KH29 with a Big Apple 2.35

I got a flat tire on my KH29 last week. Since I had to take off the wheel anyway, and since I’m riding a hill-climb road race ( in a couple weeks, I decided to get Dave Stockton (U-turn) to send me not only a spare tube, but a 700c x 2.35 Big Apple. (Thanks, Dave!)

And may I say - wow!

In one fell swoop it changed my Muni into a smooth-rolling road machine. It was strange at first not to hear the omnipresent buzzing of the Kenda Klaw XT’s knobbies on my training rides. It’s now totally silent, and it -really- flies.

The cycle seems to react to the crown in the road more with the BA than when it had the Muni tire. That is, it drifts more strongly toward the downhill edge of the road.

Is this my imagination or is the handling affected in this way? Did the orientation of the knobbies on the Kenda help to keep the uni going straight?

It is funny you should bring this up, because I just had my own experience with the Big Apple tire that appears in some ways to be similar to yours.

I had a Bontranger 26inch on my 26er Yuni/nimbus and last week I had the chance to obtain a Big Apple 26x2.35, actually from the same source as yourself, that excellent wizard of unicycle mechanics, Mr. U-turn.

Happily, at the unicycle club meeting, I put the awsome tire on my uni, and wow, what a great and different ride it was! That tire totally rocks! I rode like an angel with nuclear wings–ok, not as good as that, but I felt like my riding improved 10 fold with the BA.

Then…Unfortunetly, for the next three or four days, I had unbelieveable problems with it. I had trouble freemounting (I have always had trouble freemounting, but just prior to this, I seemed to have put the freemounting demon in its place at last) and when I rode, I was all over the place. A wobbeling catastrophe, I was.

I changed crank arms (I was on 5 inch cranks, I changed back to 6 inch)–no change. That tire, as excellent and as marvelous as it had felt on its first day, was proving to be a tempermental piece of rubber and kevlar.

It kept bringing me to the middle of the road–this is a drag for me because I prefer to ride on the far right of the path so the faster bikers can easily pass. I felt that I was expounding engery just fighting with the unicycle to keep it where I wanted it.

I ended up putting the Bontranger back on. I rode 6 miles today, no hassel. With 5 inch cranks. Freemounting was a breeze. No problems there…

My conclusion? The BA is a superior tire, hands down. When it is on my uni, I feel like I’m riding a thoroughbred horse, but one that needs a more experienced jocky. Because I am far from being a good unicycli–uh, in my case, I say unicycler because I’m not good enough to say unicyclist just yet, there are some things I am not ready for–and I think the BA is one of them. The Bontranger suits my needs for the moment–that is, riding distances in a straight line. Still, I am totally glad that I now have a Big Apple in my closet, and I hope to continue getting better and better so I’ll be good enough to use it in the not too distant future.

I must also say that part of the problem could be DX32 rim, which appears to be in need of truing–when I spin the wheel when the uni is upsidedown, it appears to be warped. It is entierely possible that the Big Apple is a far more intuitive tire, and it may be one that not only amplifies the subtitles of your hip and foot movements, but a tire that also reacts to any kind of warping in your rim. I’ll know when I true my wheel, and I slap the old BA back on.

But back to you, Steveyo (sorry, I went off on a tirade regarding my own BA experience) it could be that the BA is a tire that needs a bit of work–you are probebly a much better rider than I am, but this could be one of those tempermental objects that one needs to get used to. I did notice in my tire a tendency it had to drift in a direction I was not happy about. Is it a part of the BA experience to tame that tire? I blame it on my own inexperience as a rider, and I also blame it on the rim. But maybe the BA is a sophisticated tire in the end that is worth the efforts to tame it–certainly, I have heard a lot of great things about it. I thought I was the only one to experience a drifting problem. Are there others?

Still, I am not complaining. I cant help but remember how excellent the BA felt when I first put it on. What happened? I don’t really know. Still, I’m looking forward to the day when I feel confident enough to put it back on my unicycle…

I haven’t had the chance to try the BA on a wider rim like the KH or DX32 yet. On the Rhyno Lite it wants to be at higher pressure: 60 psi. If you’re not at 60 psi, the BA isn’t as much fun.

The BA 700x2.0 is much less reactive to road crown than the 2.35, but doesn’t turn as smoothly and requires more moment-by-moment attention. There seems to be a tradeoff.

Every tire seems to have its plusses and minuses. I think this might be amplified by the fact that we’re on unis, not bikes.

Well said.

Um…I’m not a much better rider than anyone. I’m a 42-old Kris Holm wannabee with less than a year of Uni’ing. I’ve been fighting the Big Apple ever since I put it on my KH29. Thankfully, after 30 or so miles on the thing I think I’m getting the hang of it.

For that race of mine in two weeks, I need to conserve all my energy for the ascent (8 miles and 3500 vertical feet) and not waste it wiggling around trying to keep my mount on the straight and narrow.

Thanks for that tip, Dave. I think I was only at 45 psi or so. I’ll remedy that post-haste.

It’s squirmy at <60psi. I like 65psi in mine.

The other thing is that because of the rounder profile and no knobbies, it’s much much easier to turn than a muni tyre, which leads to more tyre side-side wobble unless you’re riding really smoothly and a bit more sensitivity to road camber. That’s basically what you pay for lowered rolling resistance. Once you get used to it and smooth out your spin they’re lovely tyres.


That’s also what’s great about riding unicycles. In the past, riding bikes, I never had any interest at all in any of the details of bicycle parts or how they worked. You just got on a bike and rode. Anyone could get on a bike and ride.
But just getting involved with the unicycle world changed all that. Simple things like crank arm length, or the tread pattern on a tire, or seat height, etc, sometimes means the difference between riding and not riding. I became totally aware of the mechanisism of the one-wheel because everything, every square millimeter of the unicycle makes a difference. I even look at bikes differently now. On a bike, the air pressure of a tire does not mean you can’t ride in a straight line because you have handle bars to take care of that. But with a unicycle, we have to consider a whole lot more, and thats part of what makes it a more interesting and ultimetly a much more satisfactory experience.

I just wanted to put in my 2 cents on the 29" Big Apple!

I have been riding for almost two years now and I am predominantly a freestyle, street and commuting rider. I ride the 2.5 hookworm on one of my 24’s and on my 26er and love the way that tire rides and performs. I added the Big Apple 2.35 to my 29er a couple of months ago and found that it is very similar in feel and ride to the hookworm, though much much lighter. Because of the weight difference, idling and mounting were similar to my hookworms (in spite of the size difference) and I found the transition from the 24 & 26 to the 29er was very smooth.

I have experimented with the tire pressure on the BA and noticed the drifting aspect of the tire only at the higher pressure of 60 lbs. At 20 lbs, turns can be difficult as the tire wants to fold in on itself when turning tightly, but at 40 lbs, the tire acts just like the hookworm and is a pleasure to ride (but much more cushy and light).

Any change to the configuration of the uni, changes the riding experience! The BA is a great tire for light offroad and asphalt/concrete commuting and for large wheel freestyle riding.

My only concern is the amount of wear that the tires experiences when idling! My tire will need a slight rotation every couple of months to ensure I do not wear a hole in the tire!