There are lot’s of things to choose from nowadays: wheelsizes from 24" to 29" with increments of 2" or less. Tire sizes all the way up to 4"(+?). How should anyone decide between that many options? I felt like there should be a central thread to discuss that question, forgive me if there already is. It should not really be about different models and brands, more about what size of wheel and tire to choose in general.
Here is my reasoning for a recent purchase:
I bought a new Muni, and it’s neither a fatty, nor a 27.5".
So there have been many good post of people explaining why they bought a fatty, so I thought since I just obtained a 26" Oracle, I might explain why I went with the smaller tire, maybe it will help someone with their decision (also I have stuff for university to procrastinate… ).
So a really short background on my unicycle history: I mainly ride flatland and street (street unicycling= grinds, tricks down stairsets etc., not riding on the street, I feel some people newish to the unicycling world confuse that) right now, used to ride a lot of trials (and there was a bit of track racing/freestyle, too), but recently the downhill bug has bitten me. I tested a fair few of other peoples Munis of different sized tires at different occasions before deciding I needed one myself. My choice wasn’t specifically on an oracle before one was on sale used for a reasonable price, this is more about why I chose to go with a 26 with a ~2.5" wide tire, which I had decided on before the oracle popped up.
I not very tall (1.71 m) and I have even shorter legs, so even a 24" uni for me might proportionally well be the same as 26" for others, and I am very used to 19" which feels almost like an extension of my feet now, so a smaller wheel is closer to that feeling. (26" is more or less a requirement now for keeping up with other when riding now though, so a smaller wheel was not an option for me.)
A wider tire does not necessarily mean more grip, in my experience grip in all but very loose sand or deep mud is very similar, and well, sliding can be fun. The increased rolling resistance of a wider tire bothers me a bit on flat sections though, while the weight isn’t a big issue for me, if I had gone with a custom setup I would’ve had a 48h rim for that extra peace of mind.
I like taking obstacles aggressively, like turning in to hit a root 90° where the bigger wheels just don’t react as fast, or rolling hopping over stuff (a lot), where extra wheel size just is a disadvantage. For me, the great thing about being on a unicycle is it’s maneuverability. I can turn 90° on a dime, and if I want to be a meter further left, I can hop there easily, and a fat uni takes a bit of that away (mainly the turning) . I am neither sure what is faster, a wider tire and rolling over stuff, or a smaller tire and more actively taking the terrain, nor am I really sure I care, for me, the latter is just more fun, and that’s what it is all about.
That’s my reasoning for my decision, feel free to discuss and share your arguments for your decision, or just thoughts your in general, I am sure they’ll help someone make their decision.