Intro, feet, and wheel size

Hi everyone. My name is Norman and I will be buying my first unicycle in the next couple of days. I have a couple of questions.

First; I will be using the uni for short distance transportation. 5 miles max. I have never had a uni and from what I have read, someone my height, 6’2", would probably do well to learn on a 24" wheel. Would moving up to a 26" wheel be a big detriment to learning to ride? The larger wheel should make distance better, but at what cost to learning?

Next; Where do you put your feet on the pedals? Do you use the balls of the foot or the arch? I have looked at as many pics as I can and can’t tell for sure.

Thanks in advance
Soon to have a Torker 24" or 26"

Hi Norman,

welcome to the forums, and to unicycling. 24" or 26" to learn should not make very much of a difference. Get long cranks for your 26", like 140 or 150 mm. Later you want to swap them for shorter cranks, 100 to 125 mm, because that would allow you to ride faster and more relaxed.

Feet on pedals, most people (recommend to) put the balls of their feet on the pedal.

How do you know about that 5 mile max? If you’re like most riders with an interest in road riding, then once you can ride, you’ll want to tackle longer distances. In that case you could buy a a second unicycle with a wheel of 29" or even 36". In which case I would buy a 24" now or even a 20" to learn on. But if you’re sure about the 5 mi max, a 26" is a good compromise between learnability and distance capability.

Oh and this is a good opportunity to once more mention my tips for beginners webpage:

Hey Norman, welcome to the forums!

I learned on a 26" Nimbus. I even used a fat off-road tire (26x3.0), so it is definitely possible to learn on a 26er. Don’t know if I would have progressed faster on a smaller wheel - it took about one wheel, ~1 hour of practice every day, to be able to ride forward - but I don’t regret my choice.

The 26" is a beast off road, but I also ride it to university every day (about 2 km). The longest distance I’ve ridden is 68 km, and it was when I qualified to Ride The Lobster. Don’t think I would be able to do that on a 24", although I’ve never tried.

From what I’ve heard, it’s best to use the balls of your feet when riding longer distances. However, don’t do it in drops - you might injure yourself. Personally I usually use the arch because I feel more comfortable that way.

If you’re using it just for transportation, the bigger the wheel, the better (but probably not bigger than 36"). I suppose that whatever you learn on is easiest, so if you learn on a Coker (36") a 20" would seem very weird, and vice versa. I don’t think it would affect your learning speed, but I have only ridden on a 16", 20", and a 24", and I learned on a 20", so I’m not positive about that. If you want to do tricks a 20" is the best choice. It’s up to you.

Towards the front of your foot would probably be best, between your toes and your arch.

Good luck!

Well it sounds like a 26" will be fine for learning.
The 5 miles is based on my normal travels here in Salem, Oregon.
One question, what are “drops” that might cause me to hurt myself?


If you just want to ride from one place to another, you shouldn’t have to worry about drops.

If you want to do tricks, which you probably don’t based on your description of how far you want to ride, then drops would be something you should be cautious of… Anything more than 4’ should be avoided if you want to do tricks.

Dont take a 26’’ wheel down a 4’, or 3’ drop. Get a small wheel for that. A 2’ drop shouldn’t hurt you, but I dont reccomend dropping off of that unless you know exactly what it is you are doing.

I get it. It’s what it sounds like. A drop in height. Most I’ll ever do will be a curb.

Ah. I meant that you shouldn’t use the balls of your feet when riding down a drop. It’s not good for you body - or at least that’s what I’ve heard. Can’t remember which part though, I guess it’s something in your feet or legs that doesn’t like it.

Doing drops, with the pedal on your arches, is no problem - as long as you ride within your limits. When you can ride forward, try to ride down a curb.


May I quote you on that one-two years later? :wink:

It’s the ankle. If your foot is placed too far forward on a drop, it can over-compress your ankle (your heel pushes straight down toward the ground while the front of your foot stays in place).

But you shouldn’t have to worry about that for a while, Norman. Welcome to the community. I grew up in Salem, and most of my wife’s family still lives there, so I visit at least once a year. Good luck with your learning!