Adapting to 32 incher

I’ve been riding since I was 15yo, mostly 20in and sometimes on a 24in off and on for nearly 50 years. I recently purchased a 32in and have had a rough time riding. I feel very wobbly and insecure up there. Do you have to ride fast to get more stability? On the 20/24 I can idle, ride backwards, sharp turns, free mount, 3 pts turns, so I’m a little discouraged at this point.

Hi, I am about your age with many years of bicycling experience but am very new with unicycles. Anyway, it sounds like you have great control of 20" and 24" models and so maybe the thing to do with your 32" model is to get comfortable with the slow speed stuff, especially idling, all kinds of backwards and forwards idling. I have found that to be really useful at getting used to my own new 20" unicycle.

To me, I’m super comfortable on a 26". But when I get on the 32 (or 36) after not riding it for awhile, it’s quite unfamiliar, but after an hour or so, it’s much more comfortable.

My suggestion, ride it more, or any larger size more, you’ll get past the wobbly insecure feeling. As a bonus, all smaller sizes seem to get easier.

You’ll master it just like the smaller sizes like you did.

If you are riding very very slowly then yes it may be the case that you need to go a bit faster but if you are rolling along at a decent walking pace you shouldn’t need to go faster to be more stable.
Free mounting can take some practice especially if you are trying to do a roll back mount where you mount and then idle. You want to learn jump mounts where you can just jump on and ride forward.

Generally people on big wheels don’t really idle or ride backwards much as the inertia of big wheels makes it annoyingly difficult. You can do it, but people don’t really use those size wheels in that way. Sharp turns will probably take some practice but you should be able to get it with practice.

How you apply power to the pedals will also effect wobble. If you are wildly applying power while pushing over the top of the crank circle it tends to “push” the wheel around instead of turning it. Try maximizing applying torque on the down stroke.

Getting some speed up should help.

Going slow is a skill you will need to learn.



Thanks all! There’s hope😀

What also might help is to put Tbars on your 32. It helps with the stability I think. I mostly ride 29" and the difference to 32" isn’t very big. The 32" is not really meant for hopping or idling or riding backwards I guess. It is more like a distance uni, like the 36" but much easier to mount. Just keep at it and don’t give up. You will come to love it.

Learning to extend the arc where power is applied is important to maximising the power and vital to hill climbing so I wouldn’t suggest trying to limit it.

The amount of wobbling is a combination of the direction of the pedal thrust and the movement of your body mass which can be used to control the wobble.

The patterns for each size wheel and crank length are different. Keep riding and your body will eventually find the pattern that stabilises the wobble on the 32.

Your brain learns to separate the different factors involved by riding a wide range of wheels with cranks having different lengths and Q. It is worth having several unis for this.

I often ride at night and have a light mounted in the seat tube for close vision and one on my helmet for distance. The one on the frame provides great feedback about how much wobble I’m getting. I sometimes direct the high beam just beyond the low beam and try to apply as much power as I can while keeping the two beams aligned.

What’s your crank length?

I remember having trouble going up to a big wheel size, but the biggest factor was also the change in crank length.

It affects your timing, and most definitely from going short to LONG. The opposite seems easier. At same time big wheel + short crank is tremendous loss in leverage, so your legs need to be strong/but also coordinated.

Solution? Try matching the shorter cranks onto your smaller unicycles. Master that feel and ride some “uphills” to develop power to train for the big wheel.

Also, I’m “assuming” that you are dropping your seat as much as possible to match the same “knee bend” as on your shorter unicycle. Riders like to “sit high” for leverage, but you lose balance at same time…so watch out(UPDs are more devastating).

Keep on…t

I don’t have a 32" uni, but I’ve had a 36" since 2002, and a 45" since 1982. The biggest change from your “conventional” unis is that the larger wheel is quite a bit heavier, and additionally has a lot of inertia. Most of the wheel’s mass it at the outside, and is out further from the axle, which means it takes quite a bit more energy to change its speed or direction.

Basically, think in terms of make slower adjustments. Elephants move slowly, but mice move fast! Each has their strengths. Pretend you’re riding a big flywheel, since you kind of are. Let yourself get used to that extra inertia, and eventually it will be your friend; rolling you over the bumps and enabling you to do really long stretches of riding without getting off.

As was mentioned above, idling and riding backward are quite a bit harder to do as the wheel gets bigger, and are less useful as maneuvering methods. You can still learn them, but again you have to make the movements more slowly.

Big uni wheels like to go straight, and they like to go far. You’ll get it.

Actually, being taller helps you gain balance, but you can’t deny the physics of ‘the higher they are, the harder they fall.’ I think that was a Newton quote or something… :stuck_out_tongue:

But Slamdance is right about the cranks. A big change in crank length is also disorienting until you get used to it. Even if the cranks are the same size as your 24", they will ride very differently.

Uhm, however tall you are, the feet of small peeps and of tall peeps are just as close to the floor on the same unicycle wheel size. The chance of hitting ur head on the tarmac is very small in general. Most of the times you can run out of the UPD when ur not doing extreme riding.