Looks like I'm going to buy another uni...

Hi all,

I’m starting to give my 20" learner unicycle too much abuse by riding it on rough ground, and I think it’s time to get myself a more suitable machine before I break it (I want to carry on using the 20" for learning idling and other freestyle skills).

I can’t see myself using a unicycle for long road rides or commuting - I’ve got bicycles for that and I enjoy cycling too much to give up, not to mention the fact that unless there’s a unicycle that can cruise at 25-30mph and hit 50 downhill I’m going to take a very long time to get to work :wink:

So it looks like I could do with a muni of some sort, but can’t quite decide between 24"/26" and splined/normal cranks. I did a search on the subject and it seems that the 24"/26" issue is rather a matter of what you get used to - there seem to be strong views on both sides (the main case for the 26" being slightly faster, but not much if 3" tyre fitted, and large choice of mountain bike tyres, but 24" more controllable and better for trials/hopping). Doesn’t seem much to choose between the two.

Most of the tracks near me are quite rough and stoney, with some muddy parts and the occasional steep hill. At first I’ll be mainly sticking to the more level routes (extremely easy biking), but as I get better and learn to hop I can see myself taking on some of the rougher paths that will involve having to jump over small ditches and rocks.

I don’t want to throw money at this unnecessarily, but on the other hand I’m really enjoying unicycling and I want a machine that will be good quality and last. I’m thinking that splined hub may be a sensible choice for longevity (I weigh about 12 1/2 stone and the tracks are rough, although I’m not into big drops).

So it seems like my options are:
Nimbus Muni at £165
Qu-ax Muni at about £170, with splined hub
Kris Holm Muni at £255 (I think probably overkill for what I need)
Max Traction at £240, almost as expensive as a KH, but 3" tyre.

I think it’s going to be a Nimbus or Qu-ax unless anybody has a better idea, but I’m still rather stuck on the wheel size choice. Being a (bi)cyclist I do get a bit frustrated by the slow speed of the 20", so I’m tempted to go for a 26", but then I keep wondering if the fat tyre on a 24x3 might be better (i.e. more comfortable) on the rocky tracks…


Sorry about the waffle :slight_smile:


Given you’re not sure what you’re aiming for yet, I’d get a 24", because then you’ve got the flexibility to go really big if you end up feeling that way inclined. They’re a bit slower than a 26", but not much.

A 26 is great if you know you’re not aiming for massive hops or to do any trials style riding, I ride a 26" on mountain bike trails a lot, but I don’t do anything much above a foot drops, or any big hops up.


Re: Looks like I’m going to buy another uni…

The Max Traction with the 3" tire when measured comes out at 25" - I was surprised as I have one and was sure it was 24".

I have a 28" and find it hard and uncomfortable to ride as it requires a greater degree of control and balance.

Good luck,


Thanks for that. I’m not into big drops - can’t see the point - and I’ve never had much interest in trials on bikes, so it’s going to be mostly used for cross-country riding. When I mentioned hopping I was just thinking of some small ditches/logs/rocks (the sort of thing that can be bunny-hopped over on a bike). It would be cool to be able to jump over them on the uni (when I get good enough) rather than having to get off, but I don’t see myself getting involved in real trials riding.


The Nimbus is great and all, but you may want to go for the splined hub, just in case… I’m not sure what 12.5 stones are in American, but I’m around 180lbs and already am needing to replace my hub on my nimbus (after only 3 months of riding, with no drops higher than a foot and a half…) It’s easier to buy higehr quality stuff upfront then go through the dissapointment of breaking something, not being able to ride, waiting for new parts, etc… :wink: But if money is tight, the Nimbus is good and fun!

Thanks Nick. 14lbs in a stone, so 12 1/2 st is 175 lbs, pretty much the same as you weigh. I’m thinking I should probably go for a splined hub (like you, I’d rather spend a bit more money on good equipment than skimp and have to replace it in a few months).

If I go for a splined hub, it’s between the Qu-ax and Max Traction/Kris Holm. Are the Max Traction/Kris Holm really worth 50% extra? Will a novice rider like me notice the difference? I read in one post that the Qu-ax hub/crank is prone to knocking ankles (which would be annoying), but then somebody else disagreed with that.

Any more opinions on wheel size?


I have a QU-AX wheel set, and I never had problems with hitting my ancles. I’ve read that the old Kris Holm hubs had that problem, but it is fixed on the new ones.
I wouldn’t pay 50% extra for a Max Traction or Kris Holm uni if I where you. From the descriptions (I haven’t tried them myself), they seem to be better, but not by a margin a beginner would notice.

Avoid the old QU-AX frame, it is heavy and you’ll hit your knees on the protrutions which stick out to the sides at the top of the fork. If you want a qu-ax, get the one with the same type of frame as the Nimbus.

From the description of the riding that you want to do, it sounds like 26" would be better for you. The Gazz 26x2.6 is an excellent tire and weighs the same as the Gazz 24x3. As far as hops, drops and the like, if you have a good wheel builder there is no disadvantage to the larger wheel. On the trails, however, the 26 will let you cruise a little faster and give you a little more ground clearance. You will still be able to do trials if you want. Remember, stock bike trials is 26".

