Opening my mind to muni

My brother and I first learned to unicycle in the late 70’s on a 24" Swinn. We didn’t know anyone who unicycled and had never ever seen anyone unicycle in real life except for ourselves. Though we had a lot of fun learning, it was all trial and error. We never learned to ride backwards or do any tricks or spins. Trying such things just never entered our mind. But we had a blast riding forward and making various types of turns. Just being able to travel long distances seemed to be enough then.

Then somehow life got in the way and we forgot all about unicycling. Teleport a quarter of a century to the present. (Does that age me or what?!) I bought a unicycle 2 weeks ago. It’s nothing special just a 24" no name brand from our local bike shop. I knew it wasn’t the best buy but bought it anyway while I still had the courage to try again.

Amazingly … I mean really surprisingly I can ride. I had no idea that I could still do it. More than that, I’d forgotten how much I loved unicycling. Not just the challenge of it, but the clear head that it brings to me as I manage to shut everything out and just ride. Listening, seeing, and feeling … reacting to the stimulus of everything around me without even thinking about it. I can’t believe I could have forgotten this!

I’ve never been on anything but a regular 24" so I don’t know about the possibilities of something smaller or larger. But of course everyday I think about what to upgrade to… a better 24" for transportion, a nice 20" to try some freestyle, or a 20" or 24" muni… to give that a try. The more I see off road videos (um… not the extreme ones :astonished: )… but off road riding that I think I could handle… the more I wonder if I should buy a muni.

This morning while watching this video I wanted to jump into the screen and ride on that road with that uni! I think that a large muni would be more versatile. I could ride it on and off road… Certainly a lot better than the thin wheel I have now.

Could someone please describe the unicycle in this video to me. I mean how big would you say the wheel is? 29" ? or bigger?

If the internet and existed in the late 70’s I think I never would have put my first uni away. This site is great!

Hey, so you caught the Uni bug again eh?

It sure is alot of fun. Muni is also alot of fun. I use both 24 and 26" for Muni, that uni in the video is a 36". Its good for trails like in that video, but usually people use 24" and 26" tires just because you can ride more technical roupher trails with a smaller tire. There is some people who do use 36" wheels for rouph Muni though.

A wider tire is also something most, if not all people have for muni. Atleast a 2.5" wide tire. Most are 3" though. So if your not going to ride very technical trails then a you could use any wheel size from 24" to 36". If you are into trails like in that video, and want the best of both worlds, go for a 29" muni.

P.S. Welcome to the forums!

Welcome, The Uni in the video is a 36er like this one
For Muni/trail riding etc I would never give up my KH29

There is some cheaper ones. Here is a 26" muni.

here’s a 29"

These are on the cheaper end for uni’s that you can take on the trail.

This page has 36" unicycles like in the video.

That KH 29 …WOW

as my son might say “sweet!” :smiley:

I’d probably be better off with the cheaper models you showed me, Musketman, so I wouldn’t be anxious about scatching it up.

The 26 Nimbus looks really good. I think a 26 might be the best choice for me at least until I get more experience. I’m going to get lots of practice in on this Taiwanese model of mine… then I can justify the purchase of another. I’ll need two anyway as I will probably have to teach someone around here so I can some company.

A 36 on rough trails? Whew… I guess somebody’s gotta do it. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the welcome.

It only takes a little practice to go from being able to ride on paved roads, to being able to ride on bumpy dirt roads. And from there, it’s not hard to move up to full-on MUni.

A 29" unicycle would be the easiest for you to move up to. 29ers are quick and smooth compared to what you’re used to, and it should only take a few minutes of practice to be able to freemount and ride one (assuming you can freemount your 24" now). I use mine both on and off-road, and it’s a lot of fun.

Some swear by the 36" (“Coker”) wheel size. Cokers are impressive to watch and to ride, and have great roll-over ability. Getting on a Coker would be a little more of an adjustment for you, but it still wouldn’t take more than a couple of rides to get the basics down.

The 29" is a little more versatile, being better in crowded situations and easier to pack or stick in your trunk.

It’s all great fun!

Hey Unibugg - where in FL are you. My family visits the Sarasota area where my folks live. Maybe we could ride together!

Well you’ve hit the nail on the head. Assuming I can freemount… that is a “sore spot” literally.

At the risk of boring you I’ll tell you what I mean.

