On what should I start unicycling?

I want to get started in unicycling, and I am wondering on what type/brand should I start? A Schwinn? A Sun? Etc . . .
I have done a bit of research and I have found that it is best to begin unicycling on a 20-inch unicycle. Is this true? Whatever unicycle I start with I would like it to be virtually indestructible and have a good bearing.

You should start with the type of unicycle you think you’ll want to use later on. If you’re getting into unicycling for tricks, 20" is perfect. If it’s for Trials, a Trials uni (also 20"). For commuting or going places, get a 26" or 29". For trails, a MUni. If you have no idea, get a 24", because you can do all of the above with it, though not necessarily as well.

Another approach to starting out is to get one just for learning, then buy a new one when you know which branch you want to head down. This leaves you with a “learning” cycle you can loan out to others, and use as a backup.

Know the type of riding you want to do, and choosing your first uni is much easier.

you should start on one wheel!

Show up at a club a few times and try everything. Buy the configuration you like the best.

That was an excellent gymnastic avoidance of ending on a preposition in the thread title.:slight_smile:

I’m strongly of this opinion:


This plan means you buy a decent 20, learn to ride it, pootle about on it, and see what takes your fancy. You might find yourself drawn to skills (one foot riding etc.) or youmight find that you just want to ride long distances, or on rough ground - or you could spend all your time hopping onto and off obstacles.

Then you optimise your 20 for your preferred style, a bit at a time: a better tyre, better pedals, maybe longer or shorter cranks…

And all this time, you’re starting to daydream about the perfect unicycle for YOU. It could be anything from a trials 20 to a Coker, to a Kris Holm MUni.

Then you buy it.

If you jump in now and buy the “best” trials uni, or MUni, or freestyle uni, you might find you’ve wasted money on something that doesn’t suit you later.

i suppose a Sun would be a good one to learn on. Mostly because it’s like the only uni that all bike shops carry without having to order. Good road uni.

Re: On what should I start unicycling?

Not true about the 20" being best to learn on.

Like John Foss said it’s different wheel sizes for different activities.

I think a 24" is a really good general purpose unicycle, especially if you’re wanting to ride on streets and get around on; it’s also excellent for muni if you put a 3" tyre on it (bear in mind that not all frames can fit a 3" though); also ok for tricks.

A 20" is good for freestyle, trials and tricks, bad for getting around on.

I’ve never had a 26", but it’s good for muni (but a 24" with 3" tyre is effectively same wheel diameter as a 26")

28"/29" are good for road communting, but I’d say they’re not for beginners- I find that to get the most out of my 29-er I have to be riding very consistenly, whereas my 24" muni is something that I can be at ease on even after a long lay off.

Bear in mind that if you want the uni to last then you’re not going to be able to get the cheapest model (avoid anything with lollipop bearing holders).

Here’s a page of good starter unis that will last well: -


From the uk version of unicycle.com.

‘Nimbus’ unis are excellent for the price and will take a 3" tyre for muni.

I think you should post again with more info about what you’re wanting to do on a unicycle, then we can give more specific advice.

1st of all, dont buy a savage.

2ndly, there’s nothing wrong with buying the dream unicycle right off the bat as long as you know that its what you want to do and you’re gonna stick to it. If you are 100% sure that off road is your style, then get the MUni. Some will argue that you can’t possibly know which style of unicycling you like best until you’ve tried them all. My best advice is to try out other people’s unicycles. See if theres a club nearby and ask to borrow people’s. Unicyclists tend to be very nice about this :slight_smile:

If you are leaning towards muni but don’t want to spend the big bucks, buy a nimbus muni (i heard they are great for their value) and then upgrade it. I’m not as familiar with upgrading trials unicycles. Good luck–


I’d rate Sun unicycles “marginal” rather than “good”. They are not tough enough for adult riders (I broke pedals, hub, and rim on my Sun 26" in a few months of moderate riding). Other components (seat, seatpost clamp, tire) are of sufficiently low quality that they noticeably degrade the riding
experience. The seatpost clamp is so bad that I recommend cutting it off and replacing it before assembling the unicycle - it will ruin the seatpost.

But then you shouldn’t expect a comfortable, durable ride for US$59. At $89 the Torker LX is often recommended here. Schwinn seems to get respect for durability, but isn’t exactly an elegant ride.

Based on the request for a “virtually indestructable” unicycle, I’d start looking in the $140-$200+ range. Even then, the hub/cranks won’t take big drops, the seat will wear out (thay all do), and (if you have my luck) the pedals will disintegrate. Looking at the options at Unicycle.com, the Nimbus II seems a great value at $144. It is strong and is well appointed with quality components. In particular it has a quality tire and comfortable saddle. The next level of strength seems to be the Kris Holm 20" ($211). It has a ridiculously strong frame, a very similar saddle (only tougher), two bolt seatpost clamp which will eliminate twisting of the saddle, and is colored ever fashionably in basic black. The nimbus has 48 spokes which is a plus if you want to play unicycle hockey. I don’t know about the KH.

That’s the kind of unicycle I like for street/freestyle riding. In practical terms, the main differences between these and my custom assembled unicycle is I prefer shorter (110mm) cranks than the 127mm length they come with, I have a Miyata saddle (less comfortable for long rides, but sleeker), and I use crazy expensive Shimano pedals.

There are other freestyle unicycles in this price range that undoubtedly great starter unicycles, but most have weaker, single-walled rims or less comfortable and versatile saddles. Alternatively you may want a trials unicycle with a heavy duty knobby tire - much better for riding off road and hopping, but less smooth on the street due to longer cranks and the tire’s resistance to turning. At the high end, trials unicycles come with hardcore parts like splined hubs/cranks that make them tougher than a $200 product. If you are in doubt, I think the street unicycle is the best choice for learning. Others will argue that you can still do freestyle skills on a trials uni, so that’s what you should get if you can only own one 20".

Two good sources in North America are Unicycle.com and Bedford Unicycles [http://www.bedfordunicycles.ca/].

If you think you might want to do freestyle, make sure to buy a uni with a square, as opposed to rounded fork. This makes many tricks easier.

Oh, for goodness’ sake, buy one of each, like the rest of us!:wink:

My first uni was a mediocre 20. i did minor upgrades (pedals, tyre, seat) and rode it on and off road at a very low level for many years.

Then I found out about unicycle.uk.com and ordered a Pashley 26 MUni. At first, I was disappointed with what “it” could do.

Then I bought a Nimbus 20 inch as an upgrade for my old 20.

Then I got better on the 26.

Then I discovered that decent pedals make a real difference.

Then I put some longer cranks on the 26.

Then I had an “opportunity purchase” of a 24 and fell in love with it.

Then along came the Coker.

At first, the Coker was a real blast, but then I thought, “Is this all it does?”

And by now, I was getting reasonably good on the 26, and I had upgraded the 24, and put super short cranks on it.

Then I bought the 28, and for a long time I was disappointed with it.

And the 26 fell into disuse for a while.

Then I got into riding the Coker quite hard, and used it exclusively for a while.

Until I had a few long rides on the 28, and started to like its rapier accuracy and thoroughbred twitchiness.

By now, the Pashley 26 was back on 150mm cranks, but had a handle.

And eventually, the 24 fell into disuse, and has since been sold.

And today I had a ride on the Coker, and wished I’d been on the MUni, but I also wished the MUni was a 24 with a fat soft tyre.

But on the way home, I was rekindling my daydream of a “road razor” - a superlight 700c with a silly skinny tyre.

And I haven’t ridden the 20 for ages, but that’s because I never really got into freestyle, and I lack the nerve to do trials. (I’m 41 you know…)

So, I’m damned glad I didn’t rush out and buy the best unicycle money could buy, because it would have been the wrong one. Each of my unis has been upgraded or adapted a bit, and each has a specific use.

The 20 has 110s and is for playing and performing on.
The 24 fell between two stools and was sold.
The 26 is the Tractor MUni, with 150s, but I wish it was a really good 24.
The 28 is the road and cycle path machine, twitchy but fun on 110s.
The Coker keeps the 150mm cranks and rides the skyline.

And if I lost the lot tomorrow and had the insurance money to spend? I’d buy a better one of each!

Does that help you to choose?:stuck_out_tongue:

Well I would say that virtually indestructable a sun is not.

I started off with a 24 inch from unicycle.com, if you find where it says adult learner pack with pads, helmet, and video. It’s good to see how other people do it, so you have a starting point.

I like the 24, i’m learning to idle on it, can hop, ride forward, mount, and just rode backwards a revolution and a half. I also have a 20 incher, which is fine, but you gotta pedal more, although if you don’t have much space then it’s more handy. I also have a 16 inch cause kids I know wanna learn. I also got a 24 inch muni I bought from a guy selling it cheap, and had to get some parts for it, it does go faster with a bigger tire. I also have a coker, which i’ll probably sell cause I don’t ride long distances to justify having it.

So what was mike saying about buying one of each??

