I just started out with unicycling and I’m having a lot of fun learning it!
Currently I’m riding an Impact Gravity Pro 20" Trial uni, which means that I like doing some more stuff on a uni instead of only riding.
That said, I’ve noticed that there are multiple types of muni’s available. If I remember correctly these are the biggest differences:
One for the cross country style of riding (bigger wheels, shorter cranks)
One with a smaller wheel size but with bigger cranks to get more leverage for steeper climbs and explosive moves.
I would consider the second category since that’s what I enjoy most.
Impact has a 26" Muni which would fall into that category:
But are there any others which would I should consider as well?
Any of the Munis that come in 27.5" or 26" variants are candidates for you - pretty much all of them come with 150mm cranks, which is pretty much the largest I would personally recommend going. For more technical riding, I would stay away from fat tires (4" or wider) - with those controlling the tire becomes an additional thing to master. If you want something that feels easily maneuverable and “jumpable”, I’d stay in the 2.5"-3.25" wide tire range.
Nimbus, Urc, Qu-ax, Mad4one, Kris Holm, and the Impact you already found, in my opinion the value for money on all of them pretty much lines up, all of them are strong enough for most people, but some a lighter and stiffer. I think you can pretty much consider any 26"/27.5" from those brands that comes with a disk brake (it’s a must have for technical Muni).
I’d consider myself among the better Muni riders when it comes to technical riding and jumps, and my relatively mid level Nimbus oracle 26" isn’t holding me back. (But I can also appreciate how some of the more pricy unis out there are “nicer”)
Crank choice is a complex topic, highly depends on your trails, riding style, skill, preference etc. and is really best determined by trial and error - which is why multi-hole cranks exist. I’ll just sum it up with: cranks are usually considered a setup choice, so the standard crank length isn’t usually a deciding a factor when choosing a model of unicycle. (And some shops will put on your preferred crank length for only a small extra cost).
My personal preference is for a narrower Q factor. After experimenting with both the outwardly flaring KH Spirit cranks and the straight, Nimbus Venture cranks, I preferred the Nimbus. It may be too early for you to know what your own preference is. A couple things to look for, during your beginning stages: 1. Do the inside of your feet tend to hug / rub against the cranks? Or do they tend to migrate slightly away from the cranks? This could be an indication of your preferred Q factor…and 2. Are you naturally duck-footed (toes pointing out) or pigeon-toed (toes pointing in) while riding? A duck-footed rider is more likely to step on the cranks and may benefit from outwardly flaring cranks or from cranks that have more rounded edges. I am slightly pigeon toed, so straight cranks work fine for me.
If I understand correctly, Mad4One is making muni hubs with 92mm spacing (some other brands have 100 or even 125mm spacing) and skinnier, straight cranks, to create an even narrower Q-factor. This is something to look into, as you can always widen the Q-factor of your setup, but there may be a limitation on how much you can narrow it.
I am ready to answer any questions.
Please note that all our Muni are made with hub 100mm and cranks straight with zero QFactor.
Aour crnks Agile are made 3mm per side narrower than all others, this reduce the total Q-fctor by 6mm.
Those disc brakes, are those regular MTB-brakes with the standard sizing and mount for rotors, and caliper mounts?
Because I have some lying around which I could use if they would fit.
I’m starting to notice how hard it is to cover some distance on this uni
Raised the seat with half an inch and increased the tire pressure, which makes it more comfortable to ride longer distances, but after 100 yards or so it’s definitely still getting quite tiring…
Yes, those definitely have a LOT of choices… But perhaps once I know more about it, it might be the best one to choose from
That’s definitely something I need to read up on, thanks!
So if I understand correctly the total width of the outside of the left crank to the outside of the right crank at the mount point is X
and the Q-factor which is reduced by 6mm means that the outer sides of the cranks (if they were mounted equally) is 6mm less, therefore X-6mm ?
Yes, regular MTB brakes, regular 6 bolt disk mount and IS 2000 caliper mounts. 99% of the time they fit. (I think some really old brake calipers may have had clearance issues, and I’ve once tried some avid elixirs where the brake lever didn’t quite work with my seat.)
Yeah, 19" aren’t exactly fun to ride around for long, but also most of the tiredness is probably down to you not being a very efficient rider yet, it takes quite a while to get from riding around being tiring to it becoming easy. It’s a bit funny how unicycling on a 20" starts out being a lot more exhausting (and barely any faster) than walking, but after a while will become a lot less tiring and noticably faster.
I’ll also just quickly add to the Q-factor topic that there seem to be some people who really notice different Q-factor a lot, and some who don’t. (I fall into the second category.)
X-6mm is correct.
The big difference with a bike is that unicycle have only one wheel.