The first day I got on it. I didn’t think I could still ride, but was ecstatic to find out I could. So I got in about an hour of practice before the sun went down. The next morning I woke up and practically flew outside …

I bit off too much at once… and had 2 nasty falls. One was from freemounting like I had as a kid… letting the wheel roll back. I don’t know what hit what but I ended up on the ground with a bent wrist, torn pants, and lovely bruise on my shin. The other was trying to do a circle a little too fast… I was picking gravel out of my hand with tweezers shortly after that.

I don’t ever remember falling all the way down as a kid. I do remember landing on my feet and being able to catch the Uni too… This roll back … no matter how much I try I can’t get it right. So… I’ve given it up for now and am trying the static mount I learned on this site… I can get it about 1 out of 4 times with no problem.

I could get it 3 out of 4 if I lowered the seat… but it is no fun to ride with my knees in my face and it’s not really a hop up anyway with the seat that low…

So as you see… I have plenty of practicing to do before I upgrade to a larger wheel. And I can tell you I look forward to it cause if I don’t kill myself trying to freemount by rolling back, I’ll kill myself on this horrible seat … that has a bolt sticking out of it into my thigh! Bicycle pants… I’d be raw without them. :angry:

That would be great, Steve… but unfortunately Sarasota is far from here. I am in Jacksonville. I hear south Florida has lots of unicyclists… New York too. I envy you!

While riding today a sweet lady smiled as she passed with her little dog and said, “Now all you need is a friend to ride with.”

She wasn’t kidding. :frowning:

I would also suggest a 29" uni. Either the one musketman suggested or the new torker AX 29. I havn’t actually ridden either, but they both seem like solid unis for what you are doing.

I assume you aren’t interested in jumping off large rocks and such, in which case you would want a stronger wheel. But it sounds like you want to do XC MUni on dirt trails, which is what the two suggested unis are good for.

You may want to invest in another tire if you go for the torker, I’m not sure what the one it has is like and I don’t know how big a tire the frame will accept, but look into it. I hope this is helpfull to you, glad you’re back into it!

I’d suggest if you’re not 100% on freemounting yet, your best bet for now is to just get a knobbly tyre for your current uni rather than going straight on for the 29er. I’ve taken non-freemounters muni riding, it’s cool as long as you go somewhere with trees for them to mount on. As long as you can ride at all, you can try muni.

You might not be able to fit a big fat tyre on it, but you will probably be able to fit a 24x2.1" tyre or so on it, you basically want a 24" bmx tyre, a kids mountain bike tye, or a 24" downhill mountain bike tyre if it will fit (unlikely).

Once you’ve ridden trails a bit, you might have more of an idea of whether you want a 24" muni, or a 26/29" muni. 26"/29" are faster, but a bit more of a handful to ride, you can ride pretty technical trails on a 29", but it requires a whole lot more skill. Personally I love my 26, more than my 29, have ridden hundreds of miles of trails on both, and I prefer the fatter tyre on the 26 to the narrower tyre on the 29, and I reckon there’s very little in it speed wise between the two, particularly if you’re doing interesting riding, or riding up hills.


The Torker AX29 on says it comes with the WTB ExiWolf - link.

That’s one of the beefiest 29 tires available. That uni sounds like a great deal - and it’ s unbelievably light at 12 lbs. Unless you’re going to be getting big air, that would be the perfect choice when you upgrade.

Also, 1 out of 4 freemounts will quickly become 1 out of 2, then 3 out of 4. I practiced by trying 3 or 4 times. If I got a successful mount, I’d reward myself with a quick ride, then come back and try more. If I didn’t freemount, I’d let myself mount against the car and take a spin around the block to avoid frustration.

uh… no. not at this time. I can’t even imagine it. Though I am impressed with the skills I’ve seen in some videos.

This really sounds like a good idea especially if there were others around me who unicycled. But if I plan to use this uni as a spare to coax someone else into learning I think I should invest in a comfortable seat for it and leave it at that. Then I can spend money on an upgrade for me.

Looking for trees and such to mount on… So frustrating. It is because of my failure to freemount that

a) I am limited in where I can ride…
b) I sometimes ride longer than I want to because I don’t see a convenient spot that could be used as a support once my break is over.
c) I don’t stop to investigate things that interest me. Like the armadillo on the side of the road yesterday. Or the black racer that I almost ran over as it slithered across the path today.

Not fun.

This is good advice. I’ve been so frustrated lately that I am wearing myself out over it. One thing that I decided to do today was that if I opt for an assisted mount it would be as close to the static as possible. No cheating by readjusting myself in the seat or leaning too much on the support. I think I’ve picked up some bad habits these past two weeks.

