After riding with a girl who rides a gazz 26x3’’, I decided to try out a fatter tire to see what all the hype was about. I went from a 580g Specialized S-Works Ground Control XC tire (2.3) to a 930g Specialized Butcher SX DH tire (2.5). I took it out for a ride today and it was AWFUL. I felt like I was learning how to ride a unicycle all over again. My arms were flailing everywhere, I couldn’t keep the tire straight, I couldn’t climb a hill more than 2 meters before UPDing, and going downhill was so tiring and uncontrollable. I found myself leaning off to one side a lot, on both even and uneven terrain. Turning was especially difficult, and the entire trail I did consisted of switchbacks. Basically, I wasn’t able to control where the unicycle went; I just pedaled until I fell off. The only good thing was that the tire noticeably ate up the roots and bumps more than the XC tire. I liked the idea of having a fatter tire for more technical riding, but in order to get to the technical riding around here, you need to climb A LOT, and it feels impossible to ride on this beast of a tire uphill, and it was tiring and no fun riding downhill.
Is this normal? Do I just need to learn to adjust? I knew riding uphill would be more difficult because of the extra weight, but not to THIS extent. I thought I was a strong uphill climber, but it just felt impossible to do ANYTHING with this new tire. Any advice?
What you describe sounds exactly like what it feels like when I ride (onroad) when my tire pressure has gotten too low. Apologies if you’ve already done the tire pressure dance with this tire or, at least, one like it, but that is what it sounds like to me. Or it could be your tire, and you either learn to work with it or give up on it. I can see the merits of going either way on that one.
Thanks for your input! I’m not sure if my pump is accurate but it said I was at 26 psi just now. I’m pretty sure before I left I had it pumped up to 30. It says max is 50 psi. Should I go for 40 on my next ride? Think that will help?
It’s not the size as much as the tire profile. That tire looks pretty square with the side knobs, and square tire profiles are terrible for unicycles. Any kind of side slope keeps pushing the wheel to the middle, you have to fight it the whole time.
Really looks like the tire profile is the problem. In addition to that the tire compound could also be a problem especially when the it is made for wet surfaces. It will really stick to the ground then, making it feel like riding with way too low tire pressure.
Laaaaaaame. I just put it up for sale on Craigslist. I’ll stop by my lbs and see if they have a try-it-once-and-exchange-it policy. So bummed…I had such good luck with my last two tires. If I get a 2.5 again, what should I look for in the profile?
I must be in the minority because I disagree. My favorite unicycle tire is the good old Nokian Gazzoloddi. Still have a relatively new on on my KH24 and I used to ride a 26" version on my original MUni years ago. I’ll also say that if you’re running that high of PSI in the Gazz it’s no wonder you’ve had issues. Depends on your weight I guess but I’m 5’ 9" 145lbs and rarely run higher than 12-14 psi in my Gazz. 20’s and, gasp, higher would be awful for me. I know the trend these days has gone towards skinnier MUni tires and believe me I’ve tried to embrace that trend as well but I’ve had the least trouble and most fun when I’m riding FAT. I think there is a learning curve for sure and yes at times it seems like you’ve got to exert a little more effort to tame the beast but at least where I ride and what I ride it’s all worth it.
The Gazz is definitely more of a square profile than Duro, the other 3" wide tire I’m familiar with. Just now starting to experiment with fatter unicycle tires. Then again I probably don’t ride near as frequently or as much as the regulars on this site. I’m just happy when I get the chance to get out and ride and perhaps I don’t know what I’m missing? I’ve always been the type to adapt to my equipment and not the other way around.
Some of this sounds like it might have something to do with the tire, but a lot of it might simply be due to the change. Your not used to riding with a big heavy tire. Going from a light mountain bike xc tire to a heavy thick sidewall downhill tire does a number on the handling of your ride. It would definitely take a few rides to get comfortable with it, especially if you’ve never ridden a tire like that.
It’s going to be very sensitive to tire pressure, there are a lot of people here who don’t like a tire until they find the right pressure, and sometimes the sweet spot is only a few psi. You don’t mention how much pressure you had in the tire, that really is important.
That new tire is only a 2.5, so you may be having kind of the worst/worst scenario… It’s not wide enough to give you the stable platform people like in the heavy wide tires, yet it’s really heavy at the same time…
I’ve bought plenty of bad tires, don’t worry about it, it’s how we find good tires eventually.
Definitely check out the tire thread Eric posted, LOTS of good information in there.
The stock tire on 26 Muni’s at UDC is the Duro wildlife leopard 26x3, that would probably be a good choice.
I’ll check out the thread once (if) I sell this one on Craigslist. I actually liked the feel of not needing to stand up over every bumpy/rooty section. My butt and crotch are definitely thanking me for getting a fatter tire. But the absorption of bumps was outweighed by the instability of the ride, so I don’t think I’ll give it another shot. My frame won’t allow for 3". The frame width is 2.9 inches, so I think 2.5-2.7 might be the fattest that I can go. I wish I had read the thread before buying this tire.
It sounds a lot like when I went from a generic 24" to my muni with 24". It was like learning to ride all over again, especially when I dropped the pressure down from 35 or 40 (which I needed just to be able to ride up any hill) down to the 20-25 I ride at now, and that looks similar to my Duro 24" in terms of the roundedness…
Just my 2 cents. In the end, ride whatever works best for you
When I started riding on a 2.4” (the fattest available 20” tire AFAIK), I had to re-learn skills like the figure-8 in reverse. Before that, I had ridden a 1.95 Hookworm that I kept at 110psi on a narrower rim than the 47mm I have now. My fat, square-ish tire is nice for hopping, and it doesn’t make me dance the twist every time I ride on cambered pavement. It’s at about 40-60psi, I think. Once it wears out, I’ll probably go back to Hookworm, though.
I have the Butcher 2.5 on a DX32 rim. I really like it. The only thing I notice about it as far as handling goes is it soaks up imperfections to the point of feeling dead sometimes. To be fair as far as the pulling goes, I’m used to off-camber and wide tires (Surly Nate and Larry).
580g is really light for a muni tire. To get volume the weight will have to increase or the sidewalls will be too thin to do much good.
Tire pressure is key. A couple of pounds either way can make all the difference.
As far as the Butcher goes, it’s a decent sized 2.5. 930g is FAR from heavy.
If weight is a concern, NO on the Duro. It’s almost 1600g.
As far as good choices go, the tire thread is a great place to start.
There are also some new choices that are looking promising. I look forward to my Dirt Wizard coming in. It, however is around 1070g or so (wire bead). The folding is lighter (around 850g or so), but it’s still a lot heavier than what you’re currently running.
If you’re accustomed to a lightweight tire, a step to something almost 2x its weight is going to require an adjustment period. Getting something with a rounder profile is good, although tread pattern accounts for a lot too. I used a Continental 2.4 once that was fairly round and absolutely awful for muni due to knob squirm.