My 9 year old daughter wants to learn some more advanced tricks like wheel walking, idling and backwards riding, etc…, and considering that she’s 4’2"/128cm, the 24" unicycle she’s currently using is really big for that. I had to cut down both the seatpost and the frame to make it fit. I was looking at the 20" club freestyle on UDC, as it seems to be fairly lightweight and has square tops on the forks. I’m wondering if given her size maybe the 16" might be better or if maybe there’s a better model. Considering that she’s only about 60lbs/27kg, I think it being lightweight is probably more important than it being tough.
A square crown will definitely help! 20" is the standard for freestyle, flatland, trials and street, so I would recommend 20". At 9 years old and being 4’2" she should be plenty tall for a 20", especially if she’s already using a 24".
The Club 20" is a good choice for a learner unicycle. If you budget allows it, I would consider Nimbus II 20" Unicycle as it has better components. You get a better frame, rim, hub and cranks. You could easily upgrade the unicycle with an aluminum frame and maybe shorter cranks down the line if you daughter goes in the freestyle direction. With the club, no matter which direction it goes, you will need a complete replacement if upgrade needs be.
Lastly, I would advise against a 16" now since eventually she will need to move to 20". Since she’s coming from 24", 20" will feel small, light and maneuverable. Transitioning from 16" to 20" wouldn’t be so much of an easy/fun transition. As she grows 20" is gonna get proportionally smaller, and lighter anyway, while not having to buy a complete new unicycle down the line as well.
I was kind of leaning towards the 20". The nimbus 2 comes with cranks from 75mm to 125mm. Would the 125mm would be better for learning tricks and skills? I doubt she’s going to be going for speed on it.
125 is a bit on the long side for 20". Top Freestyle competitors use 89mm cranks, but I’m not recommending those. But you can spin (pedal) more smoothly with shorter cranks. 125 is the size (minimum) used for Track racing on 24". For 20" racing (kids up to 10), it’s 100mm. But don’t let racing determine your size for Freestyle/tricks. I would suggest whatever sizes they have available between 100 and 125, like 110 or 114.
114s are one of the sizes available and the nice thing about isis cranks is that I already have a couple pairs of them.
Ahh, another crank length discussion! You mentioned, already, that she likes climbing hills. And in the first video you showed us, she was riding on ridiculously long cranks and didn’t seem to mind. IMHO, go for 125mm. If you decide to go shorter, I wouldn’t go below 114mm.
Agree on the 20".
I think there is a case one can make for anything between 100mm and 125mm - as John says, top freestyle riders go shorter than 100, but that is really for speed and elegance, nothing you need to worry about for those first basic tricks. 125mm would be relatively long - lot’s of control, harder to pedal smoothly. (Pedaling smoothly is not only for looking pretty, it also helps with tricks like onefoot)
For a beginner freestyle rider who is (presumably) riding on roads/concrete and not a perfect gym floor, intuitively I’d say split the difference and go with 114mm cranks.
I would also recommend 114mm. If that helps your choice, the Club Freestyle comes with 114mm standard.
Sounds like 114 is the consensus. I’m guessing it will mostly be a matter of familiarity and that after a week she’ll think 114s are great. They’re about the same gear ratio as her 24" with 150s anyway.
So the 114mm is the best one? My daughter is a year younger, but their height is almost the same. At after school care she met boys who are fond of unicycles, now she demands to buy her one too. Here are Kid City USA Florida locations, maybe someone also takes the child there, I will be glad to meet you. By the way, I read somewhere that unicycles with a wheel diameter of 12" are suitable for children from 4 to 6 years old. 16" is designed for children 6-10 years old, and the wheel size 18 “/ 20” is suitable for 10-14 years. But it rather depends on the individual child.
I ended up getting my daughter the Nimbus2 with 125mm cranks. She has a 24" Muni as well and she prefers 150mm cranks on it. I wouldn’t go smaller than 20" myself unless the child is very young.
114mm cranks will be a little faster and have less chance of pedal strike, (when the pedal hits the ground while turning). 125 will be better for hill climbing and may be a little easier to learn on. In the case of my daughter, I already knew she really enjoyed riding, so I didn’t mind spending a little extra on a better unicycle. I’m guessing that most kids that try unicycling never actually learn to do it though, so you might want to start with a cheaper one and then replace it if it turns out to be her thing.
Also, be aware that you’ll have to cut the seatpost down to size. They ship them with seatposts long enough for taller riders and you’ll have to spend a couple minutes with a hacksaw to make it short enough for a child.