Best trials unicycle

I’m looking to buy a trials unicycle in the next few months, (considering availability), and want to get something pretty nice. I’m a heavy rider at around 108 kg, but I don’t see myself doing any big drops on it either. I will be using this primarily to practice hopping, drops and other skills, but I’m an older guy that will never be doing anything particularly “extreme” on it.

It looks like there are the Impact Athmos, Impact Gravity, Kris Holm and various M41 models. Only the Mad4one Isis trial machine might be out of my price range, but if I will never be able to appreciate the difference between the top of the line and the pretty decent, then I don’t mind saving a little money.

Nimbus also do a trials uni. EDIT: Actually I can’t find them on UDC, so maybe they’re discontinued in favour of Impact trials unis.

They should all be strong enough for what you want to do. The aluminium framed ones will be a bit lighter. Whether or not that matters is up to you. Personally I wouldn’t let that sway my decision, but I’m not riding competitively.

About the only one that would make me hesitate before buying is the Athmos (I have one). It has pressed bearing housings with nuts and bolts for the bearing retention. They work fine but aren’t as elegant as machined housings. If that doesn’t bother you the rest of the uni is decent.

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I don’t think I’d be bothered much by that, but the gravity is three pounds lighter and that’s pretty significant. I know that KH unis used to be considered the best of the best, but from what I can tell that’s now M41.

Is the only purpose of a lighter uni to provide a competitive advantage? Every time we have a discussion about weight, someone points out that performance improvements are more likely to come from improvements in technique and training, rather than by shaving off a few pounds from the uni. The implication is that only top riders deserve nice, light unicycles. It seems like a condescending dig at novice riders. Go ahead, buy your expensive, light uni, but I can still beat you on my grandma’s 20 lb. all-steel uni.

I like lightweight unicycles because they are more responsive. Any extra weight slows down the feedback. There is more to unicycling than measurable outcomes. The experience of the rider matters.

No condescension intended, but fair point!

First question for me would be square crown vs. round. Round is nice if you are doing a lot of seat out tricks and have a tendency to hit your knees (hard to know without having done much trials, I know…). If you can see yourself ever doing anything that requires a foot on the frame (like 1ft riding), I’d go towards a square frame, most of the newer “rounded off square” frames are pretty slimline and don’t cause much issue for most of the riders.

Athmos is a decent uni - it should be strong enough but a bit on the heavy side. (I’ve never understood peoples issues with stamped bearing housings btw…). It should however be noted that while it’s strong, it’s also very much “low end” in every single component except for the wheelset and saddle. Seatpost, tire, cranks even pedals.
If this was going to become your “main” uni and trials/street/flat your main focus, I’d probably recommend spending a bit more money.

Kris Holm, Impact Gravity, Mad4one. All a similar level in my eyes, as I said I’d decide on round crown vs. square crown first, which might rule out the Gravity. I’m not a particular fan of KH spirits, but if you don’t want to do many flatland roll tricks where you stand on the cranks, they are okay. Mad4one depending on powersquare or Mad-Tecno might be slightly more expensive or the slightly less money, I’d personally choose them over KH though.

I’d throw another thing in the mix, if it’s also something you might do some riding tricks on, I’d consider one of the wide tired 20" (Sylph or Mad4one). I think I’m a lot more sensitive than most in this regard, but I really don’t like riding knobby tires on asphalt/concrete. The 19" trials tires do have a lot nicer “bounce” though, so if hopping really is your main focus, they will probably be your choice.

I think @elpuebloUNIdo has a fair point and sometimes honestly I’m a bit guilty of getting too caught in thinking along those lines. But you also can’t fully ignore the “value for money” perspective: Is paying double the money for a M41 going to make my riding twice as fun as on an athmos? I’d personally doubt that. Like with pretty much all equipment purchases, there are diminishing returns after a certain point for unicycles and especially for people new to the sport, I think it may be hard to realize where those start (not that that is something you can clearly define). But if you have the money to spend, there is nothing wrong with going to the 100% best option first.

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I have no intention of doing crown related tricks at this point, but that may change in the future. My daughter has a nimbus2 that I could borrow for that if I decide to try wheel walking or one foot riding.

I am not aware of any correlation between wheel walking and the crown. I have started experimenting with one-footed wheel walking. I anticipate getting my other foot on the crown for that technique, but I am not there, yet.

I was under the impression that a square crown was better for wheel walking, but that’s probably my mistake.

Here’s my take on it, owning:

  • Impact Gravity Pro (rounded)
  • Impact Reagent Pro (square)
  • Club (beginner? The blue one)
  • Mad4One 24" muni
  • Mad4One 27.5" muni

The pro versions of the Impact run 32mm bearings instead of 42mm. They both fit the same ISIS axles, but 32mm’s are lighter and less durable.

The squared one also has round shaped legs, where the rounded frame is more oval.
For off pedal tricks I find it easier to land on the cranks using the square frame.

Especially when learing to tuck I feel the rounded frame feels more comfortable. You could even consider a longneck to ensure the seatpost clamp is as close to the seat as possible.

As for Mad4One, it uses a stronger aluminum type, but I don’t believe you’ll notice any of it any time soon.They do have much more available colors and better availability, so this is definitely a point for M41.

