From 19" to 27.5" impressions

Just got back from my first ride on my new KH27.5 uni. I had previously only ridden a 19" for just over a month to the point where I could do regular freemounts with either foot and turning gracefully (mainly towards the right :D). My KH Spirit cranks have two length positions at 127/150, tested both to see which I liked better. Tyre inflated to ~38 PSI. I just wanted to share my experience.

Free mounting: Way easier than the 19er because the wheel takes more energy to start turning. In other words, the pedal pretty much stays put even as I step onto it.

General riding: It only took a few metres before I had adapted to the new wheel size and I was off riding in a straight line without issues. Basically everything I had learnt on the 19er translated well to the bigger wheel, and any initial clumsiness was only due to the fact that I wasn’t sure what to expect. With the large wheel the uni takes considerably less effort to keep upright than the 19er —instead of me actively delivering micro impulses to the pedals to maintain balance, most of the time the weight of my leg resting on the pedal was all that was needed. This makes riding, at least on smooth ground, a lot more efficient. The larger wheel rolls easily over bumps that would have been disruptive on the 19er . Also I find it’s easier to ride in a straight line with hardly any ‘tail wagging’ or whatever the technical term in fact, I was able to ride while holding onto the saddle grip with both hands without losing my balance, which I couldn’t do on the 19er .

Turning: Not done any sharp turns yet but turning right and even left (my weak turn) during normal cruising was easier than the 19er . It’s almost as if the uni turned itself, all I have to do is lean a little bit into the direction I want to go and the wheel does the rest. The tyre of this uni has a very round cross section, whereas the Maxxis Creepy Crawler of my 19er is flatter, I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Speed: Faster right off the bat even on the 150mm crank setting which I tried first. Then I switched to the 127mm setting and… holy smokes! :astonished:

Stopping quickly: It’s much harder, need to get the hang of the brake.

Idling: Can’t idle yet even on my 19er but I managed a bit of what felt like idling for the first time today on the 27.5er with the long crank setting.

Riding comfort: Due to the efficiency of the bigger wheel, I was able to ride for about an hour with very little discomfort, using the same Fusion One saddle from my 19er . I still think a softer saddle will make my rides more crotch-friendly though.

I was expecting the larger wheel to be harder to ride because, when I was out shopping for my first uni, the general consensus was that small wheels were easier to learn on. Small wheels certainly look less scary. I suppose UPDing from a 19er is always less dramatic.

I’m loving the sport. My trials bike has not seen any action for over a month. Should I feel guilty? :roll_eyes:

Nothing wrong with having a brake, but you should be able to control your uni in most circumstances without it. Don’t become reliant on it for normal riding, or you will struggle if you ever ride a big wheel without one. I have never got round to fitting a brake to any of my unis, including the 36 and there have been very few times when I’ve missed it.

Now you just need a 36 :smiley:

With the long cranks I feel there is no need for the brake, not a cruising speeds anyway, but with shorter cranks it could definitely help in pulling an emergency stop. But you are right, I should be able to control my uni without brakes as much as possible.

When it comes to that, I might fit a Schlumpf geared hub on my unit instead. Costs more, but you get two wheel sizes in a single package that is also half the size. Dunno about other countries but today I asked around and here in China apparently they will let you on the train with a 20" uni, maybe even a 24" too, but a couple of Chinese riders have told me that with 26" and above I’d be crossing the line and would need to bag it up (which I expect involves removing the pedals and the saddle). I imagine carrying a 36" on the train is kinda cumbersome, especially here because high speed trains don’t have a designated area for bikes like in other countries. I did see a picture of a Chinese dude with his 36" on the high speed train, no bag or anything, so I’m a bit confused, but I suspect it’s the sort of thing where, if security staff are in a good mood, you get away with it, but you risk missing your train.

Incidentally, we are a relatively small bunch and here where I live most people have never seen anyone riding a uni in the flesh so when pushing the thing into various venues staff often smile as I waltz in because they genuinely are not sure what they should do about it.

Certain aspects might be harder on a larger wheel, like mounting as you have to hop higher and with a 19" you can just step up. Also I found it less scary to learn to hop with the small wheel as it is not so high. I think if my eyes would be in my foot, it would also be less scary to hop with my 36".

I’ve taken my 19" trials to ride about 10km, but it isn’t very comfy because of the crazy spinning. A bigger wheel is much much more confortable. Im sure you can take ur 27" for some nice trips now.
Personally I only use the brake on downhills where I don’t want to fight the speed with my knees all the time, though I don’t have brakes on the 19", 26" and 36".

The only times where I had to brake very quickly were when I rode behind my daughter and she saw something interesting and without saying anything she stopped her little bike. Another time as I was riding with a less experienced uni-rider. He UPD’d. Both those times instead of stopping, I hopped off my uni as it seemed the safest thing to do.

Have fun with your new toy.

That’s brave :astonished: