Aussie travelling US and Germany, thinking of buying a unicycle while travelling

Hi all,
I’m a 41 year old female Sydneysider, 165cm tall, 62kg.
This is my first big post here and I’m after your thoughts.

A bit of background. Feel free to skip over it…
I started riding last September after finding out there is a local unicycling club near my work at the time (Parramatta).

Soon after learning to ride though, I changed jobs and so my work is no longer near the unicycling club (note that my old workplace moved a couple of months later anyway so I wouldn’t be working near there anyway regardless of the job change). I played a couple games of unicycle hockey with the club; I was no good at it at all but I was only a beginner so it was ok.

I ride a 24” unicycle most days; I ride 1.5km to and from the local train station each day to go to work and I take the uni on the train with me to the office. There is a hill between home and the station.

My skills are limited, I dislike having to freemount in public, I’m only successful in mounting on the 24” about 1 in 3 times (maybe I have to try some other ways to mount), I turn ok to the left, I don’t turn so great to the right, I can’t idle. I can ride slowly (walking speed on a 20”). I rode down my first kerb a few days ago in public and executed it perfectly (there was no other easy option!), so I’m happy with that. I have tried riding, pausing, hopping and riding off, but I haven’t done it in public, only on my back balcony.

I gave a 20” cheapy unicycle to my neighbours a couple of months back and the 10 year old boy learnt to ride in 10 days and he got to my skill level (or better!) within 6 weeks. :sunglasses:

Anyway, I own a 20” Aldi cheapy unicycle (that’s currently at my sister’s place so her daughter can learn), a 24” noname unicycle, a 26” noname unicycle and another 24” noname unicycle that is not fun to ride (seems like the wheel is very heavy and it doesn’t seem to ride straight?) I’m thinking about getting rid of the second 24” uni since I find it really hard to ride. The neighbour kid was also of the same option of how it was difficult to ride. (He is so talented, I’d lend him each of the unicycles and he’d be able to ride them all without any training).

The 26” unicycle doesn’t have a good seat; the plastic in the seat flexes a lot when I grip the handle and I feel that it may break at some time. It also had a loose crank but I sorted that out by turning the wheel around to face the other way and then swapping the sides of the left and right cranks, so based on that it appears that there is some asymmetry to the cotterless crank system on that uni. I guess the square shaped splines and crank holes are of different sizes for the left and right sides. :angry: As I said, it was a cheap second hand purchase (the guy I bought it from had tried but could not ride I so decided to sell it).

All of them were bought secondhand from Gumtree (Craigslist) quite cheaply.

My actual question that I’m seeking feedback for…
In a week’s time, I’m travelling through the US (LA, SF and Houston/ New Orleans) and going to Germany. All up, I’m overseas for 3 weeks.

I’m thinking perhaps I’d like to take the opportunity while travelling to buy a high quality unicycle. My airline allows 2x23kg of luggage on all my flights (I’m only taking a 80 litre backpack to travel with) so I’m actually thinking it feasible. The benefits of buying it overseas is that the choice of unis should be quite a lot larger than what can be found in Australia and it might be cheaper, plus there could be some tax refunds if I buy overseas? E.g. Good if the 19% German VAT is given back.

Then the next question would be, should I? I like the idea of the bigger wheel but I realise that the 24” for my riding to the station is perfect for my current purposes. It’s fairly lightweight, good to manoeuvre and I can take it on the train without bothering anybody, and it’s easy to take around the city.

I would potentially like a bigger wheel for longer distance riding, but without sacrificing manoeuverability and stability.

I’m not really going to be doing off road riding, though it would be nice to have a very sturdy uni.

Thoughts welcome! What do you suggest I do? I constantly lookout for 24” and larger unis on Gumtree in the Sydney area but they rarely come up. So this is why I’m thinking of buying while I’m on a holiday.

If you’re going to be in the big cities, you might have some luck with something like craigslist, but you may have to move fast even with something as odd as a unicycle purchase. In a huge city like L.A., anything decent vanishes very quickly. If I were you I would start looking and even setting up visiting times in advance. Don’t put off till an afternoon what becomes available in the morning.

You might also consider, if buying online, arranging delivery fairly early at one of your last destinations. Maybe held by a friend or professional contact until you arrive? That way if there is a delay, you might not already be gone. No matter what they guarantee, sometimes delivery services come late.

If I were you, I don’t know how much of my vacation I’d want to spend chasing down used unicycles. Getting around a place like L.A. can take hours and cost a fair amount of gas money. And after all that, you might find the item already sold. I’d suggest buying online unless you are confident you are going to get an amazing deal on a used uni.

Watch the maximum luggage size. I have a Brompton folding bike bag which I use for flying with my 26". The bag is right on the maximum checked luggage size and the uni just fits when disassembled.

Even with a 24" I wouldn’t be surprised if you need to find a non-standard suitcase to fit the wheel.

Also, consider buying from UDC Australia. Peter and Mal are really friendly and helpful and have helped me with weird combos of parts in the past.

I suppose I don’t really need another unicycle, I will have a look out though for second hand ones while in Germany though as the German unicycle community would be much larger than the community in Sydney. And perhaps the unicycle can be classified as “sporting equipment” on the flights.

I flew to the US with a 24" in my (rather) large suitcase. I had to remove the tire to make as smaller, and install it diagonally in the case but it worked!
I later took a 29" in a separate box - it was within the size requirements, but I had to pay as extra luggage as my ticket only allowed for one item checked-in.

If you’re going to get a new one, why not try and get a different size? The german uni-scene is pretty big - I’d say the biggest in Europe - so you’re likely to find something there. They must have an equivalent of Gumtree/Craigslist for sure.

Cool. :slight_smile:
My ticket allows 2 checked in bags each up to 23kg each - very generous.

When are you going to be in Germany?
I suppose it would be helpful to ask in advance in the Trading Post or here, when you know which size you want.
In classified ads there are usually just 24" or 29" used qu-ax for about 160-211 AUD. You would have to check if it’s worth it, when you put the 29" as bulky luggage on a plane.
As for new ones, Nimbus are a great choice in the lower price range, which are just about 50 AUD cheaper (VAT deducted) here than on Australia- not worth the hussle in my opinion.

Germany - 19 Sept to 2nd October - perfect for Oktoberfest?

If your in Munich, yes. Anywhere else in Germany, not so much…

Hey… we’re going to be in Lüneberg at some point in the trip… 22-23rd Sept. :slight_smile:

I skipped over some of the stuff, but with 2 free checked bags you should be good to go. I’ve flown lots with my 24" and my 26" munis (both within Europe and the US as well as transatlantic) and now 2 trips with my 29+“x3” and never had to pay oversize/sports equipment extra charges. I bought an unusually shaped bag that is within the airline dimensions that fits a 29+" wheel (actually my transatlantic flight just a few weeks ago I had my 29" AND a 20" kids bike in that bag). With a 24" you have a good chance of finding a normal bag to fit it, otherwise a new bag would cost about 50EUR (I’m so glad I bought mine as I have now flown a lot). If you want to save even more, I’m pretty sure you could fashion your own bag out of an oversize duffel bag and straps to bring it down within the airline dimensions.

As far as I know, you should be able to refund the VAT if you buy in Germany (I just bought a mountain bike in the US and saved the tax at purchase time), but from what I’ve heard in Germany you have to first pay it at purchase and then get a refund (but supposed to be easy paperwork and the government is not an insurance that tries to cheat you, i.e. should work), although I’m not sure if that is valid on a used purchase, but for new should be way easy.

Furthermore, I think the selection is Germany should be pretty good and both 24" and 26" are sizes that are not currently “in” so you can often pick them up cheap when people want to upgrade to 27.5" or 29".

Not sure where you’ll be in Germany or if you’re looking for a Muni or street uni, but 21-24 September there is the Karwendel Muni Weekend in the far south of Germany. There will be around 20 muni enthusiasts there and many often have lots of older high quality unicycles (or you could ride muni with in the Alps, but from the short intro sounds like you’re not up to hard-core muni yet).

As to the size, not sure what exactly your goals are, but for everything other than trials, hockey or freestyle I personally would be looking at a 26" or 29" (or a 24" for beginner muni). About the only disadvantage to a 29" over a 24" is that it is a little bigger taking on public transit/taxis with the 26" being in the middle. If you’re going any distance at all then the 24" is just too slow.

Oh, and not sure what the selection of quality unicycles there is (I would favor the forum for quality used unis), but kleinanzeigen ( is the “Craigs List” of Germany.

Your travel dates are unfortunate. You could have come to the Australian Unicycle Championships in Geelong and looked through Australia’s whole range in person :stuck_out_tongue:

You’ll be 55km away from another meeting near Hamburg.

Good stuff. Thanks for the info on the link/trading post. Btw, I had a look at someone’s bag they had on this forum. (John Fost?) Looked so practical.

I know :frowning:
I wanted to visit Geelong again too… (If I had borrowing capacity I was thinking of buying an investment property there) I’ve only been there once… I really like the painted totem pole people :slight_smile:

Maybe I might be able to swing by. Note, I can’t exactly read German, so I can’t really read the contents of that thread… :thinking:

Omg. I went to the ebay link for Germany as per MCUfreerider’s link.

There would be about as many or more unicycles posted in a week on that site as there are unicycles on Gumtree in total in Australia…

Ps. I tried to attach an image. The size limitation got me…

My bad - I should have mentioned that I left the tyre on (partly deflated) to help protect the rim. Probably makes all the difference.

If you’re looking for a “Craigslist” uni in Germany, there are currently one the market:
a 26" Quax (unless you mind the colors); as you may know, Quax should be quite good quality although this one seems to be 8 years old from a guy who’s not just put it in his basement… he writes that he changed to somewhat shorter cranks and thicker pedals)

There are some decent 24" unis on the market, incl. 3-4 Quax Luxus unicycles and a Quax Muni.

BTW, ignorant private sellers tend to indicate wrong sizes (they claim it’s 24" or 26" when it’s not), so make sure to verify the size. Some sellers take pictures of the tire, else ask them for what it’s written on it: Don’t let them tell you that “26” is written “somewhere” on the tire, but make sure you get the actual size. Or let them take a measurement.

Finally, “VB” behind the price means that the seller is willing to reduce the price a bit. If it’s not written there, you can of course try nonetheless (many Germans do), but don’t be surprised in case a seller won’t do it.

Good luck!

Thanks Monovize,
On a Facebook group it looks like I’ll be able to put together one hell of a unicycle right here in Sydney.:smiley:
I have to say your ebay site is amazing and the smaller unicycles are listed for so cheap! I’ve come to realise that unicycles are quite big to transport though. Definitely good for the smaller unis (for kids!)