One unicycle for Unicon track, road, and muni

I’m planning to go to Unicon 21 next year.

I want to attend as many events as possible, though I’ve only learned and ridden for two years and think I’m still a beginner. So, I would like to ride track races, road races, and muni races.

To make travel easier, I think I might go with only a 24" Nimbus II, though my 27.5" M41 WRC is definitely more suitable for muni. What is the best all-around 24" tire that can fit the standard track race regulation? Besides, If I’m going to bring an additional tire, what is the best muni tire that can fit in the Nimbus II 24" frame? Actually, I haven’t ridden 24" off-road. I have a Holly Roller 24", but I’m not sure if it’s good for muni, and it seems a bit too large for track races.

BTW, I don’t have many muni experiences. Should I attend all muni beginner races, including cross country, downhill, and cyclocross?

I am facing a similar choice as to which unicycle(s) to take to Unicon for lots of events (just bought my flights last night!).

But using one unicycle for track, road and muni is a tall order… At best it would be a compromise, i.e. that it is possible to do all the various events. On the one hand, with a normal road tire the 24" Nimbus II should be very good for track and the road 10k standard (also max 24"/125mm crank length same as track).

But for the “Free Distance Road Race” and the road criterion, the 24" will be very less than ideal, as you will be very slow. And for muni I’m not sure, but I don’t think you’ll be able to fit a knobby tire of more than 2.1" width if at all as that frame is pretty narrow, so might be hard to find an offroad tire at all (I have never ridden a <2.1" tire for muni as back when I rode 24" I had the Duro 3" tire and now ride a 29" muni with a 2.6" tire for XC and 3.0" for DH). (Although my freewheel is 27.5"x2.6 but not bringing that one).

As to muni beginner races, I would say yes, do all of them (there are actually 4, as you forgot uphill). Assuming you can free mount, then cyclocross would be the least intimidating (lap course so no problem if you only do 2 or 3 laps) and by the nature of it you have to dismount for most of the obstacles. Then cross country if you have a bit of fitness. Then uphill if you have some leg strength (If you find a knobby tire, the 24" would actually probably be very good for beginner uphill). And then beginner downhill: usually the organizers do a good job of making the beginner downhill not too difficult/scary but of course that is all relative and hard for me to judge as I ride a lot of muni and DH/XC is my main emphasis. That said I think if it’s just about doing it, then the 24" Nimbus II should probably work for XC, uphill and cyclocross and possibly DH if you’re relatively light weight, say under 180lbs/80kg (at the French nationals last month I am sure I saw at least 2 teenage boys riding 20" freestyle unicycles on the downhill course and I saw them again at the finish so I guess more is possible than one would think).

As for me, I am doing muni, trial, road, track, freestyle, hockey and basketball, and I am attempting to make do with 2 unicycles (and maybe borrowing) as I have to fly transatlantic and then on to Costa Rica for my family vacation so want to minimize luggage:

  • my 20" freestyle for freestyle, hockey, basketball and track (less than ideal for track but I’m not so strong in track anyway)
  • my 29" muni with 2 offroad tires for DH/XC/cyclocross/uphill and (maybe I can fit a narrow tire on my fat rim) for “Free Distance Road Race” and the road criterion (or just deal with being slow in road unlimited with a 29" knobby with 110 cranks – I have the Q-Axle in my DH wheel so there are no 90 or 100mm cranks available without taking another wheel – ah, imagining that and being so slow is almost painful – I rode 36" with 100mm cranks in Unicon and French nationals last month)
  • and then either bring my trial as a 3rd unicycle or maybe borrow or buy a used trial.

If anyone driving could bring an extra trial unicycle that I could borrow/rent for trails (and maybe speed trails) that would be awesome (I’m 6’1"/185cm and 72kg/160lbs or I could bring my own seatpost with seat).

My muni has a wide 55mm rim, so I’m not sure if it’s even possible to find a road tire that will work at all, much less be under the 29" standard size. I could just ride with my XC tire with like 100mm cranks in unlimited for all the road events but would of course be pretty slow…

For road I should/could bring my Schlumpf wheel and put it in my muni but the problem is that my Schlumpf is built into a wide 55mm rim with an offroad tire and I’d rather not rebuild the wheel… plus then I’d have two 29" wheels which I would never be able to fit into one piece of checked luggage (I’m hoping that the 29 and freestyle could fit in one checked bag if I otherwise take very very little). (Last summer for the family trip I got a 27.5 muni and three 24" munis into 3 checked bags: 4 munis and lots of stuff into 3 bags).

For Unicon in Grenoble I flew but my unicycles got transported by car by friends and I had 4: 36" for road unlimited, 29" muni, trial and 20" freestyle for hockey/basketball and then borrowed a 24" muni for uphill and a 24" track unicycle.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It seems your choice is far more complicated.

My Nimbus II 24" can actually fit 242.4 Holy Roller, but I feel the rim is a bit too narrow to ride at low pressure. Except for not having a brake for downhill on my 24", I’m afraid a narrower knobby tire would be more difficult for a beginner like me to ride off-road. I’m still unsure about that because I’ve only ridden off-road with 27.53 at relatively low pressure. I didn’t mention uphill because the system has no beginner option for it. Maybe I should just go for it and see how much I can ride.

Another reason I’m hesitant to bring the 27.5" is that it’s more difficult to pack. I found that the 24" rim is the largest size that can fit in a regular large suitcase. Anything larger would need a bike box or other specific bag to transport.

It’s also my family trip, so I also want to minimize our luggage. My wife won’t compete because she can only ride a 20" a little bit, so I might not bring her unicycle. But I still have to bring a 20" for my 6-year-old son. I hope to pack everything, including unicycles, protection gear, and other stuff, in 2 checked luggage bags.

One unicycle for track, road and muni will be extremely hard. Of course you can use the 24" as it can be fit into all regulations, but what I’d do is:

  • Bring the 27.5" with two tires for road and muni
  • Borrow a track unicycle

It should be fairly easy to find someone in a different category to share a uni with for track racing. Since there is only one track, there is typically a lot of time between races for participants.
My thinking is that the 27.5" would be good for Muni and at least okay for (29") standard category road racing with the right tires and cranks.

Final note would be that personally, I’d recommend picking and choosing events selectively. At least for me, I’ve encountered feelings of: “I wish I could watch [insert interesting event to watch here], but I have to wait around for my 100m race” much more often than: “I really regret not signing up for this track race”.
I’m not recommending against trying a bit of everything, because unicon is the best opportunity you’ll get to do that, but if in doubt, I’d pick just a few events of each category instead of signing up for everything that you are capable off. If track racing is across multiple days, I’d pick and choose just events that are on one day for example.

(I should probably add the disclaimer that I’ve found track racing to be rather boring, so I might be a bit biased…)

2 Likes

Thanks for sharing.
I do think 27.5" will make me more comfortable to ride muni. If I choose to bring it, then I have to figure out the packing. It definitely couldn’t fit in a regular suitcase, but I don’t want to bring a large bike travel case. So I’ll need to pack it with a box and might also need wheels to make transportation easier.

This is my first time, so everything is new to me. Thus, I wanted to attend as many events as possible but didn’t consider the schedule. You are right. Missing to watch some events might be a great pity. I’ll check more before making a final decision.

BTW, I just found the muni location is so far from the main site. It takes 2.5 hours to drive there. So it may take more than 5 hours back and forth. That’s really exhausting. And if all my family want to go together it will cost quite some additionally. It’s mentioned on the website that there will be a Bus and lift ticket available for $45 and $39 on practice day. Not sure if it’s the same on competition day?

I agree with Finn that the 27.5" would probably be the better choice. As to the luggage: I wanted to take some pictures but I had freestyle training and then it snowed tonight… but with the right shape bag you can definitely fit a 27.5" in a normal non-oversize bag. I bought a bag with good dimensions a few years ago and have made at least 6 flights with the 29x3" tire and then last summer 2 more transatlantic flights with the 27.5". The bag is taller than the typical bag and if I remember correctly the 27.5" fits easily standing straight up. Of course, you have to remove the pedals and the seatpost and I deflate the tire (but leave it on to protect the rim). For my 29" I have to position the rim a little diagonally, but it fits well. Then pack with a little foam but mostly protectors and clothes for cushioning.

Maybe thinking about bringing both the 24 and the 27.5 as well as the 20: depending on how much luggage you have, the 24 and the 20 will probably fit together in one bag and the 27.5 in the other, but then you won’t have much room (or weight allowance) left for other stuff. But 3 checked bags for 3 people shouldn’t be too much (the 2nd bag usually costs more than the first).

And just for a different opinion: I do basically the exact opposite of Finn and register for almost everything. For Unicon Grenoble I was registered for almost everything except freestyle and then ended up skipping trials and the jumping events for 3 reasons: 1) mostly because of my injured knee but also 2) because after about the first 8 days of constant hard activity I needed a rest and 3) I needed a free slot to pre-ride the XC course. And I missed the “free distance” road event at the end not but choice, but because our family vacation started the day of the race. I would have loved to have done that too.

For this Unicon I am currently registered for virtually everything, as I am also doing freestyle. I am not registered for flat or x-style and only one of the jumping events. I personally like trying everything. My only advice would be: keep in mind that if you’re there for the whole 2 weeks, then you will need at least one “light” recovery day, as 13 days of solid competition is too much (I need to figure out my off/recovery day but it looks like the 29th or 21st might work).
At the French nationals, which was like a mini-Unicon in 8 days in October 2023, I also did everything (most of German friends did not do uni basketball, so they all had a day off). I ended up skipping the Marathon not because I needed a break but because I really needed to pre-ride the XC course (it was the right choice because I didn’t get another chance to ride the course).

2 Likes

[quote=“Syoten, post:5, topic:280872”]
BTW, I just found the muni location is so far from the main site. It takes 2.5 hours to drive there. So it may take more than 5 hours back and forth. That’s really exhausting. And if all my family want to go together it will cost quite some additionally. It’s mentioned on the website that there will be a Bus and lift ticket available for $45 and $39 on practice day. Not sure if it’s the same on competition day?[/quote]
I need to look again, but if I remember correctly, the Advanced/Expert XC and DH are 2.5 hours away, but the beginner XC/DH is on a different day and not so far away. On that note you also might be able to borrow a muni from someone if they are on different days.

If it fits, the 2.4 Holy Roller should be good. I haven’t looked at the info, but in general as a beginner I would plan on using a small wheel (24") with long cranks >145mm. I would say give it a try with the 24".

Thanks for all the input. Now I’m considering finding a box like 65cm65cm28cm and putting 24" and 27.5" wheels in it. Maybe one frame/saddle/seatpost could also fit in it. Then another frame/saddle/seatpost, 20", and other gear are in a suitcase. Besides, I found a removable wheelset that seems convenient to transform a box into a trolly.
Qbicle Eco Trolley

As for the events, I still have a lot of time to check the schedule and see what I’ll eventually attend.