Another size question, but with a twist

I’m in the process of researching which size unicycle to buy. Based on my cycling experiences and where I ride the fat uni’s like the Hatchet appeal the most. From doing a bunch of reading I realise that this is not a good way to start. So the question is; without considering cost and only wanting one unicycle does it make sense to buy the Hatchet and put a smaller tire on to learn then later changing to the fat tire when conditions call for it. Also lets me build up a 29er wheel later or even a 24 if I were so inclined.

Go on craigslist and buy a used 20" learner for $50 or $75, and learn on it. Then when you can ride that, sell it and buy the Hatchet. (But I don’t really recommend selling the smaller one, because they are useful for learning lots of other riding skills.) Starting out to learn on a fattie will make it harder than it needs to be. But it can be done. Good luck!

How far has your learning progressed?

Try to guess which type of riding you would want to do once the Hatchet has been mastered, and buy that smaller wheeled unicycle now to learn on.
e.g. 20" trails / 24" road or pavement / 26" light Muni.

The Hatchet has a 125mm bearing spacing, so the wheel won’t fit any other frame once it is built.
Also, swapping wheels is a pain, so it is unlikely to happen when you can buy a cheap second hand unicycle to hop on immediately.

I found the transition from my 24" UDC club freestyle unicycle up to the hatchet relatively easy.
I would look for a 24" or 26" muni to learn your skills.
It will be more versatile to use as a grab and go later on.
And easier to sell if you need to get rid.

However - ask 10-people, and you will get 10-different answers.
Good luck.

Hi John.

Like others have said if you can find something used that is usually a good option for a first unicycle.

If you are good at wheel building and price is not a consideration, there is no good reason not to have multiple wheels for a hatchet. The Hatchet frame is unique in that it can accept fat tires but does not bash the crap out of your inner leg for no reason when using a skinnier tire, even if some people think it looks silly.

I would not start with a skinnier tire on the hatchet wheel as the rim is just too wide for standard tires.

Swapping wheels really isn’t too bad, especially if both have disks installed (or you don’t use brakes)

Reeny, not trying to be difficult but, other than price, what would be the difference between a 26" muni and a Hatchet with a 26x3 tire? Hubs and rims are different widths but would those have a major effect on the riding?

I live in northern Ontario and have lots of gravel/dirt roads. Unless I want to ride on highways, the paved roads are quite broken up. Not ideal for smaller wheels which is why I’m thinking a 26. Specifically a Hatchet with say a 3"Duro or Knard on it. I’m just in the process of reducing my bicycle inventory to just my fatty and my cross bike. I have different tires for each one and it isn’t much effort to change tires. I’m thinking I could do the same for the uni.

Just trying to learn.

Hi John

The really wide rims can change the way a tire acts.

It sounds like you want to learn on a 3" tire, which isn’t the norm, but definitely dooable. There are some people who have ridden 3" tires on 65mm rims and liked it but in my opinion you are getting too wide for the tire. Autosteer will be more pronounced on side slopes and you put yourself at risk of pinch-flats without really gaining any advantages over a more “standard” size unicycle rim.

If I were in your situation (wanting a hatchet, price not a major factor, fist unicycle, but comfortable with tinkering and swapping things around) I would get the hatchet but also build up a 24" MUni wheel with a standard 42-47mm wide rim to take a 2.5 to 3.0 tire. It would be much easier to learn on than a full fat 26 and still be usable when you become an advanced rider and just want a more nimble wheel on tight or steep trails. I would build it on a disk hub but suggest against having the brake installed to start.

Thanks, makes sense and sounds like a plan.

If I was to get a fat uni I’d get it here might be worth taking a look at their munis

I am in a similar situation as the original poster. I bought a cheap 20" unicycle in the beginning of summer from a friend and learned to ride with that. I can now ride comfortably on even ground and can free mount with maybe 50% success rate. I have upgraded the tyre to a Specialized 2.8" x 20 tyre that just fits the frame. That was a good upgrade as the original tyre was a very old and not in good shape. I plan to keep the old unicycle, both for myself and my daughter who has also learned with it.

I am about to buy a Hatchet to continue riding during winter on snow etc. Looking forward to how difficult the jump from 20 to 26fat tyre size will be :slight_smile:

saskatchewanian nailed it.
But by the time you buy the second wheel, you might as well have bought a cheap 20"/24" on CG, learned, and sold it, or kept it for friends - it doesn’t take as much space as a fatty bike!

Ok, an update. Taking everyones advice into account, I found a reasonably priced 20 and bought it to learn on. Once I get the hang of it I’ll be ordering my Hatchet.
Thanks everyone.

Hello John,
The cheap 20" will be a good buy to learn on.
To buy a 26x3.8 fattie hatchet, then build a spare 26x3.0 wheel to practice on would cost: (in UK pounds)
£36 Duro tyre
£6 tube + rim tape
£36 UDC Dominator rim
£11 spokes
£58 UDC 125mm disc hub (£42 with no disc flange)
£39 Venture cranks
£18 Nimbus studded pedals
Total = £188 no disc / £204 with a disc fitting

The Nimbus 24" Muni was on special offer at UDC(UK) for a straight £200 last week.

It has no brakes - but it makes more sense to me to buy a whole 24-inch Muni, for the same money as a spare wheel.