Hi, this is my first time posting and have been scouring the internet since seeing my girlfriends uncle’s sun xl unicycle yesterday. Right away I was drawn the the large chopper tire and thought it would be great to learn to ride one at the rodeos I work. My main riding areas would be dirt/sand/crushed limestone arena of varying depths. Usually dirt raked a couple inches deep. I’m just looking for advice on the best unicycle for my needs. The sun xl only comes in 20" and I’m worried I will want bigger. I have looked at some of the nimbus munis bigger than 20" but am worried about the tire digging down to much in loose sand and dirt. When not in the arena I will be on gravel grass. A lot of this is just assumptions from a new guy and am hoping for some insight. I’d like to spend 2 to 300 dollars. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi, and welcome!
I’m brand new to unicycling and only just made my first buy myself. So I don’t know anything from experience, but my research indicated that 20 inchers are commonly recommended for adults to learn on, and as a fantastic size for both learning and performing tricks. Is part of the reason you want to do it at the rodeo so you can show off tricks? If so, you might be getting a lot of bang for the buck there.
Amazon and other places have a variety of unicycles to choose from, and in that price range too. I went with unicycle.com.
It sounds like you basically want a “Muni,” or “mountain unicycle,” as opposed to a street unicycle. From what I’ve seen, those will come with the knobbly tire that mountain bikes have, which will let you get around rough ground the way you need to. Whatever size you choose, that looks like the direction you’re headed.
Riding a unicycle on grass is not too bad but I would not count on being very proficient at riding in a rodeo arena. Riding on soft ground is not easy with any tire.
I hear ya. It’s not something I could use everywhere. I work a lot of bullridings where the arena is more of a packed sand and limestone so I was hoping it would work or at least on outside of arena in grass. My main issue now is finding something to support my size. I just measured my inseam and its 36 inches. At 6’3 280 I’m struggling to find something I’m sure will work for me.
Here are two things you can check for sizing:
Inexpensive, light, and strong, pick two
As a larger guy and a beginner I’m going to assume you are going to pick inexpensive and strong. which makes one of your best options out there the good old steel framed Nimbus MUni.
20" is the most popular size for most people to learn on. At 6’3" a 24" should fit you just fine.
At 280 lbs you probably want a double walled wheel, a splined hub, and some good quality cranks. The Nimbus checks all these boxes.
If you find a good deal on a used unicycle somewhere, don’t hesitate to post the link to the adds etc. We (the community) can let you know the positives and negatives of whatever unicycle you are considering.
The Hatchet should be your goal uni then. It rides on sand, on roots, on anything you throw at it:
But it ain’t cheap…
If I’m going the inexpensive and strong route to start are the 24" Off road sun unicycles an ok option. I’ve found a bunch online in the 170-200 dollar region. I realize you get what you pay for but I was hoping that might be an alright route.
Do you mind posting a link? I tried searching 24" sun off-road unicycles and they all came out well in the $200+ range. Sun has improved as a brand but it’s hard to beat the Nimbus value.
I realize it’s a bit out of your stated price range but like you said “you get what you pay for”. It’s probably worthwhile to check the used market if you want a sturdy unicycle under that $200 mark.
Some things to look for when doing your own searches:
Double walled rim - a box section rim is much stronger and durable than a single walled rim. Most of the stronger rims will also have eyelets allowing a higher tension build.
Splined hub - ISIS is the current standard. If you are doing any rough riding or hopping anyone significantly over 150lbs would likely ruin even high quality square taper cranks. All the higher quality hubs built for strength on a budget have a CroMoly steel spindle.
Cranks made from tempered aluminum (T6) - depending on construction tubular steel cranks may technically be stronger but tend to bend over time. Inexpensive aluminum cranks wont be tempered and will quickly bend with rough use.
Seatpost of at least 25.4mm diameter - The wider the seatpost the stronger it is using the same materials etc. Leave the 22.2mm seatposts to kids and advanced freestylers.
A decent saddle - speaks for itself.
Bigger heavier riders can ride standard unicycles without wrecking anything if they are smooth riders. Learners tend not to be smoothest of riders
This is one I keep going back to. The people at unicycle.com referred me to a 26" club and a 26" nimbus. I cant really make up my mind on what I should do but I really like the price point of the Sun that I posted link for. I have given up on the thought of riding it in the arena, and now just want one I can learn on and ride around in grass and parking lots.
I rode last year in Moab with a young guy who was riding that exact uni. It’s a good one, and should do well for your intended purpose. (But you may want to go with a fatter tire if you intend to ride in deep, soft dirt.) (But I do agree with the previous poster that the Hatchet would be ideal, if your budget can allow it.)
I saw from your picture how deep the dirt was. That does look like murder to pedal or roll anything through.
Thank you for all of the advice! I ended up purchasing the Sun Flat Top OR 24" this morning for 217 dollars with free shipping. It has the ISIS and a triple wall rim so I thought it’d be a good starter for my big ol’ body.
Sounds like a great purchase! Good luck, and post photos when you start riding!
Looks like a solid choice at a very reasonable price.
Looking at old threads it looks like that might be a 2010 model. There wasn’t much said but they seemed to get favorable reviews by the guys who bought them on here. I wonder where they found the old stock?
so you managed to get the trifecta:
light, strong, and inexpensive
So far I really like it. It’s very strong and seems very sturdy. The only dislike I have is how aggressive and knobby the tire is. I realize now how far away I am from riding in the originally intended terrain while learning. How simple is it to put qbreolacement tire on it? I have done a lot of searching and am confused. The tire on it is a 24 × 2.6 Kenda and it’s super knobby. I see myself on pavement for a long while. Can I just by 24 inch tire more intended for pavement and smoother riding? A bike tire? Having trouble finding much on replacement tires online. I apologize for the barrage of questions in this learning process.
Yes, you can put a 24 inch road tire on it.
Other then not “looking” like road tire a knobby may be better for learning. Based on what I’ve read a knobby tire will be less effected by road camber and be less likely to steer is directions you do not want to go.
The Kenda is a bike tyre, like (almost?) every other 24" or larger one you’ll find on a unicycle, and it’s my favourite for muni on a 24" wheel.
The only thing that could be a hindrance at the beginning is the rolling resistance. There’s no need to see yourself on pavement for a long while. In my experience, within a few hours after being able to ride on pavement for a hundred meters without dismount, you’re ready to ride on hard offroad surfaces without too big bumps or roots.
The question is if it’s worth buying another tyre for that short period.
If so, my recommendation would be this one.
Some people use it for unicycle long jump, so it is really fast, but it has enough volume for light cross country as well. This, or something similar on this scale, might be a good transitional solution.