If you had to buy a 36" unicycle, which one would it be? And why?

The title says pretty much everything.:):wink:

I’ve owned three 36" unicycles.

Coker Big One. Basic steel Y crown frame (rather too flexible), a heavy steel rim, Coker button tread tyre (very noisy), and square taper cranks. It also had a heavy Viscount saddle. Despite its primitive specification I had a hell of a lot of fun on it, on and off road, and could ride it faster back then than I can ride my KH36 now!

Nimbus with the complicated shaped frame with the thin tubes and triangular plates on the forks (later sold as the “Shadow” I think), aero rim, square taper cranks, and the grooved tyre (heavy but quiet) and Nimbus seat. I had a lot of fun on that, too, but sold it to upgrade to a KH36.

KH 36, aluminium (alloy?) Inverted U crown frame, splined cranks with two holes for different lengths, alloy wheel and the best tyre of the three.

Although the KH design is simple, it is rigid, good quality, and looks smart. Everything feels and looks good and it is the best of the three I’ve owned.

On the whole, the KH is beefier (bigger diameter seat post, splined hub) and better looking. There is facility to fit a disk but I have never had brakes on any of the dozen or so unicycles (sizes 20, 24, 26, 28, 29 and 36) that I’ve owned.

So, put very simply, you can’t go wrong with a KH, although others may be comparable.

I went KH36 for the established reputation and the symmetrical wheel.

I have a KH36 and it’s pretty much the only 36" I’ve got experience with. Overall it’s a very lightweight uni compared to my 29" Nimbus and it handles just fine. Dual hole spirit cranks are very useful as you can change the crank size to experiment and they jut out slightly so your ankle isn’t bumping the cranks while riding. I’m glad I got a KH one and I don’t see a reason to get a different 36.

I have an older Qu-Ax bought second hand at a very good price. If I was to replace it, I would probably go for their #RGB series as those are pretty rigid and come with neat details like offset rim holes for internal disc brake and so on.

The Nimbus could be a good option too as it has a 125mm wide hub, not a bad thing with such a big wheel.

It’s largely personal preference, but here is what I look for in a 36er:

  • Splined cranks.
  • 100mm bearing spacing.
  • Outboard disk brake with a welded mount (usually implies the previous two points).
  • Strong wheel (not really an issue these days as we're past the era of single wall rims and aluminium hubs).
I achieved all of the above except for the bearing spacing on my Nimbus 36er. I didn't really save any money over just buying a KH36, which has all of those features out of the box. So, if I was buying a 36er today I'd get a KH36.

I bought the KH36, not because I thought it better than a Nimbus, it’s just I have a KH29 of which I’m very impressed. Quality stuff. I guess I would prefer the disk not on the outside, but have never had an issue with either unicycle. The only negative with the external disk arrangement is you must use Spirit cranks, The shortest is 110/127 and no 3 hole available. The KH36 package with Fusion 1 saddle is just what I wanted. Adding a T-bar made it complete.

Any 36’er with a disc brake. Then I would replace the saddle (most likely) and put on a handlebar. I would prefer if it came with a light weight tyre.

Oh really? :stuck_out_tongue:

More seriously, I have a 36" Trainer/Titan without a brake and it is great and I feel fairly comfortable with but actually I do agree. For such a bigger wheel a brake is a good idea. Not just for control but for saving your knees on downhill.

I agree that the external disk on a KH is an disadvantage I went with a Nimbus 36er because it was cheaper and I like the clean design of the disk brake. The disk on a KH Spirit crank is a poor add on design and adds an unnecessary brake load on the ISIS axle connection. Some have said they are concerned about the offset wheel on the Nimbus but I have had no problem with thousands of miles on it and more importantly, no one has reported any problems with an offset wheel.

On the other hand the disadvantage of no three hole Spirit cranks is a relatively easy fix. I added a 109mm hole on my 127/150mm Sprint cranks. Details here, Three hole KH Spirit crank Photo Gallery by Jim Thode at pbase.com

In the end any modern ISIS 36er will provide good reliable service.

