average/expected speed per tire size?

I have a 20" training uni, and I’ve just ordered a 24" MUni.
I’d like to go on multi-hour cycling runs with my girlfriend.
Will I be able to keep up with a bicycle on a 24" MUni?

I searched google for a table listing average speed for a given wheel size, but couldn’t find such a thing.

I’d like to know the average or expected speeds for 20", 24", 700c (28"? 29"?), and 36" (Coker).

Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

not with 170’s you wont. not with 150’s either. you’ll either want really short cranks or a 29er if you want a chance at keeping up with her. casual bicyclists average 12 mph or so, and thats what the fastest coker-ers average. just pray your gf is very slow.


Bikes and unicycles are really different machines in that a bike will always a certain advantage with regards to speed and distance–a biker can rev it up and coast, but the uniier has to pedal and pedal and pedal and pedal. No matter what size wheel (ok, the coker does close the gap somewhat) the bike will eventually speed ahead due to it’s physical self–the two wheels and the chain drive and the ability to coast.

On the other hand, the unicycle ride is a far, far more enjoyable experience for those lucky enough to ride it, if even for a few feet. When you think about it, there is probebly not a biker on this planet who does not view the unicyclist with envy, secret or otherwise.

As far as riding with your girlfriend, I would suggest shorter cranks to put on that mUni–and if your mUni has a fat tire, your 24 inch will in fact be more like a 25 or 26 inch, and this combination should make it into a decent cruising machine. Your girlfriend will still have the advantage of speed no matter what you do, but chances are she will be riding slower to “keep down” with you (simply because unicycling is far more happening than bicycling) than you riding faster to “keep up” with her.

I only know about this because not too long ago, my wife and I went for a ride (she on a bike, me on a mUni) and this is what happened. She occasionally sped up ahead, but always returned to keep pace with me.

(note–when that happened, I was mounting via streetlamps, stopsigns, etc. Freemounting will indeed cut down on the time difference as well…) It was totally cool–not all bikers want to go fast anyway…

I hope this was helpful,


I agree with dogbowl in that unicycles and bicycles are completely different animals. The unicycle has a speed range somewhere between walking and bicycling, but doesn’t happily mix with either. I’ve been out with people on foot and struggled to ride slow enough - good balance pratice though :wink: - and with cyclists and been way too slow (although it’s a 20" I’m riding at the moment - thinking about a 26" for riding the trails).

So now if I go out with cyclists I ride a bike (not a problem for me, I’m a cyclist who’s getting into unis, not a hard-core anti-bike unicyclist!) and when I ride the uni I’m on my own (ahh) and go at the unique “unicycle speed”.

Perhaps a very quick unicyclist and a very unfit bicyclist may be able to ride together though.


Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

I’ve ridden with cyclists on my 24x3 muni with 150 mm cranks, and also on my 29-er.

Your girlfriend will have to ride slower, and I think that multi-hour rides would be a little frustrating, but for shorter rides it should work.

Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

On casual rides…I ride a 29er with my family on bikes. They can coast, so they always leave me behind on the downhills. But we ride along comfortably together on the flats. I do well on the uphills.

Estimated/Actual Averages over long distance (miles per hour):
Coker…12-14 mph (from threads on this forum)
29er…8 mph (me, out for a nice ride, 125mm cranks)
29er…6.5 mph (me, racing crosscountry/MUni, 150mm cranks)
26…7 mph (est)
24 MUni…5 mph (me, racing crosscountry/MUni with 170mm cranks)
24 MUni…3 mph (me, casual)
20… this is too small for long distance. (IMHO)

Most of my Long D experience is on that 29er. I’ll have top speeds of 10-12 during the ride (with 125mm cranks). But I cannot sustain those speeds for long. Typical rides on that 29er range from 5 to 12 miles.

It really depends on terrain and how fast she rides and how hard you want to work at it. Assuming you’ll be road riding, I’d go with the bigger wheels and smaller cranks. Coker with 125s is faster than you can run. 150s more control. I can usually outrun a UPD from that 29er. If you get a Coker, get wrist protection.

Hope that helps.

If you’re fit and on a 29er with 125mm cranks, you can pretty much cruise on roads at a similar speed to a weekend biker, about 12mph. I’ve averaged up to 12.9 mph in real conditions with traffic lights and jams and stuff.

Offroad, relative speeds depend on the technical level of the terrain and the skills of the riders, on technical uphill, a unicycle will sometimes be faster and on tight singletrack you can often keep up. A few rare times, mainly on very loose downhills, I’ve just hit it flat out and overtaken bikes on downhills, just because I’m more confident of my traction than them.

Mainly though, if you’ve got a sensible sized wheel (big 26" tyre or up) and don’t have long cranks, a unicycle with a regular (ie. most days) rider is pretty similar to a bike with a weekend only + summer only biker. So basically, it’s cool to ride with bikes as long as you find not terribly fit bikers and you’re willing to ride loads to get fit enough to keep up. A 24" muni might be pushing it unless the biker rides quite slowly.


On the other hand, Joe Marshall is superhuman. I trained for weeks a year or so ago and never managed to hit 13 miles covered in an hour elapsed, even in ideal circumstances, on a Coker with 150s. OK, so I’m a middle aged midget, but I like to think of myself as a reasonably fit bloke and a half way decent rider.

