Help transitioning to 29

The frame on my 24" learner unicycle broke, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get a 29". Most of my riding is on the road, so I looked forward to the increased speed. I got a 29" Yuni with the NanoRaptor tire a few months ago, and I’ve been frustrated ever since. When I had the 24" I could freemount and ride forever, and could easily ride some flat hardpack. My regular weekend ride was about 10 miles around town.

Now I can’t seem to ride more than 25 yards without hopping off. It’s like I’m learning to ride all over over again. I can freemount it and get into that sweet balance spot, but only for a moment. Ironically, I guess I’m actually afraid of the speed and falling off. My plan is to start wearing my shin/knee protection all the time (I usually just wear it offroad), and practice every day for the next few weeks hoping that everything will fall into place after a while (admittedly I haven’t had the chance to ride more than a couple times a week since getting the new uni).

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I’m almost ready to pick up my road bike again!

Hi. Sorry to hear about your frustrations. Make sure that your tire pressure is correct. Do you ride on roads that have road crown? With tire pressure too low the slope of the road grabs your wheel and makes it a struggle to ride. I have the Yuni 29" with a Kenda Klaw. When I really pumped up the tire pressure it got a lot easier to ride especially on road crown. Originally I had a Big Apple so I have never used a Nanoraptor. Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck.

Sounds like 9/10 of the problem is in your head.

A 29 is 29/24 as big as a 24 - that is only 20% bigger - and less than 20% if your 24 had a fat tyre.

20% is about equivalent to two gears on a derailleur-equipped bicycle - that’s not much.

If your cranks are the same size, then your seat will be (29-24)/2 inches higher off the ground - a mere 5/2 - 2.5 inches higher.

I am not quoting these figures to belittle you or the 29er, but to reinforce in your mind that the differences are not that great.

Yes, the 29er will take a big more starting and stopping - but that counts for accidental stops too. Ride it smoothly at a steady pace, and it will cope with minor bumps and changes in gradient that would require more care on the 24.

Yes, it will take a bit more turning and manoeuvring - but that is because it has better directional stability.

The best thing you can do is go to a big empty car park or similar open area, and ride it. Never mind freemounting - mount against a post if you haveto - just ride it. Steadily, smoothly, not too fast, not too slow. don’t try to be clever on it, just ride it.

As you get bored with that, you will start trying stuff - and will suddenly realise you are no longer frightened of it.

I am going though a similar process with an 800cc motorbike, after spending the last 3 or 4 years on a tiny twist ‘n’ go scooter. Lots of other people ride 800cc bikes, but right now I need to persuade myself that I am in charge of the bike, and not the other way round.

Re: Help transitioning to 29

I agree with Mikefule: “Ride it”.
I made the move three weeks ago from a 24 I’ve been riding, on which I could freemount (75% of the time), make reasonably tight 180’s and figure "8"s, and now on the 29 the freemounting has gone to less than 2%, and the 180’s and figure 8’s take lots of space. So I just get on (with some kind of assistance) and ride. The 29 is loads smoother over bumps and things, and I’m working on keeping the speed and balancing as smooth as possible.
Just get on and ride. It will get better.

Just 2 days ago I got my coker. I went from a trials uni to a massive 36" coker.

My first mount I got up but then hopped off, the 2nd mount I was up and riding. It is way different and I had to relearn to sharpen my turns and to idle and going backwards. Keep working on the new uni, it will fel weird at first, but with time, youll get it.

Don’t be discouraged! I rode a 20" with long cranks for 3-4 months, then got my first big wheel (Nimbus 29er). It took me another 1-2 months to really find it a comfortable ride, but I found that when I started riding it more I found it much easier to ride - the more distance I did, the better it got.

The weirdness is due to not being used to it - once you’re used to the extra mass / higher gear / extra height, you’ll be fine. 29ers are really nice unis (and good offroad too) and if you persist you’ll start feeling comfortable and safe on it.

I found that moving from my 29er to a Coker with a similar “gear” was much much easier than from the 20" to the 29".

Good luck!

I too recently made the 24-29er transition and found it difficult at first. Freemounting was totally different because the seat was just that much taller than before.

I started out leaning on stuff to get going again so I could ride with my feet comfortably placed on the pedals rather than ride away from a poor freemount with wonky foot placement. That helped a bit.

I fought road crown issues for the first couple of weeks but have felt fine for the last two. I go further without a UPD now every time and clean steeper hills and stuff as well.

Its a steep learning curve at first, but it all comes back. Practice for no more than a half hour, every day. Clear your mind, take deep breaths, and if freemounting is tough and is resulting in bad foot placement that you aren’t comfortable readjusting underway, just put off freemounting for awhile.

Hope this helps.

would a geared up 24" to 36" speed be really ahrd to control?

Do you all agree that riding should come first? Why?

