Choosing between a 29 or 36 uni

Hey everyone I have just landed a good job and for that I want to upgrade from my 20" unicycle I have been ridding for 9 years. I want to get ether a 29 or 36 inch uni. I was looking at the kris holm 29" uni and the kris holm 36 or the night fox I started muni cycling 3 years ago but now I have moved to va beach which has minimum muni trails. I will probably take it to the mountains in va. I am 23 120 pounds and I’m 5"6. Would love your input. Would also love to know what crank size I would need.
Thank you


From what I hear, it’s difficult to transition from a 20" to a 36". Having said that, I’ve never been on a 36". I went from a 20" to a 26" to a 29", but I imagine that had I gone from a 20" to a 29" it would have been a similar experience. However, I bet it would be a lot more fun to ride a 36" on bike paths that border the beaches and ocean. :slight_smile: You and I are the same height and weight, so if it were me and I wanted to ride a 36", I’d definitely pick the Night Fox.

I had moved from 20" straight to 36" and it was not easy, but it didn’t take much practice either to get the hang of it - only a few hours. It was more of psychological barrier rather than technical.
Of course, learning and perfecting the freemount of the 36er took longer than few weeks - but IMHO that’s very much subjective.

@Uniscuba, my recommendation for you is to try first a 29er and a 36er on the trails you aim to ride at, to see what fits better for your needs - before you decide which one to purchase.

Good luck!

Either wheel size is going to feel like a huge step up in speed if you’ve never tried anything but a 20". If you’re going to try riding off road it is definitely not ideal to start with a 36". It can be done but it’s not likely to be easy. For either wheel size riding off road you will probably want about 150mm cranks. (The longer the cranks the more force you can put on the wheel but the slower you go.)

If you are riding on the beach you are going to need something with a fatter tire which is not something that a 36" can offer. So I would say go for the 29" unless you are feeling especially precocious.

2 weeks ago i bought a 36er. True, about 6 years ago i rode a 24" but since then ive only ridden 20s. Riding is no problem at all, start from a pole a few times and get the feel of it. I learnt the rolling mount within an hour and although i still get it only 50% of the time, its enough that i can go for a ride and not worry about finding a pole. I still have the 150mm cranks though i’ll shorten them soon.

IMO, theres nothing like riding a 36, its just a fantastic feeling. And after riding 20s you go so FAST!!! My friend has a 29 Guni and is now thinking of getting a 36 after he saw mine…but i do keep laughing at him because mine’s bigger :wink:

It is a lot more intimidating and it hurts when you come off (trust me on that) - knee pads, wrist guards and possibly elbow pads are a great idea. Ive just grown the skin on my elbow back after a fall 2 weeks ago when i got it. Im a little taller than you, you may have to look at getting the seat post cut down.

If I were you, id go either a 36er for zipping round town and along beach fronts or a nimbus oregon for muni and heading down onto the sand if you like. If you are looking for distance, get the 29 or more technical stuff, get the 26. The big fat tyre makes sand doable and i rode one 2 weeks ago as well, it was a beast…probably going to buy one sometime :slight_smile:

Hopefully some of this helps and have fun with your new uni!

You’ve been riding for 9 years, so I think we can assume you are very comfortable on the wheel. Based on that I think moving to a larger wheel is not going to be too difficult, but it will be awkward and heavy compared to the 20. It sounds like you are more interested in a road cruiser than a MUni at this point, but you “may” take it to the trails occasionally.

Based on the desire to use it on trail and bike path I would say a 29er would fit the bill. It may be a bit on the large side for tech MUni, but it is great for clean XC trails. In my experience dual hole cranks in the 120/140 variety (or something similar) is good for the mixed use you are describing. I wouldn’t suggest anything longer than 150 You can spin the 120’s faster without feeling like an out of control egg beater, so it’s nice on the road.

Nothing compares to the ride of a 36. Nothing.

There are only two kinds of unicycles: 36ers and all the rest.

Haha, had a similar thing but i’ve still got the scar on my elbow, and it is from June!

Not that that’s to put anyone off - just remember to tuck your laces in, as I was stuck in the middle of the road walking around my unicycle to untie myself. An amusing story to that story is that whilst my laces were busy tying themselves to my cranks, I received a text from the guy that sold me the unicycle telling me that the worst incident he had ever had was to do with his laces getting caught in the cranks, and that I needed to remember to tuck them in. It is rather funny to look back on that :slight_smile:

I love my 36, great fun to ride and you get a lot of cool comments. I went from a 20 incher to a 24 to a 36 from November to June, so that’s what, 7 months? And it took about 10 minutes to get used to, and because of the weight of the Nightrider and the 5’4"ness of me it took me a while to be able to confidently turn within the width of the roads around here (which are around the width of a European car).

If I were you I’d go for a 36", because even if you’re a cheapskate like me you’ll eventually want a 36 just to feel the speed you can get from them. If you’re interested in Muni on it there’s mention of a new lighter tyre that would be good for Muni on a 36er, check it out it’s in general discussion and I can’t remember the exact specs of it. With enough practice you’ll be able to do what you can do on a 29 and you’ll be able to go that bit faster as well. :slight_smile:

I have a feeling that that is true… Sask made the same point last year(I think).

