Advice for the MUni?

Need some help. Friend of mine went from a cheapy street unicycle to building an over-the-top heavy duty trail unicycle. Thing is, in fitting a lot of parts together, he wound up with a 28" frame and a 29" tire (tyre for the transAtlantic amongst us). He measured the frame and thought “Hey, that’ll fit!” It sort of fits. He ground out some of the frame to make way for the tire. When the tire was new and still had the little stringy rubber bits on it, they dragged the top edge of the frame. Now, when we ride mud, the frame pretty much scrapes all the mud off the tire as we go. We worried that plain physics would cause some problem when weight was put on it, but that didn’t seem to be an issue.

Now here’s the thing. His skill level makes it difficult to gauge how much the 1) design of the unicycle is inhibiting his improvement 2) the weight of the unicycle might be causing problems, but not the design. 3) His weight (230) or skill level might be the only difficulty and the ride is fine the way it is.

I’m not a teacher, and he and I (and occasionally another person or two) ride at daybreak, so there’s no one there that can say “Hey, you need to improve _____ skill.” or “Hey, your wheel’s clearance is a significant problem.” or whatever else. Most uni-riders are normal as opposed to ‘morning people’, I’ve come to believe. I can rarely talk the local Uni-gurus into joining us.

Frankly, I’m worried he’ll get sort of discouraged with his lack of progress (he falls a lot.) and I’ll be back to riding my sunrise rides with only my dog along.

What can the hotshots advise that I should look for, ask about, measure, tell him to try… etc? Does the description of the wheel sound like a problem, or should we just concentrate on skill level?



All that comes to mind is that if the tyre is that close to the frame bits of gravel picked up by the tyre can stick between the two causing UPDs, more so if it’s muddy.

That’s a large wheel for a first “MUni” but an ideal size for riding broken ground and forest trails.

Clearance is a problem in the mud. It can cause friction, an irritating noise, scratching of the frame, and possibly a UPD.

When learning to ride off road, the effort expended trying to remount after a fall is what makes it tiring and frustrating. That is a good argument for a smaller wheel, which is easier to mount.

The way to learn MUni is to ride stuff that is 70 - 80% as difficult as you can manage, with occasional diversions onto challenging bits. Gradually, you notice that what counts as challenging is now easy. The alternative is to aim for 110% all the time, keep falling, get tired, and get dispirited.

This is not a choice between cowardice and foolhardiness. It’s just a simple principle of learnign that if you stretch too far, you will achieve less. Gradually acquired skills are retained better.