Moving from 24" to 29"

After 2 months I can now ride my 24" Torker fairly well and can freemount sporatically but enough to make me think I’ll have that down soon. So I’m thinking about rewarding myself with a 29" for longer “touring” type riding, mostly pavement but some easy dirt. I’m still not solid on the machine, though. What difficulties could I expect with a 29"? Benefits? Is freemounting much more difficult? Finally (opinions), Pashly? Yuni? Semcycle? Other??

Assuming identical cranks, pedal, tyre PROFILE and seat - i.e. the only difference is the wheel diameter - a 29 is 20% ‘faster’ than a 24. A 24 is 20% ‘faster’ than a 20.

Of course, it ain’t that simple. However, the step from a 24 to a 28 or 29 is not that great in terms of simply riding the thing.

The bigger wheel is harder to idle, less manoeuvreable in tight spaces, and easier to ride over rough ground.

I was a reasonably good rider when I bought my 28. I ordered it with 110mm cranks (125 or 150 would be more common) and was able to freemount and idle first time, on a flat gym floor.

I know one rider who bought a 20, taught himself to ride it, and bought a Coker within a month. He was freemounting that about 1 time in 2, and riding 10 miles at a time within a few days.

So, be not afraid! 28 or 29 is a good size, and easy to mount and ride.

Re: Moving from 24" to 29"

Last year I bought a 26". I learnt on a 20" 6 months before, I could freemount quite confidently, and I rode 3 to 4 miles regulary.

But the 26" was quite different, and I had to spent some time to get adjusted to it. I’m not a fast learner, and it took me a day or so before I could even ride it. Freemounting took some more time.

So, the bigger wheel will probably feel quite weird for you in the beginning. Don’t be disappointed if the 29" will throw you off on your first attempt, and take yourself some time to get used to it.

Learning to ride a bigger wheel is not that difficult, but you must be prepared that it really is something new for you to learn.


I’ve had pretty good luck with a Pashley for the last 1 1/2 years, and have had no problems with the frame or other Pashley parts. The only problem has been that the tubes seem to develop pinhole leaks at an abnormal rate compared with my other unis, even with the correct sized tubes in there (from

I had been riding a 24" for 6 months and easily made the transition to a 29" with 150mm size cranks. It was harder using 125mm cranks but I eventually got used to those also.

Re: Moving from 24" to 29"

BTW, there were two threads in the product reviews forum:

Yuni 29":

Pashley 29":

I’d only been riding for about 6 or 7 months when I got my 28.
My main ride was a 24x3 Muni before that. It wasn’t that difficult to adjust since my 28" came with 150 mm cranks. I just got a Coker last week and now I’m looking forward to adjusting to it :smiley:

the biggest thing you will notice is the lack of torque when freemounting and getting going on the first revolution. You will be used to getting moving easier. You might have to use a post at first and push off.

You will do fine.

A 700c-28/29 is great for touring and is definitely quicker than a 24 but if you’re going for distance a Coker is best.

I took my 700c with 102’s on a Coker ride a while back, I maxed out at about 10mph. While the Cokers were on a comfortable cruise control I was frantically pedaling not to fall behind. I still find the 102’s a bit squirly and get nervous riding around traffic once I get fatigued at all. I find 125’s big and really should get 110’s.

Unless you’re riding major hills or off road anything longer than 125’s seems do defeat the whole purpose of a 29er.

As for frame, mine started as a spare wheelset that I fit in my 26 Muni frame. I recently purchased a Bedford 29er frame and it works fine (although I had to do a bit of cold forging to squeeze the frame down to fit the bearings correctly).

I’ve been wanting to get a 29er tire for mine. Can anyone give an opinion on whether a Nanoraptor would provide a significant advantage over a 700x47c/28x1.75?

No offence, but a genuine attempt to be constructive: If you are ‘maxxing out’ at 10mph on a 28 or 29, you may need to make adjustments to the machine. It should be good for a lot more than that. It could well be that your cranks are too SHORT, and that the resultant reduction in responsiveness is holding you back.

I tried every length of crank from 150 down to 89 on my 24, and found that 102s were faster than 89s. Try 110s on the 28, and you might find that the extra control gives you the confidence to spin faster.

