Difficulty of riding different wheel sizes (and other stuff which makes it harder)

I’ve just acquired a 29er - currently fitted with a slick tyre for road use. Have realised that the only times I’ve ever missed a static mount on it was when I failed to put enough force on the back foot and it scooted off in front of me - provided I actually managed to get onto it I’ve always successfully ridden off. I still sometimes fail to mount my 26er muni, and even my 20 learner - the 29er just feels so stable in a strange way. So I’m wondering whether in a sense the 29er is actually easier - once you’ve got over the fear of being up there. Or do I fail on the muni more because of the higher rolling resistance and squishiness of the low pressure knobbly tyre?

I’m also trying to learn to idle at the moment - haven’t yet tried on the 29er, though ISTR reading that idling is actually harder on a bigger wheel. Though I do wonder whether learning it might be easier on a slick tyred 24 than on my 20, given I’ve got over any inherent fear in being a bit higher up.

Idling will definitely be easier on the 20" than the 29". But it’s possible on anything.

The 29er is not “easier” except for the things it’s easier for, like going fast. It’s more stable in some sense, because the period of your wobble is longer; that might be what you’re perceiving. Or, if your 20" tire pressure is particularly low, it will be harder to do anything other than hop. Put enough air in the tire and it should ride fine.

A larger wheel, once in motion, may feel easier due to the greater amount of inertia force generated; the mass of it making a larger circle. It rolls better, and will continue to roll better. The longest continuous ride (without dismounts) I’ve ever done was on a 36" wheel; a complete 42 km marathon. The stability of the wheel makes that part easy. The abuse to my crotch? That’s a different story. I definitely recommend stopping every 10 miles or so whether you think you need it or not!

I decided to try to learn rolling hops the other day. Following someone’s suggestion I did it on a 20". I haven’t been on one since I first learned to ride a Uni. It was a good idea to do it on a 20", but when I went for a ride today on the 29" I didn’t hit one free mount on the first try. I hit my mounts most of the time. I’m not sure if I just had an off day or if it was from
spending a couple of days on the 20" that threw me off. Any imput? I’ll still practice the rolling hops on the 20", but I don’t think I’m going to freemount while using it. BTW, rolling hops on the 20" is working out well, but I’m not even close on the 29". How would I transition the rolling hop to the 29"

Practice. That BTW is the answer to all your questions!

Since I first started this thread I’ve progressed a lot, to the point I don’t have to think about freemounting either a 29er or a 20er, and can idle both (though the 29er is still hard). I also regularly switch between 20 and 29, as I always have done ever since I got a larger wheel - switching between the two and transferring skills from one wheel size to another is definitely also a skill which improves with practice. Practicing freemounting the 29 back to back with freemounting the 20 you’ll learn to transition between the two. As for transferring rolling hop to the 29, well it’s much the same technique, just that the forces involved are a bit different. Have you guessed yet? You just need to do a bit of practice!

Oh and I mainly learnt to idle on the 20, though at one point my record for most rocks was on my 26 (which isn’t currently in use - at the moment I have a 19er trials which replaced the learner, a 29er guni and a 29er muni).

Thanks, yes I get the practice part. I guess I got frustrated today when I failed to do something on the 29" that I regularly do well.

Yes, experience is everything. I rarely miss a mount on any of my unis regardless of size. Except once in a while I miss a mount on my 36 with my shorter crank setting (127mm), esp uphill. After enough years mounting unis in different environments, you adjust easily.

That being said, sometimes I have a bit of trouble when I go from a bigger wheel, like a 36 to a 29 or to a 20, but only if I haven’t ridden the smaller wheel in a while. I will tend over estimate how much force I need to put on the dominant foot going back and I over push, scooting the uni out behind me.

Learning to idle well, will make you a stronger mounter because on a smaller wheel at least you will have more static control. Idling and slow speed control is more challenging for me the lower the tire pressure gets, so that could explain your difficulty mounting when doing muni.

The lower pressure of the Muni would make it move around more when freemounting, and like others said its extra inertia (heavier wheel & weight is further from the center) would make it harder to get going, then harder to stop and go the other way for idling. Also the CoG is higher making balance more difficult at slow speeds.

Yeah more practice always helps and frequently switching unis will keep that skill more useful over the different unis.

+1 for learning skills on a smaller uni. It’s usually easier and consequences are less making it easier to commit.