I’ve read some great advice today about upgrading. I think the 20" and 24" is out. As I continue to practice and improve with what I have I’ll keep the 26" and 29" inch in mind.

I am so thankful for all of this help.

which one…

I’m looking at the AX 29 and the Nimbus 29…

Is one much stronger than the other… (not that I need a strong uni). The AX 29 is aluminum and the Nimbus is steel… or is that only the seat post…

The Nimbus has a quick realease handle… are they referring to the clamp that adjusts the seat height? If so… I think I’ve had enough of that. The Uni I have now has such a clamp and though I thought it would be a good thing, it turns out to be a pain. Sometimes the seat just comes loose (usually right after someone else has adjusted it back after giving it a go…)

I can’t figure out what is wrong when I am riding then figure that the seat is twisted sometimes a little… sometimes more… :thinking:

personnally i would get the AX, aluminum frame, cheaper and has a double bolted seatclamp. The only thing that the nimbus has up on it is the UDC hub. The ax doesnt say what kind of hub it has. The hardened UDC hub is supposedly pretty damn strong for a square tapered hub
edit: the AX also has 48 spokes

When I was teaching my kids to mount, I had them use a 2x4 block to prevent the wheel from rolling back when they hopped on. They quickly were able to do that successfully almost every time. Then, when we’d go out for muni rides, they could just find rocks or sticks or other objects to stick behind the wheel to mount. It’s worth a try, and may take care of some of the limits you’re facing now. Oh, and my kids quickly got to the pretty much 100% mounting ability, so I’m sure you’ll be proficient very soon.

Oh, and BTW, your story is much like mine–only the renewed interest happened for me about 10 years ago. I, too, was able to ride immediately upon buying my first uni in 20 years. Mounting came back pretty quickly, too. Good luck to you!

Thanks, this is really good advice. I tried it but still couldn’t keep pressure off the pedal. I actually rolled over a 2x4! I just couldn’t imagine being able to put one foot on the pedal without putting weight on it. Using a curb that couldn’t be rolled over helped me tremendously. I also watched the tutorial for the static mount in the gallery.

My initial reaction of course was, “uh, ya right… the wheel he is using is so small. I can do THAT!”… then I watched the second part where he demonstates how to practice by leaning on a tree with one foot off the pedal. That made the difference. I practiced by holding a sign post next to a slope in the sidewalk. Going back and forth, back and forth with both feet then just one. It really helped. And I am getting better.

That is great! I am so happy to know that there are others in the same boat. (or who were in it :wink: ) Then I guess you understand about how it feels to take it up again after so many years. I’m not really learning from the beginning… but in many ways everything is new and so different.

If the 2X4 isn’t enough, try a curb. When you master that, go back to the 2X4, and then a 1" board. You could also try lowering your seat so it’s like an inch lower than your ideal height. For me part of feeling comfortable w/ a low seat is being used to it. This might raise your freemount success rate to 50% and do like steveo suggested and get 2 successful mounts before going anywhere, then three,… then five.

An inexpensive up grade is longish cranks. Steel cotterless cranks are cheep, like $12 and aluminum like $20. Longer cranks are slower but give you more control at low speeds. I’ve found longer cranks have made learning some skills easier like doing, technical muni (for me:)), tight circles, freemounting, learning to ride backwards, iddling, hopping, taking a foot off the pedal for learning to ride w/ one foot, and riding off curbs and stairs. This is partly because it’s just easier but also lower to the ground lowering the fear factor. Riding seat in front (SIF) is a bit harder though. For me 170mm cranks are the easiest for everything but SIF, riding w/ one foot. For these I like 152mm.

You may want to consider getting a 20" freestyle or trials for the same reason.

If you watch the coker standard mount in here - you can see I really jump up onto the coker. Because of the big wheel, the movement is exaggerated and it’s a big old jump, but unweighting is much easier if you’re going up on the other foot with some energy.

When people say “don’t put any weight on the back pedal” it often isn’t clear how to do this. The key thing is to push up off your back foot. I’ve taught a couple of people to mount by first getting them to stand in mounting position, one foot on the pedal, then take a step/jump just over the unicycle with their other foot. Once you can do that without bunging all your weight onto the other pedal, you’ve got the whole not putting weight on the pedal thing.


I’ve tried twice on different days to watch this video and the other coker videos you put up but they won’t open. Other videos in the gallery are fine though.

It took me a long time to work this out. I know that part of it is skill, part of it is knowledge, but most of it is fear.

I’ve grown fearful of falling . When did I become this fearful grownup?

Today’s mounts were better.