No longer 20...

I expect this has been asked before, but is there very much difference in riding techniques between a 20" and a 24". I ask as I think my 20" is just a tad too small diameter and I need a bigger wheel. I may be wrong but a gut feeling tells me otherwise… ?? :thinking:

It depends on what you want to do with unicycling. If you want to go a bit longer distances, like a few kilometres, then you certainly need the 24". I also had the 24" after the 20" and because I just learned to free-mount, the 24" already felt like a huge wheel. Also if you want to ride on uneven terrain like gravel or dirtroads in the forest with pits and bumps, the 24" will roll over/through them without problem. The 20" will be much more difficult and you’re nearly forced to hop. Once you get the hang of the 24", you will find it is very comfy.

Pretty much ditto to what Setonix said. While there is no “do everything” unicycle, I’ve found my 24" fits the bill for most stuff aside from very long rides, and it small enough to still fit in even the smallest trunks. It’s a pretty good middle-of-the-road size if you’re on a budget and don’t have the space or money for a lot of different unicycles.

One of my close friends recently bought a Club 24" Limited from UDC, and I thought it was pretty good for the money and for a beginner or intermediate level rider. I also think it would be good for mixed terrain. It’s certainly not designed for 8 foot drops on the trails, but it would be fine for going on casual dirt trails. My friend has ridden his on hilly, dirt trails, and it did great, and of course, it’s very good on the concrete as well.

Also might mention that I put a dirt bike tire one of my cheap 20" unicycles, and I use it for mixed terrain as well. I’m pleased as punch with it, and the tire only cost around $10-15 at Wal-Mart. It’s like having a whole new unicycle. While I’m not going to do any distance on it, it does surprisingly well on dirt and grass, and I think the tread on it is pretty decent for both concrete and dirt. I wouldn’t do any serious off road riding with it, but for flat dirt and grass, or even hills, it’s fine. In fact, with the ratio of the crank length to wheel size, it’s my best hill climber uni.

Just consider what it is that you plan to do with your unicycle and your budget and give us more info so we can better advise you. You might find that you can make a slight alteration to what you have and get more out of it.

Do be careful. Riding in the middle of the road can be dangerous. :wink:

Thanks for your replies guys, to be honest, I am an older rider, but struggle mightily on grass and the like. I have masses of grassy areas around here, roads are scarily dangerous and flat/hard areas are at a premium, so grass could be a way to expand the rides. Your idea of a dirt bike tyre has possibilities of course, but the 20" on grass seems easy to slide and dare I say not ‘skid proof’ in any way or form. My thinking is that a 24" with a knobbly tyre on could be the way to go, then again that knobbly tyre would/might reduce my flat/hard riding… Maybe I should give up and become boring again… !! Naah just thought about that…

The knobbly tire runs fine on asphalt and concrete. I never have any problems with that. Grass is always tricky, because you don’t see where the terrain is uneven. It is like riding with your eyes closed and just feeling your way forward. It is great practice, but difficult.

The rougher the surface the bigger the wheel diameter needs to be so it rolls through the irregularities. A larger volume tyre also helps.

I would suggest you get a 26 inch muni for the grass. There are also a lot more tyre choices for 26 than 24.

I recommend a 26" w/120tpi 3.0 mid sized fattie Knard. Its an awesome, easy to ride tire that I had to have on both 26 and 29", and Im still waiting for it to come in a 36":smiley:

I have never considered a 26" Unicycle at all. I was told they can be a hard act after a 20", but I have no experience at all of a larger wheel diameter. I must admit that my interest has been raised a bit since I began this thread, maybe I should go somewhere where I can try a few cycles out, but that is so hard where I live, in fact it is impossible.
The grass areas near here are quite flat, and I imagine relatively bump free and there are acres around here to ride over. The alternatives are the same old trips each time, but hey ho, that isn’t that bad, but it would be nice to have another challenge… !!!

Everything about unicycling is hard at first. The bigger the jump in size the harder it will usually be and the longer it will take to adapt. But the rewards are more than commensurate. Remember, some have even learned to ride on a 26 without the smaller sizes at all.

I remember even going from my 24 X 1.75 to the 26 x 2.15 and thinking maybe I shouldn’t have bothered because it was so frustrating. But eventually I built up the extra strength, got comfortable with the differences and came to absolutely love its speed and roll-over ability.

The next change to the the 29 was still a learning curve but nowhere near so hard because I had come to understand the effect of wheel size in the previous step. The more diversity you get, the better all your skills will become across all sizes because changing anything teaches you about the dynamics of those differences.

After some experience on a larger wheel it is remarkable how small and easy a 20 seems.

After some experience on a larger wheel it is remarkable how small and easy a 20 seems.

Thanks for your support there One Track Mind, this is indeed food for thought. I guess by increasing to 24" is perhaps a cowards way out, in order to make any transition that much easier perhaps. I really feel that an even larger diameter is for me now, but what and when is difficult to imagine. I would like to feel that maybe, when looking back, a 20" is comparably smaller and easier…???

Easier is relative! Personally I learned on a 24" and struggled a bit when I got the 19", the small wheel just felt too twitchy, hard to control, it reacted more to every bump and imperfection in the road surface and every pedal input.

I now have a 19", 24", 29" and a 36", and still find it easier to move up the wheel sizes than to go back down to a smaller wheel. As has been said, everything in unicycling is hard, every change takes time to get used to whether it’s wheel size, crank lengths, different pedals, different shoes. And the only way to get used to it is time and practice.

Don’t worry too much about bigger wheels being hard to use, just choose one and ride it as often as possible. At the end of the day, if it was easy it’d be called biking!

Don’t get me wrong, I was a coward and went from 20 to 24. The size difference from a 20 to a 26 will have you thinking WTF. I was only up to a 24 after eight months riding when I was at the 2014 Australia UniNats and I was invited to try a 29. I only sat on it and was completely freaked out.

But that is how I was when I tried to ride my first little uni. It was only when I saw a video on the Internet with riders doing the utterly implausible that I decided I could possibly just ride a uni down the road and I persisted until I did it.

The 26 will be very hard at first, but if you want to ride on grass it is the path you will need to take.

Oh swipe me, I am so confused now, I have just come back from a blast around a farmtrack on the 20" and whilst thinking about sizes and stuff, I came a cropper. This has led me to serious consideration of larger sizes. Maybe not a 36"er, possibly 26" though, or a 24", but perhaps if the cash flow (wifely woman) produces enough, I may get both. That has to be a solid idea. Huge bruise on my shin now to overcome…!!

It’s really hard to recommend a unicycle size when you’re unfamiliar with the riding conditions in someone else’s neighborhood. If you want to cover some distance, if you enjoy riding off-road which is not too technical or steep, and if you want to roll over not-too-large objects, I would suggest getting a 29". Just enough speed to feel the breeze, but still slow enough to run out an unplanned dismount. Yes, it’s going to feel like a huge jump from the 20". If that’s too much, I’d consider passing over the 24" and getting a 26", or if you want some “first kid on the block” points, go for one of the new 27.5" wheels. Cool!

Hi Regina Wrecks! I agree with the others who have said there’s a pretty big difference between 20" and larger sizes. For me 20" is great for practicing when I want to make the most of a limited space, and it feels safer for trying new skills precisely because turning the wheel doesn’t move it very much. The bigger ones are the choice when I want to go somewhere instead of staying in one place. Oddly, the leap from 20" to 24" seems bigger to me than the difference between 24" and 29".

Each of the sizes has a little biy different feeling and it also changes depending on the tire and the crank length. If you think you might like a 29" but you’re feeling intimidated by the big jump in size, I suggest swallowing hard and going ahead. It seems like most of us made the adjustment without much drama, and it being a little scary at first is part of the fun. It’s a great size for all-around road and trail riding without nearly as much of the you-really-might-hurt-yourself-on-that factor as a 36". Stepping off and running out a UPD is still pretty realistic on a 29".

Well said Large Eddie!

I too think a 29" might be ideal for your situation. The tire choices are great, it’s large enough to roll over most unseen obstacles without incident, and you’ll probably be able to “run it off” if you come off unexpectedly. Cheers!

I don’t think there is a right answer.
The 24 is smoother and more stable, but harder to “step-off” than the 20".
Swapping between the two cycles has worked for me.

I went down on crank sizes on the 20" from 127 / 114 / to 89’s
The extra balance needed for the shorter cranks has helped me to ride the 24" a little better.

I have recently gone back from 89’s to 114mm on the 20" and it is so much easier to ride now.
The improvement would not have come if I hadn’t made changes to increase the difficulty, and learnt how to ride differently.

Everyday is a school day, and an opportunity to learn something new.

Where I live in England, I am very close to the shoreline of the North Sea. The grass is clumpy long stuff on the dunes, but where people tend to walk their dogs and partners, the grass is not unlike a well tended golf course. It sometimes holes up into sandy bunkers, but one can ride around those I trust, and a few boarded pathways much like those on the Muni courses… I would really like to do a certain distance that I frequently walk, I know it is quiet, fairly remote and the wildlife can be awesome when approached quietly. The terminus of that particular ride backs onto a Bird Reserve full of ducks and things, plus a couple of remote hides for the hardy amongst us to use… !!
I keep watching on Youtube, these guys on Muni bikes of 24" ploughing down mountains, although they are using downward gravity a lot, they still seem to control and easily manoeuvre their uni’s. Okay they leap about like jumping beans and I am not up for that at my age, my task is only to gain leg strength and stamina. The ground is quite flat really with a few minor undulations and there are other ‘dunes’ that I could risk a short swerve up and down. It just seems to make sense to me to go for the place instead of riding round and round a lump of concrete with gawking locals, chewing their straw, agreeing with each other that I am a nincompoop and a show off… Sorry, my inherent misanthropy coming out there… !!

I really must learn how to post pictures… !

Yes I’d like to see what a nincompoop looks like :slight_smile: