As with astronomy, weaving, guitar, photography, &etc., unicycling seems to be yet another of those glorious hobbies in which there is no “right” answer to the “which is best” question - it all depends on about a thousand factors, and, even if one listed every factor into a flowchart and had a strict formula for how to determine which unicycle is the exact, perfect match for you, at least three people in a dozen would come back to declare that they are much happier with some other cycle that the formula said was utterly wrong. I get that. I am, anymore, used to and expectant of that. So I’m going to ask anyway, just because when people answer the impossible questions, sometimes they bring up issues that I hadn’t considered while trying to find my own, personal, version of the impossible answer.
I actively intend never to jump off of a picnic table on a unicycle. I hope never to find myself looking forward to riding 100 miles in a single day. I don’t want to ride the slopes of Mount Everest, and I certainly don’t want to ride a unicycle in traffic, with multi-ton vehicles around me moving at speed, hoping that, if I DO fall, I will fall in a safe direction.
I like playing a GPS-related video game in my local area. I was riding a bicycle from place to place happily, and somehow a unicycle came up and bit me in my dreams - something different, something unusual. I travel sometimes as much as 20 miles in a session, but mostly in legs a couple miles long, along roads, bike paths, some dirt trails with roots and rocks to deal with. I would walk those distances, but walking is horribly slow and eats up shoes on some of these terrains.
In the future, I may wish to shoot for locations further away, or get from one location to another quickly for game-strategic reasons. Some of the locations require travel on logging roads - decent slopes, loose gravel, the rare-occasional mountain footpath.
75% of my riding will be on roads and sealed surfaces, though.
I have a Torker CX 20’’ that I am learning on (4.5 hours practice as of this post, average distance per attempt around 16 feet without wall or support), and very much enjoying, without complaint once the initial bugs were worked out (like the seat twisting in its cups every time I got on). I expect to upgrade to my “perfect unicycle” by Christmas and cannot decide which is perfect for me.
I figure anything sturdily built by a reputable name will get the job done, so I THINK my limiting factors will be these:
I have no use whatsoever for a $1,000 unicycle - I will never be a professional rider, and if I change my mind on that, I can buy a suitable ride at that time.
I need to be able to hold a slow jogging pace at least, for this to continue to be fun. Not a sprinting pace, not a geared bicycle pace, but just something that tells me I am doing better than I would on foot. I really don’t mind the idea of having to ride for some time to get to my destination - that’s kinda the point, to be out of the house being active as much as possible.
I need to be able to navigate steep slopes from time to time and would prefer not to walk them, so huge wheels/tiny cranks are probably not involved in my answer.
Will a 20’’ Muni get me the pace I want without looking ridiculous trying to pedal fast enough to maintain a jogging pace? Will that Numbus 24" basketball uni hold up to the occasional mild offroad and the surprise big rock in the path? Do I need a 26’’ to ride 10 miles with reasonable comfort on a daily basis?
Whatever I buy, I sincerly hope it will be able to be the last unicycle I buy, my “perfect ride” (minus the obligatory upgrades), but mostly I just want it not to break on me while I’m 5 miles up a logging road.
PS. I have been lurking for awhile and have read many posts that addressed others’ “impossible questions”, but mostly those seemed focused on different riding goals that I have outlined here. Not trying to spam the forum with duplicate questions, honest.