My thoughts after first 36 ride

So after a 30 year hiatus, I took up unicycling again.

I have put in a dozen rides and 60 miles/4800 feet elevation with my 26 Muni over 3 weeks. I did get some offroad in, but the majority of that riding was on road. I’ve been switching tires back and forth between more road friendly and my 26x3.0 WTB Ranger after I noticed that the ranger center treads were almost gone in some spots from all the road riding.

I decided I wanted a seperate road unicycle so I could keep my fat tired Muni ready to go. I got a Nimbus 36 with the Oracle frame. With all the hills that I have around here, I also (wisely) immediately put on the 170mm cranks that I ordered with it.

I have been thinking about how to mount and ride it since I first thought about buying one, so couple weeks now. I had in my mind that I would jump on it with a hard push and away I would go. Didn’t exactly happen that way, but I was only a half dozen tries away from that.

First free mount try on very slight downhill. (I haven’t ridden it yet, I wanted to free mount from the get go. ). It spit me off the back like I had no leverage whatsoever against the cranks/wheel. This thing is a beast!

2nd, 3rd, 4th tries adjusted my thinking to how much effort/push was going to be required. I got mounted around the 3rd or 4th try, but riding it was super weird/awkward/difficult and I upd’d after a half rotation or so.

Took about 3 more tries to actually get riding on the thing. Amazing how much feel you develop for a particular unicycle and then changing it requires some re-calibrating. I know it was a drastic change, but I didn’t think it would feel so different.

So after the initial attempts, I was pretty good to go and took it for a ride around the block before I went too far. That went ok, so I kept riding and put in 7.3 miles/600 feet climbing. Only upd’d couple of times…twice up two different steep hills, once going downhill where I just didn’t pay enough attention. It definitely required additional effort up/down the hills, but I wasn’t prepared for how tired my core (back/stomach) was at the end of the ride. My legs were fine, but all my balance muscles were working overtime!

I do need some more mounting practice time as at one point it took over 6 tries to get mounted again when I was tired.

Anyway, just wanted to share my experience. Might help someone who is thinking of trying out a 36. Visualizing mounting/riding it (and watching videos of people riding their’s) helped a lot, but my brain didn’t know how different it would actually feel. Once my brain figured that part out, it wasn’t too bad. I must say though, that you do feel the weight/momentum of the thing while riding. For me, that’s perfect. I’m doing this for exercise as much as fun so I like that it’s difficult and fun.

Here’s my first 36 ride in Strava for those who like that sort of thing:

Long cranks

I remember thinking long cranks were necessary to ride up and down the hills where I ride. Can’t stand long cranks anymore.

May I suggest that you practicing riding SLOW. Then learn to ride to a stop, hop a few times and ride away. Many skip these skills. Then have difficulty with stop signs, stop lights, riding in a crowd and free mounting.

Skip to 3:10 Roy hops at red light



I still remember the excitement of getting my first 46: a heavy steel wheeled Coker “Big One” with the noisy button tread tyre.

I mounted against a solid object and rode away after a couple of attempts. Once I was “dialled in” to the feel of the uni, freemounting was easier, except when I was tired during a long ride.

I’m now on my third: a KH36.

I use the 150mm crank setting for pretty much everything. Yes, I can freemount and ride on the shorter setting, but the loss of acceleration and deceleration and the extra effort remounting on rough ground makes it less enjoyable. I can average about 11 mph on the road for an hour or more, and ride bridleways, farm tracks and river banks, and that’s enough for me.

I think you will eventually find that the 170s are a bit long unless you do a lot of climbing.

Enjoy! It’s a great toy and a great joy. :slight_smile:

I had similar thoughts when I got my 36 (almost 4 1/2 years ago!) and started with 165mm cranks. For learning free mounting it is probably a good idea. However, for me, after just a few weeks that was just too long and I quickly went down to 150mm. After riding a lot and trying lots of crank lengths, I still like 150mm cranks sometimes for off-road (also 127s) but on the road long cranks will come to seem annoying (of course, everyone is different). For road riding I find the 125-137 range comfortable. The shorter cranks (I’ve ridden 100, 117, 110) are fast on the straights but harder to mount and riding at walking speed becomes hard (and a brake becomes more necessary). I can do a normal static mount consistently on cranks down to about 117mm (i.e. over 90% success, so I can hop on in a high-stress situation at a traffic light), although free-mounting with >125s is more relaxed. Any shorter than 117 and my static mount rate goes down significantly and the jump mount is more consistent/reliable.

Oh, and I’d agree that climbing on shorter cranks can be good, especially for steep but short uphill sections where you can often carry more speed on 127s. For extended uphills, then longer ae of course easier.

Have fun!!

Oops, typo spotted too late to edit. 36, of course.:o