Best Unicycle for Commuting?

Hi!

What is the best unicycle for commuting? I’d like to buy a uni when I’m studying here in Ireland (26 or 29er). What are your thoughts/experiences/suggestions?

Thank you so much!
~ Cedar

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This is a 29er. It’s only slightly bigger than a 27.5 with a plus wheel. Funny thing though, on the flat straights, I still wish I could go a bit faster!

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As big a wheel as you are comfortable with! Aim for short cranks as well if you are confident (should be fine if you already muni). For most situations 125/127mm would be the longest I would consider for commuting on any wheel size.

I think that’s the case with any ungeared unicycle. It’s all about compromise :frowning:

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How far is your commute?

I’m a Big 29er fan for road riding. It gets me around at 7.5 to 8.5 mph on average and it is easy to mount, and control. Get it set up with the right tire a set of 125 cranks a T bar and a saddle you can sit in for an extended period of time and your set… I’m quite content with that set up and speed,

What he said. :arrow_up:

I’ve never commuted by unicycle, but I do have a 36er and a 27.5 muni. The 36er is way, way easier to ride in terms of effort. It’s also trickier to master just about any skill on and may be too big for a lot of cars or to take on mass transit or to keep in a cubicle or lecture hall. If I were to be setting up a uni for a commute under 6 km or so, I think I would go for a 29er with a 2.35" Big Apple tire. I might also replace the bolts with security bolts so that someone doesn’t steal your frame or saddle if you leave it locked up. I don’t imagine there’s much of a stolen unicycle market out there, but sometimes it seems like thieves steal things just because they can.

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I didn’t like the big apple tyre on the 29er, I had to always twist too much for camber… now using a hookworm 2.5", and it seems better to me.

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That could be. I’ve never used one on a unicycle, but I’ve put thousands of miles on them on bicycles and I love them on bikes.

the 2.35" Big Apple tire camber like a son of a bitch! Roger Davies said it can be that specific tyre and also that the smaller 29"x2.0" should be better.

I got a 29" with Continental Speed King II RaceSport as that is supposed to be the MTB 29" with the lowest rolling resistance (in a two wheel setup?)… it’s a very light folding tyre. Unfortunately I can’t compare how it handles in comparison with other tyres.
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/mtb-reviews

This would also be my recommendation.
I commute on my KH36 and honestly I’d go bigger if they made them.

But also, what can you actually buy right now?
Many things are out of stock until at least June - would that be a problem?

I have commuted on a 24, 26 and 36. The distance to my office is about 6km (3.7miles) via the most direct route but I often take long detours (if I have the time), just to get more time in the saddle. :wink:

All of them work for fine for my usage but they each have their own advantages.

Even though it is only fractionally smaller than the 26, I do like the 24 for being a size down. If I want to drop into a store on the way home I can just wheel it in without feeling like I might get told off. Also on a couple of occasions I switched to public transport on the way home because I was running late to pickup the kids and it is nice that it is so small on a crowded commuter bus. I also tend to take my 24 when the snow is very heavy but that is primarily because frame accommodates a wide tyre and I have 24x4 inch fat tyre for it.

The 26 is probably my favourite and hence the one I have used the most. Many of the same advantages of the 24 but perhaps just a little easier to cruise. Also the 26 has a much better range of tyres, especially studded tyres. I typically cycle to the office at between 14 and 16 km/h (approximately 9 to 10mph). I have done it at higher speeds on the odd occasion (≈18 km/h / 11mph) but that means a shower is needed. Most of my riding with this uni is with 100mm cranks, which are pretty much necessary (for me) to cruise at those kinds of speeds. Recently I have started experimenting with 89mm, which (after some adjustment) also works well.