The Qu-ax hub/cranks do not have the ankle-knocking problem that the earlier KHs had.

Thanks for your comments. I think I’ll probably go for a 26" wheel, probably with a splined hub if I can get one without spending a ridiculous amount of money. I think I’ve only seen the Qu-ax advertised with 24" wheel, and the KH does seem a little pricey.

I’ve never had problems with cranks on my mountain bikes, and I ride fairly hard, on a hard-tail frame, so I’m almost tempted to risk a Nimbus, but I suppose a bike is a bit different in that the frame can pivot around the axle to absorb some of the shock, so the bottom bracket is probably isolated from some of the forces, even on a hardtail frame. That was a long sentence :slight_smile:

Should I risk the Nimbus, or would I probably get crank problems quickly? After all, the price of a KH hub and cranks is about the same as the difference between the Nimbus and KH unis, so all I would lose is the wheel building fees if I change the hub later.

Hmmm… looks like I’m still a bit undecided. Actually I’ve just noticed that there isn’t actually such a thing as a 26" KH, so it seems like the choice is a bit limited with 26" unless I buy parts and build a custom machine, which feels a bit over the top for a relative novice like me - surely I should be able to find a standard off-the-shelf unicycle that will fit my needs. So perhaps I should look back towards the 24" again… Aaaargggghhhh :frowning:

If you’re careful with maintenance, ie. you have a good crank tool and check they’re tight every so often, square taper cranks should be fine for the sort of riding you sound like you want to do, as should a 26" wheel. My square taper crank, 26" wheel has lasted years now without any problems.

I’d agree that the 26x2.6 gazz is a really really wicked tyre.

What really screws up square taper crank sets is either people riding them when they’re loose, or people who repeatedly do drops and land them badly. If you’re more of a riding mountain bike trails type of person, then you’re probably likely to get onto big drops only once you’ve got the skill to roll them and land well, rather than doing loads of them while you don’t have the skills to land them.

It’s quite likely that qu-ax will do a 26" wheel if you wanted splined, though obviously it might cost more. Or alternatively, unicycle.com might be able to build you up a unicycle based on the qu-ax hub. They do things that aren’t listed on the website if you phone up and talk to them.


To add to what Joe said, my 26" offroad is a Pashley with a Suzue hub, Doublewide rim, Kooka cranks, and Gazz 26x2.6. It has done 2.5 foot drops, ridden a lot of trails, and survived many a rock garden. The cranks did settle in a little, but I kept them torqued on to 40 ft-lbs and have had no troubles with them.

So the Pashley frame works fine with that wheel configuration as long as the wheel is strong and true, and is available in your area.

I notice that you are not considering the Onza? any reason why? I belive they will be back in stock quite soon.

If you want to give us a call we can offer you options like the Qu-Ax hub on a 26" if you want.


Square taper

Yeah, loose cranks prolly helped kill my hub, but part of it was the hopping on it. When I got the nimbus I was about 195lbs naked, well over 200 gared up (steel toed shoes, water pack, nerves of steel) and only recently have achieved 176lbs (sickness/too much uni), but the folks at unicycle.com tols me that the stock Nimbus hub is rated for I believe 10 inch drops with a rider of 170lbs. So if you think you might do larger drops, you might think of a stronger hub.

Unrelated note, kudos to the folks unicycle.com who told me to check my cranks before getting a new hub. Not everyday a company tells you to check the cheap thing to fix first, rather than sell you the expensive thing you don’t need yet :smiley:

The Nimbus 24 x 3 is a great muni if you’re not going to be doing big drops; mines in excellent shape after 2/3 years of lots of riding.

I can’t comment on 26-ers as I’ve not used one, but, if you’re mainly interested in cross country have you considered a Nimbus 29-er?

The big tyre is similarly comfortable as a fat muni, but it goes considerably faster.

With 150 mm cranks it’s not much harder to control than a muni (most people use 125’s on 29-ers, but I find that there are control issues with 125’s on steep hills and rough terrain, I much prefer 150’s).

It’s also very good on roads, approaching bike speeds on the uphills.

Which reminds me, I was thinking about your muni-vs-bike uphill race the other day; it was extremely windy here on Sunday, and while coming back from town on the 29er I went up a hill into a quite fierce headwind. The uni really came into its own compared to a bike… I could keep up a fair proportion of my normal speed while a few bikes were really crawling along. I was flying past them!

Could I suggest a rematch after looking at the weather forecast? :slight_smile:


You should decide quickly BMW is under a month away. I could be wrong but last year I’m pretty sure the majority of 26" Uni’s had square taper, including the Carbon Fibre ones.


Roger: Thanks, I’ll certainly give you a call when I’m going to buy. The only reason I didn’t mention Onza is that I hadn’t noticed them when browsing around. Looks to be almost up in KH price range though.

All: Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. The main thing it’s proved is that I was wrong when I thought I knew roughly what I was looking for. I had certainly never considered a 700c wheeled machine - I thought they were intended for road riding, which I won’t do much of. I still think a 26" is probably what I should go for, but I’m intending to go to the SW uni meet in Exeter in October, so I’ll stick with the 20" (and smooth ground) until I can talk to some other riders there.

Roger, I’ll no doubt be in touch when I eventually decide what to do.