It’s a while since I’ve done any speed work but I reckon that even I (at over 40.9 years of age) can hit about 15 mph on a 28 with 110s.

Some of you will remember my interminable posts a few months back as I experimented with various crank sizes. My general conclusion was that shortening the cranks speeds you up, but there is a threshold after which you slow down again. Roughly: if you can idle very comfortably, the cranks are too long for max speed; if you can idle with care, they are about right. (This doesn’t hold good for the Coker, as idling the Coker is ‘rather different’.)

Experiment. Cranks are cheap. Have fun.

<<<I’ve had pretty good luck with a Pashley for the last 1 1/2 years, and have had no problems with the frame or other Pashley parts. The only problem has been that the tubes seem to develop pinhole leaks at an abnormal rate compared with my other unis, even with the correct sized tubes in there (from>>>

The only reason I can think of for a tire to get pin holes with different tubes is there’s a small piece of wire or something in the tire. If you can’t find it with your finger, get a cotton ball and rub it around the inside and see if anything snags it. Also be sure the rim strip is covering the spokes inside the rim and that the tube is not pinched when you remount the tire. (I’m new to unis but have been a bicyclist for many years.)

Originally posted by unibabyguy
[B]I’ve had pretty good luck with a Pashley for the last 1 1/2 years, and have had no problems with the frame or other Pashley parts. The only problem has been that the tubes seem to develop pinhole leaks at an abnormal rate compared with my other unis, even with the correct sized tubes in there (from
Odd, I have been having the same pinhole leak problem. I have never run into this on a bicycle. I thought it was a valve problem, then I filled a bathtub with water and checked for leaks. I wonder what causes this, I will give the cotton ball test a try.

I wrote most of the Pashley review, and I am sure most of the people who have purchased this uni are happy customers, but do your own research, hopefully at a juggling or unicycling convention where you can try some stuff out. Also consider where you will be riding, a jogging path of gravel road can be a lot more fun on a Coker.

After over a year of riding a 24x3 muni with 6" cranks (150mm), I got a fat tyre for my 28"-er which became a 29-er.

The tyre made a huge improvement in ridability and I spent about a month riding the 29-er.

Pro: - good speed, a different ride, more graceful

Cons: - less control, hills tougher

After a couple weeks on the 29-er I tried my muni and it felt a bit ‘slug like’, my legs had got used to the smaller turning circle of the 29-ers 125 mm cranks, and the muni cranks felt excessive.

Feeling confident at getting used to the new uni I put 110mm cranks on it.

I think I experienced the effect Mike Fule mentioned cos speed didn’t improve but UPD-ing went up. After perservering a week or two I had a nasty fall whilst rolling off a curb.

Unable to walk for a few days (I’d landed hard on my lower back/butt) I lost confidence and, when I could ride again I took the muni cos I knew I’d be safe on it, and haven’t ridden the 29-er since.

I do intend to get into it again, but will stick with 125mm cranks.

The nice thing about the muni is that I know I’m not going to UPD unless doing something extreme, it’s also very good for crowded pavements as I know I’m not going to damage anyone on it.

The 29-er is good cos, once you get used to the smaller cranks, the turning circle feels good; just don’t go too small.

No offence taken.

I posted that over my lunch and should have been more specific. Being a Coker ride I knew the distance was going to be over 10 miles and I didn’t have the Coker on that day. I warmed up from the parking lot to the meeting place, less than two miles. While I was on the way a roadie friend of mine pulled up beside me on his two wheeler. I was travelling at what I felt was a comfortable pace for a longish ride. The bike had a cyclocomputer, I didnt’. He paced me at 10 mph. Granted I could go faster but at the loss of control and probably burning out sooner.

I had been out on several 4-5 mile round trips and many excursions around the neighborhood but this was the longest I had gone with this set up. I did find 125’s felt considerably slower, I needed them for Andrea’s new freestyle uni so it was back to 102’s on the 28.

I discovered (or rather confirmed) basicaly what you are saying. The 102’s can be fun for screaming along but require too much constant attenion to be used as an all-around crank lenght. My legs barely get a break anywhere in the pedal cycle.