Qu-Ax also sells trials uni’s, but although the axle nterface might be better than ISIS, it’s hard to swap cranks with other uni’s you might already own.
It’s probably also lighter and less strong as the Mad4One or Impacts.

I really like the Impact Naomi seats (with added reinforcement plate) but I also really like the Mad4One Agile cranks since these are thicker (also heavier) and protect the bearing housing much better during crank grabs.

But in the end, any high end uni will do. Mike Taylor rides an Impact uni and Mark Fabian as well.
Pierre Sturny rides a Mad4One.
All of them abuse their uni’s without any issues, so any high end uni should suffice.

Personally I would build my own getting the best parts available from the different brands, but most important advise I could give you: get an ISIS interface and one of the better trials tires like the OBR Gekok or Monty ProRace V2. They bounce much better than the Creepy Crawler which is often used on the Impacts when you buy them…

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When I bought my trials, I got this 19" QUAX
https://www.einradladen.com/387mm-19-Inch-Qu-ax-Trials

I’ve had a lot of fun with it. It is great for hopping. Also had a few 10K rides with it. I don’t experience with the other trials unis, but as it fits my usage, I don’t need anything else.

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Lots of good advice and insights in this thread.

I got a Creepy Crawler and like it for its stability and long-lasting good grip. More bounce sounds nice though.

How do you feel about the Gekok and ProRaceV2 trials tyres’

  • sidewall/general stability, especially on large side jumps, or on inclined surfaces
  • grip on urban or natural trials lines
  • and durability, in comparison?

I only have experience with the reepy Crawler and the Monty, but I have the OBR Gekok ready to replace the Monty once it’s worn out.

The Gekok is the favorite tire of Mike Taylor and the Monty is used by Mark Fabian. Both are competition tires which wear out faster than the Creepy Crawler, but also excell in grip.
The Creepy is a little bit more rigid, but that can be fixed easily with tire pressure. I’m currently running the Monty at 30psi (with 200lbs of body weight) which is too soft to land sideways from a bigger hop and let the tire absorb the impact completely. However if you absorb it with your legs or land in the forward direction, it’s no issue at all.
Running it at 40 psi works very good as well, but the bounce will be harder to use. So I’m still experimenting with the best pressure for my riding (anywhere between 30-40psi)

Here’s a set of hops done at 32psi:

https://www.instagram.com/p/COtK-ABhiqi/?igshid=ws9m3540j9f7

https://www.instagram.com/p/COlb8S4BzdU/?igshid=aebxlecflgef

And 30psi:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CO8rR5lhZCb/?igshid=76imbygxd3fs

And 40psi:

https://www.instagram.com/p/COC8yUwBzqr/?igshid=1ls55abfguvrt

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Thanks, that’s exactly the kind of insight I was hoping to get. What do you think of the M41 saddle for trials use? They market a version of it for trials and people seem to really like them for muni, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone doing trials with one.

Pierre Sturny is using it, and several others as well (the HandleSaddle you mean?)

https://unaruota.com/ZC/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_19&products_id=1070&zenid=838t53up8m9ov1r4peciign502

I’ve bought an S muni and took it apart to end up with the base (I don’t like the loss of support at the front) and made my own trial version from it.
The original one uses leather straps around the handles but it makes the handle thicker and a bit slippery. So I replaced that with rubber from rim “tape” (the kind which you just have to slide over the rim) and that makes the grip perfect.
As for the sitting part, it’s a little wider than the Naomi which takes some getting used to.

comparing it to the Naomi with reinforcement plate (to make it more rigid)

Pro’s M41:

  • Light
  • Rigid and strong
  • Awesome visibility when hopping seat out since you can look through the saddle directly on the wheel

Con’s

  • Price
  • riding comfort (I can ride my trial uni through the city from spot to spot using the Naomi)
  • No bumper protection when you drop the uni
  • less control using thighs
  • less control hopping seat out when using your leg for support since the rear is thinner

I havent used the M41 as much as the Naomi (not even close) so with experience some of the cons might become less relevant but I wouldnt recommend it as your first seat.

:+1: for including your weight when talking about tyre pressure.

So it’s got more bounce, but then it’s also less rigid, thus requires more pressure, thus we lose some bounce, leaving us with hopefully just a bit more bounce in total? :stuck_out_tongue: Disclaimer: That’s just wild speculation by me.

I can hardly imagine anything having more grip than these large soft knobs, of which the CC has plenty. I just have to try and compare these tyres one day too.

I also like the Naomi a lot for trials.

Hmm, it means that it’s a decision you can make based upon the terrain you’re riding. Tyre / tire pressure isn’t set in stone once set. At least not for me…
I’m running it at 31psi now and yesterday I could hop (many times, many hops) up onto a 45 degrees slope (sideways) which was covered with that artifical grass (childrens playground). I expected it to slip but it didn’t and the tyre also didn’t lose its shape too much.

The CC is (also in biketrail) definitely not a bad tire, but again it depends on the surface you’re riding. I can imagine that in muddy conditions or in loose sand grip will be better for the CC than the Monty or Gekok.