Just wanted to post my thoughts on my newest unicycle. I managed to acquire a KH36" with a Schlumpf hub and I’ve been riding it for about a month. I also own a normal ungeared KH36" on 110mm cranks which I can ride comfortably at 18km/hr or push it to about 25.
So far with the KH36" Guni I’m slowly learning how to change gears but it does take me a few revolutions sometimes to click the gear in for both up and downshifting. Sometimes I change gears and immediately UPD too. It’s strange going from riding relatively UPD free to having several in the course of a ride. Currently I’m much faster on my ungeared uni then my geared one.
I can get it to about 20km/hr on a ride in high gear but if I try to go faster I usually UPD and it’s hard to keep practicing at that speed as UPD’s going that fast can be hazardous but so far I’ve landed on my feet every time. I’m hoping I just need more time to fully get used to using this unicycle but the learning curve is pretty hard compared to other unicycles I’ve ridden. I think this is an earlier hub as it’s marked M122 on the hub.
Some positives I’ve noticed is downhill is surprisingly smooth and not sketchy as my ungeared uni as my legs are not spinning as fast. Not to mention with long cranks I can hop/idle to a degree and I’m so much more manoeuvrable with long cranks. Steep hills are easier with the longer cranks but smaller hills including most of the ones around my area I can ride up them faster with 110 cranks. At least mounting is so much easier with long cranks.
I’ve tried high gear for small hills even very mild gradients and it just wears me out and I can’t maintain the speed. I’ve been checking my garmin data and my cadence is around 50 where ungeared 110 I can maintain 90-110. So I’m definitely not spinning it fast enough.
I know some people like long cranks but it can induce such a behavior. I have never tried 160 mm cranks but 150 was too long for me on a G36 and I switched to 127 few weeks ago. It feels much smoother. You could try to reduce to 137 mm and see if you still don’t spin fast enough.
In any case it’ll take some time to get used to your new uni. Be patient
The bloke that sold it to me initially used dual hole 150/127 KH Moment cranks and he later switched to 160mm. I’m considering changing them back to 150mm at least as I feel 10mm can’t make that big a difference. Generally long cranks make the learning phases easier but I’ve never used 160 before as the longest on a 36/29 I’ve had is 150. Yes I’m sure a lot of my problems can be solved with time in the saddle.
So finally this week I’m starting to make some real progress. I normally unicycle to work on my other 36" with 110mm cranks and that would take me on average about 13 minutes. Last week I started riding the guni to work and it’d take me anywhere from 15-18mins. Today and yesterday I managed 12/13 minutes respectively. I’ve only had a couple of UPD’s today both on gear shifting but usually I can shift without having a UPD. I haven’t beaten my best time but at least I made the average. My shifting isn’t 100% but I’m getting it more often so I’m progressing.
So far I’ve noticed the guni excels at long straight flats, downhill, very steep hills and off road compared my ungeared one. However my ungeared one is still better at going uphill where the hill isn’t too steep. As riding in gear up inclines is very taxing and 160mm cranks up modest hills is very slow compared to 110. There is a big gearing gap between low gear 160mm and high where 110mm ungeared kinda sits in the middle of those.
Doing the math, in high gear, your guni should have a very similar gear ratio using 160mm cranks to your ungeared with 110 cranks. The guni with 160’s should be just a little bit higher geared than the ungeared with 110’s.
To match your ungeared speed on the guni you need to be spinning about 2/3 of your normal cadence.
Smaller cranks would probably be better but while I’m in the learning phase longer cranks are easier to handle. I am going to change them from 160mm to dual hole 127/150 and use them in 150 at least. I don’t have any 137 to use.
You’re right about the cadence as on 110 cranks I can do around 90-110 but with this setup I’m getting to about 60 or so. So far it’s much harder to ride this uphill in gear compared to 110 ungeared, maybe I just need more experience still.
It is identical in low gear to an ungeared uni except for the slight back/forth play in the hub. This is quite noticeable when you’re stopped or trying to idle. I’ve never once accidentally shifted gear when I didn’t intend to. KH cranks have a wider Q factor which makes accidental shifts impossible. Also UPD’s resulting from shifting when intended are very safe and so far I’ve always landed on my feet. The very first time I shifted intentionally up/down resulted in UPD’s.
So with those 160mm cranks do you find it difficult to switch gears? I’m trying to visualize shifting gears with my ankle bone and am thinking the distance from the arch or ball of my foot is less than 160mm.
I don’t switch with the ankle bone I think that would be painful done repeatedly. What I do is try to position my heel correctly during the upstroke and then during the downstroke I push the button in. If it’s not positioned correctly I’ll either graze the button or hit the crank. So I need to shuffle my foot each revolution if I fail to engage the gear. I usually get it within five or so revolutions sometimes sooner or sometimes more.
Update with increased confidence comes accidents, was cruising down a hill a couple of days ago that I’ve probably ridden down thousands of times. Actually the same hill I had my worst accident on last year, this time I came off in high gear doing 25km/hr. My kneepads and gloves saved me a lot of skin but I didn’t have elbow pads on so lost a bit there. Other then that my right shoulder is really sore, as I took most of the impact on my right side/arm.
I was meant to go for a distance ride with the guy that sold me the uni yesterday but I had to post pone that ride to next week. In the meantime I enlisted his help to change the cranks back to their original ones. Noticed that they were 165mm and not 160mm as I thought, in any case it now has 150mm cranks on it now and it feels better to ride but looks like I need to learn to shift all over again. I know I just recently had a spill but I’ve been itching to change the crank length for a while now.
I did notice I had a lot of side sway on 165mm in high gear and my friend was telling me it’s because I’m not pulling the pedal up as I’m pushing down. Something clipless riders do and since putting clipless on a unicycle is not an option for me he said I should be pointing my toes downward on the downstroke and it will smooth out my pedalling and eliminate the swaying. I’m really used to spinning 110mm cranks so 165mm is a huge difference. Hopefully I can heal up fast and get back to shifting smoothly again.
With moments or spirits? I was doing some searching on the forums yesterday and I did pass by a few that have said they’ve done it. I know some people do ride clipless but I’ll never do it myself even on 2 wheels just doesn’t sound worth it to me. I went for a brief ride yesterday since I changed out the cranks and shifting was much harder with the loss of 15mm. I did notice once I shifted it changed gears really smoothly usually there’s a slight jolt. I’m guessing that was because it was in it’s previous setup idle for over 10 years. When we changed the cranks we greased them up so I’m sure that’s helped.