Help with making a decision?

Hi everyone, I’ve been reading and researching a while but this is my first post. I’m getting ready to purchase my first unicycle and I could use some help. I’m looking at either a 24 muni or a 26 muni. I’ve never ridden a unicycle yet but it looks like it’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish. I’m not getting any younger. My intentions for this unicycle are for it to be ridden on the street as well as some beach riding, some hard pack roads and paths as well as semi loose gravel roads. Because I can only buy one uni for quite some time, I need it to be a sort of do all if possible. I am considering a 26 because of all the tire choices. What size tires and rims would I be looking to use? I’m 5’10” and have a 31 to 31 ½” inseam with shoes on best I can measure. I’m in fairly good physical shape from riding my bicycles most of my life. Where I live in Florida is mostly flat except for bridges…those are our hills here. I’d like to get your opinions on what I’m thinking here. If everything goes well, eventually I think I’d get a 36er as well. Can someone explain if there are any advantages of getting either the KH or the Nimbus models? It may be just personal preference but curious if one might be better than the other.

Thanks for anything you can share.

If you live near a big city you can check Craig’s list to see if you can pick up a Torker LX as a starter unicycle. I’ve found those for $35 - $50. Then buy a better one after you learn to ride.

Munis ride well on dirt and rough stuff, but some tires don’t ride well on pavement. Most are okay, but some are just annoying and always want to go off to the side, or are very sensitive to camber. If your priority is pavement, keep this in mind but if you expect to be mostly on dirt/sand/gravel don’t worry too much about it.

I just got a KH 26" and it rides great on pavement and dirt. It’s not the cheapest one out there though. When you find something you like, you can ask here about performance on pavement; usually the tires that come with the unicycles are pretty good on both.

And some people are going to say you need a 20" to learn, but that’s not true. Smaller/lighter wheels are easier, but if you don’t have one handy, and don’t want to own one, just learn on what you have. It’s going to be hard either way; you won’t be missing out! :slight_smile:

The real short and sweet version. KH unicycles have a wider rim (more float/more stiff) The saddle is a preference, but I think most people tend to agree that a KH saddle is more comfy (disregarding the KH zero). The cranks on the KH are stronger and perhaps a little heavier, and you can get dual hole versions of the KH cranks.

The disc brake on the KH is mounted on the crank arm, so it’s more exposed, however you have a symmetrical wheel build, which is in theory stronger. The Nimbus has the disc mounted to the hub on the inside, which makes it less likely to get damaged, or damage your leg in an odd crazy, but means you have to dish the wheel.

Both are fantastic unicycles, and depending on the wheel you can swap out a few parts when you order it.

A basic Nimbus 26 would be a good choice for what you’re planning. (Note this is not the Oracle.) Since you won’t be doing any downhill riding you won’t really need a brake. (Mainly for control on steep downhill grades.) The stock Nimbus has a good heavy-duty tire (Duro) which does very well in dirt, and isn’t bad on pavement if you pump up the pressure. (But it won’t last as long on pavement, being a knobby. You’re right about the tire options for the 26", there are many. I run a Maxxis Holy Roller on my 26" Nimbus, since it’s more of a dual-purpose on/off road tire, and I use that uni for both.)

Note that your learning curve with a 26" will likely be longer than a 20". Hard to say how much longer, everyone’s different. But if you’re determined, you’ll do it. (But as mentioned, picking up a cheap 20" learner off craigslist wouldn’t be a bad idea. Always good to have a spare on hand.)

Don’t forget to include gloves, knee pads, and a helmet. Believe me, you will need these. (Falls from a 26" will be a little harder than a 20, since you’re higher up. Not a lot higher, but it’s noticeable.)

Nice to see another “senior” rider in the ranks. Welcome!

I totally agree with Vertigo. As long as the cheap unicycle hasn’t been thrashed…or is a relic, it should be fine. I bought a unicycle for $20 off Craigslist and gave it to my neighbor. He learned to ride 50 ft. Better than nothing. That $20 unicycle would have been a perfectly fine starter for me (note: I’m tall and would have had to get a longer seat post).

BTW, I began on a 24" Torker LX. Nice, sturdy unicycle, not too expensive. I haven’t seen it in two years, though…lent it to a buddy, never asked for it back.

I’m one of those people on the forum who say over and over “get a 20"”. But I don’t know if that’s the best for starting. It’s great for learning not-quite-beginner skills, though, like idling and riding backwards.

I’d go for the first reasonable looking 20-24" you can find on CL, then once you’re up and riding, get a 29". I suggest 29" because you have few hills, and you’re probably going to want to ride distance. It’s great that you’re looking forward to a 36", but I think you’d enjoy that size more after building skills on smaller wheels.

Welcome to the forum!

