Need some advice on upsizing to a 29”

I just recently began riding again after a 10 year hiatus. I am now 60 years old and had rode for 40 years…All on a 24”. Now that I am back riding, and a little heavier (Hence the resurgence to get back in shape) I notice that the 24” seems small and subject to every bump and pebble in its path. I ride street only so no plans for hitting the mountain terrain. I am 6’-3” tall and weigh 250 lbs. Is a 29” road unicycle a good choice for upsizing? I have been contemplating a Nimbus 29”. Thoughts?

29" is a great size for riding around town. I wouldn’t say that it’s less affected by bumps, but it definitely feels smoother. My main commuting uni is a 29x2.0" with 110mm cranks; if you’re new to 29er riding you may want to start with 125mm. But generally it’s not a hard transition.

I’m a little smaller and lighter then you but I went from a 24" with a 50 year break to a 36" uni. My main objective is road riding and for that the 36er is likely the best. For me the 36" has worked well but a 29" may be a good step for you to get in shape.

29 is a good all round size. 150mm or 125 cranks are good for all round use. You should have no difficulty on this sort of set up.

Wheel diameter is around 5 inches bigger than you’re used to. That means the hub, and therefore the seat, are only 2.5" further off the ground. Nothing to be afraid of.

You’ll find it’s smoother and faster.

I’m one of the few on this forum who occasionally comes forward to say I honestly dislike the 29” unicycles. I own two. I’ve had possession of a third for awhile. I have thousands of miles on 29” unicycles. I use the KH 29” regularly.

But 29” unicycles are just not “FUN” for any of my riding styles. Don’t get me wrong, 29” will get the job done, fulfill the immediate need if “most fun” is not the need.

And yes, I’ve tried all sorts of configurations. But the wheel size is my issue. Not big enough while bigger than will be enjoyable.

Don’t worry, you’ll like yours. Ignore me. Most people do. Maybe, now this thread is lit and you can get a little fodder since you didn’t appear to forage.




Go BIG or go home. The difference in ride between a 29" and a 36" is astonishing. The difference in difficulty is negligible.

I’m only responding because I felt compelled to. Hey we’re over 50 and three other responders are from the great PNW! :slight_smile:

I have to agree with Bungeejoe (how did you get that nickname?) and say as a road rider my Nimbus 29 collects dust. It filled a need briefly for riding the pavement from the 24 but I’m hooked on the 36er.

Jim T and I rode 20-miles on a gravel path Saturday on our 36er’s and I usually ride it daily on asphalt. The only time I take out the 29er is if my wife is going jogging. Then I can better match her speed.

I really suggest for road riding to get the 36er. I really don’t think you’ll regret it.

Everybody is right. The question is, what’s right for you? As a guy who’s been off unicycling for many years, I wouldn’t recommend going straight for the 36". You may end up there, but it’s a large step from the typical 29". It’s not just the size, it’s that all the 36" variants are pretty heavy, so they ride differently than a relatively lightweight 29" setup. And there’s the height factor, which takes a bit of getting used to.

Not I. Actually we have something in common there, thought probably for different reasons. I have a really nice 29" frame that was hand made by George Barnes, and fits fairly wide tires. I think part of my problem has been choice of rims. It originally came with a really narrow one (we didn’t know better in those days). Tire folded a lot and several on-ride blow-outs. Wider rims improved this, but most of the time I’ve felt that uni was either a little too big (Muni; non-easy trails) or too small (Road, long rides or easy trails). But I already had a much larger wheel before I got the 29", though with its solid rubber tire, it wasn’t nearly as pleasant for long rides as today’s 36ers.

If you do get a 29", don’t get it with a skinny tire. Something a little bit wider, like Tom Holub’s 2" (Schwalbe Big Apple?) will smooth out the ride nicely.

I don’t have any experience riding a uni bigger than 20" yet but, where I live, the hills are very long and sort of a challenge to ride even on a multi-geared bicycle. So I just placed an order for a 29er and doubt that a 36er will be in my future. I’m more interested in having a geared hub for the times when I can go fast, so that I don’t have to give up my ability to climb monster hills that many people might not be thinking of when they say that a 36er is a better choice for roads. If it turns out that a 36er is doable for me, I’ll find out when I get to that point. Although I also don’t see it practical for when using public transportation, which I foresee using more in the future.

The uni I ordered: Mad4One 29er with 110-129-148 cranks, Shimano M396 disk brake, Schwalbe Big Apple 2" tire and a sea-green colored cro-mo frame. This looked better to me than anything offered by the few uni specialty companies in the USA.

I suggest sticking with the 24" for the time being, riding on uneven surfaces (grass is a great one), and getting used to holding the saddle with one hand. In my own experience, the 29" is marginally better at rolling over things. However, my center of gravity is higher on the 29", and that makes it harder to absorb bumps without being thrown off the front.

