From a 36" to a 26" Unicycle

Been riding a few days now on the 36" oracle with 127mm cranks. It’s quite the experience, fast and fun. The handlebar introduced a new challenge. Last few days I learned how to do circles and sort-of quick square 90 degree turns while holding the t bar. It was challenging because usually I’d have my hands out balancing and it was a pretty scary feeling, to not really flail those arms around like I was initially taught and trained to do. But it taught me something, that I didn’t really need my hands flailing around so much in most occassions. That the unicycle can move based on how I lean my body.

I jumped back on the 26er with 150mm cranks today and it felt REALLY weird. It felt excruciatingly slow and it almost felt like I was on a toy. I remembered when I first got the 26er. I was very afraid. It felt high, it felt very fast, mounting it was a feat to accomplish.

Jumping back onto the 26 now, it felt very slow, but I’m feeling a level of control that I’ve never felt before. I mount it with an incredible ease, without a second hesitation, even trying new mounts without being afraid. I’m suddenly able to swerve and make minute (small) adjustments that I was not able to. The fear of falling off it and being injured pretty much vanished. What felt like a scary contraption is now a small plaything. I can jump around, go backwards, idle, and the new thing is…I can keep my hands in my pocket and ride without flailing it around due to the handlebar training on the 36er.

Anyone else have a similar experience when switching wheel size, especially from a significantly larger one to a smaller one like I did?

I sort of felt a somewhat similar feel when awhile ago, I went from my 26" oracle with the fat tire to my 24" torker with a significantly lighter wheel. Very awkward experience for awhile.

Yup. I borrowed a 36er for a few weeks and put 100 miles or so on it. I got very used to the 36er, only missing one mount in the interim I had it.

I eventually had to give it back :frowning: but I was very grateful for the experience. All my apprehensions went away and the experience confirmed that I’d do well with one.

I went back to my 29er afterwards… and it felt so slooooooooooooow. A strange experience since the 29er was always my fast uni. I noticed that I felt like I had much more control over the 29er, it was much more nimble that I had remembered it being. I’m sure I’ve lost most of that benefit since it has been a while since riding the 36er.

One other side effect of my short experience with the 36er. I did two longish (for me) rides. I remember the first time I dismounted from the 36er after being up on it for several hours… it was surreal. I felt about a foot or two shorter than normal. 1) I had grown accustomed to the view from way up there and my head felt closer to the ground when I finally dismounted. It made me feel shorter. 2) The uni beside me was way bigger, which contributed toward the illusion. I had somehow shrunk. :smiley:

I’m convinced that the two week stint on the 36er made me a better rider. Now I just have to save up again to finally buy me one. We had lots of home and vehicle repairs hit us right before Christmas - enough to buy 2 fully loaded brand new 36ers. :frowning:

I don’t ride (and have never ridden) a 36", but I get a similar experience when I jump on my 24". My 29er is my main ride, it’s the only uni I really use, the 24" is just stuck in my house, so occasionally I grab it and stretch its legs a bit on the street. After riding my 29er all week (sometimes doing 20 miles a day) my 24" feels tiny, skittish and yeah, weird. Like you though, I never miss a beat with it, and can bunny-hop and even idle (a little bit) on it, neither of which I can’t even begin to do on my big, heavy 29er.

Can’t wait to try a 36er now!

My experience is similar to Nate’s. I ride a 26 and a 36 regularly – the 26 on off-road trails, and the 36 for road riding. I switch between them so often now it doesn’t take any getting used to, but initially it was a big change going either way.
I got the 26" muni after a 20" learner, and it seemed big and scary. But then the 36" took it to a whole new level. After that, the 26 seemed small and light by comparison.
I’m not nearly as good a rider as most of the posters, but I agree that riding the 36 makes you a better rider. More confident, if nothing else. Makes you get used to throwing your weight into maneuvers.
I’m still working on simple skills like idling and hopping, but again, I think switching between the two sizes helps overall.

Oddly, I do not have this problem when switching from my 45" wheel to my 12" (with really low seat). I think it’s because they are so far apart, your body doesn’t really compare one to the other. :slight_smile:

But yeah, want to gain more power and control over a certain wheel size? Ride a bigger one for a while and you will.

I call it my “leg modes”

Like my legs pre-switch into different “modes” depending on what uni I am about to mount.

Can’t wait to see what wheelsize you go for to gain more power and control over your 45" :slight_smile:

I’m surprised that some of you guys can handle riding it for that long. I usually just dismount after 30 minutes max. Is it that natural for you guys to stay up in the saddle for that long? I just naturally get off after 30 minutes and do a stretch and relax.

It’s interesting but surprisingly…when I first got it, it felt almost exactly like my 26er in the handling department and a bit faster than the 26er in the speed.

The one thing, in opinion, that makes the 36er faster for me was the added handlebar. The handlebar makes it easier to ride faster and in a straighter line. The leverage you’re able to obtain from the handlebar is a big key to speed. Not to mention how fast you can pedal and still be comfortable. So far my comfort level is around 12-13 mph. I start to freak out around 12+, wish I can improve on this, I just can’t wait for the day when I can pump out 15-18 mph.

I was thinking about this for awhile, maybe it’s similar to ankle weights:

How you use it to train. Then when you take them off, you’re suddenly able jump higher, maybe run a bit faster, kick harder. Like what you thought was reality, what you thought was your limit, was not (was that deep or what :D)

I wonder how long this feeling will last. Hopefully it’ll be somewhat of a permanent thing, part of it if not all.

I’ve ridden 50", 52", 56" and 63.5" unicycles. But 45" is the biggest one I’ve owned. I got mine in 1982.

For me, 30 min. is about the max I’m “comfortable” with. After that, the crotch starts to get angry with me.

I used to use ankle weights, that looked very similar to those, to train for Track racing. My goal was the 100m record. After practicing sprints with the weights on, I was definitely faster with them off! But you have to get them really tight for them to not move up and down as you pedal over 200 rpm.

63.5… And to think, some people struggle to fit their legs onto 36ers! Though I saw that pic of a guy on a 70-something incher and he used built-up shoes (or pedals?)

For me, 30 min. is about the max I’m “comfortable” with. After that, the crotch starts to get angry with me.

I can usually go about an hour before things get painful, though it depends on the saddle. My Impact Naomi, I could sit on that all day, it’s so nice :slight_smile: but the… Whatever saddle goes on qu-ax’s, not so much. I will get round to switching the two at some point!

You get used to changing sizes. That said, I seem to have the most trouble switching from the 36 to the 29. I don’t know why. Maybe they feel like they should be similar, but they are not.

I often push back too hard on the 29 when freemounting after being on the 36 and fall forward. I have to tell myself, “you are mounting a 29 now, go easy!”

It also has to do with your crank size too or do you have the same crank size for both 29 and 36?

So far the benefits I found going to the smaller wheel remains. I see the 26er in a whole new light. I’m much more confident in riding it now and I feel like I’ve gone up a level or two both in handling it and how I perceive the 26" in my mind. Persistence and a calm mind. All of my tricks and jumps from here on will be on the 26" instead of the usual 20" which I won’t get. It’ll be my personal challenge, whatever I can do.

Going back to the 36 is a bit of a disadvantage, however. I definitely wouldn’t want to train with the smaller wheel and jump to the bigger wheel right before a big ride on the bigger. It’s not a big adjustment but the change in roll weight and crank length does make me nervous when I went out into the street with the 36er right after a day or two on the 26.


I know I said I wouldn’t get a 36 but did (at the time I thought it would look too silly but it’s interesting actually and I’m really loving the green on the oracle, it really grows on you when you actually get it).

But I DEFINITELY will never get anything bigger. I might try it if it is there in front of me but I’ve seen a guy trying to climb up one and haha, no way. The only reason I went for the 36 is the speed and geared is next if I ever need the extra speed. Hopefully they’ll make a geared hub for the 36 oracle one day (even though I doubt).

Same here. Maybe I can stay up there longer but I get this paranoid feeling that something bad would happen or something not so good is happening to “that” part of my body but it won’t tell me until further in the future. Like nerve issue, blood not being able to pass through there enough, SOMETHING. It just doesn’t feel right to sit on the small saddle for hours.

With good padded pants and Nimbus gel saddle its about 60 minutes for me with normal seatpost. Try adjustable seatpost, that puts your weight more to the back. Despite i now have this one now, I did not test ist on long rides yet. But first test-sitting feels like i could expand up to 90 minutes or even 120.

Try to put weight on your seatgrip with your hand in sections where it is possible. That helps a lot. Numbness is definitely a sign to do a pause.