Is the 36 inch just not possible for me?

I’m not sure I’m terribly broken up about it, but I had the opportunity yesterday to ride a 36" unicycle, and my legs were too short for it. I’m not sure exactly which 36" it was. It had the metal tag on the front of the fork and it was chrome. I’ve looked at some of the ones on their website, and it could have been any number of them.

At any rate, the saddle was as low as it would go, and the cranks were very short (the shortest I’ve ever seen), and yet the pedals were still just out of reach for me. I don’t remember what size the cranks were, but I can’t imagine going any shorter and expecting to keep control. I think it also had a Kris Holm Freeride Saddle.

I’m 5’ 7", and while I’m not exactly a giant, I’m not what I would consider terribly short either. I was a little disappointed. First, I was shocked to run into another unicyclist, but even more so, I was surprised that he would just turn me loose with his 36" (he was riding his 24" at the time) and just let me take it for a bit. That guy was really nice, and I really wanted to try it out! I’m not sure I have any plans in the near future to buy one, but it’s something I thought I might like to check out if I ever wanted to do distance riding or commuting, and I’ve certainly been curious to ride one for a while.

At any rate, it looks like I’d just be SOL for ever riding one of these. Anyone else run into this or have any thoughts on this? I could see it just being an engineering issue that can’t be overcome unless I could grow longer legs, lol! The seat post stem has to be a certain length, and the seat post has to go a certain distance into the stem, and all that has to stay a certain distance above the tire. It was really close, though, maybe an inch or less.

Fear not, the Nightfox flies to the rescue.

The frame design gets rid of some of those seat tube/seatpost constraints and gives you a built in handle system.

Eric has the best solution.

Another common way, on an existing, standard 36" frame, is to cut the seat tube.


Sweet! That telescoping fork is pretty innovative!

I wondered about that. I probably wouldn’t want to shorten it too much in case it became weak enough to break, but I don’t think I’d need to take off too much. Good suggestion.

If buying new I would go with the Nightfox.

I have one though I am not short. I have the first generation where the saddle is directly over the fork and you get some rubbing with a standard saddle. The new version solves that problem.

There are a few threads here about shortening seat tubes on 36ers. some of the info might be a bit dated as far as unicycle models go but the take home message from all of them is you don’t want to cut into any butted or reinforced parts and make sure you drill a hole at the bottom of your grove before you cut the groove so you don’t form a stress point.

The problem with drastically shortened seat tubes and seatposts is the fact that you essentially lose all your adjustability and would have to get another seatpost if you want to change crank lengths or buy a thinner saddle etc.

I also wondered if there were different saddles and/or seat posts that might help. I can’t remember exactly what the seat post clamp was up against, but if I remember correctly, it wasn’t exactly up against the bottom of the saddle. Seemed like there was something else in the way preventing it from going lower, and I wonder if a different saddle/seat post might help.

I checked out the DFW Unicycle Club’s Facebook page today, and Katsu, the guy in the middle of the 1st picture below, owns the 36" and posted pictures of us and my friend Nick riding it in the second picture (darn him and his longer legs!). :slight_smile: Maybe someone will recognize which 36" it is.

Was the seat post as short as possible?

If the unicycle was only about an inch too tall as is in the picture it should be quite easy to get a standard 36er to work for you with minimal modifications.

A non-adjustable standard welded seatpost (with no collar) could be all you need to get the seat low enough.

KH freeride is also one of the thickest saddles available. Going to a slimmer saddle would also make a difference, but you don’t want to get anything you don’t find comfortable.

That’s exactly what I would be concerned about, and I agree, if buying new, there’s little question that I’d go with the Nightfox. If I found one with a conventional seat post for a really good deal and I didn’t have to take much off, I might consider it.

And it might just be that there’s only so much that can be done. You can’t get around the fact that you have a 36" wheel, and you somehow to have to get your feet to the pedals and your seat above it.

Other than a few things like this, I don’t mind bein’ short. It’s certainly nice on commercial flights, especially international ones! I got lots of space for my legs! :wink:

As far as I could tell, yes. There was just something on the bottom of the saddle that the seat clamp was hitting and keeping it from going lower. I wish I’d taken a close up picture, but I didn’t have a phone or camera with me. I’m sure I’ll see Katsu again on the trails and check it out.

I wondered about that saddle. It did seem kind of thick, but very nice, and I agree, I wouldn’t want to use anything uncomfortable. These 36" unis are for long rides and commuting, and I can’t imagine not having a good comfortable seat. If it has the same sized seat tube as my unicycles, I might be able to just try one of my standard welded seatposts and one of my saddles. Either that, or I’ll just screw some wood blocks on some old shoes and glue some rubber to the bottom! :smiley:

I’m 5’8" and have ridden my KH 36" with 150mm cranks with room to spare. I’d be surprised if you had to touch the seat tube. That’s generally necessary for much shorter people. Is it possible that the end of the seat post is hitting the bottom of the frame (or tire even)? It’s a minor thing to cut the seatpost although that’s not something you would probably do with someone else’s unicycle.

Here’s a review of the Nightfox.

No, the seatpost clamp was hitting something on the bottom of the saddle. I could clearly see it, and that was what was stopping the seat from going any lower.

My legs are kind of short for my height. My wife and I are almost exactly the same height, but I have to move the car seat pretty far forward when I drive after her. Her legs are longer, and she has a shorter torso, while I have shorter legs and a longer torso.

Thanks. Good review. I really like the fact that the seat can’t swivel. Somehow, I’m really OCD about making sure the saddle is absolutely straight, and not having to worry about that is cool! Thanks for the link!

keep in mind that although the saddle can’t swivel, I have heard of a few instances of one side of the frame slipping. Just something to be aware of. You also don’t have any tilt adjustments, and are limited in your selection of handlebars. If you’re too short for a standard frame though, you don’t have too many options. Thicker pedals, shorter cranks, a low profile saddle, and a cut down frame, in order from cheapest to most expensive. : P

Note that the oracle 32 is coming out soon… so soon in fact it’s already up on the website. With 110s it is about the same gear ratio, and should be able to keep a similar speed as a 36er with 125s.

Thanks for that extra info.

Yeah, I saw that the 32 is coming out. It’ll be interesting to see how it does.

This is one of my favorite unicycle videos. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

(That video is several years old now.)

(A year or so later Bobbie helped test a prototype version of the Nightfox uni for )


I’m not particularly short (5’11"), but I love my 32"! (I’m a slow rider, too, but with a Schlumpf hub I can keep up with the 36’r riders.)