Complete Uni Newbie

Hello everyone!

I’m very new here and new to unicycling, so if I make any gaffs, I beg your understanding (feel free to let me know if I’m doing something wrong). Looking through the forum, this seemed like the best place to start.

I’m Razz and I’ve been sort of obsessed with getting a unicycle for the past several years. Unicycles have held a fascination for me since I was a little kid but I didn’t seriously think of them as a good bike alternative until I happened upon a Kernel book article written by a fellow blind person who frequently rode a uni. I’ve been putting it off but now that I’m a freelance artist and self-employed, I realize that I need to do something to keep fit and the only thing I really enjoyed in the past for exercise was biking. Biking stopped being a feasible mode of transport for me when I a) moved to the South (no sidewalks or bike paths) and b) traded in my folding cane for a superior long white cane. I could tandem bike but I’d much rather retain my independence. Plus, unis are cooool. :smiley:

I’ve been reading everything I can find about learning to ride and what sort of uni to purchase as a total newbie, but I’m still a little uncertain (and kind of overwhelmed :D). Money is tight and I can only afford to make this purchase once (well, at least for now; maybe once I learn more and make some money I can invest in another uni), so I want to make it count.

In all my research, it sounds like an all-purpose, 24" wheel uni with 5"-6" crank arms (still not entirely sure what those are) would be best for me. I’d like a versatile uni since I don’t know where I might ride (I live in the South where sidewalks are few and the road quality is variable, but I’ll be moving North in a few months and I travel frequently). I can only afford to spend $250, max, on the uni and safety gear combined (though I’m having trouble finding any wrist protection that doesn’t have fingered gloves; I’ll be riding with a white cane in hand which means that I will need my fingers bare and free, though the palm of my hand can be covered). So far, I found a 24" Schwinn on that might work for me, but the price is a bit steep ($180). I have no idea what sort of arm protection to look into (helmets I understand since it’s the only protection I wore as a biker).

Whew. Sorry for the question overload here. I just want to make sure I know what I’m doing before I jump into this. I’ve only actually seen one uni in person and I have no idea what the specs on it were or even what kind it was (my boss had it and let me borrow it for the weekend :D).

Does anyone have any advice on what might be the best uni for a complete and total n00b and where to get good safety gear/what sort of gear is a must (besides the helmet)?

Thanks for any help, guys. :slight_smile:

Also, I’ll say up front that you are free to ask any questions you may have for me. The terms “blind” and “artist” tend to arouse curiosities. :smiley: There are no dumb questions and I’m not a shy person. :slight_smile:

So you are blind, planning to be a unicyclist? If so, power to you man… that sounds amazing. And what kind of artist?

For arm protection I would say just a standard pair of elbow pads could be good enough for you. You could check out the kris holm armor but inless you plan to do hardcore unicycling it might be more than you need. And I also havent found a good pair of gloves that I liked so good luck for that one.
And one decent starter unicycle for a little cheaper that you might want to check out would be the torker LX
That has all the specs on it. My friend got one for his first uni when we first started and it is still going strong. The only problem we had for it was that the mount for the seat is different than other unicycles so if you wanted to change seats you would have to get a seatpost with it.
I guess thats all I really have for you now. Good luck to you, hope you can find everything you need.

Thanks for the info and link, SpaceFmk! :slight_smile: I’ve seen the Torker mentioned in several different places as a good starter uni.

I’m not the first blind unicyclist on the planet. I got my inspiration from this issue of the Kernel books: The story in specific is “Riding on One Wheel” and even has a picture of John on his uni. :slight_smile:

As for the art thing, I’m a cartoonist, though I can do photorealistic art (I tend not to because it’s very tedious and that’s what cameras are for anyway :D). My avatar is one of my pieces. My latest work is here:


This is fantastic. I applaud your desire to ride a uni. My first question is to what degree is your blindness?

As for choice of uni, I’ll tell you what often happens to people starting out (like myself). I learned the basics of riding on a 20" Torker. For about $100 the quality and value are excellent. The problem is, you will eventually want to ride significant distances and then discover the seat is not comfortable for that. In fact, it’s brutal after about 2 miles. Then you start to desire other sizes of wheels. More money… My point is that you will inevitably desire multiple unicycles. Ideally I would own a 20"KH, 24"KH and 29"KH but that would total close to $2000. That’s not happening for me any time soon. To satisfy my desires in the short term, I’ve purchased used learner unicycles. I spent $50 on a used 24" Torker and $70 on a used 28" Sun. My original Torker 20" I purchased new for about $100 as stated above.

