Persistant Wheel Memory (PWM)

Does everyone else notice how weird it feels to switch to a different wheel size after you’ve been riding a smaller or larger one for awhile? Even stranger, I find that the effect lingers for several days even if I don’t ride in between…for example if I spend some time on a 24" and then not ride for a week, if I get back on a 24 it will feel fine but if I get on any different size it will feel strange.

I’ve noticed this on different sized bicycles too, but nothing like the effect on a unicycle. It makes the first mount a little challenging.

I’ve been calling it Persistent Wheel Memory (PWM) :slight_smile:

I’ve experienced no problems with this so far. But, what feel realls scary is to change from our giraffe with 170mm cranks to my freestyle with 100ers.

Yep, I had this problem when switching to my 29er. Switching up was not as difficult as switching down. First time I tried to mount my 24" again and I face planted. PWM strikes again :roll_eyes:

I had the exact same thing when I got my 36er. I rode around on it the day I got it, then the next day I went to set off to work on my 26er and went straight over the front. I thought it was broken somehow :roll_eyes:
Also, I went up from 125’s on my 36, to 150’s on my 26.

I briefly had that when I got my 36er but it was gone with just a little more practice.

PWM convinces me it is a good idea to constantly experiment with wheel-size, crank-length, seat-post-height and tire-pressure. All these factors change the experience of riding for me. I am too much of a beginner to assume that a particular configuration of one or all these factors…is right for me. Not to mention there are different styles of riding and riding conditions. Experimenting in the above fashion has often resulted in a strained, awkward riding experience. But, I think it has helped my technique. I still soil myself, however, thinking about riding on a 36".

Guess what happens after riding 4x 30 minutes on a eccentric wheel…

One way to ‘cure’ yourself of PWM is to ride a Schlumph geared unicycle!
It’s initially exceptionally weird (and hard) riding, say, a 26" wheel in high gear making it feel like a 39" wheel.

So much so that it’s like learning to ride all over again.

However, after a few weeks of riding, and switching between gears, you become much better at adapting quickly to different rates of pedal cadence for wheel revolutions and speed of travel.

The ultimate buzz is being able to change gear whilst riding (ie not stopping to change gear)!!

After this experience, I found that I could free-mount 36" wheels with little difficulty as well as ride 24" wheels with no PWM issues.

So, I guess the moral of the story is to try lots of different wheel sizes over a few weeks, and you’ll adapt to them all quickly.

It’s really not nice to mention this topic without posting video. I looked everywhere and only found this- a short, grainy video of a uni that is only mildly eccentric.

Never heard it called Persistant Wheel Memory, but I guess that fits. The effects will be lessened the more switching around you do. Try going from a 45" big wheel to a 20" Freestyle and doing hard tricks – that still requires some transition time for me.

You throw up?
Get seasick?
Get land-sick after stopping?
A sore neck?

Those are my guesses. :slight_smile:

The more switching between sizes you do, the less it affects you. I have no problems going from my 20" to my 24" and back, but going from a weekend where I rode only my 20" to trying to freemount my 36" Monday evening… Yeah, that was a frustrating experience :wink: