Some of you may have seen my thread “Unicycle arrived today” and been following the progress of my son. Originally I bought a 26" LX clone (DRS) and have not made much progress with it. My son, on his 20" DRS has made fantastic progress.
I took a spill on the 26" and it really knocked me. I did try his 20" and found it to be to wobbly. I’ve been trying and trying but I haven’t made much progress. I’m hoping the time I’ve spent in the 26" saddle will translate to the 24" and make me feel more comfortable. I just feel like I’m too high on the 26".
I’ve seen where many recommend a smaller wheel for learning and I think that might be the case but the 20" was just too small for me.
I got them at the LBS where a friend of mine is a b*ke mechanic. He made me a good deal so my plan is to keep the one that suits me best and sell the other one off. I don’t like feeling afraid every time I mount the 26". I hope this will further facilitate my unicycle riding experience.
Depends on the crank length, but I found the 24" the maximum size for a first uni. Bigger is harder - 24" is on the edge, I switched to a 20 125mm cranks after some weeks on the 24"/150mm and made so much progress quickly. Which I could translate to the 24" without too much re-learning. Or course, now my 24" feels like a 20, but it’s another story.
I have no idea of the crank lengths. I feel like a newborn babe in a strange world with this. I suppose I could experiment with crank lengths, but it would be and expense without any proof of netting results. Right now I just want to be able to mount the thing and get a few revolutions. I think the fall I took on the 26 really upset me, and that is so foreign to my way of thinking, but I’ve been raising a kid for 8 years now and so much seems different than it did before. I was always so willing to go with new things but now I worry about injuring myself. This unicycle thing has brought with it so many things to think about and it is showing me a side of myself that I never imagined was present.
Kiddies learn a heck of a lot faster than us adults.
You’re doing well to stick at it, many don’t. Keep at it. Have you had a look at the ''learning journal ‘’ thread ?
I have read your other posts but can’t remember if you wear safety gear. I seem to remember you have gloves. Do you wear a helmet and shin pads? They give a lot of confidence. Sorry, Bit of a rushed reply as I shouldn’t be on here, I should be working…but. For what my two pennuth is worth safety gear helps a lot. AND don’t worry about mounting till you can ride a few feet alongside a wall or fence. It took me over 4 months to learn to ride and then about 10 months to freemount. I got there in the end.
24’’ sounds good for a tall guy. Smooth tyre? plenty of air in it? Comfyish seat?
Good luck and keep the piccies coming. We love piccies on this forum.
Hope you’re not comparing your progress to your son’s. Like Alucard said, kids learn faster, and then you also got to factor in how much you practice and the quality of practice. I think the fun factor comes in hand. At the moment it seems like you’re getting a bit frustrated and insecure about what you’re riding. Riding a unicycle has to do a lot with being persistent and stubborn about it.
Alucard also made a very good point about the safety gear that some of us have brought up in the other thread. It’ll make you more confident. Hope your wrist guard came already.
Have you tried practicing calmly stepping off your unicycle both front and back and catch it before it falls? Once you learn to do that with much ease, then that’ll also boost your confidence and you can concentrate more on practicing and less on other stuff.
For the original torker lx, the crank length for the 26" is 170 mm (6.75") and the 24 is 152 mm (6"). Look around your crank and see if there’s a number printed on it. The old torker also had a number printed on the crank. It should also have a R or L for left and right crank.
I think you should just stick with whatever wheel you have and just learn to fall off it like I mentioned. But of course that’s up to you. I’m not sure if a 24" would make a world of difference if you should choose that. The biggest jump was a 20" to a 24"…a 24 to a 26 is a difference but I would say barely. Give it a bit more of a try and go with the 24" if all fails.
Play with your seat height, adjust the seat angle (bolts underneath the seat) and play around with the pressure of the tire if it makes it a bit better.
People can and have learned on all wheel sizes, but I sense as a general trend that the ones who learned on bigger wheels tended to be younger and more physically gifted and would have learned to ride whatever they had no matter what.
I started with a 20" and then found a fixer-upper 24" in a thrift store about a month later. So I’ve had both sizes for most of my unicycling experience but I’ve done nearly all of my learning on the 20". A big advantage I see is that I’m closer to the ground and moving slower, so it’s easier to step off and unplanned dismounts are less dramatic on it. I can also fit longer practice rides in terms of time and pedal cycles into a small practice area. And the lighter wheel makes it less tiring to make balance corrections, though I see how that might come across as wobbly if you aren’t used to it.
I’m right at 6 feet/180 cm and I could almost get the seat high enough with the original post if I cheated a bit past the minimum insertion mark. Eventually I wanted to try 114 mm cranks and I really needed a 400 mm seat post when I made that switch. If your uni is similar and you’re taller than me, your seat might be too low even with it all the way up.
Pierrox’s comments on crank length ring true for me. Basic 24" unicycles all seem to come with 150 mm cranks, and that feels too long except maybe for hardcore muni with a big knobby 24" tire. You don’t need that much torque for basic practice and it’s a big range of motion to try to pedal around smoothly even for people with fairly long legs.
I agree with Nate128 that the jump from 20" to 24" seems bigger than the jump from 24" to anything else. (Maybe not 36". I haven’t tried that yet.) A number of experienced riders on this site have mentioned picking up 20" unicycles lately to work on new skills and do low-speed practice in limited areas. A 20" wheel has less rolling inertia and gets stopped by bumps and cracks that something bigger would roll over, but learning to keep on pedaling through that isn’t a bad thing at all.
It’s still very early days for you. I was hanging onto the wall for over a month! Good luck with it, and keep at it no matter which one.
