Geared 29" or 36"

I’m doing my research now but looking for input from owners of geared 29" and 36" schlumpf geared unicycles.

I have a bedford 29" and Nimbus Nightrider 36" and considering going geared for one of them. If the bedford frame or nimbus won’t fit hub then I’ll buy a frame too.

My objective is to increase my average speed for crusing.

The 29" is used for light off roading, parades, road races with joggers (cancer research runs), medium distance travels (less than 20km).

The 36" is pure commuter, greater that 20km travels.

Today my current average comfortable speed on 29" is 13-14km/hr and 15-17km/hr on 36". Both have 125 cranks. At theses speeds I can easily peddle for 2hrs in the seat.


  1. Will I notice an increase in weight due to geared hub?
  2. What average increase of speed should I realistically gain ?
  3. Which unicycle would you gear 29" or 36" and why?

I don’t own either, but I have both ungeared models and I have considered the question too. Thinking that lightweight wheels make hillclimbing easier I theorised that the 28" would be best to gear up. I’ve had a go on a geared 28" and it just felt like a toy- and I think geared 36" is the way to go. Tony Melton has explained it to me and it seems to make sense- for road riding a geared 28" basicly only has one usable gear and the low gear is never really needed except for really steep hills. With the 36" geared it has the low gear which is effective uphill, and the rest of the time, for downhills and flat you have the super gear!

Whenever I try faster unicycles I always think I will need safety gear but then don’t use it- I wonder if I will finally get a helmet for a geared 36" if I ever get one.

So 1- you will notice an increase of weight but it is insignificant compared to the increase in speed.
2-You will gain heaps! 1.55 ratio equals a whole lot less spinning of your legs. Unless you have technical difficulties geared hubs are fast!
3-I’d gear the 36" so there are two usable gears and so I’m not limited by small wheelsize.

A geared 36 is a new, faster unicycle, but is a hassle to transport if you’re travelling abroad or on public transport, and isn’t that good for off road.

A 29 is a very convenient way to carry around something that will let you ride easy muni, yet has a fast mode which is a bit faster than a 36". There is basically a muni gear and a road gear, you hardly ever use the low gear on a geared 29er on the road (For example, I did the ‘big climb’ on RTL in high gear).

Don’t forget a 26 too. A geared 26 gives you something that apparently (according to Kris) is rideable on a lot of easier offroad in high gear, and is a really great offroad unicycle in low gear, whilst still being quite nippy on the road. If you’re mainly a road person, it might not make sense, but if you like technical off road, a 29er is really tiring for riding anything hard, whereas the 26 is pretty fast but a lot more comfy and good at riding hard stuff (and with the high gear, you can get to the trail easily).

I’ve got a geared 29. If I was riding road at the moment, I think I’d want it to be a 36. If I wanted to take it abroad and ride mostly muni, a 26" would be great. The 29 is sort of a compromise really.


  1. No; it isn’t rotational mass, and chances are pretty good that you won’t be hopping much on the uni.
  2. 2-3 mph average gain for me, but a much higher top speed, and more comfortable speeding downhill, and a much lower cadence at “regular” speeds.
  3. For long distance riding, or any road riding, I would gear a 36. The 29er’s low gear is too low, and you will find that you will rarely be in it except for the steepest of hills.

Experience note: I have > 1000 miles on a geared 36, about 900 miles on a geared 24, and about 40 miles on a geared 26. I’ve ridden a geared 29er around just for playing, but I haven’t put any real distance on one.

Also, consider “Ride the Lobster”. The geared 36 was clearly the faster unicycle.


It doesn’t sound like a geared 24" is what you’re after, but they are plain AWESOME! 24" is the third wheel size I’ve tried a geared hub in (first 29, second 36) and the 24 GUni my favorite by far (ride almost all off road).

If you’re choosing between a geared 29 and geared 36 for road riding I would go with the geared 36.

