I’m in the market for a good quality long-distance machine with welded disc brake mounts. I’ve narrowed my choices down to… all commercially available options, which are:
Kris Holm as a brand has been (rightfully I think) held as “the best you can get”-by many riders for many years. More recently, I think that isn’t all that clear anymore, Qu-ax and Nimbus have moved their level up, and Mad4one has appeared.
I can’t tell you about the 36" in particular, but I know people using QX-RGB unis in other sizes, and they are all happy with them. Strong enough, lightweight, pretty… You are stuck with only their cranks though, but the same applies for KH.
I am not sure where you got your prices from, but for similar models the Nimbus is €599 (municycle.com). I am not sure where you got the impression that the KH is most popular, sales do not indicate this.
Advantages: Light, nice anodised colours
Disadvantages: Single hole cranks (although specification on QuAx site says duel are available), 160mm disc, narrow rim, weakest wheel design (both rim and hub configuration), hub as been known to be creak and move.
Advantages: can fit schlumpf hub, comes with Stealth 2 rim, comes with duel hole cranks, cranks have Q-factor
Disadvantages: lack of colours, square crown, external disc, expensive
Advantages: cost, strength of wheelset, stiffest frame, nightrider lite tyre, stealth rim, triple hole cranks (on latest model), 79cm min leg length (3cm lower than QuAx and 6cm than KH)
Disadvantages: lack of colours. Can not fit Schlumpf hub.
Mad4One… they don’t make a 36" unicycle.
All 3 have different saddles and are down to preference. QuAx has the Eleven saddle which is a great universal saddle and liked by many but is heavy. KH has the Zero which is either loved or hated. Nimbus has the Stadium which is the lightest (tends not to be liked by women).
None of these models come with the handle, but all 3 have handle options.
All 3 models here are amazing quality and you will not be disappointed in any of them.
Disclaimer to my comments… I have tried to be fair on the comments here… but I design Nimbus (and have put a lot of mileage on the 36" over the last 21 years). I own a shop that has sold all 3, so can vouch for having all 3 in my hands and compared them.
I’ve ridden the Fusion Zero for about 1000 km, kinda got used to it. Then I switched to the Fusion Slim and I never looked back.
Dual are certainly available, even now
we have a high count of q-axle hubs on the market - and including products we distribute this has been the most durable, silent and non-problem hub ever.
creak and move only happens with wrong spacers or assembly - I know only one single case where correct assembly of spacers did not solve this quickn’easy, (hub was replaced) sorry
dual hole is of course, possible, here’s the full crank choice.
When asked by @bouin-bouin on FB a few days ago, Marco from M4O said they were thinking about it…
The Qu-Ax RGB has a recommended maximum disk size of 180mm so that might be a consideration.
I believe this is after someone used a larger disk and broke the frame above the disk brake mount.
Personally I run a 203mm on my KH36, but I run a Qu-Ax QX series 36" frame on my freewheel as freewheel hubs have left side disk mounts, and 100mm spacing, and you can’t buy an RGB frame by itself.
Most comments in this thread are pretty opinionated.
I personally view the outbound disk as an advantage on the KH36. I’ve never had any issues with damage or it catching on anything and it’s much easier to change being on the crank than having to take the wheel out and pull a bearing off. You’re very limited in crank choices though (KH Spirit only), but you’re also limited with the Qu-Ax Q-Axle.
Some people want the smallest Q-factor, in which case the RGB is the best (as you can have zero Q cranks and a 100mm hub).
Some people want the strongest setup, in which case the Nimbus or KH are probably best (125mm hub is wider but has an inbound disk so the flange distance isn’t substantially different, and the KH hub isn’t an offset wheel).
and you can’t buy an RGB frame by itself.
the #rgb components are available spare. this was just in the beginning.
On the 36" it’s a set of clamp and frame.
As Roger said, all three are great unis with pros and cons depending on personal preference and taste. And I admit I might be a bit opininated.
I may well pick up an RGB 36er frame to go along with a couple of sprag clutch freewheels when they come out.
Somehow I didn’t get notifications from this thread, I wonder if it’s because of the new forum. Anyway, thanks for all the replies, whether biased or not they are insightful.
Generally I am a fan of the KH design concept—specifically the symmetrical wheel design—, however craftmanship is not very good, based on the two KH27.5s I have personally examined and the one I ride. For me the quality shows in the details. Problems I encountered with KH unis included:
- asymmetrical frame
- corroded parts
- scuffs out of the box
- messy welds
- poorly finished (uneven) seatpost crown
- poorly finished seat post clamp (rough edges)
- poorly machined cranks: the area where the pedal axle meets the crank is not completely flat and even, and the pedal carves into it as it’s tightened. Qu-Ax pedals (and former KH pedals) look like they are designed to prevent this problem as they come with what looks like a steel washer embedded in the crank.
