Buying a unicycle

I learned to ride years ago, virtually lived on it as a teenager, and plan to take it up again at the age of 59. I recently moved to Santa Cruz and would like in put as to the best ride. I plan to do road and trail riding both. I’m 5’5".

Nimbus brand unicycles from offer a great value for high quality unicycles. The hard part is just deciding wheel size which just depends on what you going to do with it. If your planning on riding any kind of distance on or off road a larger wheel is what you’ll want(26" or 29"). Checking out is a great place to start.

Okay, I’m turning over a new page and am not going to harp on the search button as much as I have in the past.

However, for your benefit as well as ours, please do use the search feature. You will read way more information than your brain could comprehend in older threads. IMO nothing has really changed much in the last 5 or so years apart from a somewhat recent insurgence in fat unicycles which is neither here nor there.

As to what unicycle you should buy, here’s my advice:

If you are absolutely dead set on having only one, you should probably take a long look at a 29er Muni and a second (less aggressive) tire. I would suggest any in the Nimbus flavor, but if KH is more your jam, it’ll work just as well. Has a great tire to boot.

Realistically you should look at 2 unicycles. A road one and a Muni. A 36er would be preferable for road, and after riding a KH 36, I actually give the edge to the KH. It’s nice and my favorite 36er to date.

Joe Meyers (sorry if that’s misspelled Joe!) once wrote on here that if you want to ride road, get a KH 36 and get riding. It’s all you need and anything else is overkill (paraphrasing; again, sorry if I misquote Joe!). For road riding, those are words I live by and they’ve stuck with me.

For Muni it gets complicated. I’ve ridden everything and settled on fatties as my favorite for Muni. However there is a good chance you’ll hate fat unicycles because a lot of people do. As far as wheel size goes, 26 or 29 are the two primary wheel sizes now with 26 having more technical ability, and 29 having more distance ability. 24’s are kind of outdated and a lot of people also hate 36ers for Muni.

Again, I’d point you towards a Nimbus for a Muni. I’d probably give the edge to a 26 but that’s just barely.

Like everything in life, unicycles are very much a personal preference type of thing. What I like will probably differ from what you like so plan on trying a lot of different things before you eventually settle. I wouldn’t get too hung up on components and gear right now. If you stick to one of the name-brands like Nimbus, KH, or QuAx, you’ll be fine.

Hi welcome to the forum Avalon. If you have virtually lived on it, then you would have absolutely no problems getting back into it. We never forget. If you’re 5’5" (Im 5’6") then a 26er might fit you better than a 29er for muni, at least it does for me. After you get one, then you ought to jump onto a 36er for the x/c and roads( moderate trails are oh so awesome with the 36er, greatest blast ever). If your inseam (29" without shoes on) is as short as mine, you wont have any problems fitting a standard 36er, just trim frame post.
Yeah, I agree. Stick with the good brands, you cant go wrong and easier to sell if need be.

Check out Silva cycles in Campbell just north of you. It’s one of the only shops in the country that stocks nimbus and KH unicycles on the shelf. They’ll hook you up, and you’ll get one of the best wheel builders anywhere for your unicycle. I concur with most recommendations. I like 29er for Muni and 36 for the road. If you want to try out a few sizes look up some local unicyclists, there’s a weekly ride in Santa Cruz where you can meet a number of local cyclists who I’m sure would be glad to let you try out a lot of sizes on configurations. Most live within 30 minutes of you. : ) Welcome to the forums!

Avalon, I have the same story as you. I’m just a few years younger (and a few inches taller). I picked up an Oracle 26" Muni from UDC last summer and have been having a blast ever since. No regrets, just wish I had a chance to try others before making somewhat of a blind decision. Definitely find some locals that will let you try out their rides If you can.

I spent part of a summer in Santa Cruz. Such a beautiful place; I’m sure the trails there are great for mUni. If I lived there, my “road” riding would amount to the distance from my front door to the trail head (In my SoCal neighborhood that distance is about 150 feet). I don’t even know you, and I’m already guessing you’re going to prefer mUni over road riding. So, considering your environment, the relative hilliness of the non-downtown areas of Santa Cruz, and your height, I would suggest going with a KH 26" with a disk brake and the Knard tire. You can do all the road riding you want on that setup, but you’re going to find mUni way more fun.

Perhaps some more experienced riders can chime in and espouse the virtues of road/distance riding. For some people/environments, they have no choice. The few quasi-distance rides I went on…I would characterize as a mixture of dread and boredom…dread of being hit by a car or face-planting, and boredom due to the monotony of the constant spinning and relatively straight trajectory.