But in short i’d recomend the 24 inch I used cause I like it, so thats my view. As you see theres lots of room for different kinds of unicycles, I wanna get a giraffe someday, I think that would be good for if I ever do shows or whatever.

Have fun, thats the most important thing,


I definately agree with what Mikefule said above. I got a 20" for my birthday a couple years ago and really liked it. Then I used to ride it around this large park near my house but found getting over large bumps and up steep slopes to be quite difficult.

So I looked on unicycle.com and found a 24x3 Max Traction for off-road riding. I bought one and found it to be great around the park and quite a bit speeder than the 20". I ended up changing the cranks on it to longer ones for more torque and got into hopping up and down things more, but decided the muni was to bulky and heavy to really to do what I wanted with it.

Back to unicycle.com and this time I ordered a 20" trials uni. Great, could bounce around on things etc etc. Bust the hub. B****cks. I order a new hub and crank set for both muni and trials. Hurray! On the trials I wanted to try some more freestyle moves, but didn’t like the weight or sluggish tyre, so I bought the parts for a nice 20" freestyle uni (as the original was a birthday present, I didn’t want to change it too much and also didn’t want to break it!).

Very nice on the roads, but not fast enough! And due to the longer cranks on the muni it wasn’t very efficient. This time to municycle.com for a 29er! Got some GB4 handles and it’s a great road machine.

Now I want a 29er/muni hybrid type thing for fast cross country and medium core muni, so that’s on the list!

So upgrading is always a great option. The thing with unicycles is that you can buy one thing, like a tyre or pair of pedals relatively cheap and it makes SO much difference! And you can do it in stages which is much nicer to your wallet.

A Freudian slip?:stuck_out_tongue:

Re: On what should I start unicycling?

On Tue, 29 Jun 2004 15:15:20 -0500, “onewheeldave” wrote:

>Not true about the 20" being best to learn on.

Adults on 20" wheels learn quicker than on 24". It’s proven!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I’m the kind of guy who spreads peanut butter with a peanut butter wrench. - cyberbellum

I suggest you buy a cheep uni (no more than $150) and then upgrade, and replace it when it dies. i have a 20" norco, which seems to be the only brand Canadian stores carry. But from experience 24" uni’s are easier to free mount, I don’t now why but they are.

Re: Re: On what should I start unicycling?

From the original question -

I got the impression he wasn’t necessarily asking for the quickest to learn on- the mention of indestructablity implied that he was interested in sticking with the first purchase.

In that case a 20" would not necessarily be the best.

Mainly though, I find the old knee-jerk response of ‘you’re a beginner, therefore get a 20-er’ to be overused out of date.

I think, for most adults, a 24" is more suitable (unless they definitly want to get into trials/freestyle) and, if they’re wanting to ride outside then a 24" is far better than a 20".

The 20" is something I consider to be a bit of a speciality unicycle. As a GPU (general purpose unicycle) the 24" is king.

And, unlike most ‘jack-of all-trades’ the 24" is also the master of one- muni (in 24x3 form).

nah actually this is a real site, and a pretty good one at that. they sell qu-ax’s and other decent unis.


preferably a seat, some pedals and a nice wheel, only one mine you none of this silly two wheel buiness… tut tut

From what I have seen and experienced the Stealth Torker (Black with Miyata style seat) is likely the best unicycle to learn on. Why?

20" give you less of a height to fall from. Sitting down, you are shorther than when standing up.

It is cheaper, if only slightly than a 24".

Even tall and heavy adults can ride it without fear of breaking it, the wheelset is pretty strong.

The tire is good for learning turns. When I got my Torker the stock tire was mostly for going straight. For learning you need a better tread for turns. The Stealth Torker has a good stock tire.

Easier to find upgrade parts. 24" sucks in this department.

Less space. You can take it with you easier. You can practice in a smaller space, like a short hallway. A 24" goes significantly further per revolution.

The seat has a great handle and is adult sized. The original Torkers had small seats for kids.

But I did find it easier to learn longer distance riding on a 24", and my Torkers came with 6" cranks, the Stealth has shorter cranks.

The Stealth is around $100, and an acceptable amount to spend for a unicycle which will probably last for many years.

Other than that, I like to give the advice of finding a great place to practice: usually along a wall with a relatively flat riding surface. The surface could be dirt/grass or pavement, but harder surfaces hit back. Don’t rush it. You’ll learn more between sessions as you assimilate your practice experience. Never give up. Unicycle skills go from impossible to possible in a very short period of time. Possible might happen the next time you try.