I’ve been riding unicycles since I was 8-years old. That was back in 1968…I delivered papers on it, went to classes at NCSU (1978) on it, and generally found it to be much faster and more entertaining than walking. When I started road biking, I found myself at a huge advantage. Living in the foothills of North Carolina, I found I have a strong climbing motor. I attribute that to the years I spent on the one-wheeler. I recently discovered the 36" unicycle with bars and brakes at a road race in Asheboro (Red Sleigh Ride). The dude did 70 miles and beat some of the guys on bicycles…I want one! I want one now! Just looking for some suggestions on a good starter model.
Coker makes a couple of 36 inch unis. Nimbus has a range of options. Kris Holm makes a nice one. As far as I know, they’re all pretty good. Most people seem satisfied with whatever they get.
The Coker Big One and Nimbus Titan are the cheapest. Handlebars and breaks can be bought separately, so you don’t have to get a unicycle that comes with them unless you want it all in one package (see the Nimbus Impulse).
36 is a big beast. You might wants some pads and gloves. It’ll take a while to get used to it. Getting on is tricky in the beginning. But once you get going it’s great fun.
I was checking out the new Nimbus with the disk brake. Any thoughts on this model? I’m sure I will be able to adapt to the bigness, but I will also add pads and helmet to my riding wardrobe. I’m working out in the foothills right now, and the hills are killing me on the 24". Does this get harder or easier with the bigger wheel? I realize it’s a question of leverage and pedal placement. I may not be able to generate the necessary torque for the 10 - 12 % grades around here.
Thank you for your earlier assistance, and thanks ahead for your reply.
Did you say hills? Then brake = good. If the hills are hard on a 24", you’ll be in for a great workout on a 36". They are heavy wheels. But uphill riding is a skill. As you get better at it, you’ll get more efficient and will waste less energy. 10-12% grades will be daunting at first, but nothing you can’t handle, especially if you’re a long-time roadie.
IMHO, a disc brake is the very best type to have on a unicycle. Pricy, but I want one…
I have the Nimbus with the disk brake. I got it fairly recently, so I’m still adjusting to the brake. If you squeeze it lightly, it gives you very even braking, which is perfect for going down hill. If you panic and squeeze hard, it will lock the wheel and launch you off the front. It might be possible to adjust it to be less sensitive. I’m still figuring it out.
Overall I think it’s a good uni. I’ve ridden a Coker and several older mixed brand mutts. They’re all heavy, but the Nimbus seems more agile than the others I’ve tried.
I’m jealous of all the Impulse owners. THAT is the epitome of 36er riding, IMHO.
I have a Coker Big One, and I’m satisfied with it. The only upgrade I’ve made is the saddle, but I’ve got my eye on handlebars.
In my experience (Keep in mind I live and ride in the very hilly city of Madison, WI), brakes really aren’t necessary. With strong legs and enough practice, downhills aren’t too bad. Obviously you don’t want to be spinning fast down a hill, but I’ve never experienced runaway.
I am an Impulse owner and I agree wholeheartedly. It is a top of the line non-geared 36er. As for for “the epitome of 36er riding” what John Foss has and what I will have in “weeks” is a Schlumpf geared hub in a KH36. If, that is, your hub does not malfunction (which is why I will be keeping my Impulse fully intact as a back-up loaner).
The downside of the Impulse is the aluminum spindle and dished (to fit disc brake) wheel so I wouldn’t go hopping (as if I could) down big drops. I ride long distance on the multi-use asphalt paths of the (soon to be 100 miles) Louisville Loop. The Impulse is awesome but my KH36G will rule!
You’ll love the Shadow. I’m putting one on my KH36G. Use BlueLoctite on pivotal seat post and don’t butt the front handle against inside of base.
It depends on crank length. I love 150/125 Moment cranks on my Impulse. RiverWalk is flat for 125 then switch to 150 for hills near house. Some of my best speeds are gradual downhill dragging that brake. I tend to agree with John Foss below.
As I said above, the brake is essential to save the knees downhill. Added benefit of the disc is no brake rub powering uphill which is a good thing cause those Nightrider frames will flex especially with proper use of the handlebar pulling uphill.
Get the new clear lighter FOSS tubes. UDC boasts the Impulse as “lightest fully kitted” of course that’s before I add my heavy cranks. Rotating weight is where it’s at. Hence the need for a brake and the Impulse disc is flawless.
Couldn’t agree more. I will have to adjust to Maggies on my new kit.
Nimbus Impulse for touring road, no curbs, dirt roads, or hopping. Some folks have said the frame is flexy…
KH for anything rough, light and bomber, get a Nimbus hub for creak free riding.
Not dissing the disc brake thing, cuz I do like my Oregon disc brake, but honestly the only downside to rim brakes are when they get wet, and disc brakes get wet also…
I also wonder about riding that extra wide uni for touring, i.e is it too wide and will this cause skeletal issues? It’s possible a wider uni is better, for instance I feel more comfortable on my Oregon in terms of leg to seat pressure, but I wonder about my hips and knees after a long ride.
I compared hub widths and it seems that the KH 36 is the only one that is 100mm, is that right? Even the Coker is 128mm? Hmmm.
The Impulse is certainly the biggest bang for the buck.
I’ve been thinking about dual holed cranks. I’m riding with 102s currently, and I’ve never really experienced problems, but I’d like to get dual holed in a slightly longer size. Maybe 125-137, or 114-125 (Do they even make those?)
Almost identical to my story. I learned at 11 in 1970, delivered papers, and rode around Va Tech in the late 70’s, early 80’s.
I just got my first 36er in January. I now ride the Impulse and LOVE IT!
No question that hills are harder on the 36. Before I got the Impulse, I rode 350 foot in 0.4 mile climb with a part at 18% grade on the 24. I don’t think I could do that on the 36. I am getting stronger on the hills though. There is a 200 foot climb with about 75 feet at 14% grade that I can do on the 36. It’s tough. It kicks my but. But I can do it.
I live in Dublin, VA. Probably 1-3 hours drive from you. If you want to come try the Impulse, PM me.
People seem to be saying the Impulse is the best smooth touring 36 uni.
It’s a bit more $ than the KH 36, which I would think is stronger and longer lasting.
Why is the Impulse better than the KH for smooth touring?
Is it just the same for light off road (no drops)?
Is anything new expected soon?
I prefer the KH36. It is stiffer.
Yes, disc brakes for the new KHs. Not sure when they will be available though. This will mean new/different KH cranks and other parts… If you want top of the line, wait for the new KH stuff (or contact Kris to get an idea of availability dates). Nimbus stuff is great as well; you get what you pay for.