Question from a beginner-ish

Hey guys, I’ve been riding a 20 inch Torker for about 18 months and can ride smoothly an ddo a little jumping. Next year I am going to a very urban college campus and would like to commute on a uni.

I was wondering how hard the bigger wheel sizes were to learn and which would be recommended, and why (if you don’t mind :slight_smile: ).

Thanks mucho!

With long enough cranks, any wheel size is easy to learn. It’s easy to move to shorter cranks (and thus, higher speed at the cost of control) when you’re used to how a larger wheel handles.

For a campus, a 29er would likely be your best bet if you don’t have to travel over a few miles. A 36er would probably take up too much space, as fantastic as they are.

I started on a 24" with 150 cranks and then I broke it. I got a 26" Muni with 3" tire and 165 cranks. The Muni didn’t seem like that much of a difference over the 24. Then I got a Nigtrider Pro… Wow! I got dual 125/150 cranks on that and on the flats use the 125’s a lot, but down town and on rough ground, the 150mm cranks are sweeter. I had to learn to do a rolling mount after clinging to things getting onto it and it’s much higher up… but you need to really torque the wheel to get going, but once you are, it’s awesome! get used to speed and getting better response times or UPD’s! I then got a 29" Which had a sleeker and faster tire than the 26er, and was only slightly taller than the muni, but with the 150 cranks was so much faster than the muni and more nimble than the 36er. I just put the 150/125 on the Muni and I’m pretty happy roll back mounting and idling the muni like never before.

Everyone says start on a 20 or 24. I did. I got the Muni so it wouldn’t brake, but all of the quality uni’s I got since the cheap one will prove to last not because they are overbuilt, but just built right.

The 29er is a great all around rig because it’s great at rippin singletrack xc riding, and you can still get speed on the street, but get around people and beat sidewalks better than the 36er. it’s just good all around.

My Muni has a huge tire on it, but since it’s a 26" I can use all my choices of mountain bike tires, Studded, slick snakeskin, mud, hardpack XC, and ride it as a cruiser or offroad and winter steed. It’s burly enough for the roughest terrain in my area, though I am novice.

The 36er is what I use for flying somewhere or longer rides I like to ride bike paths with them or riding along seashores and lakes. I have been commuting with it and people respond to its hugeness. It gets the respect that the smaller wheels don’t get. (no circus music so far…)

If you’ve mastered a 20, the 24 or 26 shouldn’t be very much of a leap. the 29er would be a slight learning curve over the 20, whereas the 36er would be harder, and harder to fit wherever you go.

high speed and dirt but compact 29.
Speed and distance 36
speed and dirt 24, 26
urban tricks and speed 24
urban tricks 20

you said you were on an “urban” campus… that’s a 24" trials or Muni. If you wanted just trials and not commuting you would get a 20" trials rig.

If you already know how to ride, there’s almost nothing to learn; just getting used to the feel of a bigger wheel. If you’re trying to get somewhere, you’re going to like it.

As for which, there are millions (okay, hundreds) of threads on that topic; even a bad search should find you some examples. Mostly it’s a matter of choosing wheel size. For best speed, go 36". But that takes up a lot of room so may not be most convenient for college living. Next size down is 29"; much more convenient but a little slower. Fits in more places. If you want to mix some tricks and other playing around in with your riding, go 26" and if you want a real mix of riding plus tricks, get a 24".