek out new and insanely steep trails (like for freeride mountain biking where I wanted 2m+ drops and super super steep terrain for a challenge) and include some scary stuff too just by stepping up the equipment: in my case going from a 24 to 26 to 36" wheel off road and now from 150 to 127 cranks on the 26 and 170 to 165 to 150mm cranks on the 36. I could imagine being good enough to maybe have fun with 137s on my local XC trails, although anything shorter seems too much (I’m on 100s now on the road and even a moderate downhill can be scary).

I guess it totally depends on your trails and how steep the downhills are, but I really feel like 150-165 is the best range for 36er muni. If I want to do anything much more technical or with drops or such it seems like a smaller wheel is better and with >170mm cranks the advantages of the big wheel diminish a little as you can’t keep up the momentum (ok, you still have the roll-over advantage).

It seems like everyone here in this thread (now 3 years old) was talking about cranks in the 165-175 range and some actually wishing for something even longer. Has anyone who has been doing 36er muni for a while experienced the desire for shorter cranks too?

I have a similar experience. I started with 150s thinking “this is crazy!” and as my experience level increased I became very comfortable with that length off road. Then, during a recent road ride with 127s I went on a portion of familiar trail and I did just fine. I’ll happily do it again.