I started off with the hub in a 29’er and moved it into a 36’er. A geared 36’er is an awesome smooth, fast machine, spins so much nicer than a 29, with two useful gears.

(obviously your riding preferences and terrain need to be factored in - a 29’er GUni could be better match)

Re weight, a single speed 36’er for example feels responsive, direct, light and nimble after riding a 36’er GUni for a while, though you don’t really notice the weight of the hub that much when riding a GUni.

Whichever route you go I’d reckon you’d want some time on longer cranks than 125’s, at least for a while. A Guni in top gear takes some taming initially.

BUT… if you can be swayed, a geared 24" is just the best fun! :stuck_out_tongue:

It depends what you want from it. The geared 36 is definitely faster in most situations, and as others have noted above, the 29er’s low gear is rarely used on roads. The 29er is a lot lighter–about 2 pounds less rotating weight–and you’ll notice that in any hill climbing situation. The 29er is better if you are interested in a hybrid road/off-road setup. Transport is easier with the 29er.

What crank size on geared

Forgot to ask these question:

What crank length is best suited on gear 29 or geared 36 ?

Since I use 125 on both I feel comfortable with the length.

I do find I can easily idle my 20" and 29" but can’t idle the 36" at all.

Don’t know if it has to do with crank length or what, but thats another story.

When I’m on parade duty I hop alot (Due to parade stopping and starting and slow forward speeds). Would this hurt the geared hub ?

Most people use 150mm cranks on the geared 36. I use 125 or 150 on my geared 24; the 150s are for hard offroad riding, but other than that, I prefer the 125s.

Idling a coker is generally hard for most people with 125s, but easier with 150s.

Hopping with the “KH/Schumpf Muni hub” is not a problem. I’ve hopped on mine and have been riding it pretty hard without any troubles (other than bearing problems, which have been solved in the latest generation). The hub is not made for trials or huge drops. The road hub is not made for hopping at all.


On a geared 29er, you want 125mm or shorter cranks unless you’re off-road. 125mm on a geared 36" is pretty short; some people run them that way, but you’d definitely want a brake, and even so it can seem out of control. Chuck demolished everyone at RTL on a 36" with 150mm cranks.

You can hop on the hub, it’s fine.

I’ve got both a geared 29" and a geared 36", and I’m looking at getting a geared 26".

For travelling and commuting go with a geared 29". It’s so much more maneuvarable, easier to take on planes, lighter and easier to store than a 36". It’s also more useable off-road.

For speed and road riding only then go with a 36"…there is a reason why I did my GUni Hour Record on a 36"…it’s probably about 5% faster than the 29" Schlumpf.

For general riding a 36" Schlumpf is probably about 15-20% faster than an 36" Unguni, depending on the rider.

I’d like a 26" Guni for Muni racing.

I have the KH29/Schlumpf. As Joe says, if you ever ride not-too-hard trails, I’d say go with the 29er.

But I’ve ridden a KH36/Schumpf, and I’d say go for that if you just want a road cruiser. You’ll be riding relaxed several kph over your current speeds, easily.

Either way, you’ll be psyched. It’s wonderful to have a guni and not to have to pedal frantically fast to go fast.

I have used both and have maybe 500 miles on a geared 29 and >850 miles on the geared 36.

Geared 29er was awesome, better for road riding than an ungeared 36, I used dual hole 125/150mm cranks, but kept it in the 125 slot all the time since I didn’t use it much offroad.

Geared 36er is a sweet ride for the road. I find it very taxing on your muscles though because you are pushing such a heavy wheel in a higher gear. It feels like a heavy bike.

You haven’t explained what you want to use the geared uni for yet.

Have to disagree there…the 29" Guni is faster than a 36" Unguni with short cranks, but the latter is a much nicer ride.

This basically sums up my thoughts on what I want my next unicycle to be.

I’ve ridden 29" and 36" Schlumpfs, 29" in RTL and 36" in RTL training. Perhaps based on my own inhibition against going 20+ mph, the 29" is fast enough. I don’t mind pedaling fast, long as it’s not the limiting factor of my speed. The ability to take a 29" on a plane in “regular” luggage is a factor for me, as well as its ability to go offroad when I want as well.

Although, I rode Nathan Hoover’s KH36 the other day and it felt great. Light and responsive compared to my two Cokers! It made me question my choice, but I still need to take unicycles on airplanes, so I’m sticking with the idea of the 29" Schlumpf for now.

Did you read what he wrote Ken or are you saying that faster isn’t better? I think I’d prefer the ungeared 36 over the 29 guni for the stability and lack of moving parts.

That is an interesting comment, because you are looking at transport as being non-unicycle transport. I would have thought transport is easier on the bigger wheel. I’m feeling inspired to make a poll about transport. I see what you mean though about smaller wheels being easier for any other form of transporting a unicycle other than riding it.

I think what tholub meant is transporting the unicycle, such as getting it to New Zealand for Unicon. That’s definitely a factor in my choice of which wheel I want to gear up first…

I have a 24" guni and 36er unguni but thought i might add to this discussion anyway. When i was buying a schlumpf hub i was a little undecided as to what wheel i would put it in. For me it came down to usable gears and regular types of riding. For the last 2 and a half years i have ridden my 36er into University (about 9kms on bike paths) and as a general commuter (rides up to about 45km on a fairly regular basis). My muni gets a work out about 3 or four times a week on trails within a 20km radius of home. For me, it was sensible to put the hub in the wheel size i would be using both the gears for more of the time. I think that unless you are doing purely road/distance riding then a 36er is not only unwieldy for high traffic areas, but is less likely for you to be utilizing the benefits of the hub. For me the geared 24" is a dream machine. I can get to where i want to, and then have the wheel size to do the terrain i love. Not only that, but the new speeds make trails exciting that had been kinda boring so much more challenging and exciting.
If i was going to choose, i would go with the 29" because of its portability and versatility points- HOWEVER, with the 26" on the market these days (which with a decent tire is about the same diameter as the 29), i think it would be the ultimate all rounder. If you are just keen on one type of riding go the 36" but otherwise i think it is limiting for other terrain.


Sounds like you don’t ride the 36 enough to make changing it to a guni worth while.

Put gears in what is your favorite size ride. The one you ride all the time.

NOT the size we like best!

One more thought about the Schlumpf hub: Be prepared to have to send it back to Switzerland! Possibly after having ridden it for only a few miles. It seems to be very common place to run into bearing problems. So be prepared for that…

My KH36 geared hub has that issue for the second time now! Haven’t had it for a week now. The same thing happened to the 26". So I don’t know, maybe the 2nd generation hubs are better. This is a real bummer, though. Another thing I have noticed: The isis bolts come loose and have to be retightened often. Something one can live with. But it means you will have to buy one or two torque wrenches which will not be cheap either…
Still I think it is an amazing thing to have two on the fly shiftable gears in one wheel. But it comes at a pretty high cost.

36er love!

I have been lucky with my KH/Schlumpf hub…over a year of riding it hard and no major problems. I can’t imagine not having a geared 36er because for me it makes descending steep paved roads WAY more fun. I always loved climbing on the Coker and I just tolerated the descents. Now both directions are fun and challenging in different ways. I definitely feel the sluggishness of the heavy hub when climbing steep terrain, but that just makes me stronger and they payoff is huge.

I commute fairly busy roads with lots of stoplights on my 36er Guni and I have gotten much better at shifting and maneuvering in traffic.

I’d love a geared MUNI but as it stands ungeared muni is lots of fun and most of the terrain I muni is not suited to gears. Although if I had a GUNI I might seek out that terrain more often.

I almost never travel with a unicycle.

I agree that you should look at what you ride the most and gear up for that, while considering what is going get you out of the house and on the unicycle more. For me it is the 36er. Now I get on an ungeared 36er and I feel a deep sense of loss and unfulfilled possibility:(