I have been wondering, is it possible (legal) to compete in a cyclecross race or event on a unicycle, and if so what kind of uni would I want to ride?
I think that a good muni/trials rider would stand a good chance of placing or winning in cyclecross events. Being as each lap is short-only about 1.5 miles-I think we’d be able to hold our own against bikers. Also, I think that where many bikes would have to dismount (such as at short barricades), a unicyclist would be able to simply rolling hop the obstacle and keep going.
I’m also thinking about what uni would be best for a cyclecross event. Definitely not a trials uni, unless it were geared up to 24 or 26". A 24" muni might work, except mud performance with the tire would be critical, and a 24" muni still isn’t all that fast. I was thinking either a 29er or a 26" muni would be ideal. The 29er wouldn’t be as versatile on some of the obstacles, but it’d be fast, while the 26" muni would be very versatile on the obstacles, yet still reasonably fast. Any thoughts on this?
Cyclocross bikes generally have 700c wheels. So should yours. When competing against bikes, you want speed. If some sections are too technical, run over them. That’s what cyclocross is all about! You’ll appreciate the speed you get on the majority of the course. Of course this may not be 100% true depending on the course.
If it were up to me and I had to guess, I’d easily pick my 29".
How strange that you should post this question today. I just returned from a cyclocross race about an hour ago. I took my MUni just to play around with on some of the hills. I agree with John, the choice of unicycle would depend on the course. Our course was set up on the grounds surrounding an ampitheatre. The route included some steep climbs and descents with barriers on the climbs. This would have made hopping almost impossible unless the unicyclist was very good at hopping while climbing. The course also had quite a few transistions from the grassy area onto paved walkways and included a 4 step climb on one path. All in all, it was designed to be a very fast course. A uni wouldn’t have done very well against our 2 wheeled, multi-geared brothers on a course of this design This was the first cyclocross that I’ve ever attended and it was much more spectator friendly than any mountain bike venue that I’ve been to.
The thread Muni races in Portland, OR got me curious about cyclocross. If you follow the link in that thread to Cross Crusade you will see they have a category for unicycles. They run them on the last lap of the beginner race.
I stopped by a local cyclocross race last weekend, I sent this message to the Seattle group:
Depending on the course a couple laps on a 700c or Coker would work.
I got quite a few “cyclocross” hits on the search. Another recent thread cyclocross racing.
Keep us posted if you race, I want to try this next season on a race or two.
A unicycle would not be competitive against the cyclocross bikes. The bikes go fast. In the cyclocross races I’ve seen, they’ve averaged 15 mph to 17 mph or faster per lap. And they hold that pace for an hour.
The courses are usually designed to favor the cyclocross bikes rather than mountain bikes. That means that the off-road bits are not rocky rooty technical where you need suspension and fat MTB tires. They’re riding on beefed up road bikes, so the course is appropriate for that style of bike. Cyclocross courses can be muddy because cyclocross season is in the Winter when things are typically more wet (at least here in the Northwest US). The courses also include pavement sections where the road bike style cyclocross bikes can open it up and go fast.
If you race cyclocross on a unicycle you’re going to want to race against other unicyclists. Racing against the bikes would be no fun, even in the beginner category.
A 29er would probably be the best choice for a cyclocross course. A Coker with long cranks might also work, but you give up maneuverability with the Coker. It would depend on the course.
Most courses are like that. The “three peaks” cyclocross race in the UK is a famous 60k race, which has massive rocky downhills and stuff in it. It’s famous for people pinch flatting and breaking wheels, yet the really good people just kind of float their absurdly fragile bikes right over all the technical stuff.
Some cyclocross races allow only 700c/29" wheels, to stop mountain bikes entering, but I think a lot allow 26" wheels.
The only way to possibly go fast enough would be with a coker and short cranks, but you’d be screwed due to not having a mud tyre. You’d also have trouble because to go as fast as the bikes you need to be able to draft and you’re too big on a coker to get much help from a bike.