What’s up you guys? I’m new to the unicycle community and I ride a Torker unistar CX with 16 inch rims. I’m going to compete in a triathlon in November and I’m looking to get a unicycle with a larger wheel to improve my speed and time. What are some recommendations for good racing unicycles that cost around $250? I don’t want anything too crazy, but something that would boost my ground displacement/tire revolution. Thanks.
It’s a sprint triathlon with a ten mile biking portion. When I purchased the unicycle, the description listed it as having a 16" wheel, so riding is brutally slow. I’ll do anything to pick up the pace a bit.
I did a Triathlon last year on my Schlumpf 36". I did not do as well as I would have liked on it, I was just not fast enough and dropped quite a few places. My overall speed on the cycle placed about 125th (out of about 250).
So my suggestion is go big as you can. I would suggest looking at 36", you have time to learn how to ride it effectively.
How tall/heavy are you? I just bought my 6 year old a Torker CX 16 inch. I’m not sure what the weight limit is on that thing, but it is recommended for ages 5-9 according to what I saw. Anyway, your height will determine how big you can go, although there are short people here who have modified a 36 and made it work. Anyway, as Roger said, go as big as you can to compete against bikes. I don’t think you can find a used 36 for $250, though.
I’d agree you should look for a 29" or 36". Coming from a 16" there will be a significant learning curve but November should give you enough time to learn to be comfortable on either if you can put in some miles. I’ve found that on a 29" with 114mm cranks I am able to avg 10mph over several miles, which is only 1 or 2 mph slower than I average on the 36" (but the 36" feels like less work).
One option might be to get a cheap Sun 28" and then add a better seat and shorter cranks, all for way under $250.
It’s rare but a couple have gone for well under that recently:
Thing is though, he’s not ‘competing’ against bikes- he’s not got a chance of winning against bikes if he’s on a unicycle.
So, IMO, he just needs to get a unicycle that’s suitable for covering ground at a reasonable speed i.e. 24/26/29" wheel: given that his current uni is a 16"-er, any of those are going to be significantly faster and better at distance.
36-ers, as well as being faster, also come with a significant injury risk (relative to the smaller wheels), are a major pain to transport, and lack the all round versatility of the smaller wheels, as well as being out of the specified price range.
I do find this attitude of going for the biggest wheel possible, and then stick some gears in to make it even faster, to be a little bizarre. If people really want to go at bike speeds then maybe they should just get a bike?
I’ve no problem with people wanting to use 36"-ers and 36" geared unis, but, they’re not the be-all and end-all- they come with significant disadvantages when it comes to cost, amount of riding time necessary to achieve competency and increased risk of injuries, as well as losing the simplicity that, for many, is one of the most appealing aspects of unicycling.
I’ve spent close to 20 years riding unicycles and I’ve been totally happy with the 24"-29" wheel sizes: if I were doing a triathalon and wanted to do it on a unicycle, I’d use my 26", cos it’s the size I’m most used to, and it would be a good choice for the event. A 36" wheel would indeed be faster, if I put in the time necessary to master it, but, I’ll go for the 26".
Funny thing is that you are arguing with a guy who doesn’t own a Uni over 24 inches and doesn’t own a Schlumph hub.
Anyway, competition is mainly about improving or challenging yourself. However, if you didn’t care about how well you were going to do in the race, then I guess we just wouldn’t enter races in the first place. So, whether he can win against bikes is not a good reason on restricting your choices.
Also, the “need for speed” has been around ever since the wheel was invented and probably before. That need is satisfied in many different ways for different people. Some prefer the speed of gravity by jumping out of an airplane. My point is that we are here because we prefer unicycles over bikes in most cases. Also, most mid-range race bikes are still more expensive and require more maintenance than a geared Uni, so why would “we” want to pay more for 2 wheels when we prefer 1?
I just think that your advice given to the OP about "going as big as you can (to compete against bikes), was worth challenging, especially given his comments in that first post-
Clearly a 24/26/29" fulfils his specifications, as any one of them will boost his ground displacement and give him a better time, without being ‘too crazy’.
Whereas as a 36-er would only be particularly useful if he wanted maximum ground displacement (for a unicycle), which he doesn’t, or, if he wanted to do as well as he possibly can against bikes, which, again, he didn’t mention in his OP.
And of course, it’s highly debatable whether a Coker fits his requirement of being ‘not too crazy’- opinion amongst unicyclists seems to be a bit divided on that one
If he’s really, really serious about mashing his time to the minimum possible (on a unicycle) and willing to put in some real time learning to ride/free mount a 36-er, willing to put up with the increased risk of injury etc- then clearly he needs a 36.
But, I get the impression he just wants to find a unicycle that’s suitable for riding outdoors with more zip than a 16"- and probably doesn’t want to kill himself doing it, but prefers a more chilled/fun approach. In which case, event the 24" is going to be a vast improvement on his current 16".
And, to the OP, if you want any advice concerning the differences between 24", 26" and 29" unicycles, I’ve ridden for many years on those sizes, and, there’s lots of other threads here on that very issue.
Some here consider the 24" wheel to be rubbish for any kind of distance/commuting- IMO, that’s rubbish, as I’ve personally spent over 10 years happily commuting on a 24" (24x3 actually- it had a big fat 3" tyre). For the kind of riding I wanted, the 24x3 was superb.
Currently I’m on a Quax 26" which I very much like, and, again, is very good for general commuting involving footpaths and roads.
The 29-er I didn’t quite gell with- that extra speed came at the cost of it requiring that bit more consistency with the riding to keep on top of it i.e. a few weeks without riding meant caution for the first few rides, whereas with the 24/26" you can hop on after a lay-off and feel confident.
