Question for Schlumpf owners

I’m a chicken and don’t ride as fast as you and Roger. I’m also not as skilled or well conditioned. To me, as the wheel mass increases in proportion to its diameter, so does the stability. I have ridden 24", 29", and 36" tires all on 1.5 geared hubs. I find the 36" to be the most stable and my belief is that this is because of the massive tire. That’s why I find the Big Apple to be preferable over the lighter NanoRaptor on the 29" version, too. To expand the balance envelope I have to go to longer cranks as Ken says but I have long legs and that doesn’t affect me as much as someone with shorter legs. A crank length change for someone with short legs can dramatically change their riding style do to the variation in leg motion during pedaling strokes.

I have also ridden a 24" Schlumpf and a couple of different 29" Schlumpfs both of which have ratios slightly greater than 1.5. I have ridden Pete Perron’s jackshaft stye geared Cokers at ratios of 1.89 and 1.4. The seat height and crank length for other peoples’ unicycles are not set to my preference and an accurate determination of my sense of stability for those machines is not so dependable. Regardless, I find Pete’s 1.4 geared Coker to be the best of the bunch that I have ridden from the standpoint of stability and controlability. His jackshaft design also has no backlash.

Yes I had one for 3 months before the hub had to go back to be repaired, it then got made in to a 36" which I think I prefer.

Interesting what you said about the 29" being faster on testing. My guess is that in the long run the advantage would diminish and then eventually disappear, certainly for me. It did with me when I rode with Sam on the Manchester to Blackpool ride. It was very fast while it was totally smooth, although as soon as we had a corner or any rough ground Sam just pulled away from me. I also tired faster. Although we were going REALLY fast.


I don’t think there’s much difference between my Schlumpf 29 (150mm cranks) and my coker (110mm cranks) in terms of speed.

I’ve ridden 100 miles in a day on both.

The Coker lets you fall asleep a little more which is nice. The Schlumpf lets you ride in 29er mode for a bit if you like. This isn’t much of an advantage for long distance, because when you’re knackered riding in 29er mode just means you have to ride for longer. It’s nice for if you want to ride muni when you get there.

The Schlumpf high gear is not nice on non-smooth off road. It doesn’t like bumps at all. Obviously you’ve got the choice of low gear though.

If I had to ride 100 miles tomorrow, I’d do it on the coker, because that’s whats next to the front door at the moment. If you’d asked me last week, I’d have done it on the Schlumpf, because that was downstairs then.

Overall I’d recommend just buy a coker now, because they’re cheap compared to the Schlumpf, so you’ll have extra money to spend on wasting time riding it places.


They may have such an agreement but there’s no need to split hairs. Just keep track of what type of unicycle was used for any given record, and note which type is the absolute record-holder, and which type has its own record, at a slightly shorter distance. In other words, there’s plenty of room for records on geared and non-geared unicycles. As far as the IUF is concerned, they both fall under the category of “unlimited,” though this may be further refined as unicycles continue to evolve.

I rode Roger’s Schlumpf 36" in the Unicon marathon. I kept it in high gear for basically everything but the hills, but it did slow me down. It rode just fine for me on the dirt track that was the first and last part of the course, but a more bumpy trail would probably slow you down a lot. I was unable to keep up with the second start group in that marathon race, which I probably could have done on a regular Coker. However, I think I was actually riding faster toward the end of the race than I was at the beginning. I did minimal training on the cycle before the race, so I think with more training I could maintain a higher speed than a regular Coker (assuming similar fitness levels between riders). That’s on flat ground; hills would surely have an effect.

I had a ungeared Coker, I now have a 29" and a 36" Schlumpf. I prefer the 36" Schlumpf for my a leasure rides. For the 36" Schlumpf long cranks are good. I used 140 mm cranks and was very unhappy, I changed to 170mm and love it.
I normally ride 20 kph on flat terrain with no wind. I have long legs, so I have no problems with the long cranks. For hills, off road or heavy traffic there is allways the possibility to shift down to 1:1 gear.
I feel very uncomfortable over 25kph, but only because I am afraid of falling. For leasure rides the geared Coker ist best. I use the geared 29" mostly for travelling. It is easy to put into a train or into a plane, but it is about 2 kph slower then the 36". The 36" feels more stable and I love the Coker-feeling. I have a break and it works quite well.

Get a geared Coker and after 1000 km and you will know: it’s the best distance unicycle you can get!!!

Well, reading through the replies so far, it’s kind of shattered my dreams about what a Schlumpf was all about. The concensus seems to be that they’re not noticably faster than a Coker, and that on Real Life™ terrain, they don’t rate that well.

Well, I guess it’s good news… it’s saved me £600 :slight_smile:

Might be back to the drawing board with my high-mileage project then. But thanks for the input guys.


Typical. I was just composing my last reply as you were posting this!

That’s one vote in favour of a Schlumpf for long distance riding.


How about two unis for the space of one? :roll_eyes:

Seems to me that geared wheels are very much like the bike world. There are spinners (Lance), and there are pushers (Jan). So a gear right for you might not be right for me, even though a fixed-geared wheel in general is faster on all but hills. (And the hills issue will eventually be solved with a CVT hub of some kind.)

The queston is not what gear by itself is faster, but what gear for you. Until now, the only commercially-available gear ratio has been Florian Schlumpf’s 1.5. So either that or direct-drive. OTOH, I like that a few riders have tried my Red Menace at 1.44, and I’ve ridden it at 1.22. There is definitely a balance of power and cadence at work, which may result in an eventual consensus that ratios of 1.2 to 1.4 will be what we want in a guni. Anyone who tends to prefer a direct drive will hardly notice the difference with a 1.1 or 1.2 ratio, but the guni will definitely be faster.

So STM, the answer to your question with what’s available now may well be a 29" guni at 1.5 ratio. But as we get different ratios available to us, and more riders have access to gunis, the answer will, like all things, change.

Hmm, this talk of Schlumpf 36ers being slower on average and more tiring to ride is kind of discouraging me from building one of my own. (I have the frame and hub, but no rim as yet.) Considering these factors, what, if anything, are Schlumpf 36ers good for? Are they anything more than a specialised “somewhat speedier than a standard coker if the road conditions right” unicycle?

I had hoped that my schlumpf 36 would be a good all-round road unicycle and faster than a standard 36", but this doesn’t seem to be the case from the reports from the few people who already have schlumpf 36ers.


Look who are making the comments… It is not about general riding but all out sprint over a long time. For general riding it is great. :slight_smile:


I got to ride the Red Menace over the weekend and I rode the Schlumpf when Florian visited Seattle. I’ve also ridden Blue Shift a few times. I can’t compare them directly to each other, mostly because each had different sized wheels.

I can compare them to the standard Coker, because each had an interesting quality which works against the benefit of gearing: twitchiness.

I think the effect is caused by the change in the amount of force you have to put into the pedal to go forward, yet the force to move side-to-side remains the same. If you can steer with your feet at all, this skill is somewhat compromised.

Additionally, the more solid feel of the pedals seems to allow your body center-of-gravity to shift more easily away from the line of travel of the unicycle, so corrections require more effort.

Thinking about it, I think if you’re talking about multi-day touring style rides rather than all out fast riding, it’s a bit different to the speed thing. The Schlumpf has one big advantage, which is that you can piss around on the unicycle once you get there, whatever the terrain happens to be. That’s nice.

I think in terms of multi day rides though, a full days riding on a coker is as much effort as anyone sensible wants to do, but is within your fitness level assuming you start training soon, maybe get a coker and start riding on your commute, a coker with 150 cranks is fine on the commute you’re doing, I used to do commutes on similar roads in London.

I think you’d be happy with either to be honest. I’d possibly recommend the coker, as you can probably get those with way less of a delay than getting a Schlumpf, and you’ll need some time to get used to it.


With those cranks, that’s sort of equivalent to running a normal coker with 110 cranks right, as most fast coker riders do?

So in effect, you’re gaining the low gear compared to a coker, rather than gaining a higher gear?

I guess that’s part of what the Schlumpf 29 is about to me really too, it’s a bit like a coker, but it has a muni gear.


Do you have any pics or videos of the Red Menace?

You get 2 advantages:

On hills and offroad you have a coker with 170 mm cranks; 14% is no problem.
In big gear mode the “leverage factor” is the same as with 110 mm cranks. But the cadence is lower: less chafing, more relaxed riding.

It probably has to do with the length of the legs. For me the long cranks and the big gear are much more comfortable. Imagine a flat road with light tail winds; 20 kph and no effort at all!

I do not think, that it takes more effort and fine control to ride a guni. It takes some 100 km to get used to it. In the long run, the slack (crank play) is not noticable any more.

Enough said: I love my Uber-Coker!!


A search on “Red Menace” reveals this thread:

Minor hijack: My guni broke

…this past Wednesday.

I use it to commute, averaging about 35 miles a week, much of it in low gear. I was arriving at a stop and was attempting to shift into low gear while riding up a slight incline, as I have done many times before. Suddenly I heard a click or crack, as of a piece of metal snapping. Since I was disembarking, I didn’t fall, but right away I noticed that the wheel would NOT rotate! It got stuck at a particular point, both in high AND low gear. So yes, it could shift bw gears, but no, it could not rotate past a certain point.

It’s on its way back to Florian. I’ll post more info when I have it. Lucky me: I was the first to have a #2 hub break, according to Florian. I think I was also the first person to have the #1 hub slip out of gear.

Still, he makes wonderful unicycles, and I can’t wait till I get this one back!

I wish my cycle computer cord hadn’t broken; otherwise I’d have had a better idea. The 2nd hub arrived less than a year ago. It had problems with sticking in high gear (ie, I couldn’t downshift under normal circs), but lubricating oil (sent by Florian) fixed that. In all I guess I’d ridden about 500 miles on it. That’s nothing like the thousands of miles I put on my Cokers. I must say that while I don’t ride ‘hard’ (like going down big drops), I do ride almost everyday, and I switch gears frequently. I just wish I’d had on my wrist-guards, bc ya neva know. Still, I trust Schlumpf’s hubs.

umm, no, I currently have no coker, but I have a schlumpf. My next coker will probably be a schlumpf.