(mild) XC with a freestyle uni

Well, before asking, I know the answer: get a muni! I’ll do that… I’m already dreaming a KH 24…


for some months I’ll not be able to buy one, and even if my Qu-ax Luxus isn’t that all-purpose uni… it becomes thus, since it’s the only one I’ve got! (just since Xmas, I’m a newbie)

I’ve begun to do some mild XC (no drops, no technical trails…) with it, and even sensing the limitations of a 20" thin tyre, I’m enjoyn’ so much! And the tyre too, it’s got more grip than I thought of. I live in the alps 'tween Italy and Switzerland, so there’s plenty of mountain off-road paths, trails and so.

But: if I keep using it this way, what do I risk? is it just a change of cranks?


A 29" would be perfect for Mild XC. A 20" just won’t cut it, even with the shortest cranks.

But, with the lack of cash, I would try some shorter cranks. They cost like $15 (if you have a cotterless hub), so if you don’t like em, go back to your longer ones.

It might help to know the mm of your cranks that you are using now.

thanks for the advice, it’s a possible upgrade.

What I wanted to know is the possible damage with this mis-use of my uni: will it endure a bit of XC? is it cranks/pedals I’m risking, or other parts?

You’re most likely to bust either the cranks or the hub. Cranks are easy and cheap to replace, hubs cost more and require you to dissasemble and rebuild and retune the wheel, a lot of effort. However if you avoid all drops and don’t go up or down very steep hills then it should be ok, I use to do x-country on an old cotter pin crank pashley with no problems.

I concur, and your seatpost, unless its reinforced. If the hub is cro-moly, it will put up w/ a lot more.

I sometimes do mild muni on my 20" Nimbus X w/ cheap steal 127’s and it works fine (when I bend those cranks I’ll get a splined trials to add to my 24" DX). I can fit a 20X2.25 Maxdaddy on it if I shim the bearings w/ 6 pieces or stiff paper. I’ve tried the Nimbus w/ 102’s, 114’s and 150’s they don’t work as well for me.

I think technical single track is fine, just snake through the bumps instead of over them.

There were a bunch of French unicyclists who used to ride muni on 20" freestyles.


If you ride smoothly, you should be okay, I know there is a kid here in the UK who rides a 20" on proper muni rides, and he’s as fast as most adults, and seems to have no problems riding rocks and stuff.

You might break stuff, particularly if you ride big drops, but if you don’t drop, you’re unlikely to cane anything worse than a crank.


I’ve seen leo ride a 20" down snowdon easily as fast as I can on a 24", he basically hops everything!

Don’t worry, we rode cotterless axles for years before there were any splined axles on the market. Cranks bend, and hubs occasionally break, but this is true with Freestyle as well. Go out and have fun! If you’re not doing lots of hops and drops you should be fine.

That said, 20" is not a great wheel size for MUni. Get something bigger, even 24", as soon as you can.

Yeah, and Tue’s Tom is pretty fast too, last year on Dartmoor he was up with the ‘faster faster’ end of the ride, keeping up with like Sam, John H, Tue, Phil and me, and we were leaving quite a few people behind. It wasn’t even a trials, it was a 20" bmx tire on a freestyle uni.


Well, thank for the advices!

I’ve written to the supplier In Florence where I’ve bought my uni asking for possible tire upgrades, and he told me my Qu-Ax can host 20x2.1 tires.

This could be an interesting choice…

or a bmx one. I’ll give a look around.

But yes, as soon as I can I’ll buy a muni at least 24"!

Update: I’ve bought a 20x2.125 Bmx dirt-tire for 8 euros, it fits well in my rim and there’s still more than 1cm to the fork. I think a 2.25 could go too…

But for now it’s great! it’s broader, it absorbs better and has a good grip. Now I… better feel what I can’t do because missing tech-skills or leg-power! But I’ve found a great short lap with a paved upgoing road I can smoothly run, and an offroad descent about my level. Well… is there something like the sensation of going off road on one wheel? It’s the better approximation to “freedom” I can find!

Ok, I’m pretty satisfied by this very cheap setup:

20x2.125 bmx-dirt tyre 8E
127mm cranks - 8E
Pedals stolen from my old MTB.

It’s great for the mountain paths I’ve begun to ride. Thanks for the advices.