Due to time constraints I had to turn around and head back before the rest of the group. For the last couple miles my UPDs increased and mounting became more taxing. I even had one of those “run for your life” UPDs where you are so fatigued you can barely run out the fall to avoid a superman slide.

I have gotten much better at going down hills too but I still have to slow way down not to become a run-away train. I can take the same downhills much better on the Coker.

I tried to order 110’s about a month ago but was out.

Dave, thanks for the comments on the 29er tire. I need to try 110’s. (yes cranks are cheap but why are the only availbalbe 110’s twice as much as cheap 125’s?)

To be more specific on the tyre- it’s a IRC notos 2.1", as sold on

Prior to that I had a 35mm tyre which came with the uni and later a 45mm; both these I found pretty uninspiring, especially when rolling off curbs or over bumps.

The 29" tyre made a huge difference, although my 29-er phase only lasted a few weeks I found myself getting comfortable on it with the 125 cranks, and was surprised to find myself doing some of the grass hills that I’d previously done on the muni.

I think some people like the smaller smooth tyres for pure road use and cos it’s a bit lighter, but, having tried a 29" tyre, nothing would persuade me to go back to anything smaller.

I have a theory that the essence of all the new styles of unicycling are based on fat tyres i.e. muni, with it’s 3"-ers, Cokers, trials with fat bouncy 20" tyres and now the 29" replacements for the old 28" wheels.

Must be a colonial thing. ;0) Over here, you can buy all sizes of crank from 89 - 150 for the same price; about the cost of half a dozen beers.

I ride a 29 to work every day. It’s perfectly possible with 125s to properly average(*) 11mph for an hour in traffic, including stopping at lots of traffic lights and waiting for cars to get out of your way. I reckon on American roads, or not in the rush hour and not in a city with loads of traffic lights, 12 miles in an hour would be easily doable.

I stopped using 110s because they just weren’t fun off road and didn’t seem to give me much of a speed increase on road.

As for tyres, I’ve ridden with normal 700c road tyres and with 29er tyres. I’m totally convinced that road bike tyres are only any use if you’re riding a unicycle on an athletics track or something like that. The IRC Notos that I’m riding at the moment is ten times better on road than any smaller tyre I tried. The whole losing weight on the wheel thing is somewhat dubious on bikes, but on unicycles, where the limiting factor is usually balance while spinning fast rather than pure muscle strength, it’s even less important, especially if you’re riding on real roads, which aren’t always perfectly flat.

I find that now I’ve got the nice fat tyre on the 29er, I don’t really use the coker at all. With 125mm cranks it’s slightly faster than a standard coker and more manouverable. The fat tyre makes it ride itself to some extent, in the same way that a coker does. It’s also much more hoppable and twistable, so you can sidehop up kerbs if you need to and do 180 turns on the spot easily.

The coker isn’t really fun offroad except with the standard cranks, so I don’t want to change those down. It’s nice to ride sometimes, just for that big lumbering feeling, but I don’t really ride it to get places any more.


(*) Properly averaging is when your average speed includes stops, not cheating averaging that doesn’t include time spent stopped resting.

Re: Moving from 24" to 29"

joemarshall <> wrote:

>I find that now I’ve got the nice fat tyre on the 29er, I don’t really
>use the coker at all. With 125mm cranks it’s slightly faster than a
>standard coker and more manouverable.

29er radius / 125mm cranks is: 14.5"/125mm = 368.3mm/125mm = 2.9464

Coker radius / 150mm cranks is: 36"/150mm = 457.2mm/150mm = 3.048

The Coker has a slight wheel radius to crank length advantage. Please
tell us what you mean by the 29er with 125mm cranks being slightly
faster than the Coker with 150mm cranks.


Ken Fuchs <>

Re: Re: Moving from 24" to 29"

I mean that if I ride a coker with standard cranks to somewhere, it takes slightly longer than if I ride a 29er with 125mm cranks. The ratio is pretty similar, but something about the 29er is slightly faster.

Bear in mind I mean real riding to get to places, rather than doing pointless riding round a flat racetrack, so there are a bunch of factors involved other than wheel/crank ratio.