New to unicycles, buying 36"

Hi all :slight_smile:
Long time biker, first time caller. I’ve decided that my current flat 5mi commute to work in Los Angeles would be much more interesting done on 1 wheel than 2 wheels. I’ve just about decided on the UDC Titan 36" from unicycle (cheapest). What configuration should I buy? The standard: 200mm seatpost, 150mm crank, no brake. I can spin at 100cadence smoothly on my bike, should I go for shorter cranks? It seems like adding a handlebar later won’t be a problem. Thanks in advance for any of your help and guidance :slight_smile:

I’ve seen someone learn on a 36. Despite what others may say on here it can be done, has been done, and will be done again, possibly by you… but it is easier to do on a smaller wheel.

If this is your first unicycle and you are set on learning on a 36 the standard configuration is just about spot on. Cut the seatpost down to fit, but try to keep it as long as possible, you are likely to end up riding with it higher than you would ever consider as a beginner, especially if you later go down a crank size or two.

You might want to add a handlebar later, and possibly a brake if you find some hills, but leave them off until you are comfortable riding without.

@ SAAboy

I would not recommend learning on a 36er for fear of you having a bad fall :astonished:

However if you decide to do so then I would recommend that you wear safety gear and a backpack filled with cushioning.

Should you feel yourself falling off then throw yourself forward because falling backwards off a 36er could be very dangerous.

Once you can ride, a 36 is easier to ride than a smaller uni, but it remains more effort to mount. Changes of speed and direction are more effort, and sudden stops can result in a dismount. Learning on a 20 or 24 would be much easier, but you can learn on a 36.

Unquestionably, 36 is a good size for a 5 mile flat commute. I’d say buy the best uni you can afford, and get one with twin hole cranks so that later you can experiment without further expenditure.

It takes a moderate level of skill and familiarity before you can use a bar at all, and a lot of practice before a bar becomes genuinely useful. In the early stages, even riding with one hand on your seat handle is a challenge.

I can only go by my own experience, which is that I used to do regular 10-20 mile rides without a bar and never needed one. I now have a simple bar set up that I use mainly when cruising in a straight line. i ride on and off road and, although I live in the flatlands, I go looking for hills wherever I can find them, and I have never needed a brake.

For me, the joy of a uni is its simplicity, and everything that you add tot he uni subtracts from that.


165mm cranks would allow you to set the saddle lower. The extra torque should be helpful when making the constant balance corrections that beginners usually need to make.

I would recommend 137/165 twin hole cranks.

Question: How many stop signs / stop lights are there along the 5 mile route? If there are many, then I suggest you go with a smaller size wheel. Also, are there pedestrians, parked cars and other obstacles you need to swerve around? If so, I suggest a smaller wheel. If you’re choosing a 36" because it’ll get you there faster, please be aware that it won’t be 36/29 x faster than a 29" or 36/26 x faster than a 26". The bigger wheel will likely slow down your cadence relative to a smaller wheel. And the 36", at higher cadence, will put you into the danger zone where you may not be able to outrun a UPD (un-planned-dismount).

I live in the Southland. There are many awesome muni trails. Much more fun than a 5 mile commute on pavement. If you bought one of the newer 27.5" mountain unicycles, you could commute with it and go off-roading. Your 5-mile commute would only last about 15 more minutes with the smaller wheel. You’d probably be more willing to stop and walk across intersections, which is safer. I’ve read the posts of other novice 36" riders who wanted to learn to idle and hop (which are great skills and should be learned)…to avoid having to re-mount (which is more difficult on a 36"). This IMHO, is a bad idea. Novice riders are generally unaware of anything outside their narrow, forward focus. I’ve been riding for 4 years and I walk my unicycle across intersections. Be safe.

Good luck. Keep us posted. There are organized rides in the LA area. Some flatland, some Muni, occasional 36er rides. Send me a PM if you want to be added to the mailing list for SoCal unicycle events (maintained by the dad of one of our riders).


Yeah, more specifically, the easy way is to get a cheap 20" unicycle from Craigslist and spend a few days, weeks or months learning to ride, then, after that, spend a few hundred pesos on your large wheel. Just in terms of finding a space to practice, a 20" is also much easier. If you get going on a 36-inch wheel, each revolution of the pedals takes you almost 10 feet, so for learning to ride, you would have to find a parking lot that is spacious and doesn’t have many people around to distract you by laughing, crying or videotaping when you fall off over and over again. On a 20, you can practice almost anywhere, maybe even in your own basement.

A five-mile commute would definitely be feasible (and enjoyable) on a 36, or even a 29, especially if you have a good place to leave your unicycle while you’re at work, and if you are sure you won’t get fired for being a one-wheeled weirdo, or for being all sweaty.

