52" wheeled uni ?

Has anybody had any experience with the PennyFarthing style Unicycles.
They come in sizes up to 52 inch. I emailed, and his response was the tire wears out quicker as a uni but the tires are still good for 3-5k miles.(solid rubber) At $750 compared to $2000 for a geared 36" I wonder if this is an option for commuting purposes only. This is the link to the store. Interesting stuff.

Looks a nice idea but with it being an antique replica I would expect it to be heavy

The UK UDC site has some penny farthings. Looks like 2 of the 3 are sold.
The impression I get is they are old design, but use light weight
Modern materials

If youre serious about a big wheel uni I’d talk to the guys at UDC too

Among my collection I have a Semcycle Big Wheel 43 inch unicycle, 50 inch ordinary bike, and a 36 inch KH Schlumpf. Although less expensive than a 36 KH Schlumpf you will likely find the Schlumpf easier to ride and commute with and the wheel of choice.

Road camber, hills, and wind all have a greater effect on the rider as the tire/wheel size increases. With experience the 43 inch will allow you to go any where the 36 inch Schlumpf will go in high gear. But the 43 inch will give you a terrible time when riding the same places that the 36 inch Schlumpf manages easily in low gear. Head winds, side wind, and quarter winds on the 43 inch wheel require skill to ride in. If you add road camber to wind effect the ride will become challenging on a 43 inch.

I probably have 40,000 miles on 36 inch unicycles (both geared and un-geared) and only 4000 or 5000 miles on the 43 inch. But my pb for non-stop riding is on the 43 inch Semcycle (over sixty miles). But not any of my century rides are entirely on a 43 inch. I have ridden up and over mountain passes on the 43 inch.

After researching and talking with both Rideable Replicas and Semcycle I decided on the Semcycle. Teresa and Sem are both great people to work with. Give them a call. The 43 inch Semcycle is a beautiful work of art with nice detailing and on the right condition will really move. The hard rubber tire is not noticeably worse than a 36 inflated to a high psi. The large wheel helps smooth out the bumps. It is the vibration that you will notice when riding rough pavement.

You must have long legs if you plan on riding a 52 inch. I need short cranks and have to stretch to pedal a 50 inch.

Hope this helps.


Great input Bungeejoe,
Does your 43 have a brake? My commute is fairly flat, but thinking down the road a bit, if I wanted to ride on a hillier route. Freemounting a 43 and larger may be a trick at first too. Thank you for the response. I’ve never seen anyone riding, owning or even talking about these.

43 Semcycle

A few pics…

Glacier to Mt Baker upper lodge (NorKa Ride 542 route)

A couple more…

I have ridden the Rideable Bicycle Replicas 48" unicycle and its rediculously heavy, they are not suitable for proper riding but are great fun as you are soo high up. I was finding that i was having to wrestle with it all the time just to get it to go where i wanted. Getting on is also very difficult with the wheel being huge although may be possible with practice.

I have attached some pics




Beautiful pictures of the big wheels and the scenery. The 43 sounds like something I should get. I’m not 100% sure Semcycle is still open. Type in the address and no store comes up. The link in the mail connects but I’m not sure.
I sent them an email. Thanks for the input. 52" is off the list…jona

Well it’s been a year since I started this thread and the idea of owning a big wheel never left me. I tried various times to get in contact with Semcycle with no results. I was going to go for the 43". Then I said to heck with it and ordered a 48" from RBR. Yesterday the truck pulled up and dropped the biggest uni box I’ve ever seen off. This thing is HUGE. I ordered the red tire and 3 hole cranks. (175-155-125) Pulled the fancy hairpin seat to put on the wall.It is pretty. Put an old coker seat on. On the bathroom scale my coker with cable and rack weigh 18lbs, this monster weighs 28lbs. Did a quick ride in a big parking lot and it’s a truck. Gets moving fast before you realize it too. The seat post in picture is before cutting down. Came out about 2" above frame. Surprising how easy it turns due to small contact area I guess. Very happy with the fit and finish. RBR really needs to update their pictures. They don’t do the product justice. More later.

48 3.jpg

48 2.jpg

48 1.jpg

36 48.jpg

Can I ask what sort of inside leg you need to ride that monster? :open_mouth:

It looks amazing!