I know what you mean. In my case, many years ago, I had this feeling about the 28. I couldn’t work out what it offered that my 24 didn’t do better, except it was a tad faster, and I was initially disappointed with my purchase.

Later, I got a 29 and it was neither fish nor fowl: big and unwieldy compared to the 24 or 26 but small and slow compared to the 36.

However, once I stopped comparing and started to enjoy each uni for what it offered, I stopped finding them boring. it was a case of finding the right length of cranks, and the right places to ride.

Apart from the biggest (usually 36) and the smallest (usually 19 or 20) every unicycle is a compromise, slower and lower than the next one up, and more cumbersome than the one below.

Each of us finds a sweet spot for a particular style of riding and this leads to those ridiculously subjective discussions of whether 26, or 27.5, or 28, or 29 is the perfect size, with no one considering whether 26.25 or 27.33 would be “even better”.

I’d recommend 29 for anyone who wants to ride several miles at a time at a reasonable speed, take in some uneven surfaces, and not feel intimidated by steep hills or crowded paths.

Is it fun? In some ways, it is so versatile that it’s as boringly perfect as a middleweight Honda motorbike — I ride a Moto Guzzi — but it’s not what you ride, it’s how you ride it. Stick the right length of cranks on and find the right routes and you can have more fun on the 29 than on any other size — and the same could be said of any other size!

I too have questions about a 29er or a 32er. I have been riding on a Nimbus 26" mountain uni for about two years and have been looking to get a bigger wheel. At first all of my attention was focused on the 29" as my next uni, it seemed like a natural progression. But then I have lately been thinking that moving up to a 32" 0racle might be a better choice. The 29" is not that much larger than my 26". Several people have said that the 32" rides like a 36er, but handles more like a 29er. Any thoughts on the 32" Oracle?

I agree with you in theory. I say “in theory” because I’ve never owned (or ever ridden actually) a 29, for the exact reason you state.

A 20, 26/27.5 and 36 seem like a good set of sizes to own (one day I’ll get around to picking up a 20). The tweeners just don’t do it for me.

Braces for backlash from the 24" muni fans…

Totally agree I started on a 20 then got a 26 which only gets used for muni now and manly ride my 36 most days .

The difference in riding either is negligible I agree, but mounting is different; I can mount the 29" 100%, but the 36" still needs a few tries, especially starting cold. In the past 2 months I’ve been focusing on mounting the 36" and rode many kilometres as it feels very comfortable when riding. I love it, but for mounting it is still a prob and I don’t have the feel for it.
Just find the size that works best for you, which you can only find out after having tried all sizes. You can also get a 32" which is slightly smaller than a 36" but mounts like a 29 muni. With handle bars it is a very comfy uni for road riding.

I am a beginner and own a 29" with 125mm crancks. It is slow on the road, but you can use it for short distance. It is great for XC and for Muni, but I’m not able to ride steep uphill (maybe whem my legs will be stronger).
However I had a particular need: CAR PORTABILITY!
I own a peugeot 308 station wagon: I can transport a 29" with 3" tire and a SHORT handlebar. Any bigger uni cannot be transported.
So if you are looking for a road uni go for a 36". If you need to transport it use a 29".
I also own a huni-rex and it is a great road beast, it can be transported too, but it requires a little modding to be useful

There is a big difference between the two sizes.

Learning to mount the 36" is much harder, the 29" should hardly take any practice. A 36" is very intimidating when you first get it due to it’s size, the 29" seems like just another unicycle, nothing special.

I would get a brake for either size.

If it’s hilly where you live, climbing with a 36" can be difficult if not impossible.

If your legs are not in very good shape I would get longer cranks for the 36", 150’s, 165’s.

A 29" is much more maneuverable and portable than a 36".

If you plan on leisurely ride with bicyclists (which I do often) you’ll be pedaling fairly hard (sweating) on a 29" and coasting on the 36". (Obviously depends on their pace).

As has been said, everyone has their preferences. I use my 29" much more than the 36" mainly because I typically just tool around the neighborhood and rarely do long distances.

Also, if you want attention then get a 36". People notice you on a unicycle as usual, but when you’re riding a 36" they REALLY notice you, it’s a whole different thing.

The tweeners don’t do it for you, except that 27.5 is between 26 and 29!

A 36 is between a 29 and a G36. A 20 is between a 16 and a 24. A 32 is between a 29 and a 36. A unicycle is between an ultimate wheel and a fixie. Everything is part way between two extremes if you choose your extremes carefully enough!:smiley:

My serious point is that the market periodically shakes up the range on offer, but there is always something small, something medium and something large, but there are aways be people who think that an inch bigger would be better, and people who think an inch smaller would be more comfortable. (e.g. my wife.)

The swelling involved here I think is in the circumference of your head rather than what you are obviously suggesting.

Hey, I’m all for big and small. Bring on a >36" pneumatic tyre for me and a <12" wheel which I’ll teach my cat to ride.