So, I got the bug to upgrade to a 29" unicycle from my 24" Nimbus. It will probably happen in a couple of months, so I hope to get some input on the model in the meantime. The three that interest me are the ones mentioned in the title.
I have already looked over their specs on Unicycle.com, so I know what to expect in that department. What I don’t know is what it feels like to ride each one (stable, fast, etc?). Any quirks I should know about? What are the upgrade possibilities of each? I will mostly ride the unicycle for commuting (I live in a hilly area, so no 36") and light single track muni, but I want a very sturdy unicycle as I am quite tall and heavy.
I didn’t find any threads here that compare these models, but if I am wrong, please point me to them.
Suggestions for other unicycles are welcome as well. Thanks in advance.
I just recently got the Drak 29" road verzion. I love it, seems to be built strongly, and the price was good. It is a little harder to free mount than my 24" but not that much, it has helped me learn to static mount because of the added weight on that bigger tire. I use mine to commute 5.5 miles each way and so far I haven’t been able to get the max speed that the uni can deliver, but I’m getting closer and actually hearing the wind in your ears is pretty cool. The only thing I haven’t liked is the double quick seat post clamp, it tends to let the seat twist when you UPD at speed. Other than that it’s been a pretty fun ride which has really increased the distances I can ride comfortably and convienently. Good luck deciding.
I’ve never ridden a KH or the Oregon but I’m sure they are awesome. I do have a Drak though and it has been excellent. It was my first unicycle so it has been dropped a ton and hasn’t been damaged at all. I’ve worked my way up to some technical muni and it gets dropped a ton there too but takes it like a champ. I live in a hilly area and I added a Dbrake, KH Spirits and a disc brake. It all works well together. Mine came with a dual bolt seat post clamp, not the dual quick release, and it hasn’t been a problem. My learning thread has some pictures and more info: Bought a Nimbus Drak 29". Learning to Ride...
You know, I have been following your journal almost religiously. You’ve got some impressive stuff over there! The Drak came onto my radar because of your thread. It’s really good to hear that, although it is less expensive than the other two, it is nonetheless a hardy unicycle. Thanks for sharing!
Worse case scenario you have to buy a frame, best case scenario you don’t
The three unis you are looking at are very different. The Drak is a base model, heavy rim, heavy steel frame, heavy tire, basic post and seat. Not a bad uni, but you’ll spend more upgrading it than you would if you bought a high end uni like the KH 29 or Oracle 29 to start.
The Oregon is a fat tire uni, heavy and very wide frame, wide hub, probably not what you want.
Fast is more tire choice and weight, so if you want to go light, the Oracle and KH are your best choice. The biggest difference between the Oracle and KH is in how they manage the brake system.
Yes, same rim, ~200gm heavier than a KH, 5mm narrower, seemingly a stronger rim, has a nice rim hook and lacking cutouts so better for tubeless.
Oracle frame and KH frame are comparable.
As to strength, you will have no issues with any of these unis, they are plenty strong for your needs. If you are serious about spending the money, you could also build a custom muni that would not cost a whole lot more, but would allow you to choose your parts to get the lightest and best performing uni. A narrower and lighter wheel, 32 holes and a strong MTB rim like the Velocity Blunt 35, tubeless with a good multi use tire.
The Schlumpf fit issue has more to do with the bearing caps and whether they will rub the hub body, it’s not a bearing width issue except with the Oregon which has 125mm spacing. In my experience, the steel frames have a narrower lip on the bearing caps than an Al frame, so the fit should be better, but you need to ask someone who has done it. My Schlumpf was on a KH.
Hopefully it doesn’t sound like I’m saying the Drak is better. I think they are all impressive. Here some more food for thought. My Drak frame weighs 1109 grams. I think the KH frames are around 680-700 grams? That’s about a pound lighter for the KH frame. For $25 you can upgrade to the KH Freeride seat. That’s what I chose to do. The seat post on the Drak isn’t adjustable like the one on the KH but you can angle it a little because the holes are slotted. It hasn’t ever bothered me not having an adjustable seat but I’ve never had one to try to I can’t say for sure… The KH29 comes with Spirit cranks and a brake lever mount so it’s ready for a brake. You’d have to add $168 worth of parts (Dbrake/brake lever mount/spirits) to the Drak (like I did) to equal the “brake ready” state of the KH29. So if you upgrade to the Freeride saddle and add all the brake parts, your up to $553 for the Drak. I guess you have to decide it the lighter weight, KH name, and slightly better specs are worth the extra $150
Another question: what is going tubeless? How do you do that? Also, how steep can a hill be and still be doable on a 29"? How about a 36"? I’ve seen threads around here with pictures and videos, but what grade are we talking about here?
a tubeless set up involves taking the inner tube out and using sealent in stead. Its described in this thread I've decided to go tubeless .
On a 36er inner tubes are incredibly heavy so significant weight reductions can be had by going tubeless but it is a very fiddly process. I’m not sure of the general benefits for doing it on a smaller wheel.
Hillclimbing ability on any uni depends on crank length and wheel weight. As fun as it can be, 36ers have very heavy wheelsets (my v2 has a wheel almost as heavy as an entire 29er). They run on inertia and feel incredibly fast and stable in the right conditions, however lots of hills is not really optimal territory for them. Unlike smaller unis i find that its best to dress like a cyclist on a 36 which may not be so good for a commute.
A 29er will not have problems with pretty much any hill with a road on it. Compared to a 36er they are very responsive, in fact they feel more like a 20 than a 36. What they are more similar to the 36er in is smoothness and rollover ability.
Is it possible to fit a Schlumpf hub in a Drak frame. It requires a little modification to the frame though. All you need is an angle grinder and a little bit of grinding skills. I’ve made my friend’s Schlumpf hub fit in a Nimbus steel Muni frame (26x3), works awesome, no problems at all with it.
If I wanted to put a Schlumpf on my uni, I’d go with the KH. If you get the Drak, you will eventually need modification, and if you ever move on to a disk braked uni, you wont be able to have it on a Drak frame unless you find a frame builder that can weld a disk tab at the right place for you. If you go with the Oracle, you will have to move the disk caliper to the other side because disk brakes on a geared hub are used outside of the frame (on the right side) and you’ll be using the D-brake adapter which I heard that it gets flexy over time. With a KH, you have the disk brake tab already on the frame which has no flex compared to the D-brake, you get the Spirit cranks that are ready to use the disk, with either a normal hub or a Schlumpf hub. And you are 100000% sure the Schlumpf hub fits.
That’s good to know that the Nimbus steel frames work fine for a Schlumpf.
The D Brake works fine for either side, any frame, steel or aluminum.
I prefer a frame brake mount tab, but it’s not a deal killer by any means. The only time it has any advantage is when you pull a wheel, but even then you still have to play with the bearing caps to get the brake aligned.
This D Brake “flex and bend” thing is a bunch of BS! I have been running a D Brake as long as anyone on this forum, I have used them on big unis, small unis, a coasting uni, and I have had too many UPD’s to count, but I have yet to bend or break one.
If anything, a frame tab is more prone to damange and is not replaceable and very ard to repair!
Keep in mind that brake caliper alignment is a PITA regardless of where your brake is mounted, it’s just the nature of how unis attach the wheel to the frame; poor tolerance, dynamic use, low QC.
I’ve been riding a Drak 29er off-road now for a year and a half. It was my first real off-road uni and I learned everything I know on that uni which means it was dropped a lot. I agree with pretty much everything others’ have said on this thread. Just adding my two cents that the Drak is a virtually indestructable, slightly heavier, and less expensive uni than the KH and Oracle.