Can learning on old, crappy unicycle to start be counterproductive?

im starting to wonder if this old 24" Loyd unicycle i bought a few weeks ago is maybe to clunky to try to learn on?.

I am expecting there to be a big learning curve, especially now at the beginning. But its seeming like this unicycle is just overly difficult to keep upright. I replaced the old tube after its valve stem broke while trying to inflate it.
New tube inflated to fairly firm. Maybe too much, so i released a little air. Dont know actual psi as no gauge.

But still seems like tracking even with one hands fingers touching a well is pretty off.?

How much will an old clunker like mine be useful or possibly counterproductive for learning to ride?

I think so. My first uni sucked and I couldn’t do anything on it after a month of trying. I finally bought a Sun, and within an hour on the new uni, I was riding further and more steadily than I had in a month of practicing with the clunker.

Unless it stops you from wanting to persevere, then No. You may not progress quite as fast as with a brand new Nimbus ISIS freestyle (or whatever your preference is), but you’ll learn a lot of subliminal skills that will serve you well in the long run. It may not feel like you are improving in leaps and bounds now, but it’s all being stored up.

Sooner or later, you will have to upgrade. And that’s where you will really appreciate the difference. And where you’ll see your stored knowledge shine through.

The trick is knowing when to upgrade :wink:


In what way is it clunky? How long and how much have you been practicing?

I can see if the pedals were loose, or the wheel was overly flexible ior if there was some obvious problem, it could hinder you. Otherwise, doesn’t seem like it would make that much difference.

A 24" is supposed to be harder to learn on than a 20".

Looking back, I think I got my unicycle the day before Thanksgiving (US) and could ride to the end of the block, maybe 150 yards or so, by December 16. I just managed to ride around the block this last week.

I know there’s people that have learned a whole lot faster. On the other hand, I’ve probably been working at it about 2 hours a week, so someone more motivated could put 20 weeks of my practice into one week of theirs if they were so inclined.

Oh yeah, on the tire pressure- on my 20x2.125" tire, I keep it at 45 psi, which is what it says on the tire. But it doesn’t seem that different if it gets a little low, so I would doubt that was the problem.

Well my friend learnt on a home-made 24" from the 50s with 100mm cranks - shows it’s possible but I’d definitely recommend learning on a decent 20"

I think it is more important that the unicycle be a good fit, than weather it is old or junky. It took me a long time to learn to ride and I think the main problem was the seat was too low for me. I would try for 10 or 15 minutes and it felt like I was doing lunges the whole time (I know most of that is not putting weight on seat - but the seat height amplified the problem). The other problem I had was not having an excellent resource like around when I was trying to learn.

I only recently learnt on a cheapish 24" uni. It took around 12 - 15 hours (as a guess) then upgraded to a 26" before learning to freemount and ride with any real consistency but still not that great. If the uni is set up properly and nothing is bent I can’t see why it would be any harder. I suggest keeping the tyre pressure up towards the high end. It may seem a little sensitive at first but you’ll figure it out. Perhaps some new pedals with a little more grip might be a good idea too.

Also, some people take a shorter or longer time to learn to ride than others. Keep at it and you should be fine.

A wheel is a wheel…Isn’t it?

No, I don’t think so. but it’s still just a wheel. Even if it is harder to learn to ride on at first.

I most definitively think that trying to learn on an old “clunky” uni can be harder. Me and my friend both tried to learn on a really badly made uni(summit or something) and when both of us got new unis our skill jumped up. It was really strange how much better we suddenly got when we got new unis.

Just my 1/2 cent,

I’m in the same boat you were a couple of years ago. I’ve had a no-name unicycle for about six months and put in some time on it (not really dedicated for most of it) and I’m just getting 3-4 revolutions now. A friend of mine suggested a move to a “real” uni would make a huge difference.

How did it play out for you?? Are you still riding? Did you master it on your old clunker, or did you pop for a new wheel? Did it make a big difference?

A Loyd unicycle when I was learning to ride would have been extreme luxury. I learned on a P.O.S. with a hard plastic 16" tire, tricycle crankset, no bearings, and a hard plastic seat. I gave up many times, but in general stuck with it until the thing fell apart.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That said, it’s unicycles like those that may have turned off a whole generation to the idea of riding unicycles because they’re so much harder to learn on.

If you have something with a real tire, and enough air in it, and a seat that can be raised beyond the point where your legs are all squished down, it doesn’t matter too much for the beginning stages. If the cranks and pedals can’t be kept loose, or if the thing is so out of alignment it can’t be ridden straight, that could be a problem but most other issues are not relevant until you can start riding short distances on your own.

Afterthought: If it has a seat like the Loyd unicycle I bought through eBay, that could be a problem too. A nice, leather bicycle saddle. Ouch!!

my dad has been re-learning to unicycle. he rides the 24" lead-heavy uni my grandpa built in the late-forties. thats old. with a bike seat and bent cranks. i forced him to try my less-shitty 20" and he went twice as far in a few tries.

I don’t think you can call it counterproductive… if you cannot unicycle then you can’t get any worse. Even if you can ride a bit I think this would be a good lesson as the more strange things you ride, the better you are getting.
But for sure the progress on such an old one may be slower with a new shiny machine, both because of the uni and your attitude to it.

those who say it doesn’t matter and to persevere are exactly the same people who never had a dodgy uni in their lives and only ever owned a nimbus or KH from day one.

a rubbish uni will definitely screw you over. case closed.

once you upgrade to something decent like a nimbus you will be in a whole new world.

Moving Up

Okay, that’s the second time someone has warned me to get a new uni to accelerate my learning curve. And Nimbus seems to be a consensus for those who cant afford a KH…thanks.

P.S. Is it okay to buy used or are you buying someone else’s problems? It seems like you shouldnt be able to mess up a uni too much. (I dont mind scratches as long as it rides fine)

I’m in the “wheel is a wheel” category.

If, after you’ve tried your darndest to fix it without spending any more money, the wheel wobbles horribly, the seat makes your junk hurt or the pedals fail to turn or support your feet, then yes, toss it and get another. Otherwise, learn on it and by the time you can ride you’ll know more specifically what you want to upgrade to and you’ll appreciate it more!

That said, give it a fair shot 4-6 weeks or so practising every other day

every other day? that would take forever. i recommend at least 20 minutes every day, and an hour or two on the weekends.

I practiced for a couple hours each day…