Learning to ride on a MUni?

After 30 years of being off the one-wheel (I used to ride when I was 14) I have been bitten again by the unicycle bug! I went to a meeting of the NY Unicycle club and had an excellent time trying out several unicycles (of course not getting more than 2 feet, but I am undeterred!) What I discovered, is that attempting to ride again seemed easier on a muni with a very thick tire, (I achieved 3 whole revolutions of the wheel!) and now I am shopping for a muni. Question for anyone out there–is it a good idea to re-enter the unicycle world with a muni (3" thick wheel), or should one get a few more revolutions on a standard wheel first? Just wondering…
PS-- thanks to all the nice people that day who let me try their unicycles, and gave me tons of help! :sunglasses:

It depends entirely on what type of riding you plan to do. If you see MUni in your future, I would go with a fat tire. Why learn again on a small tire and have to adjust to a different size wheel ? I find my 24x3 MUni much easier to ride than my 24 with a 2.1 inch tire

Thanks for the reply.
It’s amazing (at least for a beginner/re-beginner like me to see) what a difference the fat tire makes. I definetly want to get a MUni based simply on the fact that that fat tire gave me an extra boost of confidence in the balance department. I’m also sort of a big guy (6’3) and I have this idea that a thinner wheel is going to bend into an oval before I accomplish my first 50 feet. MUnis look and feel tougher–I’m not sure I’ll get a chance to ride into the forest any time soon, but if that fat old tire can keep me going, I’ll definetly head in that direction…:smiley:

dont get a gazz if you think you’ll be spending a lot of time on the asphalt before going offroad…from what i hear, they are just awful on the pavement. get a duro leopard or something. or ask john foss or john childs, they are the experts at everything :slight_smile:


Theres the Dyno Fireball for street use. I don’t think you said which muni tire you had ridden on. The gazz always feels stable especially at lower pressures, but the Dyno Fireball is supposed to be great for street use and is wide. It has no nobs. Perhaps consider that. Please note, I haven’t ridden a Dyno Fireball.

People have been tricking you. The gazzaloddi performs as well as any other 3" wide tire on the pavement. The only drawback is that it costs so much, and it wears out on concrete. MUni tires are not ideal for pavement, but they do work fine. Don’t believe those foolish long cranked people who tell you otherwise.

Re: Learning to ride on a MUni?

Buy a MUni if you want to ride offroad, not because it seems easier to
ride right now.

My guess is that the extra momentum of the MUni wheel helped stabilize
you when trying to ride. The downside is that the same wheel will
feel sluggish going down the road, and won’t turn as easily as a road
tire. MUnis generally have longer cranks that give you more leverage, but
make spinning fast jerkier.

As for a non-Muni wheel deforming: Just make sure you get a good
unicycle (MUni or not) meant for the type of riding you want to do,
and you’ll be fine. A $100 unicycle with a steel rim won’t last.
Unless the wheel is hand built, it will probably benefit from
tensioning and truing by a good wheelbuilder at a local bike shop.


Re: Learning to ride on a MUni?

On Wed, 19 May 2004 22:21:55 -0500, “dogbowl” wrote:

>I definetly want to get a MUni based
>simply on the fact that that fat tire gave me an extra boost of
>confidence in the balance department.

I agree with Krashin’Kenny, buy the unicycle based on what you think
you will like doing with it. Your statement quoted above is NOT a good
reason to buy a MUni, since soon enough you will balance OK anyways.

Of course, by all means buy a MUni if you want to MUni.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

be sure to remove the saddle and simply sit on the seat post. this is far more comfortable - tennisgh22 on the comfort of Savage unis

If you know you are going to be using the uni for MUni, get a MUni. If you aren’t sure, get a el cheapo uni (like a Torker). If you do get the MUni, take off the knobby tire until you start taking it on trails. Replace it with a slick, I just got a hookworm and I love it.

Right now I have a friend learning on my trials. I think he likes it because the wide tire is more stable then my free style.


Munis are great general purpose unis. I use mine a lot as a pavement (sidewalk) commuter.

For tyres, I like the halo contra (Dura in the states I think)- a bit cheaper and lighter than the Gazz; after a few weeks on concrete it becomes a nice 3" slick and lasts for ages.

If you are going to use it as a general purpose uni it could be worth going for the shorter cranks- I’m on 150’s (6") which I find are a good compromise for both roads and off road. If I used it purely to commute I’d be tempted to use 125’s (5").

I learned on a Pashley 26" MUni. Another tire to use on pavement on a 24" is a Hookworm 24x2.5". I haven’t tried one yet, but there’s one in my basement rarin’ to go. On the 26" I used a Conti tire for a while after shredding the tire on concrete. The nice knobbies have a softer rubber for better traction off road, and when you are learning (relearning?) turns, idling, and the lot, they basically just get torn off in little pieces. So they are expensive, wear out fast, and get in the way of learning.

My brother inlaw is learning to unicycle and is interested in muni and I set him up with a nimbus with a dyno fireball, the nimbus muni is a great intro muni it has a well built wheel and comes with 150mm cranks which are probably better for a beginner or someone who is relearning than 170s and the fireball is an almost slick tire which is better for learning and street riding and with the fireball it was just over $200.

  1. I LOVE my Hookworm (on AND off road). I run it with high pressure and it performs as well as (or better) than the Gazz for me.

  2. Using a more narrow tire IS good. The narrow tires also have a smaller circumference - and that means you will have to work harder to make it over bumps an obsticles (unless you’re hopping). Working harder is good because it will make you faster (you have to pedal faster to keep up) and more stable (it requires a bit more skill). Then, when you switch to a 2.5-3.0 tire, you will fine riding offroad is muuuuch easier (almost boring). Narrow tires can also allow you to go through sticky (clay based) mud while other municycles lock up.

  3. Try different things. There are people (like Rowan) that will call you foolish for using longer cranks - and there are people that will swear the Gazz is God’s tire for municycling - having never tried other tires and setups. Disregard their invalid advice - and try out different setups until you find what is right for you. The truth is, when you have experienced different setups, you won’t find “what’s right for you” but rather “what’s right for you for the circumstances” of the ride.

  4. Try different pressures on each tire. I found that lower pressure in most situations sucks. (I can write a long list why if requested).

uhoh. my kh24 is coming in a couple weeks with that same kind of tire, (i think its the duro leopard 24x3 you are talking about when you say halo contra), and i was planning to use it for everything-- commuting, off road, & maybe a bit of trials. Is all the commuting gonna make the tire so “slick” that its not gonna work off road anymore? i can see how it would be good to have a “nice slick 3” wheel" if you were only on the pavement, but once you go offroad…

should i buy two different wheels, and just switch everytime i go to the off road trails? or should i just not do a lot of rubber-scraping techniques on the pavement, like turning on one spot?


If you used to ride 30 years ago, the riding will come back to you relatively quickly. In other words, you’ll soon be able to handle whatever you want to ride.

So the question is, where/how do you want to ride?

A MUni is not a bad thing for riding around NYC if that’s where you live. You don’t need an aggressive knobby for pavement, but a big tire will eat up bumps better than a little skinny one. There are lots of choices in that area.

What you probably don’t need is a heavy duty MUni with 24x3" tire and long cranks. Unless your goal is very rough terrain.

My most recent acquisition is a 29" MUni. Great cruising machine! The Nanoraptor tire on it has a relatively light pattern of ridges for offroad, and a center ridge for pavement. Unlike smaller tires, this center ridge hasn’t bothered me at all though mostly I’ve been on dirt with it. This would be a great unicycle if you’re into going places. It can still handle all sorts of technical terrain, just not the very hardest stuff.

If you want more versatility, consider a 24" or 26" wheel. These will be easier for learning (or re-learning) idling and some basic tricks on.

I have different tires that I switch out - but I have found that the Hookworm has great traction off-road and awesome durability. The rolling resistance is so low, that it makes me feel like I could and should be pedalling twice as fast.
I have only found knobby tires useful in mud (where a 3.0 tire would lock up anyway). If you don’t mind “the bald look” a bald Duro tire (with knobbies on the sides to get you out of ruts) will work fine - at least until things get wet.
I haven’t used it in deep slimy mud yet, but the only time my Hookworm seemed to fail was hopping across rocks in the stream. Once it got wet, and was coupled with my insufficient hopping skill, it got, well, “slick.” :slight_smile:

I find the bald contra to be fine offroad, expect when it’s wet or muddy, in which case it’s useless for anything remotely extreme.

If you’re going to be riding off road in mud it’d be worth considering an extra wheel.

Wow! Thanks everyone for the input and the advice! It definetly makes my unicycle search more interesting and fun.