Or, indeed, on a 26, 28 or 29. The differences in rolling diameter are small enough to be a matter of preference and nuance. Tyre availability is an issue, but there are plenty of good Muni tyres in the other sizes. There is nothing wrong with 27.5" but nothing special or unique about it either.

A good general purpose unicycle sits somewhere in that size range.

You’re also more than a foot higher off the ground and moving at a considerably greater speed on the many, many occasions when you rapidly dismount the unicycle. The chances of staying on your feet and avoiding injury will be quite a bit smaller. But as saskatchewanian says, it’s been done.

Post still awaiting moderater approval?

I had long detailed reply to which I received a warning that it’s awaiting mid approval, maybe I’ll rewrite

Pedantry alert. Assuming the same distance between hub and seat, the difference in seat height between two unicycles is the difference between the radius of the wheels. 18 - 10 = 8, and 8 inches is nearer to half a foot than it is to a foot.

However, you would generally use slightly longer cranks to control the larger wheel, and, if so, this lowers the seat relative to the hub.

s/more than/the better part of/

I suggest buying the Titan 36 (I have one that I’ve put well over a thousand miles on without issue) as a carrot and then find a 20 or 24 on Craigslist. Seeing the 36 will help keep you motivated to stay with it. I can’t imagine learning on a 36 though. It can be tiring to get back on repeatedly even while hanging on to something.

I’m interested to hear how learning on a 36 works out. Learning to mount sucks but think they are way easier to ride.

You might take bigger and harder falls on a large unicycle, but you might also find that the extra 8” (which will feel like at least a foot :D) of elevation allows more time to prepare for landing. In my first weeks of riding unicycles, I was terrified of anything larger than a 20, but last weekend, an acquaintance of mine tried to learn to ride on my 29, and did far better than expected. He learned to freemount almost immediately, before doing anything else (which is unusual), and then, within 20 minutes or so, always freemounting, had managed to go for several rides of 1 or 2 revolutions. He did have some background doing crazy things on a mountain bike, and that may have helped. He wasn’t one of those wobbly people who have to be shown how to place their foot on the pedal or anything like that.



Thank you, all, for your help despite my seemingly reckless, perhaps flippant, first post. I am pleasantly surprised by all your support :slight_smile: Per your suggestions I did buy a $20 craigslist uni this weekend and this morning I completed the 2nd of my 30-minute practice sessions; once mounted next to a railing I can ride forwards with small turns for up to 15 seconds if the path is slightly downhill or flat. I’ll be doing front flips on my 36" uni in no time!

Photo of 20" $20

Should I buy a new UDC Titan 36" for $450USD shipped or a used MTB uni from a member here for $425-475 + shipping? Paraphrased uni details and link to photos below:

Photos of not-yet-assembled uni:
Basic Build - $425 + Shipping:

Quax White Aluminum 36 Frame -new
KH Zero Saddle with Seatpost -used good
Nimbus Niterider Tire - used good
tube/spokes - used good
Nimbus Rim - used
KH Moment ISIS Hub - used good
KH Pedals (Clear/Blue) - used good
Sun CrMo ISIS Cranks 152mm - used good

Add Disc Brake - +$50.00 (= $475.00 + shipping)

Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brake - used good
Under-saddle brake mount - new
MountainUni UCM Caliper Mount (similar to Nimbus D-Brake) -used good
External disc crank (110/125mm, 155mm, or 160mm - choose one)

"and will be done again, possibly by you… " thank you, that’s all I needed to hear.

OK, I’ll beware the backwards “UPD”.

OK, I’ll keep it simple.

It doesn’t look like the UDC Titan 36 has a twin-hole crank option, neither does the used setup :confused:

There are about 15 stoplights. The whole way has bike lanes lined with parked cars on one side, not many pedestrians. Thank you for the offer, I’ll PM you for group rides in my area.

Done. Bought the 20" $20 craigslist uni :slight_smile:

Already saw the $30+ 36" uni inner tube. Parts will be pricey I guess :confused:

If saskatchewanian thinks I can do, then I can do it. I think.

I now have a 20" from craigslist. Wow a thousand miles! What color is yours? Would’ve been cool if the Titan 36 was all black :smiley: I’m leaning towards placing the order for a titan 36" tonight.

Thanks, I’m 60 minutes into 20" training, will hop on a 36" as soon as I buy one and it arrives.

Thanks :slight_smile: my previous experience is cycling and some slacklining, not sure if the latter will help or hurt :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the white one looks pretty good. That’s what I would lean towards.