I had the same choice a while ago (infact almost exacly the same choice).
24"- Is good for tecnical offroad trials and can be used as a street/ trials uni.
26"- Is good if you only want to do just muni ridding
I have a nimbus 24" muni and its great but you will need to upgrade the hub at some point if you want to do jumps
I started out riding Muni on a nimbus 24", and more recently upgraded to a KH24. I think for the vast majority of riding I do a 26" would actually be better, just because it isn’t technical enough to need a smaller wheel, and having more speed would be cool. However having a 26" would stop me from doing some of the technical riding I ocassionally enjoy because I’m not good enough to accurately control a bigger wheel. Just think about what exactly you intend to ride for the majority of the time.
The nimbus is good to start out with, but by the time I went to the KH24 i’d broken and replaced the hub, cranks, pedals, seat, seatpost and seatpost clamp. However this was before the UDC wide crmo hub became standard issue on the nimbus munis, and the seatpost diametre went up from 22.2 to 25.4, and I used it for trials and I’m heavy. Either nimbus would be a good first Muni, if I had my time again I would get the nimbus again.
I started with a 24" and 150mm and then 26" 150mm. For me trail riding was better on the 24". Hill climbing, downhill, hopping and maneuverability was all easier with 24". I never tried a 26" with longer cranks though, like 170mm.
24" is popular because the first really strong muni that was a sensible price, and the one that everyone has, was the Kris Holm one, and it only came in 24".
Kris does like 14 foot drops and mental stuff. For him, having a slightly stronger smaller wheel really helps. For a lot of us mere mortal riders a 26" might be better for the reasons you say. But having said that there really isn’t much difference in the speed you can get up on either size, I often ride 26 with people on 24s, and it’s not like I’m super fast compared to them. The tyre thing is true, but 90% of the time on a muni, even for cross country you just want a really fat tyre, and there are several of those for the 24".
I’m interested in trying muni and this thread is several years old. I was wondering if 24 is still the preferred muni or if 26 is now? I have a nimbus 20 with a 2.5 in tire which is great for our lousy pavement, but every time I hit a divit in the yard I UPD. My 24 has a street tire so I’m considering a new uni.
Any riding tips also appreciated.
I would say the debate now is more 26 vs 29. The 26 has a world of tire options that the 24 doesn’t, and you already have a trials sized uni. That said I’m looking for a 24 now, purely for size reasons - mi 12 yo just started riding and won’t fit my 26 for a couple more years.
It depends on your terrain. For super-technical riding, a 24x3" is slightly better than a 26x3", and a good bit better than a narrower 26". But if you’re not doing super-technical riding, a narrower 26" (or 29er) might be better, just because it’s faster and flowier.
I already ride a 26" muni, but I’ve been kicking around the idea of adding a 24" to the fleet and asked about this in another thread. It looks like the possible advantage of the smaller size is canceled by the tire choices in 26". Not just more of them as Samstoney points out but also that 24" muni tires you can still get are at least 10 year old designs. Newer, more advanced tires aren’t made in that size, which looks like a big plus for 26". You can get a more capable 26" tire that actually weighs less.
And “beginner muni” (including myself here) mostly rules out the 14-foot drops and hopping across fields of boulders I think of as serious technical muni, where the 24" size might still have an advantage despite less up-to-date rubber technology.
Also, if you have a 26" frame, you could easily swap in a 24" wheel supposing you wanted to do super technical riding but only now and then. Going the other way typically won’t work.
just been out this afternoon on my kh 24 muni its so much fun and gives me loads of confidence offroad and down some technical stuff, would never regret going kh and 24 inch wheel also a magura hs33 brake adds to the confidence
I had recently been contemplating getting a 24 as well. I have a trials (doubles as a muni for my daughter), 26, 29, and a 36. I learned to ride muni on my 26 and was thinking a 24 might help me conquer the more technical climbs of the trails I ride. Recently I put my trail tire back on my 29 and am loving the speed, distance, and flow of the ride (167 cranks). I like to cover some distance and a small wheel means an awful lot of crank revolutions… Anyhow I’ve temporarily forgotten my urge for getting the 24. I guess I don’t mind walking the few spots that are too technical for me in exchange for the above. And ultimately, I believe it is more a matter of my skills rather than my equipment that keeps me from riding these sections on my 26.
The other thing to consider is your size. I am 6’3" 195lbs. I think the 26 is better suited for me.
The availability of tire choice doesn’t really matter much for super-technical MUni, because the Duro 24x3" (and its variants) is better than anything else on the market. Lighter tires aren’t as good because one of the things that makes the Duro good for super-technical MUni are its fat sidewalls, which is where most of the weight is.
If you don’t need a heavy tire with fat sidewalls, get a 26". If you do, get a 24"; at least it’s a little lighter.
Thanks for all the advise everyone, I had to leave for a family event all day and am just getting back to your posts.
As a beginner, I’m definitely not ready for those 14 foot drops, and honestly don’t think I ever will be. I was thinking more just the local bike trails to start. I’m really leaning toward a 26".
That said, what brand would you recommend for a beginner and is a brake a necessity or can I add it later?
If you are in the US, reliable munis come from Nimbus and Kris Holm. In europe there is also QuAX. Any uni from these brands is going to be able to take everything that you throw at it.
KH unicycles are expensive but come with very good components. They are compatible with schlumpf geared hubs out the box.
Nimbus Oracles come fitted with a disc brake on the hub and while being mostly on par with a KH, has a less comfy saddle and from limited experience I did not like the fitted hydraulic disc brake compared to a well set up mechanical disc.
Steel frame nimbuses are around half the cost of the other 2, they are marginally heavier but use most of the same components as an oracle (except hub and frame). They can take hydraulic rim brakes. They are very good unis comparatively for the price and you can play with putting on the components that you want with the spare money rather than having one brands components only.
Disc brakes are relatively easy to retrofit although quite expensive on an isis unicycle. Nimbus Oracles come with a disc brake. On a modern KH, all you need to do is fit the brake, on a steel nimbus or older KH new cranks or a new hub and a replacement bearing housing are needed.