My take on the geared 36 after having to switch back to Nimbus 36.

I know that this stuff has been discussed before in another thread quite a long time ago, but because the KH hubs are so new and widespread, and because I’m not the crazy fast sort of rider who beats GUnis with a 1:1 36er (i.e. I’m slower and mortal!) like those in the last thread, I think this is a different perspective so I made this its own thread. If you guys want to hit me over the head me for it, please do so! (And I won’t do this again if so! :))

That said… since my hub broke I’ve been doing a bit of riding around on my ungeared 36 with 102 cranks (which are just shorter than the “equivalently torqued” 165 cranks that map through the gearing to be 110ish). The mechanical advantages for each setup are very similar, plus, because my hub broke after exclusively riding my distance in geared mode, I’ve gone from being “used to the geared hub” to being “used to the 102s again” in a very short time (about a week), and this got me thinking…

I have to say that:
1. Climbing
Methinks that gunning uphill and maintaining speed without a bunch of initial momentum is easier with 102s in 1:1 than it is with 165s geared up, even though the 165s map down to 110s, longer than 102! The feeling is so different that I’m actually considering bringing both unicycles to RTL, the 102s (or 114s) for climbing! I don’t know if that will happen, but in a perfect world, I’m sure it would.

2. Perception of Awesomeness! :slight_smile:
After riding the geared hub, going back to 1:1 and trying to ride fast sort of feels… primitive. Anything under 17mph feels silly, as in, why am I spinning so much for so little??? and anything over 17mph feels good as in yeah, look what I’m doing without a gear!, but frankly, it feels quite… disturbingly rabid. To say the least. :slight_smile: (At least it feels justifiable for the speed!!) When I go pretty fast on my ungeared 102 coker, I’m proud of it, though. When I go pretty fast on my geared KH, I never really felt like I accomplished anything. It was more, “whoa, I can’t believe I just DID that!

3. Relative Average Speeds…
I can hold up “nearly” as fast a short/medium-term pace on my 1:1 102s than on my 3:2 165s. I spin like hell, and it hurts (I don’t know how the fast folks do it for so long!), and I get aches and pains everywhere, but I was able to ride 6.3 miles mostly (about 70% of the time) between 18 and 20mph today; stoplight accelerations and periodic balance panic-fests made the stretch average to 17.3. On my geared hub I’d gone on a some rides before it broke, one 20 miles and the other 30 miles. On the 20 mile ride, the first 10 I held 18-20 the first half, and 17-19 the last half, and on the 30 mile ride I went out at 16-18 (nasty headwind) and came back mostly at 19-21 (super tailwind). I think this shows that I’m able to sustain the geared averages for longer than the ungeared averages (and geared was faster than my fastest ungeared, [/i]slightly[i]), but I think that the ungeared averages show that a better rider than me would more than likely be able to ride in 1:1 and pass me on my GUni. ESPECIALLY in short bursts such as those we’ll be seeing in RTL. That is unless somehow I get faster on my GUni, which I can see happening, but won’t count on until/unless it happens.

4. Perhaps a reason for the initial view that GUnis aren’t faster…?
I think that a GUni is less of an advantage to those who know how to spin insanely fast than it is to someone like me who can only do it for minutes at a time and needs lower cadence. It kind of seems like an equalizer. I can do the spin for a short time, so I know that it’s possible to “fast-cruise” for the long term as fast as my geared 36’s cruising speed. Right now, though, I just can’t do it.

5. Consequences of Road Junk
It seems like irregularities in the pavement hurt my speed more on the geared uni than they do on the ungeared uni. Also, the act of spinning the cranks slower than the wheel kind of “detaches” my legs from the feeling of the ground connected directly to them, so I tend to pay less attention “by default” and have to concentrate to pay attention to the ground on a geared hub. It’s an amazing feeling, but it makes the bumps hurt my speed even more than they normally would.

6. RTL Viability
I think that if there are any Superman-like riders at RTL on ungeared unicycles, they’ll give the geared-based folks a good run for their money! Once I got my geared hub I was convinced that the geared hubs would far-and-away dominate all ungeared competition, more or less regardless of anything, but now I’m not so sure. I’m definitely convinced that I personally will be faster on a geared unicycle over the long term, but I’m not so sure I could outrun, say, Sam (redwelly here) on his ungeared uni. (He rode 20mph for 4 miles on an UNgeared 36! Sorry Sam. I had to spout it again :)). That’d be quite a race for me.

er… conclusion?
I thought this would be a good comparison of my geared experiences and ungeared experiences, but reading over it it seems like an ungeared love-fest thread! I don’t mean it to be that! :slight_smile: Keep in mind that I was stuck on 165 cranks on my geared hub, so the speed advantage of the gears over the 1:1 may be greater (after already being significant, at least as far as longevity is concerned.) I shall conclude by remarking that, though the geared hub is just abso$#@!inglutely amazing and awesome compared to going with the superwide, the speeds attainable on it are much more volatile, and I think that the geared hub makes “going fast” easier enough to the point where in the long run, the harder hits taken from potholes, road camber, debris, and whatnot are more than made up for, resulting in a pretty undeniable advantage for the geared hub. Yeah, for me. That’s my disclaimer… I’m only talking about my experiences… that way nobody can say I’m wrong :)!