I did 2 weeks on a 20" circus type one then bought a 26" nimbus muni.
You have to adapt to a bigger wheel at some point. The 20" gave me a taste for the sport.

Help with making a decision

I’ve been waiting a while to respond while I digested what you all have told me. Thank you all for replying and clearing a lot of things up for me as well as giving me more to think about. I was actually thinking of buying new but many of you got me to rethink that. I went to CL today and I found a used Club 26” up for sale close by and a used Sun Extreme 20” about 3 hours away. I have to see if the 20” pans out. I have been thinking about all that has been said here and all that I’ve read on my own in this forum and I’ve decided I should decide on the side of caution. I’m going to start out with a 20”…either new or used. I’m afraid that the 26 I dream about is going to be too intimidating at first. Perhaps after I get some skills I’ll see if it’s time to jump up to the 26. I really would like to try out some off road riding in the future if I can find any around here and I definitely want to eventually ride the beaches we have down here so something with a wide tire would be in my future.
What a great forum… so much good information.

juggleaddict – (quote) “The real short and sweet version. KH unicycles have….”
Thank you much for explaining the differences of the two brands. That will help when deciding on something in the future.

I’m in complete agreement about using protective gear. I’m going to look into that and get some. Do the kind of shoes I use play a role?

If I should have to buy new (not many uni’s on CL around here) will a freestyle 20” be good for learning on. Which 20’s should I look at? What’s the difference in them? I’m 210 lbs…. does it matter if the wheel is single wall or double wall?

I also weigh 210. If I could only keep one uni it would be my Nimbus Equinox street. Except for riding fast, you can do just about anything on it. I like the square knurled crown. Helped me learn one footed riding and idling. Super lightweight. Durable tire. The long neck facilitates a wide range of seat post adjustment. The Equinox is very strong.

A cheap uni could be damaged by jumping/dropping up/down a curb. However, you’re not going to want to do this type of thing as a middle aged, heavy beginner. So I wouldn’t be overly concerned about a POS first unicycle. But if you’re okay dropping coin on a nice 20" … there’s my recommendation. Good luck.

For the shoe question; A shoe that is reasonably firm with above ankle support will do you fine to start. A mid weight pair of hiking boots are good. Too light a sneaker and your feet are really going to hurt. Purpose built riding shoes like 5.10s are great but you might find their soft soles stick a bit too well to your pedals at first.

It’s also really nice looking… love the black.
… Middle aged… lol… I wish… thank you!

Thanks for replying to this. I have been reading a lot trying to find out how to start out with unicycling and I’ve been saving threads when I find them with information I think I need right away. Somewhere, and I guess I didn’t save this one, I think someone talked about not having a shoe that had heels on them. (??) and further referred to a flat soled shoe with a picture. I was curious about the 5 10’s because someone said in the same thread I think that they were sticky. I’ll look for the lightweight ankle high work boot/shoe.

Do I want a pedal that has the spikes(?) or not?

Best not have pedal pins for a beginner but pedals are very easily changed. You will want pins eventually.

Yes! Forget about pedals with pins for awhile, your shins will thank you. Once proficient in riding, specifically mounting you will definitely want to switch up to pinned pedals. They help keep your feet from slipping around on pedals especially during more aggressive riding.

They definitely do, but for learning my recommendation is simply tennis shoes/running shoes/skateboard shoes. Anything with a flat rubber sole. Stiffer is better, and high tops will help your ankles, but in my experience shoes aren’t that big of a game-changer when learning the basics. (Just my opinion.)

Help with making a decision

Thank you all for your help, so much to learn.

LanceB - I don’t have any experience with skateboard shoes. Are they fairly stiff? I’ve seen both low and high tops in these online. Their soles wouldn’t be sticky like the 5 10’s ?

I read the term “running out” a upd several places. Does that only become more difficult with the larger wheels or does it apply to some of the smaller ones to?

Skateboard shoes vary a lot. Mostly they have extra padding. I’d recommend going to your local sporting goods store, or shoe store with a good selection of sports shoes, and see which ones you like best.

Running out a UPD is the goal for pretty much every UPD on any wheel. It just means that you hit the ground feet first, and run out your momentum without falling. This becomes somewhat harder the faster you go, or if you’re on a steep downhill. I’m not sure if it’s harder or easier with different wheel sizes. With smaller wheels you’re closer to the ground to start with, but with larger wheels you have longer to think about it. Personally, I think I’m about equal in running them out across wheel sizes. Depends a lot on terrain, too. I tend to fall fairly often on rough single-track muni (usually 24" wheel), but not very often when road riding (32" wheel). (Keep in mind, I’m a very mediocre rider. Others’ results will vary substantially.)

Cheers! :slight_smile:

Help with making a decision

LanceB … Thanks for the explanation…that helps!