How much better is a Muni on trails?

I have a 24" Schwinn with a standard tire that I’ve I’ve been using on
trails and I’m wondering how much better would a Muni perform, and at what
tire size?

I can ride pretty well on hard-packed dirt and a little bit of small loose
gravel, but lots of ruts and half-dollar sized stones tend to make the
traveling impossible.

My son and I went on a trail ride yesterday, he used his Muni, I was on a
24" DM Ringmaster. The terrain was very variable - from smooth paths to
very rough fields. We swapped unis from time-to-time and it was noticeable
that the Muni was quite a lot easier to ride over rough ground. I think
the reasons for this are a) the cranks are longer (150mm vs. 125mm) so
it’s easier to push b) the tyre is wider, softer and ‘grippier’ c) the
pedals felt more secure ( they have spikes). The Muni also has an
improvised air seat (just an inner tube wound round the normal Miyata
saddle) - this also made the ride a bit less uncomfortable, but you could
do this to any uni.

Hope this helps,

Mark

On Wed, 05 Sep 2001 01:15:46 GMT, “Import Car Fan”
<dsholt@hotmail.com> wrote:

>
>I have a 24" Schwinn with a standard tire that I’ve I’ve been using on
>trails and I’m wondering how much better would a Muni perform, and at
>what tire size?
>
>I can ride pretty well on hard-packed dirt and a little bit of small
>loose gravel, but lots of ruts and half-dollar sized stones tend to make
>the traveling impossible.

I began muni riding on a crapy-generic-24’’ with a 2.1 cheapo tire. That
worked well in many easy situations at that stage. However no riding thru
mud or loose scree. I also did muni on a 20’’ DM ringmaster (2.1 cheapo
tire too) which was real cool.

This week end we were filming at the local moutain bike center and one of
my friend was riding my monty 20x2.5 amazingly well down the ski slopes
(and thru muddy single tracks). The only thing I was up to with my 26x2.6
muni was a comparatively higher speed.

For muni I like the 26’’ for its ability to run over technical spots with
a bit of momentum. However I tend to get stuck pretty easily on non
maintained singletracks where you find lots and lots of fallen logs,
holes,ect… with no possibility to get a decent amount of speed (well if
you like hopping that’s cool).

Oli-

-----Original Message----- From: Import Car Fan
[mailto:dsholt@hotmail.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 9:16 PM To:
unicycling@winternet.com Subject: How much better is a Muni on trails?

I have a 24" Schwinn with a standard tire that I’ve I’ve been using on
trails and I’m wondering how much better would a Muni perform, and at what
tire size?

I can ride pretty well on hard-packed dirt and a little bit of small loose
gravel, but lots of ruts and half-dollar sized stones tend to make the
traveling impossible.

Import Car Fan wrote:

> I have a 24" Schwinn with a standard tire that I’ve I’ve been using on
> trails and I’m wondering how much better would a Muni perform, and at
> what tire size?
>
> I can ride pretty well on hard-packed dirt and a little bit of small
> loose gravel, but lots of ruts and half-dollar sized stones tend to make
> the traveling impossible.

This is a tough question. It really connects to your ability, your
stature, the terrain, your expectations and the quality of available
equipement.

You can ride some bodacious stuff on a 24 inch cycle with an appropriate
tire. But if you are 6 foot tall or more, the 26 incher will eventually
work better for you than a 24.

If you tend to get into terrain with tight spaces, the 24 excells, but in
more open spaces with larger rolling obstacles the 26 excells.

When it comes to hopping or jumping, either one is excellent.

Finally, way more coooool stuff- tires, rims, pedals and cranks - is
available for the 26 because of the mountain bike market.

G

> I have a 24" Schwinn with a standard tire that I’ve I’ve been using on
> trails and I’m wondering how much better would a Muni perform, and at
> what tire size?

As I have always said, pretty much any old unicycle can be fun on trails.
The fun is in the ride, not the hardware. But not all unicycles are
created equal.