On my Coker, by setting my mind to it, I have overtaken what I’d term “leisure cyclists” just poddling about at a comfortable speed; I can easily overtake elderly grannies wobbling back from the shops, or family groups, held back by children of six on bicycles with stabilisers.

On the other hand, I’ve ridden alongside bicyclists, chatting to them, for several miles at a time without them appearing to be riding uncomfortably slowly.

As a bicyclist, I used to expect to average 12.5 mph to 15 mph on a long ride. As a Cokeur, I expect to average 9 mph or so on a long ride. A 20 will average about 6 mph or so, and a 24 with short cranks and determination will probably average 8 mph over a few miles.

Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

All you could expect is a speed against cadence (rpm) chart. The average speed will depend on many variables, not least of which is the rider’s ability.

Assuming you work in miles per hour:

A Coker does 1mph for every 9.34 rpm
(93 rpm = 10 mph)

A 29 does 1mph for every 11.6 rpm
(116 rpm = 10 mph)

A 28 does 1 mph for every 12 rpm
(120 rpm = 10 mph)

A 26 does 1 mph for every 12.9 rpm
(129 rpm = 10 mph)

A true 24 does 1 mph for every 14 rpm
(140 rpm = 10 mph)

A 20 does 1 mph for every 16.8 rpm)
(168 rpm = 10 mph)

Figures are approximate as most wheel sizes are only nominal.

So, what is your sustainable cadence? 60 rpm = 2 pedal strokes per second. 90 rpm = 3, pedal strokes per second. 120 rpm = 4 pedal strokes (two complete circles) per second.

I had the opportunity to ride past a traffic speed monitor machine (the size of a refrigerator, has a speed limit sign and a speed clocking thingie “YOUR SPEED IS: XXX”) the other day. While it’s accuracy is always questionable, it told me I was riding 6 mph (on my 24"). Pumping as fast as I could got it to 7, sort of flicking on 8 mph with maybe 120 rpm (judging from bike experience).

So, Mikefule, your numbers seem spot on.

Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

Teach your girlfriend to unicycle.

Imagine having her all to yourself for 20 or so hours with no other distractions.

Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

Bikes and unicycles can certainly mix, it depends on the unicycle and
on the rider, (and on the bike and rider, too). If I aim for speed, I
can cruise at about 11 mph on my 29’er (“de Dikke Dame”) with 125 mm
cranks. That’s a cadence of 125 - 130. I mainly ride de Dikke Dame on
the flats. I’ve ridden with my wife and/or my daughter who were on a
bike, on several occasions. Towards the end of a 2-hour ride my wife
complained I was going too fast. YMMV.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“The more you think, the less you have to do. - Leo Vandewoestijne”

With my 29er with 125s i can keep up with my friend on a bike, i average around 10mph, but for much longer trips it drops to a bit below 9mph. You would have a higher avg speed on a coker, unless you are in an area like me where there are a ton of hills, in which case a 29er would go up the hills with more ease.

my girlfriend rides a custom lowrider, they are built for cruising and with my 26" and short-ish cranks i can easly keep up with her even when she is pedling fast. lowriders, particalrly this one she built is not designed for speed more for comfort and class.

i’m not sure who is getting more looks when we ride together… me on a 26" unicyle or her on a custom candy apple red, pimpedout lowrider bike.

Once you add uphill the bicycle/unicycle match becomes more even, and allot of the times, in the favor of unicyclers. In 2002’ in a 10 mile race up Indenpendance Pass, with a elevation gain of nearly 3000’ feet, I beat 187 bicyclist out of 335 total. I was on my Coker. My time was 1:03.

Re: average/expected speed per tire size?

:smiley: AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! ok, lemme put it this way, you’ll work hard to keep up with a fast jogger. bikes are out of the question.

Those poor misled bikers are Girlymen (and Girlywomen) because they’ve been coasting some % of their ride (making them soft) while you’ve been pedalling 100% of the time (making you strong). On the uphills, everyone pedals 100% of the time. Our training pays off. Of course, if the hill gets too steep, they’ve got grannygears…but that’s a different story.

Lance is allowed to differ. I don’t remember ever seeing him coast, except on trecherous downhills.

AspenMike: Averaging 10 miles per hour, uphill for 10 miles…very nice.

I hit 10.9mph (cycle computer) on my impact uni. New creepy crawler tire and 140mm cranks… :sunglasses:
5.7mph average over 1.251 miles.

[I had to carry a bag of empty grocery bags to the grocery store to recycle. :) I barely hit over 9mph when I was going there]

It was amazingly tiring(partially because I had to stand up and ride a lot of the ride since the saddle was so uncomfortable and low and hard)

I measured myself riding 3 revolutions: 1547mm / revolution.
That translates my max cadence on that uni at 189 rpm.

On my 29er with 89mm cranks, I could only push myself to 15.3mph, 185rpm.

(these are both first tries at going fast on these set-ups)

This is a 10 year old thread harry. You might make a new thread with this info, I’m sure other guys would post their speeds in it as well.

I certainly didn’t expect to get this reply ten years later! But hey, it’s good information!