- HS33 mounts ground down in a couple of places using a hand-held angle grinder or a file, instead of being CNC machined. The left and right mounts sides look roughly finished by hand, though it’s hard to see at first sight as the work is finished with a coat of KH blue paint. My much cheaper made-in-China trials bike has beautiful CNC brake mounts and welds.
- Disc brake mount is VERY roughly finished. It’s essentially a flat piece of aluminum sheet cut using a punch-and-dye type cutter, without any further processing. The entire perimeter of the brake mount is nothing but nasty sharp edges. I had to file those down but it really should be a CNC part considering the price of the unicycle.
- No biggie but saddle spring washers are the wrong size (too big), bought the right size separately.
- Frame flex IS a problem with my KH27.5. With a perfectly aligned and rub-free brake, the pads rub on every pedal storke, and I can see the gap between the tyre and the frame changing as I pedal. Maybe this is normal, but from my perpsective it’s a bad design. Dunno if other unis do this.
The outer rotor set-up has never been a problem for me. This set-up requires zero dishing but puts stress through the axle which theoretically will flex. A rotor attached directly to the hub probably feels a bit sharper, but I could be wrong as I’ve never tried one.
When I saw a QU-AX uni for the first time at a local store I hadn’t even heard of the brand and I was like “what the hell brand is that??”. The initial excitement may have distracted me from looking at the details but it definitely seemed to be a very well made product with great attention to detail. That was before I had my KH27.5. I need to check one out again now that I have more experience.
I’m a little surprised by your comments on quality control. Maybe I’m just lucky but I’ve not experienced quality issues with the KH unicycles that I’ve owned or have passed by me (2x KH36, KH29, 2x KH26, KH24, 2x KH20).
I’ve not purchased one for a few years though so maybe the QC and general quality has got worse?
The pedal-crank interface I had noticed as being very slightly non-parallel on Spirit cranks though with slightly more wear on the outer side. I think they’re all like this - a slight slip up with the curved profile design I presume. It’s never caused me an issue however and it seemed to be a fraction of a mm rather than enough to cause concern.
The inserts you talk about were to stop people stripping the aluminium threads on older cranks as they were made with a softer aluminium. The Spirits (and most other cranks) do not need these steel inserts.
On the frame flex, I noticed a small amount of flex-induced HS33 rubbing on my KH29 back in the day but I’ve not felt any flex and have been using disk brakes for so long that it’s not been an issue. I almost exclusively ride a KH36 with bars which is the unicycle I’d expect to feel the flex on.
Modern ISIS hubs are very stiff and I suspect you’d have to have an exceptionally tightly laced wheelset to be anywhere close to being able to notice what little twist it might have over ~25mm. Schlumpf hubs are another story though - braking through the gearing was the main thing that stopped me buying a new one (after previously owning a square taper road version).
I don’t know whether I’d buy a KH unicycle now, but I’d admittedly also not buy any pre-built unicycle. KH used to be the best of the best with a price to match but everyone else has definitely caught up.
Are Roger and Martin Schlumpf employees? That looks very cool. It’d be nice of Schlumpf decided to make an inboard version of the hub—fewer parts = less to go wrong
That’s why Roger and Martin are developing a brake adapter. Which you can see here:
Sorry about the thread hi-jacking…
Sure, KH2005 was a revolution but now all manufactures propose nice and good unis
A bit of topic but, reading this I wanted to ask Roger about the triple hole cranlk. The 100/125/150 awesome. But for a 36", 100mm is too short me and co. Would a 113/127/150-ish crank be possible to have made?
This thread makes me pause a bit to spend the extra for a KH. I would expect nothing but the best for a KH cycle.
A 9/16" hole for the pedal thread is ~14.28mm diameter. So no, impossible to make those, 110/127/150 maybe. Or any other combination with at least 17 mm inbetween the holes. (17mm difference is on the very low side, only KH spirits come like that, most other multi hole cranks have the holes at least 19mm apart. )
A a 127/150mm KH Spirit crank can be drilled and tapped for a third hole at 109mm. That is my go to hole for my 36er road riding with hills up to 12% grade. Details here.
I’ve never ridden a 36er but my experience with other wheel sizes was that, as my skill improved, I started to prefer shorter cranks, especially on predictable terrain i.e. roads.
About drilling and tapping your own threads, it’s probably a long shot for most of us who have the will but not the tools and space required to execute the job.
Read my earlier post though, KH products are OK but build quality is definitely sloppy for the price.