New Muni Choice

OK, been down this road before. My main muni (apart from my 36) is an Oracle 24, which is a great uni. I can’t help but feeling that I’ve outgrown it a bit though for most riding. It just feels a tad small and sluggish, especially with that Duro tire.

I’m looking at the Oregon26, which some very good riders I know really like as their all-around muni. They say with the right PSI it’s replaced their 24 and 29s, which are gathering dust.

I’m also considering the new KH26, which I think is lighter, comes with the flat seat, which I’d like to try and has the external disc, which has its advantages and disadvantages. The KH26 seems like it might be a bit more versatile. I often use my Oracle24 for messing around town, when my 36 seems too much. I do like having fun with small rolling hops on the street and on the trail. I realize the Oregon would roll over lot of stuff you might hop with the 24.

Another factor, is that I am probably moving to a more desert clime, which would mean less clay soil and mud, but maybe more sand and rocks.

Looking forward to your opinions…and looking forward to another box arriving shortly…!

Honestly, after building up the Conundrum, I’m convinced the fat tire is the way to go. It’s effectively a 29. I’m running the larry tire backwards and getting slight straight-suck at lower pressures pushing uphill and trying to make a sharp turn. Everywhere else it’s brilliant. I’ll admit though, it feels like cheating a bit. It really does go over everything. The downsides I would say are the 32 spoke wheel, and the single walled rim, which I’m fine riding singletrack with, but I cringe a little every time I really have a heavy drop. I’m slightly concerned with its longevity. Time will tell.

If you’re dealing with any sandy trails, the fat tire really shines.

I hear they are making some changes to the Oregon, which is why the frame isn’t available right now. Hopefully they fix the issues with it breaking.

A friend of mine has the KH26. That knard really makes for a light, fast setup, but I still prefer something in the 29 range for the trails I have to ride. (Trails in Michigan just aren’t tough enough to need a 24/26).

You’ve probably already done this, but lowering a crank size down can really change the feel of the 24. I just have the normal steel Nimbus muni, and run 137s for technical stuff. If I rode XC/singletrack with it I’d probably pop it to the 125s, but as you said… that one doesn’t get ridden much these days unless I take a trip to some more technical trails.

Thanks for the input. I am running 137s on my 24. I can’t help feeling the wheel is a tad too small and the tire is a tad too heavy.

I had a 29 at one point and didn’t love it. It just felt too big for the hilly, rooty trails that I was doing. I can’t help think that at my size (5’7", 150lbs) the Oregon might be a bit much and I’d have a more flexible, lighter setup with the KH26. I’d think that the 2" difference between that and my 24, while not that much, might be enough to make me happy.

Well, I was initially going to suggest the KH29 with the Knard, but you say you weren’t so thrilled with the 29 wheel size. However, if I remember right, the diameter of the Oregon 26 will be pretty close a “normal” 29… so why do you expect to feel comfortable on an Oregon 26 with almost the same diameter just because it has a fat wheel (which then weighs more than 29)…

I personally have not tried a truly fat tire (just the Duro on 24 and 26), so take that in account when reading the following:

Beyond that it’s hard to say without having up close and personal experience with the trails you ride. However, if you’re riding a 36 muni on trails, then shouldn’t you feel totally at ease on the 29? In my case after doing 36 muni I found the KH29 felt way smaller than I was expecting. Or do you intend to ride totally different trails?

After riding a KH29 and then a Nimbus 26 Duro on my 3-month summer trip, I expect to pretty much abandon the 24 (the 29 was borrowed and I brought the 26 home with me) and use 36 for XC stuff and the 26 for steep alpine stuff.

Hmm… other than that: for me the 26 feels no harder to ride for any steep stuff except “trialsy” stuff where you hop a lot (and then weight is almost as significant as raw wheel size). But the 26 feels way faster and more fun (i.e. speed in corners and such). I think the 26 feels closer to the 24 then the 29 to the 26 (I’m not doing the math now, but I think the effective diameter differs by close to the same ratio) but the 29 to the 36 is a whole different animal. Unfortunately I didn’t ride the 29 and 26 on the same trails, so I can’t really do a fair assessment. However, I feel like I could have handled the 29 for all the more difficult trails I did in Oregon/Washington/BC on the 26 almost as well except for the drops and skinnies, where any bit closer to the ground feels safer.

So I’d think the choice would be between the KH with the Knard in either 26 or 29 (I am pretty sure the Knard comes in both diameters, right? or only the 29?). I think you probably be pretty happy with either… so it’s just the question of which one is more ideal.

I am only speculating, but I envision the fat tire to only have real advantages if you ride unusual surfaces like snow or sand. Otherwise, it’s gonna be heavy, so if you feel the Duro is dragging you down, then the fat tire shouldn’t be any different? (someone with actual fat tire experience feel free to correct me). At the Seattle Muni Weekend almost all the top riders were on Duro-like 26 munis with a few on super lightweight 29s (the Knard I think). Though the style of the trails also required some hopping so not being too heavy was I think important.

Hmm… I’m just going from memory here, but isn’t the new KH 29 the same width as the KH 26? Then maybe buy the 29 and then if you don’t like the wheel you can switch out for a 26 with not much trouble/expense… i.e. maximum long-term versatility? I’m way taller than you (6’1") so maybe it doesn’t work out so trivially as for me?? but the 29 frame is only a tick taller then the 26. I think the KH29 with the Knard can be built up to be much lighter than your average 26… (e.g. Tom from California has a KH29 that is insanely light and for the SMW he rode almost everything the others did on 26 except he was better on uphill climbing — yes, better on the 29 than the 26. OK, much of it is will/desire/effort as many didn’t care to try)

Or if you’re really looking to replace with 24, then the 26 may be a great choice. On the other hand, if you expect to still ride the 24, then the choice of muni 24, 29 and 36 would seem to make more sense than muni 24, 26 and 36, as then you’d have so little difference between the 24 and 26 (one will probably be neglected).

Yes, I found it, direct from Kris:

So the new KH26 and KH29 are the same width and the crown varies by 28mm (about 1 1/10").

Well I am at 1,614 Strava miles on my Nimbus Oregon and I am just over 330K for vertical climbing for the year. So I have a few hours on this unicycle. I absolutely love it! I also have an Oracle 36. I ride the 36 with others and on a few occasions when I am trying to put in some distance.

The Oregon is a blast with the Nate tire and climbs just fine. Traction is awesome. I run with 20 psi on the road and bump down to about 12-14 on hard pack trails. The unicycle is considered heavy and this could be the reason I have such a hard time doing rolling hops. I am currently working on this. The Oregon was purchased in November of 2013 and I am just about to roll over the 3000 mile mark. To date I have replaced 3 tires. The first was the Larry and I am now on my second Nate. I have had one bolt puncture the tire while riding, but I did not notice it until I returned home. Other then that I have had no mechanical issues. I am currently running the KH Spirit 127/150’s in the larger opening. I’m 5’-8" and 185 lbs.

Now for the kicker I would love to get the New KH 29er with the Knard for all the reasons the OP commented on. I could try the new Zero saddle, the unicycle would be lighter and the larger tire size might increase my overall speed. I also believe that the Knard tire will most likely compensate for the terrain similar to the larger Nate but with less weight and hopefully less rolling resistance.

I think you could go with any of the top three - Nimbus Oregon 26, KH-26, or KH-29 and you would be totally happy. My only reason for not making the KH purchase is that the Oregon just works so well that I would hate to duplicate it.

Hope this helps!

Good points. I struggled with the manuvarability of the 29 especially on steep uphill a with roots etc, so the Oregon might be too much for me as an all around muni. The guys I’ve ridden with who use it as their all around are much bigger than I and more skilled at muni. Would putting in a 26 inch wheel on the 2015 kh 29 frame take anything special?

I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty dang sure you don’t have to do anything - just replace the rim/tire on the hub (ok, this is work as you have to re-spoke the rim) or easier just replace with entire hub/wheel (disc brake mount doesn’t change).

The only thing that would require tweaking when putting a 26 into a 29 frame is a rim brake as the rim location is the lower. However, a) there are adapters to solve this (which work well as far as I have heard) and b) the new KH has disc mounts anyway, right? The seat height doesn’t even change. The only thing is that there is a little more space between the top of the tire and the fork crown.

Oh I agree that all you pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the three choices and you’ll enjoy all of them. Which is the BEST and most versatile for you is hard… The Oregon can also run both tire sizes (26+ and 29), so it’s only disadvantage is weight (and it costs more too? or not? but not much I think). The KH will be lighter but the Oregon will allow for a monster wide beast tire… the KH29 a little more versatile than the KH26… but the KH26 the right choice if you don’t want the larger circumference tire…

Do note that I’m biased as I would like to get the KH29/Knard but as I just added a Nimbus 26/Duro to my collection (and took 4 months off work for fun family traveling (and unicycling on cool trails)), my wife would not be thrilled with the suggestion… so it’ll have to wait until next year.

So did you decide on anything?

Just to update after a test ride:

Last weekend I rode with a friend who bought the new KH 29 a few months ago (moving up from 24, 26 and 19" wheels). He loves it. I got to test it out and rode it for maybe 3 minutes… We didn’t really get to trade as I’m quite a bit taller, so the seat heights would have had to be adjusted, and we were off-road, so probably not the easiest place for him to try a 36 for the first time.

WOW is it light! I was on my Oracle 36, so mounting was easy but wow was it easy to hop in comparison. On my 36 I have trouble doing anything but small hops to stay in place, but just in the short test ride I was able to hop the KH 29 really well, both laterally and vertically. I think I can hop it better/higher than my 26 or my 24 (probably not the trials 19" however, but then that’s way light too). I think it’s both the bounciness of the Knard tire and the light overall weight.

Anyway, it seemed great to me and will definitely would be my desired choice for my next unicycle, but alas it will be a while, maybe in the spring…

If you get a whole 26" wheel-set, just swap it in although I don’t know why you’d want to. Can’t run any bigger tires than 3". It would give you more tire clearance, and you could have one frame w/ 24, 26, & 29" wheel sets for effectively three unis. If each has its own cranks, pedals, and disk the swap would be a sinch.