Changing a tyre makes riding more difficult

A bit of background first… I have a no-name 24 inch Uni which I bought rather cheaply that I have been using to learn with over the last month and a half. I have been making some steady progress with my longest run without an UPD was about 2.5km (1.6miles). I eventually had to step off cos certain parts were starting to get rather numb (hard seat).

Yesterday I decided to upgrade the tyre (which was a slick) to a mountain bike knobly tyre to give me a little more comfort when riding. After changing the tyre and attempting to ride I couldn’t get anywhere, not even 10m. Pumped the tyre up some more, well as much as my tiny bicycle pump would allow me to, and although I managed a bit better (longest ride 100m) I am still struggling.

It feels like I have less control over the Uni in terms of direction etc. So as soon as I start heading in 1 direction it’s very hard to correct. Although I do seem to have much more control as a very slow speed (probably because there is more tyre in contact with the road), so free mounting is easier and coming to a dead stop is also easier. Another weird thing is that before I always felt as if I was facing slightly to the left, and had to constantly pull my body to the right to correct. However now since the tyre change this has changed to the other side, so now it feels like I am facing a little right and having to pull my body to the left to correct (which is probably also throwing me off a little)

So my question is, is this a normal thing (seems not to be, or I wouldn’t think it would be), and are there any suggestions on how to go about correcting the feeling of facing a certain direction (despite the seat being 100% in line with the wheel, checked that a million times yesterday).

Is there anyway to accurately check whether the frame is bent and if so, how to fix ?

Failing fixing things, I suppose I just need to get out there again today and put more practice in to get used to the new tyre…

Some tyres aren’t nice on unicycles - if your new tyre has a “square” section it will be harder to ride and steering will feel odd. Tyres with a round section are better to ride. That’s probably the first thing to look at if you’ve already tried a few tyre pressures (generally speaking, on smooth ground, a higher pressure is easier to ride - low pressure gives more grip and so makes steering a bit more difficult).


you may want to get a smooth-tread tyre with a rounded profile and use that knobbly tyre for later, when your skill level is higher and you want to hit the trails. If the old tyre slick all the way round? deflate & rotate the tyre a little quarter turn

I once replaced my tyre and found it didn’t ride very well. It wasn’t until I’d sold it and was sitting with it’s new owner and another couple of uni’s that I noticed the tread pattern was reversed compared to the others. As you are sitting on the uni look down and the tread pattern should look
like this / \
not like this \ /

Made a lot of difference to the way it rode

As far as any issues with the uni, I found this thread very helpful.

Also, someone commented to me that the wider knobby tire is harder to control than the smooth tire. It just takes practice. You’ll get it.

Thanks… I did check this and made sure of it when I was putting it back together again.

It’s also possible that I have actually been facing left since I started and the new wider tyre is forcing the Uni to stay straight forcing me to straighten out, making me feel like I’m facing right… Just a theory… But I’m heading out shortly for some more practice, to see if I can get used to the new tyre.

Thanks to everyone that have replied, much appreciated :slight_smile:

Tyre choice is by far the most important thing for a comfortable and enjoyable ride. I nearly threw away a unicycle because it was so unpleasant to ride. I’d tried three tyres on it (not all at the same time, obviously, d’oh!) including a Gazzaloddi and hated it. Then I found the right tyre and now it’s a great uni to ride.

The ideal uni tyre has a rounded cross section, like the back tyre on a motorbike. Some bike tyres have a square cross section (like a car tyre) which means that when you try to turn, you have too lift the tyre up onto its edge, and then it squishes out of shape.

Low tyre pressure can make a uni harder to ride, too.

Finally, some treads tend to “smear” which makes steering difficult. For road and hard surfaces, you want lots of knobble with very little gap. For grip in soft mud, you want lots of gap with a few big knobbles. (I simplify to make the point.)

I had the same problem on my 20" i put a bmx dirt tyre on my uni and it was hard to ride and i felt weighted to oen side and all sorts, but persistance pays off, you had the determination to learn to ride, now have the determination to over come your tyre…its oging to be a promblem you face somehwere down the line im guessing so putting it off wouldnt be helpfull, unless you dont progress with this new tyre… in which case you should change it back … but give ti determination and try lots first maybe you just need to get a feel of it more.

Don’t knock the Gaz, some people swear by it. (I haven’t ridden one enough to notice a lot of difference) The width of your rim makes a difference on the characteristics of a tire. Wider=more traction and inertia=harder to turn/make corrections (other differences as well, most possitive).

You might start off hating a tire and after a while preffer it to others. Your skill level, type of terrain you ride and how hard you ride can effect your oppinion of a tire.

Experiment w/ + or - 5 to 10 psi. If I ride w/ my knobby in dirt w/ the same pressure I use on my road tire (25-30), it’s super slippery, like I was riding my road tire on wet, the smoth metal plates in the sidewalk. When I lowered the pressure to about 20 the traction was fine. Less air gives more tracktion, and absorbs the bumps more, but makes the ride more springy and hence harder to control. I’ve gotten more used to the springyness. Pedaling real smooth helps.

This was a Gazz 2.3", and I’ve heard a lot of bad reports about them since. It was on a moderately narrow rim. I now have a Holy Roller 2.3" on the same rim and it’s marvelous, on road and off.

I put some more time in yesterday and it did feel a little better and I manged to have a little more control. I kept telling myself to persevere and that it would be better for me in the long run. The frustrating thing is… after putting in so much work to start with and when I really started making massive progress I go and shoot myself in the foot by changing the tyre and making it harder again… but then again I probably would have to do it at some stage, and rather now while I’m still learning than taking a massive knock later on.

So I’m going to stick with it for now, have to give it a good go. I’m heading out soon on a 6-7km ride along the beach front, a route I did last week which I really enjoyed. Hoping that I can control the Uni enough to enjoy it today.

Just a little off topic having noticed your nick… there was a dude that went to school with me, his name was Michael Musket and he drove a Morris Minor :slight_smile:

Tire Control

It is a well known fact that Knobby tires are harder to control. Kris Holm himself told me that he likes Duros because they are much more nimble and turnable than the Gazzis. There are many writeups in the forums of people getting their new KHs and having difficulty turning compared to thier old unicycles with less knobby tires. Recently I met a guy who is great at freestyle and I tried out his uni with the almost totally smooth Hookworm tire. I was amazed at the agility. I mean I could turn on the dime and do amazing spins! (Keep in mind that I ride Duro and Maxxis tires. Both extremely knobby.)

You now say that you have to pull your body to the left to correct. I found that most of my 180 degree turns are always to the left. Therefore the left side of my tires wear down quicker. This could also be what caused your lilting. As this happens your body builds up a tolerance for this lilt. When you changed the tire this imbalance probably disapeared and you now have to correct. It will disapear after a few rides. You will also very quickly learn to be more nimble on the new tire. Your body will get much stronger at turning as you ride more.


After spending a couple of hours on the tyre now… I’m still struggling. I have some good times where things go very well and I feel very comfortable, then there are other times when I feel like I have no control what so ever. It’s quite frustrating. I did manage some tight turns and circles this weekend, something which I wasn’t able to do before, so that was encouraging.

From the comments and advice here it seems I need to pay more attention to the type and tread of the tyre. I’m going to do some more research to see if I can get a tyre that is more suited to the Uni. Unfortunately not many cycle shops cater for Unicycles.