This means that every time you push on the pedal nothing keep the wheel straight on the direction.
All pressure on pedal have a front force and a side force. As far the pedal is from center line as bigger is the side force. As near it is as bigger is the front force.
Either 26 or 27.5 would be a great size for getting into MUni. While brakes aren’t technically necessary they sure are nice to have once you get used to them. If you find that your feet are typically on the inside or outside edge of the pedals you have now you might want to pay attention to q-factor. Like said above it’s a big deal for some, but not others.
If you can upgrade your cranks when you order it might be worth going with some multi-hole cranks. I made a chart years ago and someone updated it with modern wheel sizes. It should provide a rough guide as to what kind of wheel/crank combinations might work for your style of riding. With multi-hole cranks and a quick release seatpost clamp you could quickly switch your new muni from a technical setup with long cranks and lowish seat to a XC machine with shorter cranks and taller seat. Until you have a unicycle for every terrain having a “convertible” with multi-hole cranks is a clear winner.
Well, if I would have a smooth running tire and a smooth surface it would already make a huge difference, but the 20" / 2.5" Creepy Crawler has a huge rolling resistance for sure
I also ran it below the recommended tire pressure on a road which is far from smooth and level
But therefore I’m also looking at another tire to replace it for more street type of stuff. Just haven;t figured out which tire I would like just yet.
I notice that if I setup my feet properly during an assisted mount , then it’s not really an issue.
But if I do a jump mount I tend to have my feet turned outwards a little more, causing my heels to touch the cranks about 40% of the time. I’m also wearing quite wide shoes (Five ten freerider pro) so perhaps swapping shoes could already resolve this. Will try that first!
Thanks for the explanation!
But if you don’t use the outer holes on your cranks, you definitely lose some ground clearance with a piece of crank sticking out below your pedals right?
Looking at your chart I have a 20" uni (it’s called 19" but it has a 20" tire, therefore I call it 20" ) with 140mm cranks, therefore I’m at the top level of trials and close to too much pedal strike. (with 19" it would actually be too much pedal strike).
According to the Impact website the Reagent (similar to mine) has the following description:
I’m currently running the 140mm cranks, therefore it might be smart just to start with a set of shorter (somewhere between 118mm and 130mm) just to learn which ratio I prefer.
As I see it now, the 130mm would be a better choice for now…
The “19 inch” (387 mm) rim for the 20 x 2.5 trials is meant for large volume tyres. A road tyre tends to be smaller and fits the more standard 20 inch (406 mm) rim.
But the cranks would also be shorter for street than trails so you are better off with a separate wheel sets with different rim, tyre and cranks. You might as well have a whole different uni.
I have a Maxxis Hookworm on my 20 inch Quax Profi with 100 mm cranks for riding around the suburbs. It is only size of Hookworm that I like. The extra rotating mass keeps the little wheel rolling, whereas I much prefer lighter tyres on larger wheels. I also use this uni for building cadence by riding it down moderate hills.
If I compare the Gravity Pro with the Reagent Pro, they are similar in setup, with only major differences cranks (140mm vs 130mm) and the frame itself (square crown vs round).
That means that if I mount the 130mm cranks on the Gravity Pro, it would behave similar to the Reagent Pro, with the exception that you cannot stand on the crown. But regular skate park rides combined with trials (exactly what I do with my bike as well) should get my preferred setup for this job.
Shorter cranks would remove the ability to do trials and a different tire might still be an option, as I use a Maxxis DTH for my street trials bike as well, and not some big knobbed off road tire…
As for the Muni, I think a 27,5" with 137mm cranks like this one:
would be great to start exploring the local trails, ride some street (distance instead of flatland tricks) and from there on see what I can tweak.
Or do you think I’m misunderstanding the charts here?
137 mm for 27,5" is my favorite size for years and also a great size for beginners and Pros. It’s the size I do 99% of my riding with, you have enough control, don’t feel slow and can climb anything. Since spring I have also 136/110 dual holes and I had in the past on my Kris Holm 137/117, but I rarely used the shorter length. But when I use the shorter length while riding on road it is so nice to have them. And since you also consider riding on road, I would definitely recommend you to go for 136/110 dual cranks if you decide for the QX (I also have it, it’s the nicest and lightest uni you can get in my eyes and the saddle it comes with is also great for both male and female riders). And I would then also recommend you to aggressive tire. I tried the Magic marry once on my 27,5" and it was horrible on road. I have been riding now the Schalbe Nobbi Nic 27,5" since 2017 and it’s the perfect combination of a lot of grip in the mud and good rolling on Road for me.
On a unicycle you need to give more care with your feet placement than on a bike, but you will get used to it in time and also better.
Hmmmm, my road might be a bit differnt than yours… I’m not the type of guy who makes a lot of distance on a bike (on Uni it won’t be different). It’s more like moving from spot A to spot B and I wouldn’t change pedal mounts for it.
Magic Mary is a downhill tire very commonly used in mountainbiking (often together with Hans Dampf). Personally I am very happy with the Cross King tires (Continental) that I’m using now.
I have tire inserts for better stiffness (and you could even ride home with an empty tire) and it has great grip and traction on most environments here, including street.
I ride them anywhere between 40psi (street) and 18psi (off road).
Since on a uni you would be only using one of them (although I do often hop on one wheel anyway) perhaps the pressure could be a little higher for off road, but it’s a great tire.
The advantage for me of buying a 27,5" uni is that I already have several different tires at home, so I can swap them whenever I feel like it
The only thing I still havent completely figured out yet is what the average cadans (and therefore crank length) is for a rider, and where I come into this category.
I come from a strongman background and with biking I tend to be stronger than average (and therefore require less crank length to climb the same) and prefer less revolutions per minute during regular riding as well.
Therefore if 137mm is ideal for you, it might be just a bit too light for me (or the other way around if you are really strong ) . But I doubt it would be the difference between 137/117mm. I think that difference would be to much. Perhaps 130mm might suite me best… Would there be any way to make a decent estimate on this before actually buying the different crank lengths and just find out by experience?
That sounds more like 127 mm then when you don’t want to change crank length at all. Still very good control and a very good speed. 110 is definitely too short for beginning with Muni. I have 127 mm most of the time on my Freewheel when I ride more easy cross country or road rides, only swap to 137 mm when I am going home into the mountains.
(Some information about myself I am an uphill enthusiast and when riding a bike (happens once or twice a year) I tend to only to use the the upper quarter of the gears and that in mountainous/hilly terrain).
I think @finnspin rides 125 mm on his 26" Muni for a while now coming from 138 mm or so. He can probably say some words to it.
(3-5 mm more or less doesn’t matter that much, the difference between 26" and 27,5" is also not big, except that 26" is dead in terms of tire choices what you probably already know)
I think that when you intend to get a road-tire, you should maybe also consider getting a 24, so you can cover more distance. It is still small enough to do tricks with. But if you’re hooked on a 20" with road tire, you will prolly end up with a freestyle unicycle. Be careful with pavement that sticks up. Once got a face plant that way.
The uni that the girl on this Freestyle uni’s page rides on looks very much like the one I have :
Personally I ride the trials uni more, because of the fatter tires that eat bumps more easily.
Is it really better? I would expect them to break faster and to be honest I tend to use lock-tite (non-permanent) between my pedals and cranks since they have way of getting loose over time…
If you would move the pedals often, the thread would wear out quicker as well.
I’d prefer to figure it out once and just buy the correct length.
Lol, exactly what I mean with “or the other way around” . I don’t know her, but generally speaking if you performed in strongman competitions you’re able to generate a lot more explosive power than the average person. Maybe 137mm will suit me perfectly, who knows. But I do realize that it is the default with which that muni is sold and therefore suitable for most people. However you can select any range from 110mm through 145mm from the website as well, which means that personal preference is definitely a huge factor as well.
And to be honest I may hope for Becky’s sake that she doesn;t have the same type of body as I have
With street I don’t mean commuting or riding huge distances, but more of a street / skatepark kind of tire. better rolling resistance than the Creepy Crawler (which is a pure trials tire), amazing grip and strong and sturdy sidewalls.
I’ve been thinking about sizing too… With biking you also notice that 24" is more sensitive to uneven surfaces compared to a 26", 27,5" or defintely a 29".
The 24" I have (street trial bike) is a combination of bmx and trial, leaning more towards a bmx, which usually is 20"). I’ve switched to a 26" bike now since it rolls over uneven surfaces easier and feels more like a real bike.
All the same issues and considerations will most likely apply to uni’s as well. Having a bigger wheel will make certain things easier whereas a smaller wheel will make other things easier.
In the end the rubber also makes a huge difference and I’m definitely planning on putting a tire insert (including tubeless setup) on a future muni as well.
The tire insert allows you to eat more bumps while increasing the grip and puncture resistance. I don’t see any reason why all knowledge I have from mountainbiking wouldn’t apply to unicycling. The environment is the same, the tires are the same, the pedals can be the same, even the cranks can be the same.
The only difference is the number of wheels (although plenty of bikers tend to use one wheel for fun as well) and the fact that you can change gears on an mtb while you have a direct (and permanent) connection between your cranks and wheel on a uni (unless freewheel hubs exist for uni’s as well)…
But you still require the same grip on the ground, in corners and when it starts to rain roots and rocks will become just as slippery as well…