With this in mind, I suggest thinking long term. As you learn more, you discover all the various disciplines within the world of unicycling. You may gravitate towards one in particular or you may go for all of them. The mistake would be to spend your summer’s budget on one uni thinking it would be the end-all-be-all of unicycles.

Good Luck!

Hi Super G! Thanks for the advice, encouragement, and uni testimony. :slight_smile:

My degree of blindness is pretty bad. The simple explanation is that I’ve got 10% of the vision you do (at best), all of it located in one eye (my left). The technical details (in brief) are: 20/500 in the left eye, 20/1000 (aka, nothing :D) in the right eye, caused by retinal detachment. I draw and do a lot of other unexpected stuff, but I don’t leave the house without my white cane (and I used to have a service dog :)).

So far, I haven’t had any luck finding a used 24" Torker that’s much cheaper than a new one. I figured I would be getting a different uni years from now once I’ve learned a few things, so I’m aiming for something that’s a decent all-purpose, beginner/intermediate uni to start with. :slight_smile: Everyone seems to love the Torker. :smiley:

I’ve just found what appears to be the video holy grail of beginners’ unicycle information and I figured I’d post the link in case there’s anyone else out there like me.

And I’ve found a 24" Torker on Amazon for about $80. Just a little more research and I should be ready to finally get my first uni (thanks to you guys :)).


Here’s the deal with Torker. For starting out, you can’t go wrong because they make a quality learner unicycle for a reasonable price. I would say one would last many years if you simply ride. By that I mean no hopping, no riding off of things etc… Those activities will shorten the lifespan of a Torker CX. Even if you only ride though, you will desire a better seat if your ride long distances. I know I am salivating to upgrade ALL my uni’s.

Here’s one thought regarding your vision. Smaller wheels don’t do as well as bigger wheels when it comes to rocks, sticks and road imperfections which you will probably have trouble seeing. A 24" definately handles these better than a 20". A 29" wheel would take these adversities better, but would be tough to get the hang of at first. Therefore I agree that a 24" would be the right size for you. Keep in mind Torker makes a CX and LX model for 24". The $80 uni you found would most likely be the CX.

It is so wonderful to see the miraculous accomplishments of a person that didn’t let his hindrances hold him back! However, I do have some questions for you. :wink: If you are blind, how is it possible that you are able to type computer text let alone read it? Also, I commend you on your artwork. It far exceeds my artistic ability, but how are you able to draw them? It was good to hear that there are no dumb questions; I am so curios and fascinated by this topic…

P.S.-Unis are indeed cool!

I would also like to add that while looking at your deviantART account I noticed that on some of your Artist’s Comments you left they seemed to imply that you could see. I am quite confused. lol

Super G: Thanks for further info and ecouragement! :slight_smile: Is there any major differences between the Torker CX and LX that I should be aware of?

For the foreseeable future, I don’t think I’ll need to worry overly much about hopping or riding off anything save the occasional curb. I’m not much of a daredevil…yet. :smiley: Maybe once I learn more about unis and start refining my tastes I’ll actually get into trick riding or MUni, though, but by then I will certainly get the right uni for those jobs. I’ve read about the seat issues with Torker’s and I’ll keep that in mind, too. Do you happen to know if it’s possible to change out the seat on a Torker if it becomes necessary?

Once I’m done learning, I may get a bigger wheel. When I biked, I was pretty good about not running over things (the stuff I did hit was usually the sort of thing what would damage the bike regardless, but that only happened once :D). A white cane does a pretty good job of revealing most of the large obstacles in one’s path. I’ve been inline skating with a cane and I figure the incidence of injury isn’t any different between the two. Either way, I’m used to impacting things. :smiley:

Nomadic: Hee, I’m actually a chick, but don’t worry; a lot of people mix up my gender on-line (“Razz” is kind of a gender-neutral name). :slight_smile:

As far as my blindness goes, I don’t really see it as a hindrance, just a minor inconvenience sometimes. But I have been living with it my entire life and we human beings are very adaptable creatures. :slight_smile:

