Driving different wheel sizes

I’ve started unicycle 18 months ago. Until last November I only rode a 20 inch freestyle unicycle and felt very comfortable with it.

Last December I bought a 27.5 inch municycle and was very surprised how different it was. I couldn’t drive it right from the beginning. In fact, I had to relearn everything I had already learned with the 20 inch. But it went pretty well and I felt quite comfortable after 2 months of riding only the 27.5 inch.

So after 2 months of riding only the 27.5 inch, I wanted to learn how to stillstand on the 20 inch two weeks ago. So I took the 20 inch and….I could not mount, I could not drive, I could not idle…
Well, at least for the first hour this was all really shaky. But after the third day I could drive like before and managed to stillstand for 26 seconds after 6 days of practice. It also felt like driving on the 27.5 inch had improved the riding on the 20 inch after the initial relearning phase.

After this week of riding the 20 inch, I tried the 27.5 inch again. It took me half an hour to mount and drive it. And it took some days to feel comfortable again.

So I am wondering whether this is a common issue when one changes wheel sizes and how I can improve the time to adjust when I want to ride different wheel sizes?

My plan is to drive both sizes at least once a week in the next few months so that I hopefully don’t have to relearn the other size every time I switch. What are your experiences and suggestions?

After having this experience, i can’t imagine how it will be riding a geared unicycle :hushed::crazy_face:


I believe it is a common issue, yes. But the more you’ll practice, the less time you’ll spend relearning how to ride. After a few weeks/months, it should take you approximately 1 or 2 attempts to get back onto your unicycle and ride as if you have never ridden another unicycle :wink:


Yep, it’s pretty normal to have to readjust when you change wheels but you will find the more you ride in general the less time it takes. you will get to where it only takes maybe 1 or 2 try’s to get up and then ride off and after just a few revs be back in the swing of which ever uni your on. Just stick with it

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Well I own and have been riding from small to large wheels quite a long time. So I just came in from the garage because you inspired me to see how my mind and muscle memory was working, here are my results. Mounted and rode off with eight different diameter wheels from 12" up to 36". No problems, hit each one on first try so I haven’t faded yet.


Like others said, it’s normal. I think it’s just down to muscle memory, and all you need to do is to make your muscle memorize two sets of drive. This is also a problem to me as I’m learning to use the Schlumpf hub recently, shifting between the gears have the same effect as if I’m switching between different size of wheels. It just needs a lot of practice!


I don’t think it’s just a matter of learning different wheel sizes.
I think it’s a matter of learning to have control of your balance point to a point of where it’s second nature.

This way, no matter whether big or small, it’s the same final result.

Here’s a question…
Can you ride, idle, hop, mount with your eyes closed?
If yes, then I bet that you don’t have any problem moving between wheel sizes because you don’t think about staying on the wheel, you just do it.

If no, then I bet that you have certain features of the (new) wheel that make you think of how to react. This could be wheel size, pressure, pedal position, seat height, etc…

So I say ride as much as you can, be ambidextrous, and don’t look at all the differences between the wheels.
Instead, concentrate on the euphoric feeling of the ride and learn that it can achieved just by doing it. No matter the size.

Slow your mind and use the Force. :person_in_lotus_position:


I tend to agree Ted.

Simpler suggestion than Ted’s above: Don’t ride either uni exclusively. Ride them both, at least a little bit, on a regular basis. Then it should just take a few moments for your brain to switch back and forth. The more you switch, the easier it gets. :slight_smile:


That’s probably the best solution! May I remind you of my fixed/freewheel experience? Last year, I have mostly ridden my freewheel. Then, I was unable to comfortably ride my fixed wheel. My muscle memory was dysfunctional and that sucked. After a few months of struggling, I’m now back at riding. This could have been avoided if I had ridden my fixed wheels as well.
To avoid that situation, ride both on a regular basis!


I also experienced something similar on a two wheeler a few years ago. I got myself a Bullitt and rode it exclusively for a few months. Then a had to do some maintenance on my wife’s bike and I was almost not able to ride her regular bike.
Today I ride the Bullitt almost daily and occasionally ride a regular bike and I have no issues switching just as I have no issues swapping between different unisizes (is that a word?).
Obviously experience matters when riding different unisizes (and I occasionally enjoy riding with eyes closed, a strange and awesome feeling…) but I believe it helps to switch between different sizes occasionally .

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Thank you all for sharing your experience and your suggestions :+1:

For the past two weeks I have ridden each unicycle at least once per week. And it is going pretty smooth. I am optimistic that in a few weeks I won’t feel the difference any more and won’t be frustrated any more.

It is also great to see that riding the 27.5 has definitely improved the riding of the 20. The 20 now feels a little bit like a toy but that’s good because it feels so light and reponsive now :smiley:


…And guess what you can ride to make the 27.5 feel like a toy :sunglasses:


Haha, yeah I‘ve thought about trying to ride a 36 simply because of this reason! :sweat_smile:

However, I wonder if the difference will be that great. The tire width of my 20 is 1.95", while the tire width of my 27.5 is 3". I assume that with a 36, the tire width will probably be smaller, not wider. As a result, the difference between 37/27.5 will feel smaller (?). Anyway, it would be interesting to find out, so maybe I’ll ask a friend who has a 36 :slight_smile:

I will also be getting a geared 24 soon. I imagine that riding it in the higher gear might feel heavier than the 27.5 (?)

Oh it legit works. It’s not about the tire width. It’s about the wheel diameter.

I got a 36 for this exact reason and it very much causes this effect.

I was a single wheel 24in rider until I got my 36er a little over a month ago. It took a while to build my skills to ride it comfortably. Now that it feels comfortable, my 24in wheel feels small. “I miss going fast” is my first thought when switching back to it. Feels very small, fidgety, and hyper responsive. Riding 2 different sizes had made a better rider. Definitely getting another wheel size in the future.