27.5 QX Versus 26 KH Muni Review
I will partially apologize right up front for the length of this review. However, if you are looking to spend the kind of money it takes to upgrade 1.5 inches, a thorough review is very helpful.
Today was my maiden voyage of my 27.5 QX Series Muni. I rode 6.6 miles on one of my usual trails at Oak Mountain, Pelham AL. For those who know the mountain, I did Centipede and Jekyll & Hyde (black diamond). I have been riding a KH 26 muni for around 3 years now. It is stock with the 26 x 3.0 tire and the 150mm cranks and weighs in around 12 lbs. The QX series I just got has the 27.5 x 2.4 tire and 145mm cranks. It too weighs in at just over 12 lbs. Both unicycles have the dual-hole cranks. The 27.5 QX cost me less than the 26 KH did.
So here are the results: Mounting the QX was almost exactly the same. The amount of energy and effort needed to ride the QX 27.5 was almost exactly the same as the KH 26. What I could ride on the KH I could do on the QX. My logic behind that is that even though the cranks are shorter and the wheel is bigger around, the tire is smaller and lighter at the outside of the circle, so the energy needed was the same. Now, the big difference—was the speed. I could definitely tell a difference in the amount of ground I was covering. Mathematically, I am covering 4-5 inches more each revolution and with the shorter cranks, also pedaling a shorter distance. My overall time was better today with the QX.
What is different and I will have to get used to is the tire. With the narrower tire, I had to run higher air pressure. I ran in the 10-12 lb “nice and mushy” range on my KH. I had to run 15-20 lb on the QX. This will take some getting used to. With the bigger wheel, it is easier to roll over things, but with the higher pressure, the bounce/spring over obstacles is greater. I did take a couple of falls due to this change.
Now about the addition of a Shimano hydraulic brake: The jury is still out. Here are the pros and cons so far. PRO: With the extra speed and wheel size, I did notice it was harder to control speed on fast downhills. The brake, once I get used to it will be helpful (like on my QX 36er). CON: It is added weight. It means I’m not a purist anymore. I wiped out 3 times and the last one, in deep mud, meant that my brake rubbed the rest of the ride. (Now, there is a break-in period, so I may be able to align and tighten things so that doesn’t happen) Without the brake I never worried when I slung my muni in a fall, I just picked it up and kept rolling. So, for now I will keep trying it and see if I decide to keep it on there.
Overall, I made the purchase because I could justify it since my 15 year old son needed a muni and could have my KH 26. I was worried that I was spending a great deal of money for something that I might not even like or be worth the expense. It rides as easily and as well as my KH weighing in about the same. The switch was very easy. But it is faster! I really think I am going to love my new uni.
If you are considering the upgrade, let me know. I have a Quax rep here in the states who can hook you up—and for a much more reasonable price that a KH. Same quality-lower price—pretty much a no brainer. He can also get trials and 36ers for a good price. Quax, with the introduction of the QX series, has come a long way and is now very much in competition with KH.
Co-founder STOMP Muni Fest (6th year)
Co-founder Magic City Muni Club