Last year I completed a sprint triathlon on my 29er with only a month or two of getting used to it. It was a 500 yd swim, 10 mile bike (uni), and a 2 mile run. I completed the uni portion in 1:05 on my nimbus 29er with 125mm cranks (time includes swim/cycle transition). This was almost a 10 mph average.
This year I did the same triathlon on the same uni setup, with a year’s more experience under my belt. I got a 53 minute uni time (including swim/cycle transition). This was about a 11.5 mph average if you cut out the transition time (2-3 min).
Before my first triathlon listed, I had only been riding for about four or five months, and the only thing I had ridden before the 29er was a 24". If you want to go faster, get a 36". There was a really cheap one in the classifieds recently. It was well within your price range.
I’ve never ridden anything bigger than a 24, so I can’t say from experience how “crazy” it is to ride a 36. I’m sure some people make the adjustment easier than others. As you implied, it could easily be argued (hahah) that someone who has never ridden anything larger than a 16 inch wheel might have some initial difficulty adjusting to a 36.
Anyway, personally, I can’t wait to ride a 36 (and 29) to see what they really feel like compared to my 24x3 duro. I just can’t fit it into my budget right now. I’m perfectly comfortable riding my 24x3 duro on the technical single track trails 3-4 times per week, but I would never recommend it for a road race or commuting on pavement.
Jyngles, it is good to hear there is somebody so close. We should get together sometime, but only after I get some distance under my belt. I still need to learn to free mount. My goal is to get a 29 incher (then a 36) and ride the Eastern Trail (from Kittery to Sout Portland). Distance riding is my goal. The trail - old railroad - runs near our house.
Today I found a couple things help with BOS:
If I sit a little more foward on the seat, switching between bum out of seat to bum in seat is smoother. If I sit too far back, when I remember to BOS the weight would cause the uni to tilt a little farther back then I wanted and I would almost stall.
The more tired I am the easier it is to keep BOS. My legs just give up and work mostly on peddling.
I made it pass the tree, as my daughter and I call it. To avoid ending up on youtube during the early learning stages, I only ride in a cementary. The place is empy, but has nice paved roads. The tree is at a point where there is a slight rise. I always UPD here as my thighs are usually screaming in pain and the rise throws me off balance. Today I made it significanly farther and with no pain! There is light at the end of the tunnel. BTW, the cementary is boring for my daughter as it is too easy for her.
I talked my son (7) into trying it on his uni and he made a couple revolutions with assistance. But he likes his scooter that shoots sparks out the back better than his 16 inch uni.
I ‘had a go’ on a 36-er, and, have done quite a bit of riding on my KH 29. The 29-er has dual hole cranks of 150mm and 125mm- obviously the 125 setting gives a taste of a bigger wheel with the higher speed and lesser control.
The thing about 36-ers, and this is obvious from numerous threads here over the years, is that it’s in a different category to the smaller wheels.
My friend who owns the 36-er, for example, has done a lot of riding on it, yet is still unable to freemount the thing- interestingly, when I had a go on it, I found riding it problematic (obviously a few days practice would sort that out) yet, cos I insisted on attempting to free-mount it, i did, after around 10 failed attempts, manage a successful freemount.
And freemount issues are not uncommon- a lot of people with 36-ers take a long, long time before they are able to consistently free mount it.
Similarly with my 29-er- on the 150mm cranks setting, free mounts were easy, and so was idling (very useful at traffic lights)- on the 125mm setting, with the lesser control, freemounts became a bit trickier, as did idling.
The other big factor, like I mentioned before, is that on the 24x3 and 26", control is so good that I can have a few weeks without riding and hop on confident, with no ‘re-adjustment’ period necessary.
On the 29-er that’s not the case, especially on the shorter crank setting.
Personally, I would (and have done). Obviously, for a road race it depends on what you’re racing against, if it’s a snail for example, a 24x3 would be more than capable
Against a bike- no chance- against a unicycle, well, it depends on the size of the other uni.
But for commuting- I absolutely would recommend a 24x3: obviously it depends on the nature of the commute, but, if, for example, the specs included being equally at home on pavement and road, the presence of steep hills, possibly the option to cover some rougher ground, ability to freemount and idle at traffic lights: then, in that scenario, the 24x3 has clear advantages over, say, a 29-er.
It’s also a bit safer if you come off (less height).
And I’m speaking as someone who used his 24x3 for commuting for around 10 years (despite also possessing a 29-er at the time). Now I’m using a Quax 26" for commuting, admittedly I got it mainly cos it was on special offer and had a yellow rim but, as it turns out, it’s also a fantastic little commuter now I’ve switched to a lighter and less aggressive tyre. It’s a little bit zippier than the 24x3, cranks are also a tad shorter, but, I can freemount it consistently and idle it at traffic lights, so I’m happy.
Really, for this thead to progress, we need to hear from the OP and his opinions on what’s been said so far.
I understand that my time won’t compare with the normal cyclists on bikes and I’m okay with that. I just don’t want to finish dead last, or worse, get a DNF for taking too long.
I appreciate all of your contributions and I think I’m going to go with the 29", hopefully nimbus since there seems to be a general approval for that brand. Let me know if you hear of any going for around $250. Thanks
The Club looks like a good unicycle, I’ll have to look into that a bit more. What about Sun? They’re super cheap and come in sizes that I’m looking for, but I’ve also seen some awful reviews. Would I be wasting $120 if I bought a 26" Sun?