I’m brand new to the forum, but I’m a member of most of the major bicycle forums, so I know better than to post a question before scouring the existing threads. I just can’t seem to find a thread remotely close to what I’m looking for.
My question is: What is the difference in wheel size for MUni?
As you probably know; with mountain bikes, a 29er rolls over obstacles better and is faster, but doesn’t maneuver as easily as the smaller diameter wheels. Is the same true for MUni wheels?
I’m 6’3" inches tall and about 205lbs. I’ve been MUni riding my Sun 24" unicycle with 2.0" Bontrager XC tires on it for a while now and as I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve reached it’s limitations.
Ultimately, could someone please tell me (or point me to a thread) what the difference in handling/riding is between a 24", 26" and 29" Muni?
I live in New England where the trails are less than groomed, but I also spend time in the Tucson, AZ area, so I’m looking for a uni that would be a good all-around machine for uphill, downhill, rolling over obstacles, stability/handling.
I’m looking for a quality unicycle, somewhere in the neighborhood of <= $600.
Most people do MUni on a 24".
29ers are much faster and will be harder to control on steeper hills than the smaller unis.
24" unis have wider, larger volume tyres which will make it easier to roll over bumps and rocks, and are likely to be better for big drops.
You may have already looked, but for your budget these are what you ought to be looking at.
I’ll leave it to others to give more info as I can’t think of much more!
I like the 29er wheel size better for most MUni. I like that it’s faster and rolls better. I also like that it’s closer in feel to the XC mountain biking that I used to love before I learned to unicycle.
With that said, I think 29ers are a bit more challenging when starting out because of all the difficulties of riding a bigger wheel (more intimidating, farther to fall, faster speeds yield potentially harder falls, etc.). Also, the current tire selection is a bit limited. You won’t find the fatter tires that provide a bit more cushion. This is fine with me because I’m a light 140 lbs., but I can imagine a bigger person might want a heftier wheel.
The most popular high quality muni is the KH. You can get a 24 or a 29 from A E Bike for about 450 $, that’s the way to go. Read this thread to learn about this deal.
The wide 24 tire is better on soft ground. Easier to carry around. Easier on hills or to idle, ride backwards etc. At least for newer riders.
The 29 is better in many other ways, certainly faster. You may want to get a 36 someday, which is best of all for long smooth trails. There is really no right answer, besides owning a bunch of unis!
The 26 is a good compromise size, but KH doesn’t make one. For your price range, a KH 24 or 29 from A E B, with new pedals(stockers are heavy) , would be best IMHO. They will both fit you fine. I have a 24, but if I was you I might rather have a 29, since you are already riding a 24. I really like changing wheel sizes.
The main downside of 29" for MUni is that they can’t take the beating of the smaller wheels on the market. Though the KH rim may be the strongest one available, it still can’t take as much abuse as the smaller wheels, in part because of the sheer size. As wheels get bigger they get inherently weaker, and the only way to strengthen them adds weight that makes them undesirable due to all that rotating mass.
I recommend a 29" for easy to medium trails. If it’s something you can ride fast on, a 29" will probably work well for you. But if it’s slow going with lots of hopping and wheel-stopping bumps, go for one of the stronger 24"s with a big fat tire. The weight works out about the same, depending on components, but the rotating mass isn’t as bad and it’s more maneuverable.
I’ve taken my 29" on some pretty hard trails, but it’s a little more ungainly over the gnarly sections, and when there’s edgy rocks and drops, I’m worried about a repeat of the tire pops I’ve experienced in the past (before I upgraded to the KH rim). If you really want to pound, get the KH 24 and shorter cranks (150).
I would suggest a 26 partially because that’s what I ride and love and partially because of your size. Personally I found the 24” tires did not roll over obsitcles on the trails as well as my 26 (only tried it once) and also found it quite slow. I love that extra little bit of diameter in a 26 to keep everything rolling smoother and would love to try a 29er some time for the lighter stuff but would be concerned about taking it off drops higher than a couple feet.
A good 26 with a nice wide rim and 3” tire can take lots of abuse just like a 24 but gives you a wheel diameter nearing that of a 29er.
I am thinking of getting a new 26 and was thinking I would e-mail UDC and see how much they would sell this unicycle for with the sun doublewide rim and a pair of 165mm KH cranks as upgrades
On the downside 26ers tend to be heavyer because the wheel is larger than a 24 and beefyer than a 29
Whatever you end up with I wish you the best of luck!
Just a reminder, when we say 24" we’re usually referring to extra-fat tires on 24" rims. That’s effectively a 26" wheel. Though you can also get some extra-fat tires on 26" rims, they start getting pretty heavy. But if your frame can fit them and that’s what you like, more power to ya. In the 24"s favor, it’s a little lighter so if you like to do Trials along the way it’s a better compromise than having to pedal your brains out on a 20".