Do I need a 20"?

My main ride these days is flansberrium with a 26x5.05, which I love. For more gnarly single track, I ride a 26x3 Surly Knard. It occurred to me…a 20" would fit into a suitcase easily. And it might be easier for hopping practice. And it would be fun to build another wheel. Thoughts? Would a 20 be a useful toy in my quiver or just stick with my two 26" munis?

You only have 2 unicycles??? I think you should be asking, ‘how many 20" unicycles do I need?’

I have three unicycles and none of them are 26", acquire as needed I reckon… !!!

Yes, you do need a 20"! :slight_smile: I personally believe that a 20" is a great size for lots of things, and as you said, they’re very portable. I definitely use mine for practicing skills to transfer to larger wheels. If cost isn’t an issue, consider getting a nice trials or street uni.

Yeah, a trials or street uni would allow you to acquire lots of new skills for muni without having to actually go out into the woods every time. My 20" is my Wheel of Learning, and most of the skills I practice on it transfer fairly easily to my 29.

My 20" equinox is my favorite. Keep it in the trunk of my car. “Don’t leave home without it”.

Cliffhirsch, does the “metrowest Boston area” include the Tufts University campus? It is built on a hill and has 100s of steps that are very nice for hopping. Harvard has some nice stairways as well, but I’m pretty sure it’s too uptight for unicycling. MIT seems OK as far as the vibe, but it has very few stairways.


I built the wheel on my 20" and thoroughly enjoyed the process. It is an incredibly handy size to have around. I use mine to practice new skills (mounts, idling, etc.), and walk my dog. It’s also a great way to practice fast pedaling while still maintaining a relatively slow speed. Just my .02

Actually, you need a 36".

I’m sold! Great responses. And I though 2 unis, a mtn bike, and a fat bike were excessive. Guess not. The “Wheel of Learning” sold me, although the 36" comment threw me off balance, pun intended. But the Veetire Snowshoe 2XL at 26x5.05 is getting close to a 36. I think it’s equivalent to a 32", big enough for me for now… 20" it is. I can keep it in my briefcase. Now to buy or build. Decisions…

Longneck vs short neck frame? Pros / cons of each? For 1st 20", street or trials? The Maxxis Creepy Crawler 19 x 2.5 looks great. And got to love the name.

“metrowest Boston area” is close enough to Tufts. 100s of steps? I’m old and brittle. Olin College has hills and steps and a unicycle club.

Depends a bit on your height. Long neck provides a greater range of height adjustment but the minimum height isn’t as low. It gets the clamp up under the saddle and away from your knees. I’m about 5’ 10’’. If I were buying a new one I would get the long neck

Depends on what style you want to ride first. And you left out Freestyle.:wink:

There are so many configuration options for a 20. One isn’t near enough. I have three unis in that range.

I have 20 inch Qu-Ax Luxus and Profi unis. The Luxus was my first “good” uni. I bought it for $60 through Gumtree. The Profi was a crazy low $50 on eBay which is why I bought it. I was the only bidder and the seller just didn’t want it any more.

The Profi wheel is ridiculously strong. 48 spokes, double wall rim, ISIS hub and 100 mm cranks. I fitted that wheel with a Maxxis Hookworm tyre and put it in the Luxus frame. It is my zippy street runabout and is virtually indestructible.

I put the Luxus wheel (quality single wall rim, 36 spokes, square taper hub) in the lighter Profi square top frame. Replaced the spokes with bright stainless, fitted a white tyre, non-marking pedals and Nimbus 114 cranks. It is my indoor and (notionally) Freestyle.

My trials is an old KH Onza with 137 cranks. The tubular steel cranks have a very high Q factor and are no longer available so I can’t change to anything else. Combined with the heavy squarish Maxxis CC tyre it is slow and cumbersome on the street. It is great learner uni and good to try out new stuff. I hop about on it sometimes but don’t do actual trials.

I have just bought an OBR Gekok to replace the old CC on the Onza. The CC was unevenly worn and has lost some of its resilience through age. The Gekok is twenty percent lighter and considered more versatile than the CC. My goal is to jump higher so I like the reduced weight. (Can’t do much about the relatively heavy wheel.)

I can’t tell you much about the Gekok because I haven’t fitted it yet. It was 50 % more expensive than the CC.

You’re old and brittle but you ride muni???

Hopping up the stairs is extremely safe, and would give you some useful muni skills. I used my 20 to learn hopping, but can do it on my 29, though it is less fun. Riding down the stairs is more risky, in my experience.

The 19 x 2.5 tires are all knobby, and I prefer slick, so I chose a 20" rim. If I were more serious about trials and/or street, doing high jumps and massive drops, I would need a real trials wheel. If I were more serious about freestyle, I would need a narrower tire instead of the fat ones (20 x 2.4) that I usually ride.

As far as I know, a street unicycle is a trials unicycle with 125mm cranks instead of 138mm. 125 (or shorter) is more practical for me because I always have to ride a few blocks to get to an area where there is enough space to do anything other than ride in a straight line. If you live in suburbia, this may not be a concern.

I bought a 20" for travel, but finding a standard (i.e. not oversized by airline definition) suitcase to hold it was not so easy. I made my own.


Muni has been scientifically proven to reverse the effects of aging. #believeIt!

Duh, hopping up… I was fixated on flying down a flight of stair until I hit escape velocity, at which point bad things happen.

Thanks again for all for the great input. Lots of food for thought as I’m waiting for the snow to melt. The Equinox looks like a pretty sweet ride for what I envision. Certainly overkill for me, but what the heck.

MIT had a unicycle club in the early 70s; the guy who ran it was one of the founding members of the Unicycling Society of America. :slight_smile:

Yes, you need a 20". Exactly what type depends on your end goal, of course. If it includes riding down/up stairs, Trials or Street is the category to shop in. Smaller wheels make learning most skills a lot easier.

If your end goal is to keep practicing, then get a 20".

I’m ready to take the plunge…although after yesterday’s 11 mile ride, a 36" would be nice too. Next… I’m looking at the usual suspects – Impact, Nimbus, KH. All models appear to be a few years old, not that these things change much. Any rumors regarding what’s coming for 2017? I’d hate to buy a new uni circa 2015 and then find out that the new 2017 models weight 3 pounds, and have auto-flip, follow-me drone, anti-chaf and e-jump assist features.

As a beginner, by the time I could ride further than 1/4 mile sans UPD, I became obsessed with riding long distances. A large wheel seemed more interesting at that point. Over time, however, the novelty of riding long distances (on pavement) wore off. There are plenty of places to ride off-road in my neighborhood. I caught the mUni bug riding my starter, 24" Torker on dirt; once I experienced riding off-road, riding on the road wasn’t as fun. No offense to 36" riders. Some riders use them to commute. It takes a certain kind of bravery to, at any moment, be ready to outrun a 36" UPD.

+1 for do you need a 20"? I ride an Equinox. The square, knurled crown helped me learn one-footed idling and riding. It’s the perfect compromise for learning a variety of techniques: freestyle, street, trials. I learned seat-in-front riding on the 20", and that made using handle bars easy on my mUni. Once I got a 20", learning idling and backwards riding happened pretty quickly.

I would wait on a 36". The more technique you learn on a smaller wheel, the more confident you’ll be on the larger wheel.