We live in San Diego area, one of my kiddos (I’ve got 4) made passing comment last year that he wanted a unicycle. So we ignored and bought something else for his xmas gift. He then got more adamant about anting to learn to unicycle,
so for his 9th january birthday we got him one. Like the $50 amazon one, to see if it kept his interest and also because 4 kids…budget for “trying new sports” isn’t super high
So he’s WAY into it now, can cruise all over the place, and on a recent hike came across some off road/mountain unicycles and was just INFATUATED with the idea (he also loves mountain biking…so this combo was just fantastic in his mind).
Thoughts on how to get him into the off road & mountain ones? what kind of price is realistic to spend? He’s not that tall, only 9 years old, which limits somewhat as far as used option, I guess :-/ His other hobby besides the things with wheels is surfing, so he’s not a cheap hobbyist…
Welcome to the forums. I am new here myself, also with a 8 year old boy. He’s been real antsy about getting into unicycling after seeing me fumbling around with it. I hope somebody will come and post and it would also help me out to…thanks.
ok well first welcome both of you. take a look at unicycle.com for the unicycles that might want to get. they are good quaility and will last a long time i would suggest a nimbus, they have there regular 20 and 34 and well as a muni 24. I don’t know how tall your kid is, but if he is tall enough to ride a 24 then i would suggest that. for not mountain unicycles i would suggest a 20 or 24 club or nimbus.
Depending on the terrain he wants to ride, some of the ‘cheaper’ (Such as Qu-Ax Muni’s and things like that) Work great, but if you’re expecting the uni to be falling off cliffs every 10 yards you might want to look into something more robust that can take a beating. As gets said on this forum far too often, unicycle.com can help probably more than I can
Your lad sounds like the luckiest 9 year old in the class, it took me nearly 20 years for my mum to allow me to have something as dangerous as a unicycle!
First, it would be good for you to contact Minette and Andy, who are part of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, and avid unicyclists. (They may have been who you ran into on the trail).
As for equipment, for a normal-sized nine-year-old you’re limited in what could work. If he can fit on a 24" unicycle, that’s what I’d recommend for MUni; the Nimbus 24" MUni is $350 right now, and it’s totally reasonable.
If his legs aren’t long enough to fit a 24", you could go for a 20" trials unicycle, which would be the best compromise for MUni until he’s tall enough. Any of the 20" trials-oriented unicycles should be fine, they’re all in the $350 range, you can choose based on color.
I would reccomend this as even if he decides he doesn’t like muni, it can be converted back into a freestyle unicycle.
The other option to look into is a beginner trials unicycle which use fat 19" tyres and longer cranks to start with but are more expensive. It would be more capable than the freestyle due to a wider rim but many of the components are likely to be the same between both unicycles.
& ya, he is on shorter side for now, so probably 20, I suppose.
I can’t imagine him not liking it, we live a couple of blocks from some pretty good trails where he likes to mountain bike, so I assume this will just get him out there more At least when the surf isn’t good
The two biggest factors for unicycle differences are hub type and seat. Cheap unicycles always have crappy seats. And they usually have square-taper cranks, which will not hold up to trials/MUni use.
Decent non-MUni cycles like the unicycle.com Club line have ISIS-splined cranks, which are better than square taper, but the low-end hub is not very robust and it’ll probably fail with regular MUni use.
Decent MUni cycles have ISIS cranks and a strong hub, which should be fine for many years of MUni.
Brakes are not necessary, especially for a 20". Just a fat tire, a good hub and cranks, a reasonably comfortable seat, gloves and a helmet, and you’re fine.
Hi and welcome to the forum.
I just wanted to suggest that you might want to have your son send a PM (Private Message) to miniuni on this forum (real name Augie). He is about 12 I think and lives in Orange County. I think he started riding about the same age as your son, so he would probably have some suggestions. (Augie is a remarkably good rider, a testament to starting young, plus some natural talent, as your son appears to have.)
I agree with the other suggestions regarding what would make a good starter off-road uni. At this point it would really depend on size.
I didn’t mean between the parts for an amazon special and the freestyle, i meant between the freestyle and club trials which share most of their components. On more expensive unicycles the materials are better, tolerances tighter, and they are able to stand up to what crazy people like to do to them.
Brakes on a 20 are utterly unnecessary. On bigger wheels they help a lot but the wheels also weigh a lot more and carry much more momentum.
If the trails are quite gentle, he could try to take his current one up there, but more than likely it will start falling apart very quickly.
The club unicycles actually do have square taper (cotterless) hubs. However there are differences in the material or processes used (i assume) because UDC ones do not break anywhere near as easily as amazon cheapies. Due to the fact your son is probably only half the design weight (~70kg) for the hubs, he should not have a problem.
That’s really the big factor for the present time. With your son’s size and skill level, he can do a lot of off-road riding before he likely breaks his current ride, or outgrows its capability. As a full-grown adult I took my 20" cheapie/learner off-road a few times early on, because no one told me not to. I didn’t do any big hops or drops (still can’t do 'em), so the uni survived just fine. As noted previously, make sure he has good protective gear (palm/knee/elbow/shin/helmet), and let him go ride anywhere he would normally take his mountain bike. While perhaps not ideal, it will be fun. (You might be able to pick up a knobby tire that fits at your local bike shop. That will help.)
This is the most “fiscally responsible” solution. Also, for your family size and budget, it’s probably the right answer for the moment. Back before you could buy a mountain unicycle online (or anywhere else), we just put knobby tires on what we had and started riding them in the dirt. And had a blast!
I can’t remember if I ever broke and axle on my Miyata (my original muni of choice) from offroad riding. I know I broke many of them in earlier years from other sorts of things, but mostly it held up just fine on the trails. At 9, your son is light of weight, and less powerful than a bigger person would be. That means he needs a splined axle less than a bigger person would.
So for the moment, just start riding that uni on the trails. Even the tire that’s on it will be okay for getting the hang of things. Tread doesn’t start to matter that much unless the trail is getting steep or wet. Not so much wet down in SD for the rest of the year, so no rush to do a tire upgrade.
He may want to upgrade to pedals with more grip at some point, depending on what’s on there now. I recommend plastic pedals with pins rather than metal, which can really take a bite. Also knee/shin protection, gloves and a helmet. Spend your money there.
If/when the $50 unicycle breaks, then it’s the perfect time to shop for the next one. You’ll have a much better idea of what will be appropriate for him then as well. And we’ll still be here, ready to offer you way too much information on what to buy.