Cheap Muni vs. Expensive Muni

Hello, I have been looking into getting a Muni lately. I currently own the Avenir 20" muni. It’s great and all, but I would really like two or three more things. First, I want a bigger wheel. I’m thinking a 26" since I rode on a 24 inch muni that a friend let me borrow and I felt a little higher gear would be perfect. Also, I think I need a disc brake. My legs get tired going downhill on my 20" so I feel I should get a good brake on my new muni. I have also decided I want KH sprite cranks for the multi pedal holds. I have also had crank problems in the past. Other than those reasons, it’s just small things that I would want upgraded from my current 20".

Looking at the municycles on, I have noticed that there are four main munis to choose from:

-Nimbus Oracle
-Kris Holm
-Nimbus Oregon

I have already decided not to get the Nimbus Oregon because I don’t care too much for it’s fat tire and price. I will also be getting the Nimbus with a disk brake using KH sprite cranks if I decide to get that.

Now, back to the question. I want to know what the difference between the Nimbus, Nimbus Oracle, and the Kris Holm.

Here are some of my main questions:

Does weight really matter? Is the difference really that big between the 17 pound nimbus and the 12 pound Kris Holm?

Will durability really matter? I’m really not going to go that extreme, I probably won’t do drops bigger than 6-8 feet.

Other than that, I really can’t think of any more big questions.
I would prefer people that have ridden a variety of municycles to answer.
Thanks for the help.

Part of the difference may be a steel vs. aluminum frame, but it looks like that’s only around 160 grams savings.

I wonder about the accuracy of that 17 lbs figure, and where exactly it is coming from, as the 26" road configuration is 13 lbs and the 29" muni configuration only 14 lbs. Is it that 3" tire on the 26er?

Edit - seems like a lot of it is the tire - 1580 grams vs < 800. Add in the bigger tube too and that’s close to a 2 pound difference. But the KH seems to be using the same 3" tire, so everything else must be a lot lighter to end up with an all up weight comparable to the road tire nimbus configurations.

You could duct tape a pair of full water bottles to your frame and try some hopping…

6 to 8 foot drops qualifies as “extreme.”

It says the weight on I also question its accuracy, but I’m almost sure it’s within 1-2 pounds. Yes, it is a 3 inch tire on all three unicycles I’m considering. However, the Duro wildlife weighs a lot more than the Surly Knard on the KH…

They list the 3" Duro on the 26" KH without brake (the one that doesn’t say 2015) and also give a 12 lbs weight for that one.

Here is my completely unqualified opinion. It seems that there are really only two things separate a muni from a non-muni:


  • [B]Confidence that nothing is going to break.[/B] To me this means a double-walled alloy rim with eyelets and a one-piece ISIS hub in steel (cue somebody pointing out that you don't [I]need[/I] ISIS for muni).
  • [B]Wheel width.[/B] Most "standard" munis these days tend to have a rim at least 42mm wide and a frame to clear a tyre of at least 3". [/LIST]

    Other than that they’re not much different from a standard uni, whatever that is. I happen to have a 26" “freestyle” uni (not sure if many people actually do freestyle on a 26") which fulfills my strength criteria above but only has a 32mm rim and room for maybe a 2.3" tyre in the frame. I intend to change the tyre and use it for muni when I can drag myself away from my 36er…

    IMHO brakes and weight are secondary. It’s pretty easy to add an outboard disc to nearly any uni these days. Weight is all about what you’re used to.

    I think a lot of the time it is the tyre. Look back through the forum history to where 26" muni was the Hip New Thing. Lots of people were raving about the lighter weight vs the 24" munis because the 26ers tended to run narrower and lighter tyres.

  • If you want the brake at all, you have to go to the oracle or KH. You can run a magura on the normal nimbus, but a magura is rather expensive in itself unless you find a good price on one used. Personally I never run a brake, but I don’t do crazy long downhill stuff, just rolling hills.

    I think the best bang for your buck is the normal, steel framed Nimbus. You can drop a ton of weight off of it by switching from the Duro tire, but having said that, the Duro can take anything you throw at it. My 24" Nimbus is pretty heavy, but that’s what I ride when the going gets really rough… rock garden rough. Anything else I do on my Nimbus (still steel) 29er.

    Either way I say stay away from the venture 2 cranks for Muni and go ahead and upgrade to the spirits and a KH saddle. You can still come out way under 500 for the nimbus, or go with the KH if you want a brake and a nicer frame/rim.

    All of them are going to do the job for you, and all of them will do it quite well.

    Here are some other thoughts:
    -Nimbus oracle has inside mounted brake, this is good because it doesn’t hit your calf. (nimbus gel saddle, venture cranks)
    -KH has an outside mounted brake, this is good because you don’t have a dished wheel (it’s a stronger build) (zero saddle is more prone to needing a handlebar, I prefer a freeride or street for muni, but that’s just me, spirit cranks are awesome and you can get them in dual hole which is always a plus)
    -The Steel nimbus has a downright indestructable frame. I bash mine around a LOT and it loves it. You don’t have to baby this wheel. Hydro rim brake only.
    -The oregon is easy mode muni, it will roll over a ton of stuff. I love it for singletrack with technical sections mixed in, it’s a 29" effective size. (I say I love it, but I actually ride a conundrum, but it’s the same idea)

    all of them have about the same durability wheel and hub wise, except maybe the oregon, which has a single-walled fatty rim.

    I’m generalizing a lot here, but just some ideas to bounce off of. Hard to make a bad choice.

    Oh, and Goudurix has the Qu-Ax Munis you can look at as well.

    You can always add an outboard disc to the standard Nimbus. The cost is even somewhat offset for you if you…

    …since a large chunk of the cost associated with this option is in the cranks. Just add dBrake! (Disclaimer: I haven’t actually tried this.)

    I know this has been done to death, but does it really hit your calf? If this was a problem wouldn’t we have noticed it on bikes by now, where the chainwheels are in the same position as a crank-mounted disc? I’m not saying that the inboard system doesn’t have merits, I’m just not sure this is one of them.

    True, you can add a d-brake, but I have heard people having issues with them jittering. I think the frame mount is probably preferable. I’m sure it would work though.

    Alas I was trying to spin it as a good thing. Personally I think the inside mount is silly, however, there is a rider where I am that had an outboard and did indeed have the problem where he cut his calf. I haven’t ridden one, but I can’t imagine I’d have a problem with it, even with my thundercalves. I think the need for a dished wheel is reason enough to avoid the inside-mounted disc, but it clearly works well enough because there are a lot of oracles out there. As for bikes having the same issue, Bicycle cranks generally have a larger Q-factor than a unicycle, because the bottom bracket doesn’t have to be as wide as a unicycle hub and bearings. If you look at the moment cranks, they never had a disc mount on them, and the Q factor is smaller. My guess is that that was bumped up for the spirit cranks to avoid your leg hitting the brake. Could be just an illusion, but they definitely seem like they have more Q-factor (the spirits that is).

    I’ve avoided this whole thing by just not running a brake. : ) I plan to mount a magura to my 29er eventually, but just the rim brake.

    Fair enough. I understand the whole bikes-are-different-from-unis thing, and the fact that the outboard disc is theoretically more vulnerable, but I just don’t see it being a problem in practice. I also like symmetrical wheels, so if I ever get around to putting a disc brake on one of my unicycles it will be bolted to a set of Spirits. But I’m so boring that I’ve never even used a disc brake on a bike, let alone a uni, so I don’t know what I’m missing and I haven’t bothered yet :sunglasses: .

    It’s true that the dBrake seems to have a vibration problem with certain setups if you get unlucky. But it sounds like it’s solvable with a bit of tweaking. And all the Nimbus disc unis come with a dBrake these days, right?

    So the Magura Rim Brake… How well does it perform compared to the disc brake?

    I’m worried about the mud and leaf mix getting caked onto my tire and rim during the winter when the trails are muddy. Otherwise, I’d probably get the KH 26" with the Magura Rim Brake.

    Getting KH cranks and a disc brake on the nimbus is what I’v been leaning towards.

    Again, I would really like a brake. I feel it would save soooo much energy on the downhills. I think I could live with a rim brake though.

    Its good to purchase one with a brake, although you probably dont need it at the beginning. In fact, I believe you should practice without brakes first. It will immensely improve your balance and abilities to independently handle the really steep stuffs on your own, confidently. Brakes are great when you get better to attack the really steep and long stuffs (like juggleaddict said) .

    Without proper training of using back pedal pressure for control as a beginner and relying too heavily on brakes, when at a beginner level can lead to asking for trouble if one underestimates the steepness. Lose control of the brakes at steep and you’ll go lunging arms and face first. That’s why it’s crucial to learn proper back pedal balance and control.

    With that being said, I really love my brakes. When going really steep up, exhausted, i must come down really steep. For that few hours on the trails, brakes are such a savior on the legs and knees.

    I have both Maggies and disk brakes.
    Disk brakes tend to work better in wet, feathers better, less sticky spots. Its Really all about the feathering.
    You get used to Maggies, and manage to deal with it’s characteristics, works good but I prefer disk brakes. They’re both good.

    I know I am eventually going to get a brake. But first, I have to get a good muni.

    I will probably do this to test the weight:

    I am really liking the idea of getting the nimbus muni with KH sprite cranks and a disk brake. I fills all the things that I want the most, and it’s the cheapest.

    If I notice that weight (5 pounds) really makes that much of a difference I might consider the KH or Oracle.

    If I do get the nimbus with KH cranks and a disc brake, I can always get the brake later also.

    Thanks for the help everyone :slight_smile:

    Big differences are price, frame material, and looks, not necessarily in that order. All will be very strong.

    You don’t want to be a weight weenie (someone obsessed with lightweight equipment), especially with Muni or Trials. But that said, lighter is nicer. It matters most if it’s rotating weight, which mostly translates to tires. Pedals & cranks not so much, and most rims are pretty light. My Muni has a light frame and a heavy wheel, but it’s semi-indestructible, so I’m happy with it as it is.

    All will be durable. But drops of 6’+ fall under the “extreme” category in my book. :slight_smile:

    You don’t need ISIS for muni. :stuck_out_tongue: But if you’re going to do serious muni, you really should have a splined axle, which these days mostly means ISIS. Yes you can have lots of muni fun with a square taper axle, but it’s going to break eventually. The only reason my older munis with square taper axles are still in one piece is that they were replaced by a Profile hub.
    (Actually my 29" has been rocking the same Suzue hub since it was new, about 10 years ago. But I don’t hop much, and use the 29" mostly for XC-type trails and not for really technical stuff…)

    True, begging the question of the whatever. In this sense, I would define that as a unicycle that’s not focused on offroad, Trials, Track or other specialized riding. Like your 26" “freestyle” uni (never heard of such a thing). A purpose-built Freestyle uni generally wants a very stiff frame and wheel, tight clearance around the fork crown to keep your feet from being too high above the wheel, and good foot support there as well.

    Weight is very important for some people but not a concern to most. A brake is something many riders don’t need based on their terrain, but if your hills are steep and/or your knees are getting older, it can be important. I’m 53. None of my munis have brakes, but my next one will.

    The tyre/tire is a big thing as it’s your primary rotating weight, and also controls your traction, ride quality and “air suspension”. Tires can make a big difference. A major advantage of 26" over 24" is the huge amount of tire choices.

    Note that simply adding frame weight will not be a really accurate test, as none of the additional weight will be in the wheel. If you can attach weights firmly inside your spokes, you’ll get a better idea.

    This one:

    That model might be known by other names elsewhere. It’s tough but skinny.

    Interesting! The same unicycle has the same name, and the same description on UDC USA. The difference is that you can’t find it under Freestyle, since that category is limited to 20" wheels there. You have to look under “Road” to find this uni, which is neither Freestyle nor Road in the configuration shown. Though you can order it with 125mm cranks, that’s still kind of long for Road. I don’t know what crank size would get good for Freestyle with a 26" wheel, though I did used to do Freestyle on a 24". We used to do everything on a 24". I was part of the wave of riders that made 20" the de-facto size for Freestyle.

    Sem and Teresa (Abrahams) do their show on 24", and that wheel size lends itself to bigger, swoopy moves. I’ve also seen professional performers using 26" wheels, but not for really technical riding.

    That’s my ride, with the 125’s! I do like it, though would probably opt for a 29er for cycle paths, if I could have a do-over. Perhaps I should get still shorter cranks?

    But if folks are going to call it a freestyle, I guess I no longer have any excuse for not being able to idle it.

    (except perhaps inexperience?)


    If I had the discipline to save up, I’d deffinitely get a Muni w/ an aluminum frame even though its not rotating mass. (for me I can use any bit of help I can get)

    Also consider the Qu-Ax Series (inbound disk). The 26" isn’t on their site anymore, just the 24 & 27.5, but the 27.5 does come w/ 125/145 dual hole cranks.

    I’ve tried unis w/ different width tires and rims. If I had to choose I’d definately pick a wider rim (Nimbus 42mm, Qu-Ax 40mm, KH 47mm). I think a Large Marge rim (65mm) may be going overboard for a tire 3" or less. A rim w/ a wider rim gives a more damp feeling to the tire (good for rolling over bumps). Narrower is a more springy feel (good for hopping higher).

    The Oregon gets it’s weight from the wider rim, steel frame. I think the tire is actually a bit lighter than a Duro

    Maguras can rub if the wheel comes out of true, and from wheel flex on steep uphills. I’ve never heard of either happening w/ disks.

    I’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt from hitting an outbound disk. Some have bent it on rocks in UPDs but I’ve heard its easy to bend back. If you are thinking of getting a geared hub in the future, its only compatible w/ a outbound disk, a KH is best (I’ve heard of people getting the geared hub to work w/ other frames). Personally I’d get a Muni w/ an inbound disk.

    The KH weight is w/o breaks, the Oracle, Oregon, & Qu-Ax Series is w/ break. But 12 lbs seems suspiciously light to me.

    They still perform? I thought they stopped over a decade ago.

    I think what people are referring to is getting sliced by it if they have weird dismounts, like where your leg gets wedged between the spokes and crank.

    Also I just did successfully straighten my disk, from advice given to me by a guy at the bike shop. He said they just use an adjustable crescent wrench, and patience, to work them back into true. You just have to take your time.

    Oh I hope not. I haven’t actually seen them in several years, but they are my contemporaries, being one and two years younger than me respectively. I know they’re not too old, I just know it!