A cheap, speedy unicycle?

That’s a hell of a percentage change. Of course it made a difference. That’s just huge.

The next step from 150s is about 125s or, at best, 110s. I ride my 28 on 110s with great confidence, but find the step to 102 a challenge. I rode my 24 on 102s for ages and found the change to 89s a challenge.

It’s simple enough maths.

I’ve followed most of the long crank/short crank debate threads over the past few years, as well as riding a 29/28-er with cranks lengths varying from 110mm - 150mm.

I don’t like to see the almost knee-jerk response of ‘125mm or shorter for the big wheel unis’; there’s lots of factors involved and, in some cases, 150mm (or even longer) is entirely appropriate.

Admittedly, most who ride a lot seem to end up going for 125s or less, however, I suspect that part of that is due to the amount of negativity expressed here about long cranks for anything but muni.

I’ve noticed that many of the proponents of very short cranks tend to have shorter legs, it makes sense to me that many with longer legs will perhaps fare better with a longer crank.

The theoretical speed increase that comes with short cranks doesn’t always translate into a practical speed increase- if the loss of control that accompanies shorter cranks results in either more UPDs, or, due to fear of coming off, actually results in pedaling so much slower that the average speed decreases.

Another factor, if you’re riding on the road, you need to be very, very solid and in control (out of respect for your own safety, and that of other road users)- 150mm may give you an edge there.

Is the place you ride extremely hilly? If so, then riding downhill with short cranks can damage your knees, riding uphill can be harder.

Do you ride regularly, or do you tend to have gaps of weeks between some of your riding? IMO, for shorter cranks to be useful and safe, consistent and regular riding is important.

I live in a very hilly place, I don’t always ride that consistently, I have longish legs; these, combined with practical experience (I found 125’s to feel unsafe on the road and unpleasant on steep downhills- I found 110’s to be lethal) mean that I use 150’s on my 29-er, and I’m very happy with them, and I find I can go faster with them than with 125’s.

I’ve seen Mike Fule ride down what seemed to me to be a totally impractical hill on a 28" uni with short cranks, and I know that many others prefer 110’s on Cokers etc, but it’s not for me.

And that’s what I’m saying, different crank lengths suit different people, and some do do better with a longer crank.


I’ll also mention here that what some others have said about paying a bit more and getting a 29-er is worth considering.

I came to seriously dislike my 28" uni, but I love it with a fat tyre; I just prefer being able to ride for the joy of it, rather than having to consider every little bump on the road that will throw me off a 28", but that the 29-er just rides over.

I think to enjoy a 28"-er you’ve got to be really into the skill of being constantly alert and studying the terrain- which is a totally OK thing to be into; but, if you’re more into just riding fairly fast, fairly long distance with minimal hassle and UPD risk, then the 29-er is the machine to go for.

And, again concerning crank length, if you get a uni with 150’s, why not order a set of 125’s as well; cranks are pretty cheap. That way you can give both a try.

(Don’t forget to buy a crank extractor tool, and read up some of the threads here about how to switch cranks).

You lost me here. How could there be so much difference between a 28" and a 29"? Did you mean to compare a 28" and a 36"? Or, does the fat tire make the 28" into a 29"?

For some time, I have been debating with myself over the 29er vs Coker issue. I have just about decided to go with a 29er with 125mm cranks. I think I am too old (and too chicken) to put up with the abuse that some people seem to experience with Coker crashes. I want to be able to ride moderate distances and I am not interested in breaking any land speed records.

It’s like the difference between an old-style 24" uni with standard slim tyre, and a 24x3 muni. You can do muni on a standard tyre, but it’s totally different from the muni you’ll do on a 24x3.

To me, a 28" rides totally different to a 29-er, despite the fact that the 29-er is simply a 28" with a fat tyre.

The fat tyre makes for a easier ride on any terrain that has irregularities; things that will throw you off on a 28" uni (unless you’re maintaining a lot of awareness) are things that the 29-er will simply roll over with a slight ‘bump’.

29er with 125s is a reasonable choice for the purposes you’ve described. However, don’t be put off by the Coker’s macho publicity. My worst injury ever was on my 26. The Coker is very easy to ride indeed. And I’m 42 you know. The Coker has a cruise control setting. I can ride on unmade ground and remove my helmet and Camelbak to remove my sweater, put my helmet back on, my sweater in my Camelbak, and my Camelbak on. That’s how safe a Coker is. Remember, more sharks are eaten by people than people by sharks, but only the latter cases make the headlines.