The 36 loses out on size and tyre options. I feel it intimidates pedestrians on shared paths and is a little harder to control around them. On the flip side I feel much more confident mixing with traffic. In part because of being higher up. For me (and perhaps not others) the lack of tyre options is an issue for all year usage and means I do not use it much for the winter. Finally, whilst I do not really cycle much quicker (if at all) on the 36 compared to the 26, it is clearly possible. Also it is much easier to sit back and cruise along at a reasonable pace, at least on flats and minor inclines (for steep hills I think the added weight and rotational weight plays a factor).

All this said, your own requirements, the nature of the route(s), distance and expectations of speed all play into what makes a good commuting unicycle. I suspect for the majority a 29" is probably a good all round compromise. Inherently faster than all but a 36, not too big or too small and a really great selection of tyres.

P.S. I have never owned or even ridden a 27.5 but I have noted that whilst it clearly wins for tyre selection for off-road, the 26 and 29 both have a wider range of tyres for road usage. For commuting, where for most people this will mean lots of paved surfaces, I would pick a 26 or 29 over 27.5 for this reason.

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A note about my tyre selection on the 26. I have experimented quite a bit. Several tyres I have tried were slightly annoying camber wise (at least on the road, even if ok off-road). These days, outside of winter I have settled on either Schwalbe “Fat Frank” (26x2.35) or Innova “City Tire” (Code: IA-2236), which is sometimes labelled as a “Super Brick” (26x3.0). It has this name because of the brick like pattern on the tyre. Though you could make a case for saying it was because of the weight. :laughing: It is fairly heavy when pumped up, at least for a road tyre.

The “Fat Frank” is probably the more sensible and handles great for me, it is also lighter and easier (you notice this especially with 89mm cranks and/or on hills). However, I do like the “Super Brick”. Even pumped pretty hard (it supports up to 65PSI/4.5bar) it does not get slowed by bumps and imperfections in the road. I strongly suspect as much as anything this is simply because of its rotational weight, meaning it does not want to stop. Also it appears to be close to 28" in actual diameter, so I guess I cover a little more ground on each rotation.

For winter, I spend almost all my time on a Kenda “Klondike XT” (26x2.35) studded tyre. This is actually a pretty cheap tyre but I really like it for winter commuting. It rolls surprisingly well when the road is clear and the studs handle the ice nicely. Also, just enough tread to not slip on the levels of snow we typically see around town in the winters here.

Ireland is not known for its bad winters, but tyre selections isn’t something I’d personally considered too much, as the Nightrider has been good for me on everything but snow and ice.
Definitely an important point elsewhere in the world!

Don’t forget the 32" though. Tyres are even more limited than for 36", but it’s a nice commuting size in fairer weather and very manoeuvrable especially with the 2-ply Nightrider.

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True! :grinning: I thought it was worth noting though as others might also view this thread looking for similar advice. It also also why I wanted to end with this:

I like reading people’s reasons and experiences as much as anything because I suspect there really is no one perfect commuting size. I am lucky that I have a fairly short (when I go direct) commute and have good cycle paths pretty much all the way. Also in Norway I am allowed to cycle on the pavement (sidewalk :us:) for the few sections where there is no cycle path. If I had to do the entire thing on the road I might take the 36 more often. On the flip side if I lived more centrally and worked right in the middle of town I might just use the 24 because dealing with pedestrians and traffic lights would be more annoying on a big wheel at peak commuting times.

I use a Continental too on my 29. Smooth on road, good on gravel

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125!? Go shorter! :laughing:

(I am not totally serious. I just favour shorter cranks for road usage, so I am biased. In all seriousness, use what works for you. Speed is not the only thing).

I agree, it’s “silly” not to try. The challenge will also help you improve faster.
110/127mm is great, you still have the longer option at all times.

Schwalbe marathon 29 x 2.5 . Smooth in the center with a more agressive tread toward the side wall great tire for pavement and crushed limestone. I run mine 35 lbs pressure, No camber., Smooth and controllable.

As for cranks 125 s for me are ideal, I can handle hills and idle at a stop without having to dismount. I will say I no longer ride the streets any more, to dangerous for my liking , so I’m not comuting in traffic. I much prefer designated bike trail riding

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