My uni’s are 34.5 inches pedal at 6 to top of seat. With the longest crank setting I had to switch seats from coker to nimbus gel to get it there.

With the Nimbus gel mounted as low as it will go, I just reach on the longest crank setting. With the heavy weight of the wheel I don’t know if I will go for shorter crank setting or not. I am happily surprised at how smooth it rides when cruising along. The big wheel-Gel seat combo feels pretty good. I am also surprised what a PITA this monster is at low speed. I definately need slow speed practice. Once I wobble myself up then it’s cool. Width may be making me wobble also. It’s 10 inches crank to crank. I can honestly see burning up some open road miles on this. But no way would I try close quarters like a sidewalk etc. :astonished: Need more saddle time for sure

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Could you take it down another inch? I ride a 33.5" setup.

How is the hard rubber tire?


The seat is as low as it can go. The pedals can be moved up 1" and 2".
I’m at the 175 setting and that feels kinda like my 36" with 150’s.
The tire is interesting, I can barely leave a mark with my thumbnail but it feels like my coker at 35psi. I figure due to diameter and small contact patch? It turns side to side easier than the coker. My issue is getting the beast to start rolling in the first place. And I haven’t even attemped a freemount yet.
I am the first to say I’m new to the whole big wheel idea. This carries quite an intimidation factor. I stared in amazement for awhile at it. :D:D:D

“Intimidation” is an understatement! It must be scary to ride that thing! I’m not sure I’d be brave enough!
Those pictures are great, it would be cool to see a video, too, after you get used to it.

Awesome, I’ve had my eye on these wondering what they were like. Maybe with a saddle like the naomi or KH slim I could ride one.

First of all, congratulations to you. What a beautiful machine. I really like the three hole cranks. It must feel great to be riding that uni.

Back in the 80s, you would call up Tom Miller and order a big wheel from him. Most of his were 40" wheels, with hard rubber wheelchair tire. Heavy cycles but, like all of his stuff, durable and suitable for long-term use. Mine was a 45", which I’ve had since 1982.

I love my big wheel, but it is not my choice for any kind of long ride. From the descriptions above, it sounds like the Semcycle and RBR tires give a nicer rolling experience than my wheelchair rubber. It’s a pretty harsh ride, like a road tire inflated to 100 psi. My 36ers are much preferrable for riding any kind of distance. I think mine also weighs about 28 pounds.

Wheel size: I’ve ridden hard-tire big wheels of sizes including 36, 40, 43, 45, 50, 56 and 63.5". You want something that won’t be at the limit of your leg length but that usually allows for an impressive wheel size.

Riding characteristics of hard-tire big wheels are very different. Whereas a 36" tire generally wants to go straight, you will find the opposite on a low-friction, skinny tire. People riding my big wheel for the first time usually find themselves wobbling wildly from side to side, as there is so little friction to prevent it. This goes away once you get used to the idea. Then you can do amazing swooping turns, loops, spins and pirouettes. I always wish my 36ers could turn sharper and do spins. The big wheel is my ride of choice for parades. Big and showy, fast, and easy to get on and off. If you’ve ever been trapped on top of a tall giraffe for a long parade, you know what I mean by being trapped. :slight_smile:

Cranks: my 45" big wheel still has the cottered, 6.5" (165mm) cranks that it came with. They have always provided the right amount of leverage, while allowing for more speed than I need (clocked once around 22-23 mph).

For anyone else shopping for a commuting uni, I highly recommend a 36" uni (your choice), Schlumpf as an optional upgrade. If I had to ride 100 miles tomorrow, it would definitely be on one of my 36ers. Either one, the geared or ungeared, before I would consider my 45". On the other hand, if you want to make a “big” impression, and have a really cool looking thing to ride, a large wheel is it! Remember to consider transportation in the equation. My 45" wheel did not fit in the car I had when I bought it (see below). I had to mount it on the back bumper, which looked cool, but was not great in bad weather. In my next car, a 1979 Subaru wagon, it only fit in diagonally and with both back seats down. This eventually led to me owning a VW Bus, and later a string of minivans from 1995-present. When it comes to cars, wheel size matters!


What is the shortest distance you can have from top of seat to bottom of axel of the peddle i have a 32" leg and want a 52" uni. I ride a 36" and have about 7" from the tire. Is that a kh seat too And what’s it like to ride.

You could always get the 48" model if you’re worried.