I’ve put off buying a 36 because I don’t ride that much to make it worthwhile, but if you only ride and expect to ride road mostly, then I think you should look at the 36. (I run about 3 times as much as I ride. Last week YeongDong Ultra 101km 12 hours 56mins:)

A 29 on the road will always have you thinking " Should I get a 36…"

My 2 cents worth


Hello Uniscuba, just remember if you want to ride a 36er up steep hills you may need longer cranks. At 5’6" you might have difficulty reaching the pedals if you’re riding a 36er with 165mm cranks.

The “Nightfox” 36er with 138mm cranks caters for a minimum inside leg measurement of 27.5" while wearing your riding shoes. So if you were to ride the nightfox using 165mm cranks then I reckon that you would need an inside leg measurement of approximately 28.5" whilst wearing your riding shoes.

I personally use 150mm crank setting when riding trails on my 36er

Hope this helps.


Thank you everyone for your comments I think I’m going to go the 36 route and keep my 20 for harder trail riding the trails here are not that technical and not that hilly. I would love to take a 36 inch on the boardwalk here and love going fast. I don’t think it will be hard to learn as I’ve been riding for 9 years but who knows it will be fun learning again.

WaltWorks “The Todd” tire is not bad on the asphalt at all especially after you put a couple thousand miles on them. Knobby tires have a nice hum to them on pavement. I have two. A well worn one on my Schlumpf and a new one on the kid’s NightFox (my Coker MUni).

Crank arm suggestion 150mm/125mm dual hole. Learn on the 150s then swap to 125mm for flat paths along the beach. Smaller circles reduce saddle pain.

This is not a bad idea. Riding in the sand near the water would rule. Fat tires are taller so a fat 26er dwarfs my KH29 wide 47mm rim Hans Dampf. That, by the way, is by far my most often ridden unicycle due to kids cross country. It’s my “grocery getter”.

Good luck and have fun with your choice! :slight_smile:

That’s the key sentence right there. If you want to go fast on a unicycle, the 36" is the way to go. (Although a Schlumpf-hub 29r is no slowpoke! Overdrive makes it a virtual 43.5" wheel.) The Nightfox is made for someone your size. As mentioned, dual-hole cranks would be helpful. (If you go with a KH36, you could put a Schlumpf hub on it later, and really fly!)

Good luck, and post pictures! (Yes, even pics of riding the 20". We like photos and videos here!)

switching my mind to a kris holm 29

Hey everyone so i found a great trail just 5 minutes from my house and plane on riding there a lot so i think i’m going to change my mind to a 29 inch Kris Holm any of you think that it is a fast unicycle i want something a lot faster than my 20 sun unicycle. I know you guys have said anything will be faster than my 20 but how much faster i seem to be able to get around 12 to 15 max on my 20 at least that’s what my computer tells me. Thanks for the help.

Just to throw a wrench in your works, if you are really up in the air, you can do both the 29er and 36er for a reasonable price. Get the 36er as a complete kit, and then just by a 29er wheel. Want to ride fast on the boardwalk? Pop the 36er wheel in. Want to muni on the paths nearby? Switch in the 29er wheel. It’s a 2-3 minute changeover time once you practice a bit.

I suggest this because I kinda had the same debate. I now have a KH 36 and keep a 29er wheel I bought second hand for a very reasonable price. Best of both worlds!

Presumably that’s kilometers per hour, not miles per hour, but either way, for a 20" wheel, that is SMOKING! How long do you maintain that speed?
I would dare say that if you keep that same cadence on a larger wheel (29 or 36) you will have no problem keeping up with bicycles you may encounter.

12-15 times 29/20 becomes 17.4-21.75. So if you can pedal the same speeds you will get 17.4-21.75. Or if you prefer to look at it differently 29/20 is 145% so you will go about half again as fast for the same pedaling speed.

Btw that’s crazy fast for a 20 inch!

12mph is my average cruising speed on a 36 with 140mm cranks. 10-12mph is where I am on my 29 with 102mm cranks. As the cranks get longer it becomes more difficult to maintain high pedal cadence. Also, some of the math may make it seem like you could just pedal a small wheel faster, but when you ride them you will feel the extra stability of the larger wheels. That stability makes it much easier to spin higher rpms.

Fwiw, a 29 with a couple of different tires, and crank lengths is about the most versatile size (opinion :sunglasses: ). I think you’ll enjoy the extra speed, and the “swooping” feeling when you carve turns off-road.

Maybe kilometres per hour. .?

29er is a great next step before you transition to a 36er.
If you get a 36er now, then you might not step down to a 29er down the line and then you might miss out all the fun that a 29er has to offer ( or possibly a 26er, LOVE my 26er, would never trade it).

Here’s my 36er so far… Love the Maggie from Brycer1968, not yet crazy about the KH handlebar, needs more saddle time perhaps. In the meanwhile I’m getting the under the saddle brake mount for dirt trails , from Bryce. :slight_smile:
Love the ride on this beastly thing!20141024_115140_opt.jpg