newbster needs help finding the right ride

hey to all the advanced uni-riders out there

some of you may have read my introduction - so you know that i’m looking for a unicycle.
i have no idea of brands, quality differences and so on, so i’m really glad if anyone of you can give me tips or teach me the basics.

i am 1.65m tall/small, and weigh around 80kg (one more reason to do more sports, i hate that hanging around). sry for using the metric system, but i’ll never get used to the feet and inches and pounds and whatever :wink:

my preferred site of ordering would be japanese amazon, because i’m stuck in japan for over a year as i’m here for an exchange year with a university. so that’s what i get out of when i enter unicycle in japanese:カタカナ&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=一輪車

and most probably almost the same when i enter it in english:�J�^�J�i&url=node%3D15337751&field-keywords=unicycle

the difference of the products is clearly visible when looking around…:

so i really ask myself: is that stuff on japanese amazon just bllsht, or do i really have no idea?

my wishes for my unicycle are:

  • good for a beginner, but still nice to ride when advanced
  • no tricks
  • being able to use it outdoors
  • doing rides about 5km at least (haha, if i ever get that level!)
  • being able to do small turns; i want to be able to ride it also within the city around some people

i think that’s it…
so, does anyone of you have a special recommendation of the shown amazon pages? or isn’t anything there really reliable? how many inches should “my” wheel have?

well well, i guess you got it :wink: gratful for every answer!

How about Miyata in Japan?

Click on the Japanese->English button, if needed. I’ve ordered parts from them a few times from the USA.

Hello and welcome.

My first unicycle was along the lines of the expensive ones on the amazon link you posted. I would highly not recommend it. I spent $230 canadian on mine, after a little bit of hopping practice on curbs, i have bent both cranks, bent my hub, and threw out my seat…

If i was to do it again knowing what i know, i would purchase a Nimbus 20" trials. It is a little more money but the thing is basically bomb proof. My brother has one and he is taking drops of 4 1/2 feet all the time without issues… and mine got toasted on a curb…

here is a video i filmed today of my riding, nothing all that exciting.

Unicycle . com is the ONLY place you get good value and actually usable products. Although i do tend to prefer the the Kris holms product to the Nimbus, i have never had any issues with my Nimbus 26er Muni with about 300 kms logged on it.

For a beginner this is the best bang for you buck:

Try buying from UDC japan.

Nimbus and Torker are both decent brands, although Nimbus is better if you can afford it. Kris Holm is even better, but they are even more money.

The Nimbus II Freestyle from UDC is a very good uni. I have one and I love it. It has an ISIS hub and cranks, which are very strong, and a double wall rim. However you don’t necessarily need these features for the type of riding you are describing. A Nimbus Club would suffice for you (again based on the riding you describe) if that’s more in line with your budget.

If you are serious about doing 5km, or longer, rides then I’d recommend 24" over 20" to start. If you do a lot of distance riding you are likely to gravitate to an even larger wheel, but some people put a staggering amount of mileage in on 24" unis.

You might want to look around for a local uni club. I don’t think one would be too hard to find as many Japanese children learn to ride unicycles in grade school gym class. If you find a club you can try out different unicycles, and get advice from the locals about acquiring your own.


thanks for all the quick replies, that surely helps me alot!

topHat, i’m not sure if 20" may be too small even for me? i mean of course, for the first few steps it would be surely great, but as i mentioned i’d really like to have a uni that challenges me until i get to the 5km mark. i’m just not sure if that’d be possible with the 20" wheel?
thanks for the link! i was looking for something like this. really good to get the advice directly, i’m counting on your knowledge :wink:

martin, i’m sure there is a uni club around here (there’s everything in japan, right?) but the thing is… we live… well, it’s not countryside, but have you ever been to japan? in comparison to the big cities, our town is really small. it’s nice, but it’s not english-friendly. although i study japanese, my language skills are still very poor, but i want to begin with the cycling asap. looking something up in the internet is almost impossible, because even though i can find out how to enter my search in japanese, it’s a hell lot of work to translate all the results. and in addition, you have to call those sportsclubs most of the time, because they often do not have any email address. so i’m not sure if i really should wait, or just try to be lucky with an own choice.
i will have a look at your recommendations and get back to you in this thread. thank you so very much!

update: i had a look at different unis now at the japanese homepage. what do you say:

and martin, your’s is that one, right?

are there any serious differences between those two? i’d just like to do the right choice with the first uni, will be essential for my motivation guess :smiley:
i’m interested in the technical details, but don’t know very much about it so far. it’s easy for me to tell which bike is good and which surely not as experience helped me a lot… lacking that with the unis…

shmol, i had a look at kris holm as well. nimbus - prices are ok for the quality i hope to get, kris holm will be an option in case it will addict me and i get really good at it. but i think it’s a bit too much for the beginning.

Basically the difference between the Nimbus Club 24 and the Nimbus 2 24 is that the Nimbus 2 will be a fair amount stronger. The Club is still a decent unicycle and much better than the learners you will find on amazon/eBay.

For basic riding you won’t go wrong with the Club, but if you start doing more advanced tricks putting a lot of stress on the wheel an upgrade may be in order.

Good luck


Yep, that’s what I have the 24" Nimbus II. As for serious differences almost everything on the Nimbus II is better/stronger than the Club. (The cranks and pedals are the exception to this). If you look at the Nimbus brand there are basically 3 grades of unicycle:

Club = standard (light) duty
Nimbus II = medium duty
Nimbus Muni/Street/Trials = heavy duty

The Nimbus II has some light duty parts (cranks, pedals); some heavy duty parts, the same found on the Nimbus Muni (saddle, hub); and some parts that fall in between (same frame as club but with better bearing holders as found on the muni frame; a stronger double wall rim, but not as wide as a modern muni rim).

The Club unicycle is adequate for the type of riding you describe, basic road riding. The Nimbus II is stronger and more durable over all. If you grow as a rider and decide to try riding more aggressively (hops, drops, etc.) all you’d need to do is upgrade the cranks (once you bend/break them) and pedals.

One last thing I’ve noticed when I looked at the cost of these two unicycles. At UDC USA a Nimbus II costs $135 more than the Club. Looking at the prices on UDC Japan the Nimbus II costs less, and the Club costs more, than here in the USA. As far as I can tell the Nimbus II is only about $53 more for you than the Club. At that difference in price I would absolutely take the Nimbus II over the Club. (If you want to stay with a standard duty unicycle I’d suggest the Qu-Ax Luxus 24" over the Club, considering their respective prices.)

I’m not sure what’s up with the 3150 yen “single item surcharge” listed at the bottom of the Nimbus II page. All of the unicycles have a variation of this surcharge, it might be a shipping charge because of the bulk of the unicycle.


The reason we learn on 20" wheels:

-Slow (makes falls easy to recover)
-Maneuverable (a little turn goes a long ways)
-Fun (the small wheel is light weight and easy to start learning more controled skills, curbs happen when you riding and getting off and stepping over them is something we just don’t do)

If you got a larger wheel you could learn on it, but it would cause you more frustration.

I describe unicycles like shoes, we rarely have 1 pair… and they all have there purpose. Somedays i like doing 15 km rides on my 26" and some days its fun to go to a school parking lot with some friends and practice some trials. I dream of the day i smash out a 50 km ride on a 36er…

You could do 5 km on a 20 inch if you wanted too, I’ve done about 5 miles on mine. (that is about 8 kilometers.)

you are all fabulous, thanks so much.

martin, you are right with the price difference in yen, the club is only 50 USD cheaper than the nimbus 2 (didn’t check the US site though, but i believe you of course). i didn’t see the surcharge but well… those 30 USD won’t make me poor i guess. nimbus 2 then. roger!

i hear the different opinions and hope to be able to decide within the next few days, or maybe i’ll have an epiphany when i go out on my bike after this post.

shmol, it’s nice to hear that 5km and more are well possible on a 20" wheel, and that it even seems to be comfortable on that wheelsize. i just know myself quite well, and i already get mad on my bike when i have to do bigger distances on a small wheel, and i don’t think that this attitude will change on a uni.

and TopHat, i also get that learning on a 20"er is probably more motivating… but you know… i study japanese since 2009, and i am still willed to continue learning the language although everyday life here is like hell (concerning my language skills). what i want to say is that my frustration-level is quite high :smiley:

but as i said, i’ll just go out for some time now and think about it all.

Wow, look at all those cute, pink unicycles! Fascinating what the Japanese market has to offer. At a glance, it appears that most of those unicycles are aimed at the vast majority of unicyclists in Japan; elementary school kids. Probably girls more than boys.

Japan has more unicyclists than any other country. This is because a huge number of the elementary schools have them. Not unicycle clubs, but unicycles available for kids to play with during recess! So (literally) millions of Japanese kids have learned to ride unicycles at one point or another.

But most associate it with a school activity, mostly for young kids. Numbers seem to drop off a lot once you get up to high school age, but there are still loads of unicyclists of all ages in Japan. Maybe some near you!

If you sent me an email, I might be able to hook you up with someone over there, who might be able to hook you up with someone near you, or possibly just someone who can offer advice while having a chance to practice their English.

Meanwhile, based on your description, the Club is more than adquate for your needs. That said, you get what you pay for with the Nimbus II so if you can afford that one – even better. It will take anything you are likely to throw at it. And get a 24" since you want to go places. The difference in learning, for someone of your height, is minimal. I think I would have learned faster on a bigger wheel (I learned on a crap 16").

heh heh

“…but as i mentioned i’d really like to have a uni that challenges me …”

methinks you haven’t actually got on one yet, have you? You won’t need any extra challenges… at least not for a while. :smiley:

If you can find a club or anyone, ask at your local school, it will be easier to learn and more fun. I learnt with a rider who doesn’t speak English, and all I can do in Korean is order the beer :stuck_out_tongue: For learning I’m sure a 20 is the way to go, but after the usual 15 or so hours you will want to ride a 24 as it is more practical for getting around. I once rode my beginner 24 down to Suncheon Bay and back, about 22km (with a few stops along the way, hard seat…)

If you are only going to be in Japan for a year, I doubt you will break anything and I would go for the club muni…

good luck


The website has some guidance on size
I decided to go for their 29inch Trainer as I want to do Thames Bridges 2013 8 mile ride
I suspect it would have been easier to learn on a smaller wheel but I am getting there