Help Me! RE: My new Geared 36KH

Hello everyone, I just got my first Schlumpf hub and had it put on a custom KH 36 inch unicycle (built by Bronson Silva out of California). Bronson did an amazing job at putting it all together! After riding it a few times, i realized how fast this thing has the potential to go! Wow…its pretty awesome. My questions is, what crank size works best with this setup (while learning how to shift)? I have tried the 150’s and they seem great in low gear, but in high gear, its very hard to keep the wheel moving. Would the 167’s be easier to control in high gear? Or would the 167’s make it too difficult to shift with the heal as the cranks rotate? I have only had it two days so far, but any advice on what crank arm setup is easier to learn with would be appreciated…Also, who makes the best and most comfortable protective gear for my legs/ elbows (A fall is inevitiable)? My ankle bones are getting pretty bruised up already from trying to shift…lol. It gets hot where i live, so something light weight is what im looking for. Any other advice regarding this geared 36er would be appreciated :slight_smile:

Are you riding on mostly flat, paved roads, or are you having trouble climbing with the 150s? But yes, 165’s would give you additional leverage but in low gear they tend to be too long. You might consider the dual hole KH moment crank 137/165 combo, which would give you that extra leverage in high gear, while the 137’s would be decent length for riding in low gear.

The only downside is, whenever you shift, you’d still be using the same crank hole, unless you were to stop each time and change the holes. I think that’s why so many people, including KH, try to find a happy medium for crank length when riding a geared uni; one that works well in both 1:1 and high gear.

As for your ankles, I would highly recommend a shoe, such as the 5.10 Karver, that has padded ankle protection.

Some people have trouble shifting with 165mm cranks others find it OK. I guess you never know until you try it.

I sort of wonder if you should start out with a smaller wheel for your schlumpf though, at least until you get used to shifting. Maybe a 29" wheel for now and once you get used to it re-build it into your 36 if you want to go faster.

I am pretty new to schlumpf hubs but have been riding for years. I don’t feel I am quite ready to put my hub in a 36 quite yet.

how long have you been riding a 36er?

if it’s not long, you may want to drop it to the lower gear and do some STEEP hills. Steep enough that it makes you struggle to maintain control. When you go back to the flat, the high gear should be much easier.

Don’t focus on speed too much at the beginning, just work on riding it in the larger gear. Speed will come. Know your limits as always : )

Slow and steady is the name of the game, here. I rode my 36" guni with 165 mm cranks for the first two years. No need to push yourself into riding with short cranks. Maintaining control is the priority. You may not go as fast on the flats in low gear as you would with 150’s, but that’s OK, you don’t need to. You’ve got a high gear for going fast. Ease of shifting with 165’s depends a lot on your shoe size. I can manage it pretty well with 9 & 1/2 (44) size shoes. Some folks with smaller feet have difficulty.

Please post pics of your new customized 36.


thanks everyone

I appreciate all of your advice, those of you who replied. I have been riding a 36er for about 3yrs now and love it. Im used to riding with 125s ungeared on mostly flat terrain. Texas is pretty flat…at least the parts i ride in. As for the suggestion that i should have started with a 29er to gear in order to learn on, I do agree with that. BUT, I have spent all my money on this new machine and I am committed. I think that it will just take some time getting used to. I am ok with going a little slower in low gear while using the 167’s…i prefer to go slower while learning anyway. Once i shift into high gear, the 167s will still have me going faster than im used to ungeared. Thanks again. I will attempt to post a picture of my new uni…I call her “The Mean Green.” She bites…lol

I run 137s on my geared 36. Lots of people use 150s though as well, they seem to have a bit more torque than me into the wind (evidence: last year’s unicon marathon race!)

I used a set of dual-hole 135/165s for a bit, but found that I was stronger on the 135 side. I’ve ridden a whole lot of miles on a 36er with 110s, so that might have something to do with it. I’m back to straight 137s now and happy to be there.

Shifting with 165s was a bit of a challenge at first, but after a few weeks of practice riding to and from work I was a lot more comfortable with it. I like the control I have over shifting with shorter cranks though, my feet are only a size 9 (us) so the heel doesn’t really hit the button unless I move my foot when I have longer cranks installed. With 137s I shift at different times, and more often, than I might with longer cranks, but it’s easier to go up and down so I don’t mind.

I hope that answers some questions. I think that on the whole it’s a pretty personalized choice as to your crank length etc. I know it took a few weeks at least to get the hang of up/down shifting. Once I did get the hang of doing it reliably and learned to anticipate how the unicycle behaves during/after a shift, I was a lot happier.

As a final thought, there is definitely a technique to riding in high gear, I would liken it to the first time I got on a 36 and didn’t quite ‘get’ how to let the wheel do its thing instead of trying to control it like you might a 20. When you are more used to the larger rollout it gets easier and you start to learn not to force it to accelerate so much.

First, welcome to the forums. Second, congratulations on your choice! I also have a SilvaCycles geared 36". Mine with the KH/Schlumpf hub, KH frame, and the new Nimbus handlebar setup. I love it, even though I am still slowly mastering it. I like that there are still challenges in unicycling, no matter how long you’ve been at it.

I’ll add a caveat to that; under 10mph a geared 36 is a pain. Try to cruise at 10 or better, but don’t feel the need to ride beyond your comfort zone. That zone will increase as your skills and confidence do.

Good to know. I’ve been questioning whether 150s make sense for high gear riding. As a compromise for both gears it’s pretty good, but I ride it mostly in high gear and get worn out from pushing the gear…

I haven’t tried shifting with anything longer than 150s, but I’d venture to guess it’s probably pretty easy compared to riding the thing. Unless you have really small feet I wouldn’t worry.

I would use 150s.

I had 150s on for quite a while and it was the perfect size for shifting (learn to use your heel, not your ankle, if your ankle is shifting you should learn the proper technique of the inside of your heel…it is more consistent).

I tried out 165s after the 150s because of all the climbing I was doing in Colorado. They made climbing easier, but…I didn’t find the length as comfortable as 150s. 150s feel smoother, spin easier, and have two useful gears. 150mm is still a great crank size in low gear, whereas 165 feels awful unless you are climbing.

I will be setting up my geared 36er again soon, and I will definitely be using 150mm cranks.

Great Advice from everyone!

Thanks again everyone, your advice is very much appreciated. Good to know that there are quality people willing to take the time to respond with great wisdom on these forums. I have been riding my new ride for the past week and Bronson Silva did a great job building it for me…I highly recomend him to anyone looking to have a geared unicycle built. I will be putting my 137/167s on soon and i anticipate that i will be riding in high gear most the time on the 167s…once i get a good feel for the high gear, i will be more confident in my shifting. Then i will step up to the 150s for most my riding. Thanks again to everyone. Anyone have any recomedations on what kind of protective gear i should wear? (brand) I would like something light that allows for free movement and something that can be worn in comfort for hours at a time…in texas heat…is there a such thing? lol

You could try these pads:

I have not used them, but the report is interesting. If nothing else, they would give you a head start on a teenage mutant ninja turtle costume for next Halloween. :roll_eyes: