Learning the 36 Inch Wheel

Today I got a new Coker V2. I have been riding off and on (more “on” recently) my old 24 incher for 40 years. I can free mount the 24 incher 98 percent of the time, can idle, and kind of ride backwards.

I was (am) anxious to see how the learning curve goes on the 36 inch wheel. Unfortunately for riding conditions, we had snow today and I decided that going on snow over ice was not a good way to learn.

We do have a 30 x 30 carport with gravel floor and slight slope. I put all the cars out and started working with it.

I tried 3 or 4 free mounts and never did get my center of gravity far enough forward to move forward. Then I thought maybe I should learn to ride before learning to free mount.

Brought back memories of learing to ride in the beginning. Hopped on next to a pole, lean forward and pedal. First 2 or 3 tries, I did not make one revolution of the pedal. Kept coming off the back side. It seemed that I needed to lean forward more that I thought I should.

Then, after 3 or 4 more tries, I managed to go the length of the carport and intentionally stopped short of the snow. That was it for today.

I will seek an indoor track tomorrow with the first goal of being able just to ride sustained and then work on free mounting. Will report back tomorrow.

BTW, I love this forum. Thank you all for your contribution.

Mounting is the real trick on the big wheel. Once you get your momentum going in the right direction, it’s pretty easy to ride. You can’t practice free mounting enough. It takes a serious jump to get over the top.

a big wheel needs a big space. They are really fun once you get them rolling. Keep trying and soon you will be cruising around your winter wonderland.

Sask is right, you really need to get that thing out in the open spaces. Normal, easy cruising speed is about 2 or 3 times to fast for your car port. It’s not hard to go straight, but turning is harder when you first get started. Find somewhere with lots of hand holds to climb up, and a few hundred yards between turns. Then you will get the hang of it in one afternoon.
Hopefully you have wrist wraps. If not, wear heavy gloves, you will go down hard on your palms sometimes.

Learn to ride it before you try freemounting. The inertia of the big wheel makes handling very different. You need to “dial in” to the 36, get used to its natural cadences, then freemounting becomes easy.

You will have a lot of fun on it.

And, if for some reason, you can not freemount after 2 years don’t worry, I have a friend that is still trying to freemount after 2 years of 36 riding…

Gratz on the new coker! I just got a 36er as well, a nimbus impulse with 110/127 cranks. My freemounting % of the entire first day was probably 10%. I could really only get on with a standard jump mount. You just have to jump really high. My second day I started working on the rolling mount. As soon as I figured it out. I was freemounting successfully 90% of the time. The trick is to roll slowly and not very much. I’m right foot dominant. I put my right crank at 6 o clock. Then push it forward as I take a step. How hard you push is the tricky part of this mount. Too hard and you don’t leave enough time for your second foot to get on the pedal. Too soft and you don’t have enough momentum to get going. I push it hard enough so that when my right foot lands, I can use it as a step to get up on top and place my left foot. The wheel seemingly stops moving at this point, but it is moving forward ever so slightly. Then I take off. The only issue that I have found with this mount is that I always end up on top of my package. I just pedal standing the first revolution and thrust my hips slightly to get it positioned well. It is a pain (quite literally) if the mount doesn’t go smoothly. Does anyone else have any experience with this issue?

Thanks for all the tips. I did decide to learn to ride before working on the free mount. It took about 30 minutes and I was cruising around with no porblem.

Then started working on the free mounts. After I nailed one or two (in many more tries) I decided to video my mounting effort. I can’t say that I recommend the video, but it is entertaining to me anyway. 10 successes ijn 22 tries isn’t bad. Welcome any additional input.

By the way, I have 150mm cranks. Have read that it is easier with longer cranks.

I love the big wheel. Look forward to the weather to improve to hit the road.


running mount is the way to go. I don’t ever feel comfortable with a standard jump mount, and I can’t mount uphill with it at all. That being said, I rarely ever miss a running mount.

I would be very interested to see a video of your running mount.

: ( I won’t be back in Atlanta (and thus to my 36er) until January 9th or so, but I’ll see if I can post a video then if you like, but Terry has already made a good one : )

it’s at 34 seconds. You don’t really put the seat under you until after you jump. It may look intimidating at first, but once you get the feel for it, it’s a solid mount and gets you going forward in less time, which for me means that I’m much less likely to topple going slower.

Today I spent about 15 minutes trying the “running mount”. I only rode away from 1 in 20, so have more work to do. 15 minutes doesn’t sound like long, but I was dripping with sweat when I finished.

Keep in mind that with a such a big wheel, and the forward momentum created by rolling it, you can put some pressure on that right foot and “step” up onto it. I found that especially useful for making it a little easier. : ) 1 in 20 is better than 0 in 20

Thank you juggleaddict for Terry’s video and the words of encouragement.

I have decided to stick with the static mount as in my video above. I worked for about 30 minutes on the “running mount”, but had a very low success rate and got bruises on my thigh from hitting the Pi bar on the Coker. I am better than 50% on the static mount and will stick with that for now.

I took the 36er on a road ride yesterday and discovered that I need to learn to ride hills. I went up a hill that would have been a breeze on my 24 inch, and had 2 UPD’s. On my 24 incher, I can ride up a hill which I have measured at 18% Grade. The hill that challenged my yesterday on the 36er was probably less than 10%. I have the same length 150mm cranks on both. I am going to try that hill again today.

Has anyone measured a steep grade that you can ride the 36er on?

There are a lot of people that cruise up steep grades on their 36".

I can’t ride up more than about 8% on my 36" with 150 cranks. 8% is pushing it. I can ride up to about 20% with my 29" with 125 cranks. 18-20% is pushing it. 150s on my 29" make climbing too tiring. I’m doing all of this on road. Off road is a smaller wheel and 150 cranks. I static mount all my unis. The 36" is hit/miss. On a downhill, I can nail it. Good luck.

You can remove the pi bar to practice the jump or rolling mount. Once you get it consistently, reinstall the pi bar.

Thanks mbalmer. 8% is dissapointing as that would greatly limit my rides around here. I want to practice hills and see what I can do.

Unfortunately…I am going to be off the Coker V2 for a week or so. It has develped a mechanical problem and is going back to the factory to be fixed.

I will update my hill success / experience when I get it back. In the mean time, any other hill / 36’er experience anyone can share would be great.

If I can’t ride, reading about it on this forum is second best. Thank you all.

This Wheel’s On Fire

Her is a short article to read… ESPN ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’

A short video of the 2007 Ride 542 is available at


I would suggest that you get comfortable with the running/rolling mount. It is the easiest mount to do uphill, and once you get comfortable with it you won’t over jump, and end up with bruises.

For all-purpose mounting, however, I would suggest the jump mount. Start with parallel pedals, then jump on to them one foot in front of the other. You want as little time as possible between the jumping of one foot, and the other. It gives you forward momentum, and you begin riding simply by instinct. It’s very easy once you do it successfully a few times, and it’s difficult to get injured by it. It has a high success rate for most people, and the wheel doesn’t typically fall to the side when performing the jump mount.

So far I’ve found the static mount to be good on flat ground and down hill slopes but useless going up hill. The jump just doesn’t generate enough momentum. I’ve got to start working on the rolling mount. Getting really tired of walking the unicycle down to the bottom of the hill before getting on.

You have some steep hills! I live in Salt Lake and the steepest stuff I have climbed on my roadie is an obscure canyon that gets up to 18%. Most of the big hills here go up to 12% in a few places, but 8% - 10% is pretty darn steep climbing that really get the heart pumpin!

Ouch! What is the nature of the problem? BTW, I really like the design of the V2 frame. Once you get back up and riding I would love to hear how you like it. Hope it is not gone too long…