Remember that not so long ago, we were happy to have any 36er, however primitive. And you know what? We rode them on roads and tracks and up and down hills (with no brakes) and seldom had a problem. I had to get my Coker wheel trued once and that was all.

Yes, modern unicycles are better made, stronger, lighter, more rigid, etc., but any 36 is a blast to ride.

At my peak, I could average a higher speed on my heavy and flexible Coker Big One than I can average now on my KH36, because the rider is the most important component, and I’m older and fatter.

Buy a known make from a recognised specialist, and put some decent pedals on it. Job done.

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Wouldn’t it be the same load as having no brake at all, ie braking with your legs? And probably less load on the interface than hopping would produce.

I agree with that!

My brake obsession probably comes from a bad fall on my 29’er (the Qu-Ax) going down a steep hill 10 years ago. But there are hills that I ride down on a 36’er where I would have to walk without a brake. I also have a slight fear of brake failure by the way.

You’ll probably put more force on the axle with a brake than with your legs, and an inboard disc wouldn’t put any backwards force on the axle. But does this matter at all? Isn’t the ISIS axle more than strong enough to handle this?

Ideally, whatever I can find second hand. Anything with Isis cranks will be fine, and what mainly makes the difference is seat and handlebar, and those you can bolt onto almost all of them. So I guess I wouldn’t recommend a nightfox, unless you are very short, since that removes some of the compatibility with normal parts.

Judging by the amount of worn out right spirit cranks I’ve seen, it seems to matter. They don’t fail fatally, but start creaking after some time.

If I “had to” buy a 36" what would I get? Well, I already have a Coker from 2002, and a KH with Schlumpf hub from 2010. So I would want to improve on that. I’d start with a Schlumpf hub (if I can get another one), build a wheel with one of those carbon rims, use whatever tire makes sense for that rim, a Triton titanium frame, a disk brake (haven’t researched what I’d prefer; whatever is lower maintenance I think), and a saddle that doesn’t exist yet. Or if it had to be tomorrow, I guess another one of the KH One saddles, which my crotch is starting to get used to! :slight_smile:

I don’t think braking, even on a big 36" wheel that has lots of leverage, can compare with the forces you get landing drops. And ISIS still seems to be the standard for trials bikes, so it must be generally OK for high forces.

Most of us are left foot forward, so it’s the right crank that gets forces in both directions (forward from normal pedaling, backwards from landings), so that’s the one I would expect to see develop some play, whether or not it has a brake. My Q-axle uni has a tiny bit of play on the right crank, and that’s what I expect caused it.

Curious to know why you would want 100mm bearing spacing on a 36er?

Lower Q factor. I like Spirit cranks for heel clearance (and an outboard brake). Using Spirits with a 125mm hub makes for a pretty wide pedal platform.

The wider hub does make for a stronger wheel, so it’s not all bad.

gotcha! I understand that a wider hub makes a stronger wheel but i didn’t consider the extra wide stance when paired with spirit cranks

I’ve owned a Nimbus Nightrider, KH36, and a currently have a Nightfox.

I bought the Nightfox because I like to play around with different setups, and would like to eventually try building a fat 36, or maybe a 48-52" wheel penny farthing style. I can also use it with a 26x4 wheel, though it rubs a bit. It’s the obvious choice if you are vertically challenged, but is otherwise a bit finicky to adjust etc.

If I were to buy one just for it’s intended purpose I would get a KH36 if I had various Spirit cranks to use with it or if I wanted to have compatibility with a Schlumpf hub. Otherwise I’d probably go with one with a Nimbus with ISIS hub and inboard disk break.

100mm hub + Spirit cranks has almost exactly the same quack factor as a 125mm hub with zero Q cranks (Nimbus).

I haven’t had trouble with outboard disks and think it’s a great option, but inboard just looks cleaner and with a 125mm hub you aren’t loosing much wheel strength.

Basically anything available now is pretty solid and there really aren’t any bad choices.