Thanks for all the comments and encouragement. I do wear shin guards, knee pads and elbow pad and a cheap pair of leather work gloves and that does make me feel more confident. I have ordered a pair of Hillbilly wrist guards and I see that they have arrived in Oz as of yesterday so they should be here in a few days. I’m looking forward to that since my wrist is still a bit sore from the spill I took about a week or so ago.
The 24" should be in today or tomorrow and I’ll let you know if it makes any difference in my (attempted) riding. I’m not worried about free-mounting at this point, I just want to get a bit further down the fence. I’m practicing with finding my balance and then veering off from the fence. So far the best I’ve gotten unassisted is about 2 revolutions. The thing that freaks me out is when I UPD backwards. I haven’t fallen again but the unicycle really shoots out in front. I find it disconcerting.
I cut the seat post on the 26 and it is all the way down. I wouldn’t be able to pedal if I were any higher. I’m 173 cm (5’ 8’’) and I have short legs. This is why I’m thinking I might be more comfortable on a 24. I’ll know soon enough I suppose.
I think another thing to assist in your learning would be to hold onto the fence and just pedal. My friend and the two out of three other people I’ve taught agree that holding on to the fence and pedaling helped when they started and the transition to hand holding and eventually riding on their own felt easier than when they just did hand holding only.
I know its kinda scary when the uni just shoots out right in front of you. I learned on grass with nothing and it got frustrating when i fell flat on my back an my uni was in the neighbours yard (about 5-10 feet away depending on where i was). The others i taught (they learned at a local track) said they felt better after they taped up their uni (front and back of the seat and the side of the pedals) because they didnt worry so much about having to catch their uni or it getting all banged up from the falls. Worring about banging up your uni might not be your problem but I hope that helps if it was.
Nate, thanks for the video. It is one of the better instructional videos I’ve seen.
onlyneedsone, thank you. More than the unicycle shooting out it’s the idea of landing flat on my back that bothers me. I think I need to just keep holding the fence for now. I’m not comparing my progress to my son’s but he’s always encouraging me to just let go and ride. It has come to him very easily.
I won’t give up. It’s something that I really want to do. I like the challenge of it and I like the idea of finally giving it a go. Hopefully I’ll eventually gain some level of competence and will be able to ride the footpaths in the park or along the river.
Like many I learnt on a 20" and that’s still my go-to size for trying new things (I’m closer to the ground!). I quickly tried to move to a 26" wheel but struggled and, I think, my confidence was dented a bit. Eventually I took the plunge and bought a 24" Uni and it was the best thing I did, it’s reintroduced the fun whe maintaining the challenge. It’s big enough not to feel like a roller skate under you but not so big you feel like you’re on a giraffe.
I ride every one of my unicycles every week and find them useful for learning/doing different things. I’m not so sure there is such a thing as a do everything wheel size and envisage getting something useful out of the three I have for quite some time.
I think you’ll like the 24er
I’m also among the older learners (Hi everybody, I’m new here).
I’ve had my Uni for a week and I’m taking baby steps. I’ve fallen flat on my back a few times, but I’ll keep on trying. I think unicycling is one of the activities where my natural stubbornness may be paying off
I started this because I wanted to improve my balance when riding motorcycles at slow speed and because I thought it would be fun. I got the idea because my daughter learned it a few years ago on a borrowed uni. It took her only a day before she was pedaling around in front of the garage. I had no illusion it would take me much longer.
If it helps with your decision, I’ve gone straight for the 24’’ since I figured a 20’’ might be to small for me (5’10’’, ~190 lbs). But right when I got it, my wife started hijacking it and trying herself. She’s not putting the same effort into it, but she’s making slow progress herself and hasn’t gotten tired of it yet.
To avoid having to change the seat height all the time I bought a used, modified Torker LX locally (also 24’’). I haven’t taken that outside but I will in the next few days since I am starting to need more space
I haven’t read everything above, so excuse me if I’m repeating someone’s advice. As seen in the thread that’s currently above this one (From a 36" to a 26" Unicycle), if you want to feel more in command of your 26" wheel, just ride around on a 36" for a couple of weeks and then your 26" will be a piece of cake.
Yes, I understand that this is a costly approach if you don’t have a 36" unicycle handy, but it does work!
John, at my level in ineptitude I don’t think that would be a very good idea. Even the pictures of the 36s scare me :).
I am intrigued by them, but can’t see myself on one in the near future. I’ll be happy if the 24" is a bit easier to master than the 26". If so, I’ll move back to the 26" and let my son move to the 24". It’s baby steps for me at this point in my learning.
When I learned at age 46 I figured a 24" made sense compared to smaller kids on a 20". After trying the 24" for a few weeks I converted to a 20" and swear by it for the learning phase, it seems to be the sweet spot for learning basic skills. The 24" always felt like I had too much momentum to overcome, especially when learning new mounts.
Since I teach quite a few new riders I try to get everyone on a 20" as soon as possible. For some with short legs an 18" will have to suffice until nature extends their reach. I’ve noticed the kids on smaller 18" wheels have tremendous wobble, almost as if there is a motor in the uni that moves the wheel randomly in any direction. A lucky few get it under control but most have to move up to the 20" wheel before they can ride smoothly.
I worked with one girl who is very young and hence very short, but also very determined. Her parents bought her an 18" wheel which she used to learn on the first year. About a month ago she forgot her uni and had to borrow a 20" for practice. It took her about 10 minutes to adjust to the new wheel size and now refused to rider her smaller wheel as it’s too “squirrelly”. Your mileage may vary but this has been my experience with many kids.