Oracle 26 Review
Christmas came early for me this year, and I’m excited to offer some first impressions of my new Nimbus 26" Oracle!
First, a bit of background…I started riding in 1998 and was very active for about four years, and then drifted back into road cycling for several years, and then came back into unicycling this summer. In the past my focus has been on building my skills and some distance riding. This year marks the first real experiences that I have had riding muni, and I’ve really been having such a great time. It’s the best! I’ve been riding a 24" Torker LX with the largest tire I could put on it (1.95) and it functioned fairly well, but I really wanted to get a full fledged muni and I figured while I was at it, I might as well get one with a disc brake.
I debated back and forth between the Oracle and a KH with the crank-mount set-up. I decided on the Oracle because I think the hub mounted disc makes more sense (and just looks better) and because the Oracle is a better value than the KH - with comparable quality. When the Oracle went on sale at UDC at $100 off, I decided to get one now instead of waiting until next spring like I had planned.
First impressions: This is the first “new” unicycle I have purchased since the 700c Semcycle that I bought around 10 years ago. Wow - unicycles sure have changed A LOT since then. The quality of the equipment is amazing! The first thing I saw when I opened the shipping carton was the KH saddle and black graduated Nimbus seat post. Those items alone looked 10X better than the equipment I’m used to. As for the rest of the unicycle, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the red rim of the 26" Oracle, but after I had it out of the box and saw it first hand I was totally happy with the appearance, quality, and design of the wheel and frame. Everything is just beautiful. The only thing that I would want to be different is the color of the brake, being white, but it’s not really an issue. The design, decals, color scheme, and quality of the components are all very nicely done and I love it. Oh, the other first impression: this unicycle is much heavier than I expected. That Duro Leopard tire is MASSIVE. I’m definitely going to be putting on something lighter next season.
Assembly: I’m no stranger to working on bicycles and unicycles, so that was no problem at all…install the seat, the pedals, and the brake lever. The instructions are generic and do not refer to setting up the braking system of the Oracle, so that might be an issue for someone that has little experience. For example, I was careful to position the brake lever so that it wouldn’t protrude beyond the seat handle and get struck on a drop. I also adjusted the angle of the lever to bring it closer to the seat. Then I noticed that the disk brake was rubbing a bit in one area as I spun the wheel so I did some research and learned how to adjust it. I checked the torque on the cranks and they were fine. None of this was difficult and I actually enjoyed setting it all up but for someone inexperienced it might be more of an issue.
Riding: I brought it to work today and had a short ride at lunch time on a local trail. I was really curious to see how it would feel to ride on that humongous tire and use the brake. I had no problems mounting - I’m used to a 24 but a 26 is so close in size - but once I took off I really noticed a difference in the pedaling effort due to the weight of the wheel. It was a good workout, that’s for sure…I’m glad that I stuck with the 165 crank length! On the other hand, the weight of the wheel provides really nice momentum and I was able to roll over some roots really easily, although this trail doesn’t have many challenging obstacles on it. (that will come tomorrow). I’m sure that I will get used to the weight and pedaling effort, I think my seat may be a bit too low as well. The Duro tire had a bit of pull on tilted areas of the trail but not too bad, and I adjusted to it quickly. Hopping on that big tire was fun!
Disc Brake: The trail has a nice long sharp descent that I was eager to test the brake on. I fully expected to have a UPD the first time that I used the brake so I practiced with it several times to get a feel for the modulation while I was off the uni and pushing it around, and a little bit when I was riding on the flat. I found it easy to carefully apply just a little bit of brake and it seemed very smooth. No UPD! Then I came to the hill and really had my first experience using it, and it was completely natural and smooth. No problems at all! The brake is going to be very handy on some steep trail sections that I ride on and I’m eager to try it on some sections that I’ve never been able to ride down.
So that’s my little review, coming from a fairly experienced uni rider, but as someone pretty new to muni and very new to the modern equipment that we have now. I’m completely happy with the Oracle and I’m looking forward to my next ride!