Choosing a 20" for skill practice

That bit of information changes my advice. On gravel, I’d choose 19" too. When I think of skill practice, I automatically think flat bit of concrete/tarmac or gym. If you don’t really have that, and will be on gravel for a decent amount of the time, the wide tire will be more of an advantage there, than it will be a disadvantage on concrete/tarmac. (If that makes sense).

Yeah, makes sense and I’ve been thinking the same. While there are nearby hard surfaces to practice on, realistically if I have the time and inclination to do that then I would actually just take my 36er for a spin instead.

I think I’m going to go for the Athmos. I’m still not a fan of the bearing holders, but it’s a small detail when everything else about it suits my needs. And it’s significantly cheaper than other options.

Still got my “learning” uni

Somebody mentioned wanting to try a shorter crank.
I still have my unicycle from learning my 20" torker(super heavy and skinny wheels) and I have 125 cranks for it(cheap cotterless…you know…square shafted cranks).
My main ride is my 24" nimbus mountain with fat tires and 150.

Alternating between both of them took a little getting used to.
Riding the 24 w/150 crank requires more slower/confident patient footwork + more upper body “throw”.
Riding the 20 w/125 crank requires quicker footwork + more rapid but shorter upper body response.

It’s definitely easier going from big to smaller wheel, than small to big.
However, I also matched the cranks with the 20" at one point.
That also changed things up, and you really feel your knees/legs going around/working and overall the unicycle responds slower.

Anyways, my 20" torker is not a “trials” which is much lighter plus fat bouncy tires. I am still not ready to splurge for it, yet.

I’m no expert, but as I read this thread I was thinking either the 20" Nimbus II or the 19" Impact Athmos would be worthy of your serious consideration. But after I read that your driveway is gravel, I’d say go for the Athmos. The 19 x 2.5 trials tire has almost the identical diameter to a standard 20" wheel, but the added tire width and tire tread will work far better for your purpose at your location. It will also be a great unicycle for your kids to learn with when the time comes. I think the Athmos comes with 140mm cranks which is great for trials, but you might be better off swapping them for something in the 114mm to 125mm range for your skills practice. The 140mm might be okay for your kids to learn with though. I also recommend setting the saddle height slightly low for your skills practice. It makes freemounts easier and UPD’s easier to manage! Just my thoughts. Good luck!

Well, my local UDC currently has the Athmos on sale. Decision made and ordered :sunglasses: .

Nice! I say, try to be careful and wear protective gear too. Things happen faster on small wheels. I picked up some wrist braces made by Ace at my local pharmacy store after I landed hard on my hands when my feet got tangled up while practicing freemounts :astonished:

Oh, never fear, I have plenty of experience falling flat on my face :smiley:

How is the Athmos ? Have you learned any cool tricks without breaking anything ?

That got me wondering what most “actual” professional unicyclists are using these days. Actual professional means getting paid, while not necessarily doing unicycling for a living, which is extremely rare. People posting videos might be super-experts, but not necessarily pros, even if they are sponsored by cycling companies.

Back in the day, most people who performed on non-giraffe or “odd” unicycles used the more common (for the time) skinny wheels at 1.75" or so. These work well on hard surfaces like floors, stages, etc. But more and more performers are probably also using wider, drop-absorbing Trials-type tires, which requires wider frames. Most professional performers aren’t bothered by a heavy unicycle; it’s more important to have something that won’t break. Not missing shows is a lot more important than winning a competition, which is where one is normally very concerned about weight.

Anyway, in Lightbulbjim’s case, he definitely made a good decision going with a wider tire, for his riding environment. Freestyle-type unicycles are best on a gym floor, or otherwise smooth, consistent surface. They’re much harsher on bumps & things. Though they are lighter, they can be less forgiving to learn on, depending on the type of tricks you are practicing.

That is also a common feature of serious Freestyle unicycles; very short cranks. It depends on the type of tricks that are most important to you. The short cranks allow for much smoother motion while pedaling fast, because your feet are making smaller circles. Top Japanese riders (and others) commonly use 89mm cranks. I would recommend starting with 110 or more though, and working your way down. I learned most of my tricks on 125s, and it even took me a while to get used to 114s!

This is true. Extreme example: In 1982 I got my first Big Wheel, at 45" with 165mm cranks (6.5"). Then, in 1984 I got a Unicycle Factory custom-made 12" mini-uni. That is, with the seat really, really low. The idea is for it to look ridiculous when you ride it. I got more banged and scraped up with that 12" than with the 45", because falls happened instantly. BAM! You’re down. Not as hard, but little time to react!

I get nervous around small wheels because of how fast everything happens. My 36er doesn’t intimidate me at all. Go figure.

The Athmos arrived yesterday but I haven’t had a chance to unbox it yet.

Just finished putting the Athmos together. First impressions are much as expected. Wheel and cranks are nice. Frame is ok. Bearing holders are not that great. Saddle looks nice but comfort is TBD. Pedals are cheap and not that nice, but I guess they’re considered consumables in the trials world.

As for riding - well, for the past few years all I’ve had are a 36" and a 26". And the 26" has probably had at most 5% of my riding time.

In other words, it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a small wheel. It’s going to take some practice before I can freemount it. Also the cranks feel ridiculously long (138mm) for this wheel.

Riders doing street type tricks usually go for 125mm or even 110/100mm on their trial based unis, as John pointed out earlier.

On a 20" or 19" trials size wheel, I feel most comfortable riding 125mm cranks and I’m usually on pavement. I’m 6 feet tall with about a 34 1/2" inseam.

114mm = smooth pedaling, but feels almost a little too short for me
125mm = most comfortable overall and pretty versatile
140mm = best torque for obstacles, but feels a little overly long and requires more attention to keep from wobbling

Yeah, I think some 125mm cranks might be in order at some point. I have a spare set somewhere. They’re not really up to much abuse (they’re the old Quax silvers) but they’ll get me started.

I’ll stick with the 138mm for now since they’re on there. My reference point is 125mm on my 36er, so anything on the 20" is going to feel very light anyway.

Instead of adapting your setup to accommodate your customary riding style (i.e. shortening your cranks), I suggest you keep the 138mm cranks on for a while and try to adapt your riding style to the trials setup. If this is completely new to you, if you’re struggling, that is a good thing. The twitch-iness of the setup will quicken your reflexes. Practice riding up impossibly steep hills with the 138mm cranks. Practice riding up a curb without unweighting (warning: even at high tire pressure you can hit bottom). Practice one footed still stands. Some new mounts may get easier with the longer cranks. Try to make the longer cranks the “right” cranks for the things you’re practicing. Otherwise you will be, to some extent, trying to emulate the larger wheel technique on the smaller wheel. Just my two cents…

I think you’re right. I’ve left the 138mm cranks on and they don’t bother me any more.

Today I landed a wrong-footed freemount. Took me a few days. Baby steps…

I recently got a Athmos as well and swapped to 125s that I had. The seat is not very good compared to my Nimbus Unis. I haven’t put too much time on it yet but the 125s feel good and make it easier to do tight circle without fear of pedalstrike or making huge circles with my legs as i try to pedal quickly.

For reference I currently have
125 on the Athmos (may go back to 138 once I get the strength for bigger hopping tricks)
125 on my Freestyle 20"
138 on my Road 29" with Brake
150 on my 24" Nimbus Oracle MUNI with Brake

The seats on those unis aren’t designed to be comfortable to sit on, but to be comfortable to grip in seat out for tricks.

If you want to help @elpuebloUNIdo out, maybe you can comment here to offer another perspective on the difference between 19" and 20" for riding.

Apologies if my contribution makes you ask for more, however, I did continue with info pertaining to the crank size discussion which was already in this thread. Thanks!

Edit: Is this even the same thread as what you reference 19" vs. 20" ???

I must have worded that in a confusing way. It’s not that I found your contribution lacking, on the contrary I think it’s a good addition to the discussion of crank lengths here.

But I randomly remembered that in that thread I linked (it’s indeed a different thread to this one), a question was asked that you would now be in a great position to answer, since you now have experience on very similar setups with the only difference being a 19" tire vs. a 20" wheel. So all I wanted is for you to see that question, so that if you thought you have anything to add to that, you could.

Sorry for the confusion!