Best tire for wheel walking

Sorry, yet another question about wheel walking: About eight months ago I got a new Shadow Conspiracy Valor tire, 20 x 2.4,” and immediately noticed its tendency to pick up dry pollen, dust, sand and so on, making it sort of scary for wheel walking because its level of slipperiness against my sole becomes hard to predict. I thought that it might get better over time, but it has not.

My previous tire was very bald, and had never had much tread to begin with, but it had a nice tackiness that was almost always the same unless I rode it in heavy rain or something. Same for the balding Big Apple tire that I still have on my 29: When I walk on it, I know exactly how hard to push my feet down.

Have any of you experienced this problem? Since I am still sometimes trying to learn gliding and one-footed wheel walking, maybe a slippery tire is actually just what I need, but even so, knowing exactly how slippery it is would be helpful. Anyone know a way to make a tire a bit more tacky, a bit more like a pencil eraser?

song, you are my WW inspiration!

I have been using / replacing the same tire on my 20" for the last few years…the stock tire that comes with the Equinox, the Cyko Lite. Lately, I have been focusing primarily on learning wheel walking during practice sessions. I have been practicing on grass and going up a very slight incline. That requires applying a fair amount of force from my feet against the tire. So, considering that there is little finesse to my method, I’m not suffering from the problem you’re describing. When it takes only a tiny bit of push to perform the wheel walk, though, such as on a smooth surface, I can see how the grip of the tire could factor in. Also, maybe when going down a hill…

Today I had a breakthrough while wheel walking. Instead of looking in the direction I was traveling, I spent the whole time looking at what my feet were doing. Using this method, on three consecutive attempts I achieved a personal top-10 distance wheel walking, and one of those attempts was my longest ride yet. My guess is that, in the learning process, it was beneficial to look ahead for visual clues about the horizon, but after enough of that kind of practice, I could focus on my feet without looking ahead. Watching my feet seemed to help a lot with steering and with slowing down when I was getting too fast.

The other day I had another WW breakthrough. I realized I wasn’t breathing, realized that the difficult act of wheel walking was making me hold my breath. If I exhaled deeply within the first couple seconds of the wheel walk, that helped me relax and stay on longer.

Another WW breakthrough was learning to WW sitting perched on the back of the seat. I am able to achieve this posture by mounting from a one-footed still-stand directly into the wheel walk. Soon I will start practicing transitioning from normal riding into the WW, and in order to sit on the back of the seat, I’ll make the transition to the WW with both hands on the front of the seat.

I still haven’t successfully transitioned back to the pedals, but I have a strategy for trying it. I’m going to stop flailing my arms long enough to return them to holding the seat. In that position, the transition back to the pedals should go more smoothly and help me avoid a bad fall.

I went out the other day on my 24". Near the end of my ride, I attempted some WWing. I found it much harder (could hardly do it at all), because on the 24" I had to hold my legs much higher, more bent at the knee. Makes me wonder what a 16" would be like for WWing. Seems like the legs would be even straighter than they are on the 20", which would help, I assume.

What is blowing my mind about wheel walking is all the parallels I’m finding between WWing and learning to unicycle as a complete beginner…particularly the amount practice time it has taken to learn.

Is there a tire for wheel walking that’s particularly suitable for someone who’s just beginning to learn the technique btw?

I’m just a beginner wheel walker. However, I like the trials tire on my 20". It’s 2.4" wide, which gives it a larger amount of contact with the feet. Once I get better, I will probably be able to WW on any tire, but for the time being, the trials tire is nice.

Any tire will do. 20" and not super low seat are really the two most important criteria when learning to wheelwalk. A wider tire is nice, but really not much of an advantage, since feet are pretty wide too, it shouldn’t be too hard to hit any tire.

Unidad Popular, I know from reading your other posts that you have a thing for grabbing the saddle while performing various unicycle tricks. For wheel walking, this is an especially unusual approach. I am having trouble imagining that it will help, or even imagining that it is possible, for that matter, unless you are talking about seat-out wheel walking! But good luck with it.

I have done lots of walking on 20, 24 and 29" wheels and can now return to the pedals pretty consistently on all of them. Any unfamiliar size is tricky at first, but you adapt. Even now that I am very comfortable on a 29, though, if I switch back to a 20, which is normally the easiest, I have to spend a minute or two re-learning. Some veteran wheel walkers have told me that switching wheel sizes accelerates the learning process. From my own experience, I am not 100% sure, but walking on larger wheels definitely is fun, and that can’t be a bad thing!

What I have figured out from this thread, and from thinking a bit more, is that I am not in search of the ideal wheel walking tire, but rather just about any tire other than my current one, as I have walked on a lot of tires and never had this problem before. This tire seems to be made of a slightly harder rubber than most, and that’s why it always picks up a thin film of dust that makes it slippery.

Maxxis Creepy Crawler!

I’ve been re-learning how to wheel walk over the past week. My twenner has a Maxxis Creepy Crawler tire. The tire is super wide and the thick tread really grips my soles. I like this tire more than I like the unicycle it’s on.

I am not attempting to wheel walk with hands on the seat. That would require far more skill than I’ll have any time soon. I am only attempting to transition in and out of wheel walking with hands on the seat. The reason I’m doing that is to avoid a bad fall. Since I sit perched on the back of the seat while wheel walking, the transition back to the pedals could result in me falling off the seat. My worst unicycle injury (broken toe) happened after I slipped off the back of the seat. If I had been holding the unicycle with at least one hand, the accident would have most likely not happened. Anyway, the transition back to the pedals scares me. My primary goal right now in regards to transitioning back to the pedals is to do it safely.

I seem to have solved the problem described at the beginning of this thread by replacing my green tire with a black one!

In addition to picking up dust, pollen and grit, my green tire also seems to have been producing some residue of its own. When I ran my finger around the inside of the rim, the grime I found on it, rather than being of the wholesomely urban dark gray variety, was vaguely greenish. Yecch!

I figured out why this tire might be the problem during a recent trip to a small town that still has a proper BMX store with a broad selection of 20 x 2.4 tires. The people who work in that store, unlike the employees at the bike shops in my area, did not seem to be hyper-exploited, and they were all proficient mechanics who also enjoyed doing radical stuff on bikes. They didn’t know much about unicycling, let alone wheel walking, but they were curious about it, and two of them told me right away that the dyes in non-black tires tend to create a certain glossy sheen that can cause problems with traction.

Correct, but then you should go for brown tyres.
Further; the “rubber” isn’t rubber, but usually nylon.
One exception is Pr1mo.
To address your problem I would use their “Richter” in off-white:

Thank you Leo! That is the answer I have been waiting for since I started this thread almost a year ago! That Primo “Richter” is beautiful, and I might get it one day, but for now the basic cheapo tire that I just put on (shown here) seems like it will be good enough. It is marketed as extra-sticky, but now I think that just about any tire other than that green one should be OK.

My interest before in getting a non-black tire was in case I ever needed to ride in a basketball gym where non-marking soles were required, but that hasn’t happened so far, and I think this new tire will be fine until it wears out. It only goes to 65 psi, but my rim has drill-outs, so I can’t inflate my tire much beyond 65 anyway. The green one actually wasn’t that bad, just no good for wheel walking. It was apparently producing an invisible cloud of green particles everywhere I went, but wouldn’t that be normal for a green tire, or at least for the Incredible Hulk?