26" mUni…go for it. And when it’s time to get a second unicycle, get a lightweight 19" street/trials and practice your skills. And third, a 36" for the beach boardwalk.

Newbies typically ask the forum for suggestions on a “first” unicycle. Perhaps a better question is: What should be my first, second and third unicycle? Here are ‘my’ suggestions.

  1. 26" mUni. Trail riding is the crack cocaine of unicycle. Step one, getting you hooked.

  2. 19" Street. Now that you’re hooked, you will have more patience improving your skills (mounts, idling, backward, hops, stupid-stuff). Easier to do on a smaller wheel without killing yourself.

  3. 36" Road. Now that you’ve improved your balance on #1 and #2, you’re ready to have a smoother, more enjoyable experience on #3.

Good luck!

KH 26 out of stock

UDC is out of stock of the 26 KH until April. Last year they didn’t get them until May.

My first uni was a cheap 20" as a novelty Christmas gift. Once I realized I might actually be able to ride (about 2 weeks in) I bought a Nimbus 2 24" muni. My second was an Impact Athmos 19". My third was a Nimbus Oracle 36". Basically I have the same setup ElPuebloUnido is suggesting, but with 24" instead of 26". I think it’s the best range for covering all styles.
My advice would be a 26" muni as there’s a better choice of tyres than for 24", but ultimately I say just get something and get riding, within a couple of months you will know how rusty your skills are, what the local roads & trails are like, what your riding preferences and priorities are, and if that first uni isn’t ideal you can always sell it to change to something more suitable. I think just getting out on one wheel again should be your priority for now.
Good luck!

Being in Santa Cruz, you’re probably going to want to work your way up to the weekly ride in your town, Rob’s Ride. That’s a 20 mile loop with something like 1700’ of elevation gain, with a great group of people on a mixture of bikes and unicycles. And people close to your age as well!

Rob’s Ride is best suited to 36" wheels, though it is a mixture of road and dirt. Highly recommended! But you may need some time to regain your “uni legs” and, more importantly, the fitness to do the climbing and the miles.

For starters, I’m going to chime in with many of the people above and recommend a 26" Muni. You have great trails right in town; featured in Dan Heaton’s original extreme unicycling video, Universe, which came out in 2000.

Oooooh, now there’s the nice new 32" Nightrider in town and you’re further burdened between that and a 36er.
For me it’s the 36er, but everybody’s different :wink:

Just FYI, I was looking on the UDC-UK site and they list the KH26 in stock, as does the UDC-Canada site. Those sites may not be up to date, but it may be worth a call to them. Cheers.

I thought about that but I’m not sure how much US duty would be charged. Any item over $200 is potentially subject to a duty if shipped. $800 if I go there and stay over 48 hours.

I thought there might be a place in Vancouver BC that would sell them but I didn’t find one. I’d go up there for a long weekend just to get a KH 26".

I want that one because it will be lighter and great for cross country.

Have UDC-Canada ship it to your hotel in Vancouver? Ride it around on a few trails there in the area, and boom, it’s used! :smiley:

Sad Clowns

Sorry for hijacking this thread but I found this interesting article.

“For an example of how this works, consider the case of unicycles. This product is classified as part of subheading 8712.00.50 (“cycles other than bicycles”) in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, and is normally subject to a 3.7% tariff when imported on an MFN basis. A reader who looks up that subheading in Chapter 87 will be directed by a footnote to consult subheading 9902.24.67 in Chapter 99. There one sees that unicycles are subject to a temporary suspension (i.e., zero duty) that will remain in effect through the end of this year. Unicycles will revert to that 3.7% duty thereafter unless a new MTB is enacted that includes a provision extending this suspension. Or to put the matter in other words, without an MTB in 2012 there may be some sad clowns in 2013.” Emphasis is mine :astonished:

Comes from Washington Trade Report.

I think if UPS handles the shipment they’ll charge a brokerage fee. Not sure how much that would be.

Vertigo maybe Kris has some extra stock is his basement that he can sell you:)

I am no expert in customs but I bought KH29 from UDC Canada back in Decemeber shipped to California and there were no duties charged. Shipping cost was 30 USD and that’s it.

Yeah that’s what I was thinking. :wink: I wonder what his basement or garage looks like.

Thanks for confirming that. I don’t think it’s always charged but I just don’t want to get a surprise. I’ve sent them an email.

:smiley: one is on the way from Canada! Was less expensive due to the weak Canadian dollar.

Great to hear! Looking forward to your report after you receive it!