best wheel size for downtown sidewalks?

If I wanted to start researching a uni to keep in the office for the sole purpose of navigating downtown sidewalks at lunch time, what would be the best wheel size? I assume a 20" street would be what I want but would that be significantly faster than walking? My goal is to be able to travel farther from the office to try new eateries at lunch while staying within the parameters of my 1 hr lunch window. I dont want to be blazing fast as I might want to travel with walkers on occasion, and I want to be compact and light so I can bring it into the resturaunt with me.

Nimbus make a 9.? pound street uni that has a 20" wheel. Would that be a good choice?

The 20" could very likely be slower than walking. I would go with a 24 or 26 for sidewalk commuting.

26 is probably best. 24 is a bit slow. Even a 29 would be nice. Once you get used to it a 29 is quite maneuverable esp with a bit longer cranks, like say 137s.

I would suggest a 26er with 150mm cranks. The rollover is good for cracks, bumps, and imperfections, and it is fast enough to pass people to maintain flow with pedestrian traffic. A Shwalbe Big Apple tire with a lightweight tube will add another level of speed and comfort to your setup.

20 and 24 are good for jumping up and down curbs, but are on the slow side (albeit still fun to ride around in public and still faster than walking)

26 and 29 after a bit of practice you can ride up and down curbs, if your looking to get from a - b fast, this is your best bet.

If your looking to work on skills and tricks a 20 or 24 is a lot of fun, I still ride my 20 as much as I ride my 29.

I have travelled around on my 20" quite a bit and it’s usual speed is about 4 miles per hour, or about 100 yards per minute.

If that’s fast enough, then stick with a 20" :wink:

24 or 26. Espessially for wanting to ride with ealkers occasionally and carry it inside with you. I think 29 would be to fast and a little more effort to mount. I’ve had my 24 downtown going to class and I was still weaving between people. But I think a 26 would be best for me because I’m taller and could still proabbly controll it well.

Restaurants can be pretty tight inside. I’d use a 24" with a Cyclops or Hookworm.

26inch because its easier to get parts for.

Good luck trying to find a selection of street tires for a 24inch. Also with rims as well

I ride a 24inch with 135s and i pass people up that are running. Downside is trying to find parts for it, upside is that it is easy to fit in tight places and is mega easy to move with.

:thinking: 24" is a popular size for BMX bikes, plenty of tires out there.

You can find tires, but if you want something around say 2.5 it is really tough. Maxxis made the hookworm but now it is discontinued so prices on them are very high and they are just tough to find. The next tire is the cyclops which is slightly smaller than the hookworm. Then from there you jump down to a 2.25 and honestly there is a huge difference with that tire than a 2.5.

Why are you wanting to ride on the sidewalk? In NYC, for example, it’s probably safer to ride on the street, believe it or not. Not so much for you, but for the pedestrians. Sure, it’s fun zipping around them like a bunch of random posts, but some don’t act predictably and eventually one will jump in front of you. :frowning:

So it really depends on the city, in terms of what kind of action goes on along the sidewalk, vs. what’s going on in the street where “vehicles” belong. Beyond that, I’ll go along with 24" as a versatile size that will be less obtrusive in the restaurant, and less scary if you ride it amongst pedestrians. A street-riding 24" comes with a tire that’s fine for the purpose.

Its a different world here in Cincinnati. In my trip across downtown maybe as far as a mile at lunch time I might pass 15 or 20 people and that is only if I travel the busier streets over by the federal building. When I commute to work on my bike I ride the street because im moving as fast as cars (15+mph). I lunch at 11am where most people lunch around noon so its just less busy. I would be happy to achieve maybe 2 or 3 miles an hour over walking at a brisk pace while staying small and portable. Im really considering a 20" since I am a new to uni and need something better for learning on anyway.

I don’t know the specifics of why a 2.5 tire is preferred over a 2.25 for street riding but while I still had my 24 I really enjoyed this tire:

I rarely ride on the street on my uni. I think it’s safer to go a bit faster than pedestrians than a lot slower than cars. I’d probably go with a 26. A 24 can be a bit slow and so much more tires for a 26. I had trouble getting a new tire for my sem.

I regularly ride my 26er muni (with knobbly 2.4" tyre) for short distance local transport on shared use paths - fast enough to keep up with my son riding his 20" wheel bike, slow enough to ride along behind people walking. Doing the school run on that is probably not too dissimilar to what you might be doing. I’d always choose that over my 29er road specific uni as it’s so much easier to handle, I know I can mount it first time every time and I can hop it up and down kerbs - though that may be partly down to crank length (150 on the 26er, 125 on the 29er). So you’d think I’d suggest a 26 - well no, personally I’d go for a 24 for what you want to do. Still fast enough, but that little bit more nimble and something you can play around a bit more on, a sort of monster trials uni. Also probably just about small enough to carry into shops, something I’d not be too happy doing with my 26. At some point I may well get myself a 24 for just that sort of use. I do sometimes ride my 19er for transport, but personally I find it a little slow and frustrating (though it’s far quicker than walking) - good though if you do want to do more trialsy stuff.

I checked for tyres, and no apparent problem with availability of 24" ones I could see. For general pootling around I’m not sure I even see the problem with fitting a knobbly tyre.