Longevity of Uni Skills

I realize the question I’m going to ask is hard to answer, but I want to get the opinion of experienced unicyclists.

I am 46. I had a unicycle when I was a teenager. I was able to ride pretty well. I was comfortable riding a mile and a half to school and back. I never had any skills other than free mounting and riding on pavement. My unicycle was a squeaky, wobbly, crummy Sears model so I probably couldn’t have done much with it anyway.

I want to buy a unicycle. I mainly want to cruise, but I’d like be able to ride on flat trails occasionally also. Here’s the dilemma: do I get a relatively small wheel like a kh24 to make it easier to relearn to ride OR do I get a kh29 or Coker 36 to optimize cruising and just tough out the learning process.

The coker appeals to me a lot. If I knew I could learn to ride and free mount in a reasonable amount of time, I’d buy one.

I would appreciate your thoughts. Will I be able to just hop back on a uni and ride after 30 years of not riding? I am a runner and am very fit and reasonably well coordinated.


Hola Dan welcome to the forum

I’m 46yr old newbie unicyclist (who’s having a ball learning) and I see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to ride like you used to when you were a kid after a session or so. Lucky you for being able to consider a KH uni - I wish!

Good luck and happy pedaling. :smiley:

Terry Peterson (muniaddict on here) Is 54 I think, and recently did a century ride on his coker :slight_smile: He used to ride as a kid aswell I think, then got back into it a few years ago, I say go for it! :smiley:

I think with a 20" or 24" you’d be back to your old skill level within about an hour, so if if you buy a KH24 just to upgrade to a 36" that would be a pretty expensive hour. Just go for it!

36ers are hard to freemount though, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t get the hang of it right away.

Get all 3 :smiley:

Seriously, though, if you haven’t ridden for 30 years I expect you’ll struggle with a 36". You’ll struggle with a 29" too, but nowhere near as much. If you get the 24" you might relearn more quickly, but after a couple of weeks you’ll want to upgrade.

I’d go for the 29".

i would go for the 29er, as it is easier to deal with and ride than the coker. and i dont think it will be too hard for you to relearn

If you have your heart set on a 36, I would probably buy a cheap ($150?) 24" unicycle, perhaps a club or trainer model. Spend some time getting your skills back, and then go out and get a 36. The learning curve for a 36 is much steeper, and I think you might have a lot of trouble and get discouraged if you go straight to it. A month or two on a 24" would help a lot.

If you know someone in the area with A 24, you could borrow it for a while. That might be the best choice.

On the other hand, a 29" is much easier to get started on than a 36. In that case I would just buy one and go for it.


Like you I didn’t ride for about 25 years. Like you too I was very fit having run 40+ marathons and ultras. Don’t expect the unicycle to keep you in shape. It does’nt and won’t no matter how many hours you spend on it. When I used to ride I could ride good on dirt and pavement, freemount, but nothing more advanced. I am 55 now. I had both my original 20" ers. I soon broke them both. I was able to ride immediately, and then fairly good in about a weeks worth of riding. But almost immediately this time I began to increase my skills. These skills are best learned on a 20" er. Get a Torker LX or better and practice most of your skills. You will eventually want to learn no doubt, jumping, hopping, drops, side jumps, one footing, ww, kick up mount, jump mounts, backwards riding, backward hops, etc. Best on a 20"er. Then get a KH 29" or Coker. Even though you say that you will be just cruising, You will find that with the 29" or Coker you will want be hopping in place or idleing at stop signs, rolling off of curbs, jumping curbs, hopping shadows, etc. and will need a good unicycle. I orginally bought a Sun 28" and first bent the rim, then snapped the axle. Most of the skills learned on the 20" are readily transferred to the larger unicycle, and will save you from some very nasty learning falls on the 29" and 36"ers.

A question I can answer !

I could ride this ancient uni 20 for small tours around the neighborhood. 25 years later, I still had the thing. It took me that long to forget how bad the seat was. I put a new tire on it, fixed a crank and took it to a long wall.

The seat was still bad. I didn’t seem to retain any of my former skill, except perhaps for mental conviction. I needed the wall for 2 afternoons, then I started pedaling off down the street.

After I could ride it a 1/2 mile, I wanted a new uni. I bought a Radial 36. The first afternoon did not go well. I didn’t break anything important, but I was whooped. I went home and did some reading, then ordered a KH 24 and some wrist wraps. That worked well. After a month of riding the 24, and the skin had grown back on my palms, I took out the 36 again. By then I was ready for it, and when I fell, the wrist wraps helped keep up the old moral.

So to answer in point.

1 Get a 24 muni with a KH seat . You will never regret this.

2 Then consider getting a 36. Don’t bother with a 29, as a street ride the 36 is more fun. I ride in a flat place with minor traffic. It might take a lot of skill to ride a 36 in congested areas. Free mounting, though a noble skill, is unimportant if you ride in suburban areas, where there is always another fence or sign to use to climb up.


My story is similar to others here. I rode as a kid and took it back up about 40 years later. After getting a 24 Torker LX, I realized in a week that I wanted to cruise and got a KH 29. No regrets. For the kind of riding you describe, I’d recommend you get a 29er as you will find it comes back very quickly. Your best option would be one with cranks that had pedal options of 125 and 150cm cranks.

