Going from 20 to 29

How long does it take to get used to a 29 from a 20, do you think?

Is it more stable? I would think the speed would help.

I went from a 20 to a 29 and it’s great. Mounting is a little weird at first (and even more so going back the other way), but it only took about 5 minutes before it all started to make sense.

I have 125mm cranks on both unis, btw.

I agree, mounting the 29er the first few times is really strange. After a few rides, switching back and forth between 20 and 29, mounting is not so much of a problem. The 29er is definitely faster. I know some people who ride 29ers offroad but I cannot do that. I am strictly a road rider on my 29er.


You will like your 29er.


How long? That’s very subjective. How used to the 20" are you? How to answer even that? How many other wheel sizes have you ridden? Etc. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. 20" is great for some things, but it’s terrible for getting anywhere. A bigger wheel is a must!

I should also note that the mounting weirdness aside, the single strangest sensation that you have to get used to is being up so high. It’s not “a problem”, but it does feel strange and sticks with you for a little bit (at least it did with me).

Now, I rather like being up that high (lets me see over cars better! :slight_smile: ), but it’s something that takes you by surprise a bit.

It’s definitely steadier at faster speeds and smoother all around. Even when going faster than I would on my 20, I find that UPDs are “softer” for me and I can usually fall and catch the uni by the saddle handle. When I UPD on my 20, it usually goes crashing into the ground a lot more frequently than the 29. I haven’t UPDed and not managed to keep my feet on the 29 at all.

I really love my 29 - it’s a great ride and a lot of fun!

Softer? In case you don’t wear wrist guards and a helmet with your 20, definitely wear them with your 29. The increased speed and falling height can make for “rolling” UPDs–your body rolling, not the wheel. :astonished:



Softer in the terms that they’re less “violent”. On my 20, when I UPD, it tends to be somewhat “violent” and the uni can go flying off in different directions. I think it’s because it’s lighter or maybe I just do dumber things on it, I dunno.

But when I’m on the 29, I almost always fall forward and always land on my feet. The landings are a lot more controlled, albeit unplanned.

I don’t wear any safety gear except for wrist guards when I’m on my 20 learning new things. (not that I advocate this, it’s just what I’ve always done)

I currently have 150s on mine with a nanorapter so that I can go uphill offroad with it. On pavement, I’ve yet to go up a road too steep for 125s.

The KH29XC comes with 150s and I’ve just swapped on some 165s and a road tire for a road hill climb next month. Mmmm…leverage.

A 29 is 45% bigger, so that means 45% faster at the same rpm. Or go about the same speed at about half the rpm.

Howver, assuming the same length of cranks, the seat is only 4.5 inches (11 cm) further off the floor.

Add to that that your 20 may well have 125mm cranks, and the 29 may well come with 150 mm cranks, and you lose an inch of “extra” height.

Freemounting is that bit harder, but the difference is 90% confidence.

I ride a 28, rather than a 29, and think of it as a very good general purpose machine. with a slightly fatter (i.e. standard) tyre, and 110s, I’ve done some pretty difficult woodland cross country on it.

The 28 is more like a big 24 than a small Coker, if you see what I mean.

Highly recommended.

I bought my Nimbus 29er last month after having used my first unicycle (Sun 24-inch) since last July. I’m not super skilled on either one, but on the Sun I had reached the point where I could go for several miles at a time throughout my neighborhood and nearby side roads. Freemounting was successful about 80% of the time. I could pass joggers but no way to do any distance work.

The Nimbus: I found it a bit tough at first to mount and stay up. In fact, I was disappointed with myself that I couldn’t do it the first couple of days. Mind you, I live in a hilly neighborhood that is probably easier with a 24-inch wheel. At this point though, I really enjoy the Nimbus. It is a much smoother ride and has really extended my range. Certainly not as fast as most bikes, but the speed is not too shabby. Freemounting is something I’m still working on; and I’m successful about 75% of the time. I’ve done a couple of moderate rides - 10 miles or so - and feel pretty good so now I’ve entered myself in the local diabetes charity ride at the end of June and I plan to go as far as I can on the Nimbus (the ride is 80 miles/day for two days).

Bottom line: For me, going from 24 to 29 for me took 3 days; a little longer to be comfortable with the increased height and speed. A month later I have to admit I still need more practice with mounting and tight turns. Nevertheless, it’s worth it. Good luck.

I ride 150’s mostly because I am a little out of shape and they are easier for hills. I do about half road and half fire road/steep trails. I run a Kenda Klaw tire. I bought 125’s and plan to use them in a month or so…when I stop being lazy. The 29 is a great ride so enjoy!!

I have 2 29ers. One with Big Apple tyre and 125mm cranks - a very versatile machine and, I think, my favourite.
I also have one with a Kenda Klaw knobbly tyre and 140mm cranks for off road. It’s great on the grass & mud (no, this is definately my favourite) but uncomfortable on the tarmac/concrete etc.

I love the feeling of height and speed (although I don’t go very fast).


I bought a 20" towards the end of last Summer, learnt to unicycle, spent a few months commuting on it. For a cheap boost in speed, putting on shorter cranks can make a difference.

I bought a Nimbus 29er over Christmas. And I didn’t really like it… at first. It did go fast, but the inertia was huge and it was really quite high up (I’m about 5’ 9", and it always feels like a pretty big jump in the air for me!). Freemounting seemed hard, because of the extra height, the inertia of the big wheel, and the high gearing (127mm cranks).

With practice over the last few months, I’ve really got to like my big uni. I can’t idle it yet; for trick stuff I prefer to use my 20" - at least to start with. But I ride the 29er to work quite often, and did 10 miles in a bicycle timetrial recently. Actually, it was after that long ride that I really started feeling fully comfortable on the 29er.

Crashes can be a bit interesting, I really do roll / bounce along the road after a UPD sometimes. And the unicycle builds up a lot of momentum so it sometimes flies a LONG way if I fall off without catching it. Being generally careful to dismount around pedestrians, keep aware of the other traffic, etc, I’ve found that this isn’t much of a problem now but does require concentration.

It’s also a reasonably good offroad machine. Probably not for hills or really muddy stuff. But certainly for lumpy tracks across fields, etc, if I can manage to mount it on the lumpy ground it totally destroys my friend’s KH24XC for speed (hard work for my legs though!). I think longer cranks and possibly a knobbly tyre would make it a fantastic crosscountry muni machine.

It’s a great idea to wear protective gear with faster unicycles, but I always point out that increased height means that you also have increased time before your foot hits the ground in a run-it-out UPD. In this case, however, that’s not too important since people riding 20" unis tend to ride at a much lower cadence than when they ride 29" unis. So while your uni will often hit the ground when you have a UPD from a 20", the likelihood of your body hitting the ground in a UPD is a bit higher when riding a 29" despite that increased reaction time.

Re: Going from 20 to 29

On Mon, 24 Apr 2006 15:44:43 -0500, Mikefule wrote:

>A 29 is 45% bigger, so that means 45% faster at the same rpm. Or go
>about the same speed at about half the rpm.

Oops, check your math. Go about the same speed at about 69% of the

>Freemounting is that bit harder, but the difference is 90% confidence.

Not a matter of math, but I would rate the ‘confidence’ part lower.

That’s why I put “about” twice in the sentence.

mmm, ive never had a chance to try a 29er, but going from a 12" to a coker isnt THAT much different!!! (well actually it is) So I rekon going to a 29er would be easy! :astonished: