Best and lightest tire for sand?

We all know that riding in soft sand is one of the hardest things to do on a uni. I have an application where I’m going to need to ride a good quarter-mile or so across soft sand, some of it up and down dunes, as well as carry the sand-oriented wheel for portions of the ride which are not on sand. I don’t need to ride the sand without a UPD, but I do need to be able to ride almost all of it, at least a little bit at a time.

So I’m looking for something which is as light as is reasonable, while being as good at handling sand as is feasible.

Oh, and at this point, it needs to fit in the Yuni frame, although I may try to do a custom frame at some point in the future.

I’m figuring the big issue is surface area rather than knobs, so I’m expecting it’s a 3.0" tire on a doublewide rim. But should it be 24" or 26"? Gazz or Fireball or Duro or what? Has anyone test-rode tires on soft sand for comparison (maybe the Santa Cruz guys?).

After I stopped laughing, I came up with a suggestion:
Try a very low pressure Duro. My guess is you will get 1/2 revolution farther than other tires.
My other guess is that you have never tried to ride loose sand - much less “dunes.”
If you learn to get 20 revs - please post tips on “how.”

I have ridden loose sand at Moab (not all of it is cryptobiotic), and I made it all the way across the beach at Folsom Lake during California MUni Weekend 2004. A number of people made it all the way across the beach.

I was able to ride some of the moderately packed sand, or sand with a bit of grass cover on it, on a slick Big Apple last year, but I certainly couldn’t deal with the really deep stuff with that tire and 125mm cranks. So, a second wheelset with longer cranks and a more appropriate tire is my goal.

I’ve seen a couple of beach bikes running monty rear tires front and back. Run them at low pressure and they have a wide stable footprint.

For a 24 I’d say wide bite.

Are you doing it again Tom??!! I want to hear about your rig! Are you going to ask about a good water tire next?

I have a baldish Duro Wildlife 24 that you’re free to use.

How many of you guys are doing it on one wheel?

I’m definitely doing it again; and this time I’m planning to Ace the course (ride everything except the legal push zones)–becoming likely the first unicyclist ever to accomplish that feat.

The rig is a Yuni frame, carbon fiber seat base with the dual-pronged handle (I forget what that’s called) and Gemcrest leather cover. Big Apple 29er tire, 125mm cranks. I’ve got an MTB seatpost-mounted rack for cargo, along with a large backpack which contains the inflatable kayak.

For art, I have a disk wheel made from laminated posterboard with a big eyeball drawn on it. This year, I’m planning to fashion an eyelid, with the frame being two bicycle fenders, and rig up some way that I can “wink” the eyelid (some sort of pulley system with string/elastic). I’m also going to have a more noticable eyeball; last year’s was not big enough to be noticed from a distance.

I am the only one doing it on one wheel. According to some of the long-time participants, there was another guy who did it on a unicycle many (15+) years ago; he apparently used a frame custom-made out of wood, and a chain-driven wheel from a dirt motorcycle.

Most Excellent! I hope you do mediocre.

Re: Best and lightest tire for sand?

On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 00:07:32 -0600, “tholub” wrote:

>According to some of the
>long-time participants, there was another guy who did it on a unicycle
>many (15+) years ago; he apparently used a frame custom-made out of
>wood, and a chain-driven wheel from a dirt motorcycle.

Was this possibly Robert Flynn? I have a picture of a unicycle that
fits that description, and I know it was made to ride on sand.

As to your original question: obviously a wide tyre is better. Also
low tyre pressure is better. Also wide rim is better. Also large
diameter wheel is better. Probably long cranks is better. And pushing
the pedals in full circles is better.

Power to you.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

It’s impossible to get old when you ride a unicycle - John (what’s in a name) Childs

Here’s a gallery with some photos of a “sand tire”. Here’s a thread which talks about the tire.

Riding loose sand is hard but not impossible. I’m able to ride the length of a beach volleyball court with just a little practice and I’m about a level 3 rider.

I start off with a lot of speed when going from the grass to the sand and try to maintain a relatively high speed with smooth strokes. You can pause or slow down but then the tire digs too much into the sand when you start pedaling again. Try it sometime, it is very addicting.

I don’t know his name, but it sounds plausible.

Hey, thanks for the link. That looks awesome, although I’m sure it wouldn’t fit in my Yuni frame. Also would be pretty heavy. I’ll check it out, though, I’m sure it would make a big difference.

The cruiser tire I saw in the bike shop yesterday might be good. It was like the old Dyno Fireball, but with more of a square profile. It was a 24 x 3, which means it’s about 26" diameter. Put something like that (or a gazz) with the widest rim possible, lower the air pressure, and that’s probably about the best you’re going to get within the confines of a Yuni frame. The frame is really your limiting factor.

Yes, soft sand can be done. I made it all the way around the practice loop at Moab last year, including all the sand traps. Some was rolling, while the rest of each had to be hopping. Ouch. To get through soft, fine sand, you have to keep your line perfectly straight, and a constant, even pedaling motion.

I found a picture of Robert Flynn on my computer! I know I took better ones, but this one’s actually scanned. His unicycle weighed about 70 lbs, if I remember correctly, and it had a huge amount of play in the drivetrain, making it pretty hard to ride. But he took it across some sand at De La Veaga Park at MUni Weekend 1999.

That, is what i call a giraffe.

Wow, thanks for the photo. That definitely sounds like the rig that was described to me by some of the long-time KSR participants.

I’ll have to see if I can contact him for historical purposes.

Re: Best and lightest tire for sand?

On Wed, 2 Feb 2005 12:34:09 -0600, “johnfoss” wrote:

>I found a picture of Robert Flynn on my computer! I know I took better
>ones, but this one’s actually scanned.

Other picture(s) is/are here:
Maybe these are yours too, John?

>His unicycle weighed about 70
>lbs, if I remember correctly

I guess your memory is fading. Back in the day, in a thread about the
California MUni weekend 1999, you wrote yourself:

There was even Robert Flynn from Vallejo, with his 85 pound,
wooden-framed giraffe with a super-fat ATV tire. He built this
unicycle 15 years ago for a kinetic sculpture race, in which entries
have to look cool but they also have to be able to complete the 38
mile route (much of which on a sandy beach) under human power. I tried
riding it, but the 1" of play in the pedal stroke combined with the
weight and traction of the big tire was too much for me, even after a
good 30 seconds of practice with Andy Cotter spotting me :slight_smile:

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

It’s impossible to get old when you ride a unicycle - John (what’s in a name) Childs

Large Marge rim?

Maybe the 26" 65mm Large Marge rim?

I emailed the SurlyBikes guys recently, they said the 24" won’t be available for month or so.

I want the 24" Large Marge for snowriding, which is similar to sand riding as far as I can tell.

Probably the best tire for the sand is a tire designed with sand in mind. Here’s a link of some pics I snapped a while back. Sand Tire and Rim It’s made by Vulturecycles out of Oregon. They make MUni’s too but not sure if they make one with that rim/tire. I was told they were thinking about it, but that was two years ago, and I didn’t follow up.

I saw a Vulture MUni at moab in one of the bike shops last year, (the big one on up on the hill side). It had a 26 x 3" Gazz. Real pretty, red and black, and robust, with teh VUlture logo on the front of the frame. but I wasn’t in the market at the time.

Also, reading the blogs, it look like Vulture is also working with Dirt Uni

Some of you Bend, Oregon riders want to fill us in on these two companies?