One of the biggest misunderstandings a lot of people have about blindness is that it means a total lack of vision. In reality, most blind people have varying degrees of vision loss, the same way many people have degrees of hearing loss. It is very rare to meet someone who has no vision at all. Most of us have a small percentage of vision. In my case, I have, at best, 10% of the vision you do and all of it is located in my left eye. I have a very comprehensive Q&A that talks about my specific kind of blindness and how I do what I do right here:

The really short answer, though, is that I use an HD tv for a monitor, have my fonts set to HUGE, and sit so close to the screen that I’m sort of mangling my back/shoulders/arms with my poor computer posture. :smiley: I really should use my screen reading software, but it’s a pain in the butt to use for me since I grew up not knowing about it. Part of my desire for a uni is to give me something to do that will get me out of this bad posture I sit in all the time.

Again, feel free to ask any questions you’ve got, especially if they aren’t answered anywhere else. :slight_smile:

The build quality in the LX is just better than the CX. So even without planning to do much hopping and stuff, the LX is going to hold out better than the cx.

For the seat, the LX seat covers are clamped on, which makes it very easy to take off the cover, modify the foam, or replace the foam with a 12" bike tube to make an air seat, or do a combination of tube, and foam on top.

But even that can only be comfortable for so long.

The LX uni uses a 25.4mm seat post. So replacing the old seat post with a standard 4-bolt pattern post from KH, or Nimbus, will allow you to now use standard seats from KH, Koxx, and Nimbus.

I recommend you to use the original torker seat first and see if it works for you before spending more money on a post and new seat. Posts are on sale right now and range from $12-22, seats are also on sale and go from $42-65.

Is it weird I already knew that? lol. The name, avatar, and typing gave it away within the first sentence.

Thanks for the tips, Jerrick! I’ll look for the LX, then. Here’s hoping our local bike shop is carrying them, otherwise it’s the 'net for me. Does anyone know if shipping unis come with instructions? :smiley:

I’ll give you the only instruction needed :

Get near a wall, manage to get on the unicycle while holding on to the wall. Dont worry if you find even this hard, just get comfortable with the feeling.

Once your happy and all, lean slightly forwards and pedal. You’re gonna fall. Once, twice and then you’ll stop counting. Do this for a few hours and without knowing it you’ll be riding.

Dont waste your money on any guides or anything to ride, just practice. Might take you weeks, months etc… but if you work hard at it most people can do it in a few hard hours as long as you go for it. Dont be scared of hurting yourself let the unicycle drop (its gonna scratch but oh well) and just walk off it. Try not to hold the saddle and use your arms for balance. Holding on to a wall and going along is fine for a while but really try to just go for it.

Good luck! My girlfriend just learnt and shes really happy. Got freemounting down too!

If you order from, their unicycles come with assembly instructions. There isn’t much to it, unicycles are pretty easy to put together! You just need to make sure that you put the right pedal on the right crank and the left pedal on the left crank.

Good luck in your unicycling pursuits.

LMSO Yeah, I realized that a little while after I had posted the comment and by then it was too late.

Thanks for sending me to the right page. It is so cool learn this stuff!

Eee, thank you all so much for the tips and advice. :slight_smile: I’ve been checking out some of the “beginner’s guide to unicycling” videos on that YouTube page and it all seems pretty straightforward (and a lot easier than the first time I went walking outdoors with my white cane :D). I just bought all my safety gear today (and surprised every single store clerk I talked to; “Unicyling? For serious? Wow…” :D) and I’m about to order a Torker LX from

I so can’t wait for it to arrive! Finally, I’ll have wheels…er, a wheel, again! :smiley:

Razzek, When I got started (last March), I also learned to ride on a Torker lx. While learning, the Torker seat was fine because I spent so much time off the uni. Once I could ride for more than a mile the seat became unbearable. I was also riding a Nimbus Muni and the Nimbus Gel was awful for me. I too am a “chick” and let me tell you, I was asking my doctor about some drastic ideas to fix the problem. I ended up getting a KH Freeride Fusion seat and while it isn’t perfect I can ride for a couple of hours before needing to get off and let things cool down.

I second the idea of learning with the Torker seat, but when you get to the point that you want to go for a long ride and if your seat becomes unbearable, I recommend the KH FF seat (and you would need a new seat post as Jerrick mentioned above).

Woohoo, another female unicyclist! :slight_smile: Thank you very much for heads up, Mbalmer, and the recommendations. I’m going to make sure I have this whole post bookmarked for future reference. :slight_smile: