noticeable differences between 26 and 29 muni

I am aware that there are several threads regarding this subject, but still have questions. In a different thread, I asked about brakes. Got a lot of helpful thoughts and advice. Hands down, I’m getting a muni with a brake. I had my heart set on a 26 Nimbus Oracle. However, now that I have found 2, yes 2 unicyclists who ride off-road here in Asheville, both highly recommend the 29. And one of them has a KH 29 that he would be willing to sell to me. So, I’ve started researching this, comparing it to the Oracle 26. From all the posts I have read, I’m going to assume that most folks would agree that for the type of riding I want to do, the 29 would be the choice. It will allow me to cover more ground, deal with more obstacles, and as a road uni, I would probably enjoy it more. However, at my present skill level, a 29 would be more difficult to learn skills that I don’t yet possess. Hopping being the primary one that would be most useful on the trail.

I am a 5’4" woman, right around 145lbs. My inseam with shoes on is 31". The minimum required for it is 30". So, I am close to the limit. The 26 oracle and the kh 29 are similar in weight. Still heavier than what I am used to currently with my 26 club. As I have been learning, any little change I have made has had the result of knocking me off my game, so to speak. I’ve come to think that if I painted my unicycle a different color, I would have to adjust to that for 2 days. But, with each change, I have adjusted, and am glad for the changes. the biggest one being pedals with pins. I can’t imagine riding without them now, but that took a couple of weeks to get used to, literally a couple of pins at a time. The other piece to this, is that I have come to accept that I will probably end up with a 26" and a 29" at some point, for different trails and moods. So, if I have the opportunity to purchase a used kh 29" now (assuming it’s in excellent condition), does that make sense? I think this guy is in no hurry to sell the kh 29, so I might also consider going ahead and getting the Oracle, then when I’m ready for a jump in size, maybe in the middle of summer, getting the kh 29. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

I have ridden nimbus muni 26" and kh29. The 26 feels awfully slow after riding the 29, both have 137mm cranks. With my newbie-skills I can probably tackle a bit harder roots & rocks with the smaller wheel, might be I have been riding it more. 29 is very flowy, but I believe with practice it can be quite nimble too. I ride forest paths and paved roads (to work etc) and find the 29 to be more enjoyable in general use. While I see myself riding the 26 less on paved roads it will specialize for rocky paths and winter. At the moment I find no need for brake for the 26 but for the 29 I will be enjoying one sooner than later. If I rode downhill I would want to put brake on the 26 too. I am 173cm tall with no clue about the inseam.

Now that you have found more unicyclists maybe they can let you try the difference between the two if they had a 26"? :slight_smile:

If you have found other people to ride with, they ride 29, and suggest you ride 29, I would ride a 29.

When riding in a group having the same wheel size is nice because there are certain cadences that just “work” on a unicycle regardless of wheel-size. This is most important if you are following each other on a single track hill climb. It’s a minor thing but my first time riding in California I had trouble climbing with the group because my efficient speed was a little bit faster with my 26 than the majority of the group on their 24s.

Having said that a 26 might just fit you better. I would ask if you could borrow the 29 in question for a couple weeks before committing to buying it to see if that wheel size works for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is crank length. You get about the same leverage if you go up a crank size between 26/29. for example 125 on a 26 is about the same as 137 on a 29, 137 on a 26 is about the same as 150 on a 29 etc.

Gain ratio chart.pdf (34.7 KB)

Really hard call…

Based on your height and background I would say the 26 is the safer choice. Your thinking seems right on that the step up to the 29 may be a little much now.

On the other hand, maybe you’re ready for a big jump and maybe the 29 is really more appropriate for the kind of trails you will ride.

In the end the difference in the size is not so big, i.e. even if you get the 26 it shouldn’t prohibit your riding with people on 29s, especially if you consider crank length, e.g. if they’re riding 150s on 29s then with 137s on the 26 you should be pretty close (like % difference off the top of my head - I’m too lazy to look at the referenced gear chart, but the point is very relevant).