There are four basic factors that separate a MUni from a “street”
unicycle:

  1. Fatter tire
  2. Longer crank arms
  3. Bigger wheel
  4. Stronger components

Those four things are not necessary on any MUni, especially if you include
Trials unicycles, like the Monty.

  1. The most important element for good riding on the trail is the fat
    tire. I cannot overstate the difference a big tire can make for simply
    plowing through bumps that would be considered technical for a skinnier
    tire. The fat tire also has built-in suspension, and can handle more
    rocks and drops without damage.

  2. Longer crank arms will provide more leverage. Some people like them
    longer than others. I still have 150mm cranks on both my MUnis but many
    top riders use 175. A normal size for a 24" unicycle is 125mm which is
    not good for leverage. I have a 24" with 140mm cranks, which also works
    well on trails.

  3. A bigger wheel will roll over more stuff, not to mention getting you
    from point A to point B faster. The advantage to a bigger wheel is no
    different off the road than on, except that if you go to 26" you now
    can select from a whole world of mountain bike tires. In 24" there is
    very little to choose from. A knobby tire will of course give you
    better traction on loose stuff, but if you get too knobby, your ride
    quality will suffer on the smoother stuff.

  4. Since a MUni is expected to have more torque applied to the pedals, and
    undergo more drops, you’ll want strong parts. A basic street unicycle
    is basically intended for use on level ground by somebody who isn’t
    hopping. A good MUni will be built to take it.

So, to sum up, the first and best upgrade you can do with a regular
unicycle for riding on trails is to put on the widest tire you can
comfortably fit in there. Remember you need clearance for both frame flex
and mud. Some frames flex more than others, especially the Schwinn and
Semcycle deluxe types. But all frames flex some. I would consider 1/8" on
each side to be too little, especially on a flexi frame.

Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone jfoss@unicycling.com
www.unicycling.com

“The difference between a winner and a loser is character.”

CORRECTION:

I wrote

> 1. Fatter tire
> 2. Longer crank arms
> 3. Bigger wheel
> 4. Stronger components
>
> Those four things are not necessary on any MUni, especially if you
> include Trials unicycles, like the Monty.

I meant, “Those four things are not necessary on every MUni,” in that
there are exceptions.

JF

With a 26" tyre, you get to roll over a lot of things that would throw
you off on a 20" unicycle. The wider tyre also helps with traction,
and comfort.

I would always use my Muni if I was out on a surface that was loose, I
only use my old 20" unicycle for tarmac or a wooden floored surface.

If you ride in the wet (like we do in western Oregon), the pedals make a
big difference. Grippy pedals (the nastier the better) make all the
difference in whether a unicycle will work on the trails.

Scott Arnold

>John Foss wrote:
>
>As I have always said, pretty much any old unicycle can be fun on trails.
>The fun is in the ride, not the hardware. But not all unicycles are
>created equal.
>
>There are four basic factors that separate a MUni from a “street”
>unicycle:
>
>1. Fatter tire
>2. Longer crank arms
>3. Bigger wheel
>4. Stronger components
>
>Those four things are not necessary on any MUni, especially if you
>include Trials unicycles, like the Monty.
>
>1. The most important element for good riding on the trail is the fat
> tire. I cannot overstate the difference a big tire can make for simply
> plowing through bumps that would be considered technical for a
> skinnier tire. The fat tire also has built-in suspension, and can
> handle more rocks and drops without damage.
>
>2. Longer crank arms will provide more leverage. Some people like them
> longer than others. I still have 150mm cranks on both my MUnis but
> many top riders use 175. A normal size for a 24" unicycle is 125mm
> which is not good for leverage. I have a 24" with 140mm cranks, which
> also works well on trails.
>
>3. A bigger wheel will roll over more stuff, not to mention getting you
> from point A to point B faster. The advantage to a bigger wheel is no
> different off the road than on, except that if you go to 26" you now
> can select from a whole world of mountain bike tires. In 24" there is
> very little to choose from. A knobby tire will of course give you
> better traction on loose stuff, but if you get too knobby, your ride
> quality will suffer on the smoother stuff.
>
>4. Since a MUni is expected to have more torque applied to the pedals,
> and undergo more drops, you’ll want strong parts. A basic street
> unicycle is basically intended for use on level ground by somebody who
> isn’t hopping. A good MUni will be built to take it.
>
>So, to sum up, the first and best upgrade you can do with a regular
>unicycle for riding on trails is to put on the widest tire you can
>comfortably fit in there. Remember you need clearance for both frame flex
>and mud. Some frames flex more than others, especially the Schwinn and
>Semcycle deluxe types. But all frames flex some. I would consider 1/8" on
>each side to be too little, especially on a flexi frame.
>
>Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone jfoss@unicycling.com
>www.unicycling.com
>
>“The difference between a winner and a loser is character.”

Scott Arnold Springfield, Oregon

Handlebars are for wimps

Olivier Paugam <opaugam@aptilon.com> wrote in message
news:FD35DC6A97CB2A4DBEBA1152E54452330A5887@EXCHANGE.aptilon.com
>
> For muni I like the 26’’ for its ability to run over technical spots
> with a bit of momentum. However I tend to get stuck pretty easily on non
> maintained singletracks where you find lots and lots of fallen logs,
> holes,ect… with no possibility to get a decent amount of speed (well if
> you like hopping that’s cool).

On the technical spots, like bumpy terrain, I tend to turn the pedals 180
degrees at a time, then turn the wheel sharply about 45 degrees, pause,
and then repeat, until I’m through it in a kind of “zig-zag” fashion. I
don’t go very fast with my standard tire and 24" Schwinn, but it seems to
work better than plowing through it straight, and it looks impressive.

If I got a larger 26" Muni, would I still be able to use this strategy
effectively? Would the larger wheel hinder me when trying to make 45
degree turns?

A fat tire, whether 24" or 26", will not be as conducive to the same
zig-zag pattern. A fat knobby tire doesn’t like to do those scuff turns as
you zig-zag. So the zig-zag will straighten itself out. But the fat tire
rolls over stuff easier so the straighter line is more rideable.

The good news is that the technique you have learned to pedal half a
revolution, pause, make adjustments, and go for the next half revolution
is exactly what you need to do on a fat tire muni to ride technical
sections. You’ll just be going in a slightly straighter line. And instead
of doing a scuff turn as you zig-zag you might find that with a fat tire
it is easier to do a little hop to adjust yourself and change direction.

When I was riding my Pashley with a 2.1" or 2.3" tire I would twist and
turn and zig-zag to get around obstacles and to find the easier line on
the trail. When I got a muni with a 3" tire my lines straightened out and
I was no longer constantly looking for the easiest line on the trail.

The sweet spot (IMHO) for a muni tire is 2.6" to 3" when riding on
technical terrain. Skinnier tires don’t let you ride at a low enough
tire pressure to get the real advantage that a fat tire gives you. I was
never happy with the 2.3" tire on my Pashley because I had to use a
higher pressure and never got that fat tire feel. A general rule of
thumb is that the 2.6" Gazz Jr. is a great tire for cross-country type
riding and the 24x3" Gazz is a great tire for the more technical and
more aggressive riding.

john_childs

>
>On the technical spots, like bumpy terrain, I tend to turn the pedals 180
>degrees at a time, then turn the wheel sharply about 45 degrees, pause,
>and then repeat, until I’m through it in a kind of “zig-zag” fashion. I
>don’t go very fast with my standard tire and 24" Schwinn, but it seems to
>work better than plowing through it straight, and it looks impressive.
>
>If I got a larger 26" Muni, would I still be able to use this strategy
>effectively? Would the larger wheel hinder me when trying to make 45
>degree turns?
>


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