Reason I ask is, I tried some parking lot riding on my 29er so I could go back to my car to mount, but got bored with riding in circles. Riding on a straightaway, like a bike path, meant that I’d have to walk back to my car to get on again after a UPD.

So, I’ve given up riding and am strictly practicing freemounting in my driveway. I’ve gotten to about 5% success rate. When I do succeed, I ride to the end of the driveway but then hop off, turn around, and attempt freemounting again. I figure I have a lot of freemounting practice yet to go before I’m consistent enough to ride.

umm … wouldn’t it be MUCH easier to get consistent at learning to freemount on a flat surface (unless your driveway is not angled) on a smaller unicycle ??
then make the transition

Yes, because it’s more fun. :smiley: But also, riding gets your legs used to the feel of the larger wheel, which hopefully will help with mounting.

I don’t think anyone mentioned what kind of freemount to try. I suggest the static mount. The key is to start with the pedal in the right place and learn to launch yourself up into the right position. It’s more of a jump than the step-up for a 24.

I too, was really frustrated with the transition from my 24 to my 29. I had a very difficult time learning to free mount the thing even though I had my mounts at better than 75% on my 24. I now mount 95%+ on my 24 and probably 80%+ on my 29. I’ve still got some real road crown issues with the Big Apple tire but as my balance improves, the issue seems to be not as significant. Riding is a breeze if I can stay right in the middle of the road but I lean one way if I’m on the right and the other way if I’m on the left. I’m gonna hafta try higher pressure. I use a standard static mount. It takes a bit more oomph to get on top of it compared to the 24 but with a little practice, I finally got the feel for it. Early on, I had several suggestion to try a rollback mount but I found the added inertia of the bigger wheel was a little difficult to overcome. I try to mix up my riding. I’ll go goof around in a nearby parking lot on the 24, working on idling, hopping and riding backwards one day, then, on the next day, I take the 29 out for a long road ride just to get more comfortable with that. The more I ride it the better I get. I used to be exhausted after 15 minutes of riding and now can stay on it for over an hour. Hey look! It’s time to get off work and go home for a ride.:slight_smile:

The problem I had freemounting my 29er was due to the short cranks (127mm). Short for me anyway. I can freemount almost 100% of the time. In fact, this evening I missed a mount. I cannot remember when I have missed a mount.

I enjoy riding my 29er around the neighborhood but I have to stay on relatively smooth surfaces like roads or sidewalks. I cannot imagine being able to ride this unicycle off-road. I guess I just need to make more effort but that extra 2.5 inches in height is sure intimidating.

All things unicycle get better the more time you spend riding.

Nope, it’s easier than a coker or 29er because it has long cranks*, thus, more control and stability.

*at least the one I rode did.

Maybe experiment a little with your seat hight, cranks and tyre pressures. But mostly practice.

I don’t remeber the transition to me first 29er being particularly difficult. However, over a year later I can only consistently freemount downhill. I didn’t worry about it, only found routes with things to help mounting (eg cycle paths round here have lots of signs to say that they’re cycle paths all the way along them, or use a friend). There are things that I would like to do but can’t until I can freemount more successfully - like riding on the beach. But it will be something new and exciting to do when I can do it. I’m getting better all the time with practicing now and then. Same with freemounting the semi-coker.

One thing that is a bit ideosyncratic with the 29er (whichever tyre/pressure/etc I’ve had) is the shoulder lean. When I’m riding the 29er I kind of twist to the left, especially if there is a crown on the road. Doesn’t happen on the semi-coker. Wierd.

But keep at it. The big wheels are wonderful.


MY driveway is flat and I can freemount my 20" Torker just fine.

I’m having more success with the rolling mount than the static. I barely even try to static mount anymore. I was at like, less than 1%. My 5% success rate doing rolling mounts seems like nothing but when you compare it to my 1 mount for every 200 tries the other way…

That last bit is going in my signature, I think.

You’ve got to get off-road on the thing, even if it is just on to a gravel path. The 29er wheel just shines on minor bumpy stuff. I got out for a couple miles tonight and by far the most fun part of the ride was to come flying down a paved hill, bump up on to the grass, and follow this little singletrackish hardpacked path the college students wore into the field over to a gravel bike path. The 29er has momentum all over a 24, and as soon as you learn how to use it, as I recently did a little bit, the riding gets incredibly fun.

Re: Help transitioning to 29

kweiss, please report back. Have the suggestions here helped you?

What was the crank length on your 24" and what is it on your 29"? The
reason I’m asking is, a few years ago, I transitioned from a 24" with
125 mm cranks to a 29’er (actually 28’er at the time). To make the
transition smoother, I started with 150 mm cranks on the bigger wheel.
That way, the “feel” is more or less the same. After some getting used
to, I changed to 125 mm.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“I’m slowly but surely stealing Wales and bringing it back to my house on the wheel, frame and cranks of my muni. - phil”

Me too, me too. :slight_smile: