KH29 or KH36? Please help me decide

The same could be said about the gap between the 24" and the 29". If you are truly riding hardcore muni, then a 24 or 26 is probably a better size. It’s my opinion, but I just don’t see the 29’er as a useful size; it is too slow for the street, and too big for truly hardcore muni. And for “soft” offroad (or even mildly difficult offroad), a 36 can usually be used. This is just my opinion, and i’m also really comfortable on the 36.

If someone is looking at getting a 24, 29 and 36, it may better suit them to get a geared 24, which can simulate the 36, ride a lot of the same stuff as the 29er, and drop to low gear for the really tough muni. FWIW, I broke my 24" frame before my Schlumpf geared hub, so the hubs are quite durable (granted, I don’t do big drops on it).


I disagree completely, just from my experience. When I got my 29" (up from my 24"), I quickly learned how to ride it and was maneuvering around pedestrians and down trails in no time. But getting a 36, I still don’t have my maneuvering skills down, and my mounting is still rubbish.

When I ride my 36, it feels like it has a mind of it’s own, and it has so much momentum and drive. But my 24 and 29 can stop on a dime. As far as I am concerned, the 36 is in it’s own category.

Maybe when I am more proficient with my 36 I will agree with you, but I don’t believe so.

A guni is the answer, but the cost is prohibitive for sure, I’m wondering what will happen to my beloved 29er when my 26 guni shows up :frowning:

Anyone looking for a KH 29er :smiley:

Hardcore DH - 24
Light XC - 36, 29, 24/26 guni
Technical XC - 29, 24/26 guni

If you don’t ride trails that fall into that 3rd category, you might not consider a 29 to be useful. Take a hardcore DH trail and remove some steepness and you have what I consider tech XC. For me those trails are best with a 29 or a 24/26 guni. I have found the 36 to be too unwieldy for that rolling, rocky terrain. It did take a while to move up from a 24 to 29 for not-too-steep technical riding. I am now covering a lot of that ground on my 24 guni also.

A few members have said they still keep their 29’s because it’s still a different riding experience.

a G26 is in my future somewhere, but I bet I will still keep the 29, even if just with a road tire and used for busy city riding.

Im interested in a second 29er.

I agree with what Corbin was saying. Of course, what is hardcore to one maybe quite easy to another. It’s all relative. As I have improved I can see using the 36 on some of the off road rides that I do, though I haven’t tried it yet. I love the 29 for what I do. The 24 is now often too small. I’m too chicken to do technical stuff beyond some rocks, roots, and some bumpiness. Big, irregular, bumpy drops I will walk. Therefore my 29 is usable in most these situations. I never thought I would be able to ride my 36 uphills, but I’m improving enough to see it’s possible.

I can’t imagine riding my guni off road. It’s still a bit iffy on the street. I have some elbow scarring to prove that. Time and practice will likely change that (I hope).

This is probably a moot point, but I’d vote KH36. There are a lot of unis around here and the 29 is one of the least used.

If you’re not full on trying not to finish last in a bike race, a 24 is still a ton of fun. A 29er is different, but not as different as a 36.

For me, a 29er for longer than 10 miles or so on the road isn’t much fun. The 36 OTOH regularly heads out for 25+ mile rides.

I know the focus isn’t on road riding, but the 36 does that well and also is surprisingly capable off-road (I’ve found the tire to be the limiting factor around here). I’ve done several cyclocross races on it and one MTB race. 150s and 165s off road. The terrain around here is tough so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for most of the races.

Both are good, but the 36 is significantly different than what you already have.

Unigoat, you might want to try the Coker Non-Skid tire. It’s really quite good for 36er muni. See more comments here.

. . . and sorry about veering off topic, but hey, the OP already made his decision, so really the whole thread is now off topic, right? :stuck_out_tongue:

To the OP - glad you decided, and I’m sure you’ll love your new KH29. (You would’ve fit fine on, and also loved, the KH36!)

One of the 29 over the 36 that hasn’t been discussed in this thread is the travel-ability of the 29; it’s much easier to take with you on trips where space in a premium, i.e. airplanes.

Ride on!

Time to tie the last 2 comments together (roughly):

Unishark- thanks for the Coker Tire suggestion. Around here we have a lot of mud. It seems like anything less than full knobs is a bit of problem. The Nightrider isn’t bad when the trails are somewhat dry. However, most racing around here is during the rainy season. The other issue is the 36er gets used a lot on the road and I’m a bit too lazy to keep changing tires. Cranks swaps on the 36 are easy. Tires aren’t.

Steve- good point. The 29er does pack a lot smaller for travel. It also works better for dodging the low hanging trees which frequent the trails around here. It is significantly smaller.

My $.02. I’ve got both and they’re paid for. If I only had a 24 and wanted a truly different experience, I’d go 36. Keep in mind for about the price of a Schlumpf wheel you could have both a 29 and 36 fixed complete.

In the bike world, unis are extremely cheap. Try to buy a race worthy pro level bike for under $1k.

Off Topic:

I just got this bike for my entry into cyclocross. I got it on for $464. (OK, maybe not pro-level, but very light and fast.)

More off topic banter:

Great deal, but not indicative of what that bike should sell for. This happened on the uni end too when a lot of people picked up K1s super cheap recently.

It’s a great bike, but a lot of cyclists (when compared to the whole set who springs for more than dept. store bikes) don’t keep a singlespeed as their main bike.

Now compare how many would accept the single speed Swobo in the bike world (a mighty fine bike and I’d ride one as my main steed, but I don’t think I’m typical) to the number of unicyclists that would use a KH as their main uni.

Probably not a fair comparison on my part.

So, back on topic: 29 or 36 for xc muni…

For shits and giggles, I took the 36er to one of my local haunts for a little ride. First I did some easy single track, then worked my way up a rocky hill, then rode out some double track with a few little rooty sections and a couple water crossings. A shortish jaunt, what I would consider beginner mtb or easy xc muni riding.

Now I’m not going to claim to be a super muni rider, but I ride okay and can generally manage anything that is bikeabke for the average joe. And though I am not a regular 36er kind of guy, I can ride one just fine. That said, for the following reasons I would never call a 36er a muni or even an xc trail uni:

The inertia, centrifugal force, whatever you want to call it, the 36er has a lot of it, which makes any movement much more energy intensive and slow. This is no more obvious than when I had to meander through rocks and roots.

Second, the sheer weight of the 36er and bulk of the 36er makes everything harder, from bumping over a root to managing an irregular surface, it’s just a whole lot of uni.

Finally, there’s the tire, or should I say “lack thereof”. Let me count the number of time I slipped on a sidehill of slid from a root. Tires with slick sidewalks and lacking knob IRS do not make for good off road riding. And all this on an easy trail that was quite dry.

In summary, though some very talented riders may be able to manage a 36er off road, it is not for the average rider to think that this is true for most people. Don’t buy a 36er for trail riding, it just ain’t that unis bet use by any stretch.

You wanna go fast on trails and feel the wind in your hair?

Get a 26/26/29 guni, all the benefits of a 36er without all the “fat” :smiley:

Don’t give up on the 36er for xc muni. Put on a Coker Non-Skid tire (or whatever they call it now). Really good traction in all conditions, in my experience (gravel, rocks, mud, snow, ice, and also feels fine to me on the road) - more comments here. The limitation for me is in climbing. But for relatively flat trails, the 36 can be pretty darn maneuverable once you’re used to it, and you can just roll over things smaller unis need to negotiate. I find that keeping the cadence up is really the key.

That said, my Coker will probably be getting less trail use - I’m just starting on my 26 guni, and absolutely love it.

I met a guy out riding, he was on mtb, asked me about the 36er, said that he’d been thinking of getting a 36" mtb as a “novelty”, but after considering the cost and ho much use it would get (little to none), he said it was not in the cards.

I feel the same, for the novelty, yeah, the 36er is fun. But if I can get a geared hub and go just as fast on a “normal” wheel size (24, 26, 29) as the 36er, then that’s all it is, a novelty.

For road riding, maybe I’d consider a 36" for the tracking and stability, but that’s only if a 26-29 guni isn’t just as stable, which it may very well be, TBD.

I think the geared hubs have placed the utility of the 36er more to the fringe.

Still, for greatest utility and flexibility, both for urban, road, and trail use, the 29er remains king :slight_smile:

Yeah, 36ers are for novelty. That’s why they’re a lot more popular than Schlumpfs.

How many people have you heard of having problems with their ungeared 36?

How many people keep a backup ungeared wheel around just in case their Schlumpf needs a holiday?

How much does that hub cost vs an ungeared uni?

Yes, the Schlumpf has its place.

The 36 does too.

Yes, the Internet is full of opinions and mine is probably wrong. However, I did ride both 29 and 36 this weekend. I found the 36 good for the 35ish mile Saturday ride, and the 29 was good to run to the store 2 times today (2ish miles round trip). 110s on the 36 and 125s on the 29.

Ah, that’s an interesting take on things! After riding a geared 36 (for about 3,000 miles), here’s my opinion: For road riding, the geared 36 is king. I don’t think the 36 is pushed to the fringe if you want to ride fast and/or long distances.

It’s true – a geared 24/26 can quite easily keep up with a 36" crowd; I did the Africa tour on it and was pretty fast. But, for comfort, a geared 36 would have made the tour a lot easier. And my wife disliked the geared 24 on the tour; she would have preferred an ungeared 36! She said the geared took too much extra energy to push around, and she felt less stable on it.

So, I guess my point is: to each his own, and for some, the ungeared 36 can’t be replaced (ie: my wife). For others (ie: me and Nathan), they don’t want to go back to riding an ungeared 36.


+1 which is the reason I will keep my Impulse intact until my kids (6&7) get older/taller

I think you might have just nicknamed my new (the Schlumpf is in the mail) KH36G. “King” has a nice ring (bust a rhyme) to it don’t you think? Then again, I have always named my boats after girls. My 36" Nimbus (disc) Impulse is named Luigi after the broken figurine head hitching a ride in the unused hole on the back of my Shadow HandleBar. Had to stick with UDC’s green (ends of hub and tape in drilled rim holes) scheme.

I have been riding my KH29 for a week now. I have only had the chance to use it on some beginner trails, but it has worked great. I’m not able to jump over objects as easy as my KH24, but it is a much faster MUni overall. I find that I can roll over a lot more stuff. I think the 36 would be a little much for me to handle on the trails.

Glad to hear you’re having fun. That’s what it’s all about.