Mate, riding an avg speed of 17.3 miles/hr essentially puts you in amongst the top riders. I expect you to be riding with the lead group, regardless of what unicycle you’re on.

Interesting post :sunglasses:

Riding an average of 17.3 is really impressive. If that’s going to be the speed of the slower riders, I’m in trouble. When I do intervals with Steve and Roland, I’m happy when my average for a “4 minute on” is 15 - 16.5mph. I can’t imagine coming out with an average of 17+ over 20 miles.

How flat is the terrain you are riding on your route while testing the 105s ungeared and the geared coker? For anything moderately hilly I wouldn’t want anything less than 114s (on an ungeared 36 of course).

Excellent post, chuck! I too have always had problems with sustained high cadences, hence my passion for the lower-cadence gunis to make speed.

On another note, everyone should understand that a 1.5 gear ratio is not the be-all and end-all. I’ve ridden the 36" Red Menace in 1.21 ratio, and that is curiously wonderful even on flat ground. You know you’re on a guni, yet don’t need the focus required for a higher gear ratio.

It’d be interesting if it were possible to re-gear a Schlumpf with a different ratio…

I would love it if my Schlumpf 36er had a slightly lower gear. One might say that’s an arguement for a Schlumpf 29er, but a smaller wheel will never have that 36er-ness to it.

After riding with Chuck, I agree.

Chuck’s a fast rider!


He bleeds a lot, too!

@the unisk8er, I’m picturing a 1.21 36er, and I have to say that sounds pretty awesome. Kind of the best of both worlds. :slight_smile:

Oh, and the terrain was TOTALLY flat, like, maybe 1 meter or 2 meters gain over 6 miles of distance. I’m pretty sure that had there been even the slightest of undulation, my average would’ve been beaten back into the 15s or lower.

What would be SUPERLY awesome would be a 45 or 50-inch wheel… with a neumatic tire. I would snap one of those up SO FAST if one ever came out. I have plenty of room between the tire and the seat to fit a bigger wheel; imagine 137 cranks on a 45-50 inch wheel! 137 is the same as 102 for torque on a 48 inch wheel… It’d be amazing! I think that a 48-inch ungeared unicycle would be able to win at RTL… (maybe not the climbs?)

Yeah, but you know that as soon as one of those is available some idiot is going to put a geared hub in it and complain that a 75" wheel isn’t fast enough with 102mm cranks! :smiley:

STM - wondering if this post will ever come back to haunt him

I need to look at the elevation profiles for the RTL days again, well actually I need to plot some local routes and compare to see how hilly the terrain is going to be. Constant rolling hills seem like it would make a geared 36 suffer quite a bit, but I think I remember a lot of a few days being mostly flat.

Climbing with 102s? Crazy. :astonished:
I also want to bring a guni and ungeared 36 to RTL, I will have to see if that is possible.

heheh, anyone who WOULD complain that a 75-inch wheel with 102s is too slow would pretty much be an idiot. :slight_smile: 75 gear inches is close to what I naturally shift to on my bike! With no balancing and 170 cranks!

wooehhh, woooahhh…

Sam (one of the less convincing ghosts around)

For the record, I’d go with you STM. That would be silly.

Last time I looked at the elevation profiles, the highest point on the entire ride was 250 meters. To a Californian, that barely registers. It’s possible that some of the short climbs are steep enough to matter; it’s hard to tell that from the elevation profile.

It wouldn’t be fast enough.

Unless it was on a downhill slope, you’d be hardly able to get it to move at all.

I can’t imagine climbing on 102’s. Ok well maybe I can, I live at the top of a hill and to go anywhere worth riding to I have to go up and down a lot of big hills(no I don’t know the actual rise and fall of my regular rides, but they are steep hills) and I’m running 89’s on my ungeared right now and quite frankly once I master climbing on those I think climbing with 102’s would feel like climbing with my 125’s again which is still hard but I can do it pretty well. All this talk about geared 36’ers really makes me want to buy one, but I have no money! Quit tempting the poor teenager already! :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree. The nuances that can’t be detected in an elevation profile are what will really make a difference in riding speed. My training goals for RTL are more based on time in the saddle than distance simply because I know that elevation gain will be hardly anything compared to even an average ride around here.