Since it’s started, here’s another review of the Oregon:
Sorry if it’s not incredibly well produced or synced to music. Just some of my thoughts.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting someone to film some riding shots. We do have some quite technical East Coast riding around here, but the time I wasn’t riding solo I was trying to get as many locals on this beast as possible.
I’m not the greatest at video, so here’s my written review:
The short Nimbus Oregon review: Awesome*, but awesome isn’t for everyone.
*Now to qualify that statement:
Universally, the first detail noticed about the Oregon is the mammoth tire- a Surly Larry 3.8in wide mounted on a Large Marge rim. In fact, the Oregon is only 1 of 3 production unicycle frames that will clear the beastly combo. The other 2 are the Surly 26” Conundrum (no longer in production) and the Triton MUni frame. I’ve now experienced all 3 frames.
Getting almost a 4in wide tire to clear a unicycle frame isn’t an easy task. The small diameter tubes of the Oregon keep the overall crown width to a minimum. The dual crown design keeps the frame from flexing too much; more on that in a minute.
The other attention getter of the Oregon is the inboard disc brake. Nimbus is the first brand to embrace the inboard disc design, having both the frames and hubs manufactured to their specs. Fitting a disc inboard while keeping a reasonably strong wheel build required moving from the 100mm standard bearing width to a 125mm width- the common width for 36” wheeled unicycles. Even with the wide hub, there still isn’t a lot of clearance between the brake caliper and the spokes. Only certain brands of brakes will work with the setup. Fortunately Unicycle.com has done the homework.
Enough about the hardware specs. Unlike bicycles, it’s hard to find a lot of places to test ride unicycles. This makes the ride report extremely valuable.
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the Oregon is a bit hefty, but not as heavy as it looks. Surprisingly the weight isn’t too bad as the Larry is lighter than the 3.0 Duro tire. Once on the trail, the Oregon’s weight isn’t that noticeable.
The tire volume is, however.
Having spent close to a year on the Larry (on my Conundrum with 150mm cranks) I’ve come to the conclusion that it does at times have a mind of its own. Off camber situations coupled with low pressure (less than 20 psi) can cause it to pull. I’ve discovered trusting Larry by hanging on and pedaling gets me through situations I never figured I’d survive. Proper tire pressure is critical. Too much loses traction, and too little can cause it to act like a pogo stick on Ritalin. Taking a bit of time to find the sweet spot is well worth it. I’ve found when I hit the right zone for the trail the 3.8 is every bit as fast as my 29er- if not faster. In addition to the speed the shock absorption is incredible. The volume allows the unicycle to plow through situations that would hang up lesser tires. When hopping, the spring available from the tire is tremendous. The 65mm wide Large Marge rim gives great support to the tire during side hops or Pecking. From my personal experience a tire as small as a “large” 2.5 can be used successfully with the LM rim.
I had some initial concerns about the Oregon: crank length, crown width, Q , and torsional stiffness. The 165mm long cranks on the Oregon are 15mm longer than what I’ve been running on my Conundrum. I’m a fan of short cranks (as low as 100s on my 36er for road riding), but the 165s really make sense on this uni. With such long cranks I thought the Oregon would ride comparatively slow, but those fears were unfounded. The almost 29in diameter of the tire helps keep the speed up.
I had to send my Triton to a new home because the crown was too wide. The Surly works for me, but once the Magura rim brake calipers are installed it’s really close to my legs. The frame of the Oregon offers the most clearance out of the three.
Q is the distance between the pedals. I typically like the smallest distance possible. The Oregon is about 1in wider than any of my personal unis. I figured the extra distance would put a strain on my knees. Surprisingly, it didn’t.
I really like climbing. I’m able to pull on the seat enough when climbing to make the brakes rub on most unis- my stiff KH 36 included. I noticed a lack of flex in the Oregon. I realize it doesn’t have discs, but there isn’t a lot of lateral clearance between the tire and the frame. The KH stiffener plate installed on the prototype, in theory, should put the maximum force through the frame. Even with all that force through the frame I never noticed the frame twisting.
I spent 15-20 hours aboard the Oregon over the month of August. I climbed some pretty steep technical off road trails. I descended trails too steep (and loose) to climb. I took it down 2ft+ drops and through rocky rooted technical sections. I rode it for 3+ hour rides. I didn’t take it easy or treat it gently. I rode it as hard as I could. The only conditions I didn’t get to test the Oregon in were rain, snow, and excessive mud (responsibly). From personal experience I can say that the Large Marge with an aggressive tire works better than lesser unicycles in adverse conditions. The vertical tire clearance on the Oregon is fantastic- better than any other unicycle. This should really help in the mud and snow.
Do I like the Oregon? Absolutely.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but not to a brand new MUni rider as it sits. The tire rim combination is a bit excessive for some situations. Fortunately I’ve found that a 3.0 Duro (or even a smaller tire) changes the feel of the unicycle completely. I’ve had a 2.5 Specialized Butcher on the Large Marge (on my Conundrum), but I wouldn’t want anything smaller for it. Dropping the tire size makes shorter cranks a consideration. Andy, one of our other local testers, noted that he experienced a learning curve moving from his 26” Nimbus (with a 3.0 and 150 cranks) to the Oregon. An inexperienced rider’s needs would be better met by another uni in the Nimbus line.
That being said, for someone who is looking for a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) MUni, the Oregon is definitely worth considering. I still keep other MUnis around as the huge rim/tire combo is sometimes a bit excessive.
But sometimes excessive is just right.