Just as a comparison: after learning on a 24 and then riding a lot of muni I bought a 36 (initially for road) and after learning to ride it on the road tried it off-road and absolutely could not do anything, as it was just too big and too unwiedly and too scary (I know that 24 to 36 is a much bigger step, but also I’m 6’1"). But being higher makes falling way scarier and at 5’4" the 29 is probably not so different from a 36 for me at 6’1". Fast forward another year and I did great on a borrowed 29 and also a 26 and then was ready to try muni with the 36. Now I am having a blast on the 36 and have even dropped the cranks down to 137s and even did one muni ride with 127s (I’m now back to 150s to practice steeps and drops). But the direct step to 36 muni would never have worked.

Sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

Yep that’s a tough one.
I swore by 29" to the point that I was calling it the ultimate uni - the only one to keep in other words - because I found it so versatile here in Paris: good for city riding because fast yep maneuverable, great for my forest riding (flat-ish XC really), so I decided it should my only muni in the US. And whilst that was true in NYC, I realised that it wasn’t great in NC. Took it to Lake Norman last summer, and the wheel proved to be a bit too big for the rooty uphill parts we encountered. And then I rode it around the family house, and found out that the wheel is too small for suburbia riding.
Might get a 26" wheel to turn it into a more appropriate muni next summer.

I’d aim at the 26", and keep an option on that 29" in the summer. There’s no such thing as too many unis…

Tough decision, I agree. Did you, by chance, read the thread, the other day, where the 27.5 wheel size was being introduced by Kris Holm? Search for “27.5”. I think he said, in the thread, that a 26" might be a more correct geometry for someone of your stature. Correct “geometry”, however, may vary depending on what kind of riding you’re doing. People of all sizes ride unicycles of all sizes.

I wouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that, because a 29" rolls over things, that somehow a 26" doesn’t roll over things. And I don’t know how many obstacles there are to roll over on your local trails. Since a bigger wheel has greater momentum, sometimes “rolling” is all you ‘can’ do on a bigger wheel, whereas, on a smaller wheel, it may be more possible to lose momentum and still power over obstacles, because you’re not fighting as much the inertia of the big wheel.

I own both a 26" and 29" mUni. I have recently starting enjoying my rides on the 29" more (except for the hills that I can do on the 26" but not the 29"). I think, however, that my enjoyment of the 29" is more due to learning how to control certain aspects of riding on the smaller wheels, then applying that, later, to the 29".

What is XC Pierrox?
Personally I like my 29" best. I ride both the 26" and 29" with 150mm cranks. Even though the 26 feels too slow and heavy on pavement and asphalt, it actually feels nice offroad and yesterday I took it to ride on the beach. The wide tires were great. Closer to the water, the sand was more dense and better ridable. The sea water was prolly less good for it. Anyways, different unis for different rides. I find the 29" too heavy to practice hopping and quickly tire me. In that case I use the 20". :slight_smile:

Asheville trails are pretty technical; I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable riding many of them on my 29". I’m surprised that the other riders prefer that size!

26" would definitely be my own choice.

Cross Country.
In other words, it’s not very technical off road uni. Fast trails with the occasional root or stone sticking out.

That sounds like my kind of muni-ing :slight_smile:

That’s what I was thinking. I’m about the same weight and height as sukie47. I also have the same inseam measurement. I ride a 29er around town on paved roads but don’t ride it for muni. The trails around here are single track with lots of roots. At the moment I’m most comfortable on a 24" muni for those types of trails. I also have a 26" for cross country. I suppose I’m a bit timid when it comes to muni, so I can’t give much advice on that. I tend to walk the tough sections.

sukie47 have you tried riding your 26" club off road yet? If not why not give it a go?

I have been going off road recently. Mostly grass on week nights after work. Logging roads and the occasional trail on weekends. Today was a combo. The Club is doing quite well off road, but I will definitely enjoy learning how to use the brake to save my legs. And, after today’s ride… I do think a 26" is the appropriate size for me on trails. I can’t imagine being any further off the ground right now.

Thank you again for the feedback. I feel like I’m asking so many questions, but it’s all so new to me. So, thanks.

By the way…speaking of questions… when replying to several posts at once, how do you use the quote function? I have done it on one reply, but it was in response to just one comment, not multiple.

How long are the cranks you use for the 24" and 26"?

I still find single track extremely difficult, especially if I have to freemount. I can’t mount and land on the saddle and have the wheel stay on one place. I always role half a metre, mostly to the left, before I’m sitting comfortably. Hopping first might be an idea, but it is very tiring.

On difficult terrain I use 150mm and on easier terrain 127mm. For road riding I’m using 110mm on my 29er. IMHO, shorter cranks are easier to ride when you’re not really that tall.

I’ve always done a static mount so I usually don’t have a problem mounting on flat ground. If a tree is around I’ll use that. :smiley:

Excellent point. However I wonder if maybe, as a strong experienced rider yourself, you’re discounting the huge difference that ability makes. I’ve been on rides in mixed groups and the skilled riders immediately left the newbies in their dust. (But they graciously stopped after a couple of minutes and waited for us all to regroup. Unicyclists seem good about this.) If the frontrunners and backmarkers swapped unicycles, the same thing would happen.

I rode with Liz Wilson in Virginia once when she had just gotten her 29" Oracle and she was ready to get rid of her 26" Oracle already, despite being barely five feet tall. And she was riding with 125 mm cranks because she couldn’t reach anything longer even with the seat all the way down. But then she’s a terrific athlete and also apparently completely fearless.

Yes, I was there and I remember having to wait a few times for you to catch up. And despite what I just typed above, I know that it had nothing a all to do with riding skill. :slight_smile:

[Btw, Sukie, I can’t say when our next group ride will be, but I hope you can join us when and if.]

It’s true that North Carolina trails are mostly pretty lumpy and technical. There will be lots of tree roots because the roots are all that keep the trail from washing away down the hillside when it rains!

My local watershed trails around Greensboro might be more technical than Lake Norman, and there are places where perhaps I could ride instead of walk on a 24" instead of a 26" and some where maybe I’d cruise more easily on a 29" wheel. I’m not much of a believer in the “sweet spot” idea though. What’s perfect for one spot along the trail probably won’t be 50 yards further down, or six months later when you’re more experienced, or when the trail has been changed by maintenance or weathering. A 26" has been a pretty good compromise so far for me, with lots of tire choices out there to further tune the ride.

I’ll buy that. Ya gotta start somewhere and you’ll almost certainly pick up more wheels over time.

Below each reply there are three buttons. The left one says “Quote” and the one on the right has a picture of a quill pen. The middle one with the big double-quote symbol is the one you want. Click that button for each post you want to quote and it will turn orange. Then go down below all of the replies and click the blue “Post Reply” button on the left. It will open a text edit box with each quoted post in square-bracketed quote/unquote tags for you to edit down and mangle as you see fit.:slight_smile:

Thanks LargeEddie. Please do let me know if you have group ride anytime soon.

I’ve watched Liz Wilson’s videos. I feel silly thinking that a 29 is too big for me, considering her height. But, I think I’ll ease into it. I’m going to go with the 26 for now.

Hope to see you on a ride sometime.

Nic pics Pierrox !

Considering the 26 vs 29 for muni riding I think I have one of the best option:

G26 with a 3" knard tire that makes it a 27-27.5 geared muni indeed.

Easier to control than a 29er when it is technical, and much faster when the “turbo” mode is triggered.
The knard 26x3 is also very good for all kind of trails, and even for some road, it only depends on the PSI.

Do you ride up that hill or down that hill UniDreamer?

Rather downhill.
I prefere flat and downhill over uphill even though it happens that ride uphill which is good for building legs and endurance.

Well, I can see that as I progress, my options will open up. It will be interesting to see what kind of changes I will make over time as I get more comfortable riding. Right now, I wouldn’t want to attempt up or down that trail. But one day, I would love to do both.