I wondered about a 36 and tried a friends but have never decided to buy one. The 24 is not enough to cruise, and the 36 might be a bit of a challenge at the beginning though I am sure you could do it. I have decided that I am most happy with a 29…and if I want to go faster, I’ll get a geared one. I did later get a 24 for muni though I have not used it much. The 29er is a great and flexible unicycle. If I could only have one uni…it would be a 29 KH.


My two cents:
Buy the unicycle you want to end up riding. You’ve already learned to ride; you’ve gotten over the hump; you know you can do it; your body knows what to do.
In the worst case, if you really can’t seem to pick it back up, then pick up a 24" torker or something, but I bet you won’t need it.

Allow me to take exception. {exception!} After 30 years, the unicycle is the only thing keeping me in shape. Though this is not marathon shape, it’s also not heart disease. A unicycle only works the body parts it works (not much above the mid-back for just cruising), but if you ride mountains you’ll be in pretty good cardio shape. If you ride mountains fast, you’ll be even better.

So based on that, JBAB’s credibility is a little damaged on the “get a 20” thing. Get a 20" if you want to do tricks, Trials or Street. If not, I’d go with the 24" advice. 24" first, then get the 36" a little later. Going straight to the 36" would be annoying. Though you can do it, you would feel the learning curve was pretty steep at first. If you hop on a 24" you’ll be riding almost immediately. You could even look for a used on on eBay or similar, but watch out for junk or bad seats…

Why 29’s aren’t as cool most times

Again, it depends on how good you are and where you ride. But a 36 makes me about 13 " taller. The building code around here doesn’t allow fences over 6 '. For 25 years I have ridden past many walls, with no idea what is behind them. So the 36 is the ultimate touring-sight seeing machine. It is a lot of fun to see new gardens, land etc. A geared 29 can’t offer that, and being higher is also kinda exciting all by itself. I think if Coker came out with a 42 it would be popular.

Surely someone who took a 30 years break from unicycling can now afford to own several unis?

I don’t think one unicycle is ever enough. But I guess you know that :slight_smile:

I am not sure 24" is a good size long term - it’s too big for a gym and too slow for riding outside. 26" is much more versatile and not much harder to ride with 150mm cranks. I also like to carry my 20" in the trunk so I can do a quick circle around the car as well as practice indoors if I have a chance.

I’d suggest finding someone else near you who rides, & who would be willing to meet with you and let you ride their uni(s) for an hour or so. I don’t think you’ll need much time at all to pick up the basics again (I could idle, ride, & freemount within 5 minutes of my second life of unicycling, after a 20 year hiatus). I have KH24, KH29, and KH36 unis, and the 29er gets most of the riding time, but I mostly ride relatively rocky/technical muni. The 36er kills on smooth trails & fire roads–way fun to go so fast (well, for a unicycle, anyway). If you’re unlikely to ride tougher trails, & only want to buy one uni, I’d go for the 36. But borrowing a smaller wheel just to get the feel (or buying a cheapie off craigslist) will prepare you for the 36er a lot better than jumping on one cold after 25 years.

Good luck!

I’ve had a few people come up to me and say ‘I used to ride one of those things as a kid’, and hop on the 36, and be able to at least make it go along a few pedal revolutions first time. I’d be surprised if you can’t get going on a bigger wheel, even if it takes a little practice.

Having said that, not having a usable mountain unicycle would be rubbish, so obviously you need a KH 24 too!


Definitely go with a quality 24" MUni which will be good for starting out and for most general riding. It’s a practical size and very fun, I’ve ridden 50 miles on trails with one so it can be used for long distance trail riding. Later on get the 36er, it’s fun for longer distance riding on roads and also a blast on easier XC trails. Bottom line, after 5 years of riding, if I had to pare down my unicycles and could only keep two it would be my KH24 GUni and my Coker 36er; hands down my most used and favorite unicycles.

A 24 or 26 muni is going to be the best all around if you want to ride off road trails. A 29 is going to be much more challenging on trails, though a little faster on the road.

Most folks have more than one uni unless they only do one kind of riding. There are two riders in my family, so we have a range of unis from trials (19") to touring (36"), then 24, 26, 29 for everyting in between.

I’m a decent off road rider, my preferred element 97% of the time, but I still struggle with a 29er at times, esp if I try to go technical. A 29 simply doesn’t turn as quickly and is less agile, so they take more effort on difficult trails. In contrast, I can hop on my 26 x 3 and rip on a trail that make me work on a 29.

The 24 is a bit more agile than a 26, otherwise a 26 rolls better, has better pedal clearance, and has more tire choices.

If I had to pick two unis: 26 x 3, 36 Guni.

I’ll go ahead and put in my 2 cents (which is similar to Igor’s advice). I only have a tiny bit of experience with big wheels but I’ve acquired 6 unicycles in the last year. Unicycle.com has a 26" Club for a fraction of the price of a big wheel. It’s not a muni but would be OK for flat trails and cruising and I think it would be a great bridge to get your skills up to speed on a bigger wheel. You can always jettison it when you’re ready to move on or maybe put smaller cranks on it (and/or a different tire) and use it in certain scenarios even if you do get a big wheel (like a crowded multiuse path).


Lots of good advice.
The most important is to enjoy and have fun! :smiley:
I recommend also looking on Craigslist for a used uni.
I got a great 26in Torker for $40!

If you want to look over neighbor’s garden and backyards, may I also suggest a giraffe uni? The learning curve is bit more painful… :roll_eyes: