Best size wheel for learning tricks? 20 or 24"?

Hi everyone…I am new to the board, so I apologize if this topic has been covered before without my knowing it. I did a quick scan and didn’t find anything, but again, apologies if this is redundant.

I have always ridden a 24" Miyata Deluxe and do little on it other than idle, ride, and that is about it. I have always wanted to learn some basic and some not-so-basic tricks, and was wondering if you could tell me if learning tricks (riding one footed, wheel walking, riding backwards, etc) would be easier with a 20" wheel? If so, I will buy a new unicycle and get to work!

Thanks in advance for your replies.


I think this is more of a preference issue. For me, I find tricks easier on a 24", possibly because I’m a big guy.

tricks as in freestyle or tricks as in trials? either way i’d probably recommend a 20" wheel. might make a bit of difference, but dont go out and buy one just cuz i said to. try one out first if u can


Most tricks are easier to learn on a 20" wheel because it’s lighter and more responsive. This doesn’t mean you can’t learn or do them on a 24", so don’t be afraid to practice with your Miyata. Those are great unicycles for doing flatland tricks.

Some tricks work better on a 24". Generally these are the ones that involve pedaling or momentum. You can (theoretically) spin faster, and it’s probably easier to ride one foot with a little extra inertia in the wheel.

Wheel walking, contrary to popular belief, does not require a big wheel. As the wheel gets smaller you have less space to put your feet, but the wheel also gets lower down, so it’s easier to make the foot movements you need down there. I would rate 20" easier for wheel walking, though you can probably go faster with a 24".

My own background: My early riding was on a 24" Schwinn, and then a 24" Miyata. From 1980 through 1983 I used a 24" for all trick learning and performing. In early 1984 I decided to switch to 20" because I had seen some moves that would clearly be easier on that wheel size (such as coasting). It took me about half a year to get comfortable with the smaller wheel size, but then I could do quite a bit. This gives me the background of having learned all the basic tricks on 24" (up to at least level 5), then moving to 20" and learning more advanced ones.

Another advantage to 20" is you can fit more tricks into a smaller space. This matters a lot if you’re an entertainer and your performing space is limited, which it almost always is. Especially if you’re working in lots of elementary schools!

So get the 20", but don’t be afraid to learn tricks on the 24" as well.

20 for tricks, or, as some would prefer to call them, advanced skills.

A 24 is 20% bigger than a 20. Of the standard wheel sizes (excluding the Coker) the difference between a 20 and 24 is greater than between any other adjacent pair of sizes. That is, changing from a 20 to a 24 is a bigger change than from a 24 to a 26, or from a 26 to a 28… or even, for that matter, from a 24 to a 28.

A 20 is light, portable, manoeuvreable, and safe.

For freestyle, try a 20 with about 110 mm cranks. For trials, a 19 or 20 with a fat tyre and longer cranks.

Stick some 102s on your 24 and cover some distance on it, or some 150s and a knobbly tyre and get some muni done.

(Or put some 89s and a knobbly tyre on it and make a bid for a Darwin Award.)

Wow! Thanks everybody. Very helpful! Might someone be able to define “freestyle” and “trials” for me? You have all been very helpful…I have gone from a kindergarden level unicycling education to a highschool diploma in a day it seems.


trials is hopping around on rocks and urban obstacles like benches and handrails, etc. generally, the unicycle is light, has a 20" wheel, and a fat tire.

freestyle is more graceful and a bit less “hardcore”. it is more of a performance style than trials. it has been compared to dancing or ice skating. basic freestyle tricks are like riding with one foot, riding backwards, etc.


20" rocks!

That’s 20" and 102mm cranks nick.

you tell 'em robs

you obviously know quality wheel size when you see it. eh?

For some reason, I learned a lot of tricks on my 24 before my 20. These would include idle, 1 foot idle, wheel waling, riding backwards, and a few others. However, once I learned a trick on the 24, transferring it to the 20 was very fast. Now, I can do all of the tricks better on the 20.

I think it might have to so with the 24 moving slower in terms of wheel rotations and therefore, you have more time to correct yourself.

For tricks like unispins there is no question that a 20 is better.

I don’t know if there is a point to this post… it’s mostly babble, but I think the moral is it doesn’t matter much.

Now remember kids, never buy a unicycle from a drunk pirate.


Light? Trials? My summit is HEAVY! It’s because the tire is so big. Don’t fool yourself into thinking trials are light, at least not compared to freestyle.

Sorry for dragging up an old thread but my question is relevant so I thought it was better than starting a new one.

I’ve been learning on a no-namer and in a month or two I will be wanting to get a better model. My needs are fairly specific, I want to learn trials riding, but I also need to commute.

I will have around £200-250 ($320-400 i think) to spend, and I really like the look of the Onza unis. My question is, do I get the 20" which will be easier to learn trials riding on, or the 24" so that I don’t kill myself trying to ride to university every day?

My journey is about 1½ miles each way, but is completely flat. I don’t intend to go off road at this stage.

I would suggest getting a 24 inch MUni. It will be much faster then a 20 and if you get a fat tire, it will work for trials as well.