Keep KH26 GUni or go Fat?

It’s been a while since I’ve visited these forums: really haven’t been unicycling all that much but I’m getting the itch again. I think it’s a seasonal thing for me as I start to wind down from my ultrarunning season I really start wanted to get out and ride; especially during the winter.

Anyhow, I’m a long time rider; almost nine years now; mostly off road. I’ve gone through several unicycles. From cobbled together 26ers, to KH24, Coker 36 and now a pretty sweet KH26 GUni. I’ve accomplished some pretty awesome things on the KH24 (pre-GUni and GUni), from 50+ mile single track trail rides to 100 miles on bike paths. I really like the idea of having ONE unicycle to do it all. The KH-Schlumpf MUni hub in my KH24 and now my KH26 really was an essential part of making that sort of freedom happen. However, taking a realistic view of what type of riding I really do and plan on doing in the future I reluctantly admit that having a KH-Schlumpf MUni hub doesn’t quite seem so crucial. I just want to get out and ride and probably won’t be doing any riding where having a geared hub is necessary or needed…

Almost a year ago I visited International Falls, MN to do a winter ultramarathon. There I was overwhelmed by all the balloon tire fat-*ikes in the race (it was a 135 mile race with separate foot, bike or ski divisions). I was very intrigued as I’d secretly wanted to buy a Surly Pugsley YEARS ago. So, long story short I returned back home to the deep south with a brand new Surly Pugsley and have been really enjoying riding this fat-*ike everywhere. The low psi but voluminous tire is good for more than just snow; thing eats up the extremely rocky and rooty trails where I live. Love this *ike!

So this got me to thinking that I want the same experience on my unicycle so naturally I started looking at the stock Nimbus Oregon that comes with the Surly Nate 26x3.8 tire (I have the same tire on my fat-*ike).

So I’m seriously considering trying to sell my KH26 GUni (or at least the KH-Schlumpf MUni Hub) and buying a stock Nimbus Oregon…

Thoughts? Especially from those of you who have experience with both or at least with the stock Nimbus Oregon.

What are the pros? The cons? Thank you all in advance if you’ve read this far and are willing to help! Love this forum and have so for many years!

I personally think the fatty unicycles aren’t particularly good for MUni. The tires are optimized for volume and weight, which means they’re quite floppy compared to the stiff-sidewall tires we use for MUni. That results in a squishy ride with poor trail feel and tire fold-over on drops. You can do it but it’s not ideal for MUni.

On the other hand, the Larry, at least, is better on roads than any of the real MUni tires; at high pressure it rides more or less like a 29er. So if a lot of your riding is on pavement it might be a decent setup. It is nice to get away from the complexity of the GUni if you can, but it’s hard to replace the versatility.

I’m not sure I’m so concerned about versatility anymore. That ship has sailed perhaps. I’ve got a KH24 that I can use for more techy MUni. Just thinking would be fun to have a uni that can really tractor over stuff, still be reasonably fast on easier XC and to be able to ride on the occasional groomed snowmachine trail. Perhaps it would be best to just try and sell the KH-Schlumpf MUni Hub seperate and keep the KH26 and KH24 for techy MUni?

I’ve ridden my fatty (Surly Nate also) on a few rides this summer, it’s definetly not the best setup. It’s awesome for snow, but as soon as I get on some techy, the tire bounces too much and I sometimes get thrown away. I’m keeping the small tires for summer are I get a more direct control on my wheel.

The only way to get a good control on the fatty at relatively high speeds it having a high pressure, but then what’s the point of having such a fat and heavy tire?

In my research (I don’t own any fatty tire uni’s) it seemed like the best application of surly big tires was for Sand, Mud, and Snow. But for anything else it seemed that a normal 3" tire would be more preferred for the control and weight.

So of course I still want one, but I don’t have enough sand, mud, or snow around here to warrant the purchase :frowning:

If you are thinking of donating your 26 guni to good will, I will take it

I guess I was just hoping that the 26x3.8 tire would be a decent setup for most MUni situations (not the best, but not the worst either) and not be just good for soft surface riding. This hope stems from most folk’s view that fat-*ikes are ONLY good for soft terrain. I now know from experience that this is far from the truth. While fat-*ikes are heavy, they really are a true omni-terrain *icycle. Wonderful to ride if you’re more into adventure riding and don’t mind the speed and weight penalty. Relatively speaking I hoped that fat-tire unicycling would be much the same. I suppose the fat-*ike experience doesn’t correlate to the fat-unicycle experience… That’s too bad. That being said, it does seem like the Nimbus Oregon itself might be a very versatile frameset to build up all kinds of different unicycles.

It’s a very wide frame. Some people find that annoying.

By the way, which frames can fit the 26" 3.8" nate tire?

I recently bought an Oregon with the Nate tire. As you would suspect, it is awesome in the snow and mud but I have also learned that it is awesome on rocky and rooty trails as well. I do not agree with the assessments that it is not a good muni machine. I have ridden it on challenging trails that I have ridden numerous times on a 24 or 29er. It gobbles up the rock gardens and roots better than anything I have ridden before. I expected to pay a penalty in climbing steep hills but I have not found that to be the case. In fact I find it easier to climb rocky rooty terrain because it rolls over things that would stop a skinnier tire. The key is finding the right tire pressure.

munimag, this was precisely my experience with my Surly Pugsley (rear Nate, front Larry). Like others have commented on about the tire pressure, I used to just bounce off of rocks with the PSI too high. I’d also roll over stuff like a tank but the steering/tracking were very poor with the PSI too low. But when I finally dialed in the tire pressures (different in each tire depending on situation) I really had an awesome trail killing machine. Just really think I could have that with the Oregon. The other part of the equation is that I’m not a big fellow: 5’ 8" and ~145-150lbs. Perhaps the Oregon would be “too much unicycle” for me?

I have been curious as to how big tires work with lighter vs heavier riders. My natural thought would be that heavier riders would have an easier time with big tires, as it would keep it under more firm control.

A geared KH26 is a very coveted unicycle, if you do decide to sell you should have no problem getting a decent price for it on here.

I have done some riding on fat tires (Larry, devist8or, cobbled together frankentires, etc) I think it is great fun riding where a normal unicycle would not go. It is harder work both in terms of resistance (except with a pumped up larry on smooth roads/trails) and keeping the unicycle under control.

The heavy and slow Devist8or tire helps keep the unicycle controllable on the rough bumpy stuff by absorbing the hits and not bouncing nearly as much as the Surly/Inova tires but will wear you out quicker with its heavier weight and higher rolling resistance.

Like everything there are ways to make it work and there are tradeoffs to everything. While a G26 is very versatile in the summer a fat 26 might be more usable and fun in the winter and you still have your 24 for the real technical stuff.

For the record, I am a “heavier” rider at about 200 pounds.

So it’s something I would enjoy. Great, more things to spend money on!

I bought an Oregon when they first came out and (for me) soon realized it was more of a novelty and not the most ideal uni for muni. Since building an 11lb Oracle it has been collecting dust. It is incredibly heavy and sluggish in comparison to the Oracle.

However, since I live on the coast it is perfect for riding on the beach! Also, like Munimag said it does great in rock gardens and makes roots disappear. It’s a trade off for sure. If you want a stable, cushy and comfortable ride, its great. If you want to go far, fast or climb it’s not the best.

It does have the wow factor and looks ‘cool’ just like all fatbikes. The large crown also will fit the 4.8 fat tires and it will fit the 29" Knard on the 50mm Rabbit Hole rim. Jim Smith, the only other muni rider in my area loves his Oregon+ with Knard and hasn’t ridden his 26 and 29 KH’s since he got it last year.

All that said I have a lightly used Oregon and separately a brand new 29" Surly Rabbit Hole rim with black rimstrip and a 29"x3" Surly Knard if you are interested in doing some kind of trade for your Schlumpf hub. Sending you a PM.

As far as weight penalty I don’t think there’d be much difference between my KH26 GUni and the Oregon. Haven’t put a scale on it, but the KH26 is listed at something like 12.5 lbs and the Oregon at 16 lbs (stock). But with the added weight of the KH-Schlumpf MUni hub, magura brake and KH-Touring handlebar I bet the weight difference, particularly rotational weight difference is negligible. I’m used to the weight. Could possibly see some weight savings by going tubeless. So is it just a question of trading versatility, range, techy ability for a stable, comfortable, cushy ride that’s not quite so techy then? I might be able to live with that. Would be nice to demo an Oregon for a week or so to make up my mind.

To your original question (Keep KH26 GUni or go Fat?), the answer is obvious:


It’s the only way to be sure. :slight_smile:
My experience on fatty-fat unicycles has been very positive; the first time I saw one, riding it on ultra-fine sand at the Slickrock Trail in Moab; the average MUni couldn’t be ridden through that sand; that one flew over it like it was a sidewalk.

And in 2010 at the MUni Weekend in Vancouver, I got to ride a prototype Nimbus Oregon several miles down one of the trails. That was a blast–really fun.

Note that neither of those rides involved any uphill. I imagine that riding a fatty uphill, or just all the time, would get old pretty fast. They are best for really loose or rough terrain. Rotating weight is heavy. I ask myself what trails would I take it on in my area? I’m not sure. What I would probably do with one is ride it where there aren’t any, like on the beach, on the snow, on the grass (which can suck on “normal” tires) and wherever else I want. :slight_smile:

Having said that, the ultimate “next” unicycle for me is close to what you have: KH26 GUni with disc brake. Got to save up…

I have come from a similar background as you are now in. I started with the Surly Moonlander 2 years ago and put 2000 miles on that Fat bike the first year. It was just plain fun! Then last year I saw the Oregon and wanted a different challenge. I rode unicycles as a kid, but had not picked one up since. Now 42 years old I choose the Oregon because of its ride anywhere attitude. In the past year it has been my only unicycle. Ive put 650 miles on it and it has had zero problems. You have the Pugsley so you get the attraction to its ride anywhere persona. By all means get it! You will have a blast.

On a side note last week I did 26 miles on the Oregon. I left my house in San Elijo Hills, CA and rode to the coast. Headed south just moving along on the streets and sidewalks. At about mile 15 I had a choice, head up and over the hills that lead to La Jolla Shores or simply hit the beach. I choose the beach. 11 miles of beach riding later I ended my ride where the beach hits the cliffs. Versatile = Fun!

I spun around to get this photograph of my ride to La Jolla Shores.

Also I live in the hills of North County San Diego. Maybe I don’t know any better but I am riding up and down these hills on a regular basis. Here is my ride from yesterday.

Last year playing in our local desert.

My only complaint about the Oregon is now that I am getting better I want to go further and that means sitting on the unicycle longer. The 26 miles took me just over 4 hours. That is a little excessive, but what you get when you are traveling at 6 mph.

Hope this helps!

You should just have both. Save up a little. Oregon isn’t too crazy expensive

Go fatter and lighter…Fat Carbon!

Details here…

I saw that in my feed. Pretty awesome; awesomely expensive!

I realize now that my best bet is just to save up and eventually buy a Nimbus Oregon. I don’t think I want to part with my KH26 GUni. Have had many a wonderful adventure with the KH-Schlumpf MUni Hub previously on my KH24 (now on the KH26) to give it up now. I’d be a fool to part with it. I think what I miss is a good 26x3 tire; something I don’t have on the 26er. I’ve grown so used to the 24x3 on my 24er and 26x3 on my original 26" frankenuni from years ago. According to KH, Surly has a new 26x3 Knard tire coming out very soon that I’ll be waiting to get. Until then I’ll just have to settle for the Maxxis High Roller (26x2.7) that I just installed. Want the fat roller AND the geared hub…!

Thanks everybody for providing their thoughts.