(Relatively) inexpensive ways to increase speed?

Hi all, this is my first thread here on Unicyclist.com, so hopefully this is in the right spot to post it :o

First off, I’m still pretty much a beginner at unicycling. I can ride pretty well and my free mounts are getting more and more consistent, but now I want more speed! I’m riding a plain ol’ Torker CX 24" without any of the fancy mods I’m just now finding out about. I know the easiest way to go faster is to just get a new uni with a bigger wheel, but I’d rather not spend that much right now (Christmas isn’t that far away right? :p). Are there any other ways to go a bit faster without buying a new unicycle entirely?

:sunglasses:

Nobody answered you. That’s not very nice.

3 main ways:

Bigger wheel
shorter cranks
make feet go faster
Pump up tire harder

and of course ride more. There is little things but you will discover what works for you as you ride more.

i found that learning to ride in different ways, like seat in front or backwards or standing up, helped me go faster because my balence became much better. going fast is 20% foot speed and 80% stability. because going fast is no fun if you end up painting the pavement with your insides.

You might be surprised how fast some people can ride 24" unicycles, but you are right there are a few setup and technique changes needed.

Free changes:
First make sure your seat is high enough that you don’t feel like you are bouncing in the seat when trying to go fast. Play with the height to see what works for you. You may need a longer seatpost but wait until you read the inexpensive section first.

Hold on to the seat handle with one hand. This helps keep the unicycle frame stable, preventing wobbles and falls. It may take a little while to get used to having one less hand out for balance but it is necessary for speed on any unicycle.

Inexpensive changes:

Get shorter cranks. This is the number one way of increasing speed on a given unicycle. Your Torker has 152mm cranks. I would suggest going to 125mm. You could go shorter but be warned it takes time to learn the more advanced balance and control necessary to ride really short cranks.
These are the cranks I recommend. A bicycle shop can install them for you.

With shorter cranks you will have to raise your seat height. This is where you may need a new seatpost if yours is too short.

spin

don’t think of it as pedaling, think of it as moving your legs in circles. don’t just apply pressure to the front pedal, also lift your leg a bit when your rear pedal is coming up.

You could get even shorter cranks, but it really cuts down on ease of starting and also stopping distance, especially when you’re really moving. I have 112mm on my 28" and it’s fun.

Thanks for the answers everyone! I hadn’t ridden for a while, and went for a 2 or 3 mile ride the other day, and I was already hurtin’. I’m not quite in peddling shape anymore sadly. For anyone who has ridden a Torker CX, would recommend I get a new seat? Or just toughen up? Those are some really good suggestions though, many I wouldn’t have thought of myself. I figure I’ll work on some of those riding suggestions first. Do regular bike shops sell those unicycle cranks? Or would I have to go to one of the dealers listed on the unicycle.com website (aside from ordering it online of course)?

bike shops probably won’t have cranks that short.

the cx saddle is among one of the worst…

i’d recommend kh fusion freeride or street saddle.

Definitely get yourself a new seat. You may even want to post a thread on the Trading Post Forum to see if anyone has a KH freeride or Street. When I was learning on my Torker CX, I bought a Nimbus Gel seat; while it wasn’t my favorite seat… it was MUCH better than the CX seat. You may also want to consider better pedals. The Twisted PC pedals on UDC are pretty good for a good price and will help you stick to the pedals better than the stock CX pedals will. (Here’s a link to the Twisted PCs: http://www.unicycle.com/sale-items/odyssey-chameleon-twisted-pc-1.html)

Good luck and have fun!

Might as well buy a new unicycle with a bigger wheel. Costs about $300 for a nimbus.

That is what I was thinking, but I’m going to have to wait until Christmas before I can justify a $300 dollar purchase for myself. That is why I was looking for some of the more inexpensive ways to go faster until then. The reason I would be okay buying a seat, is eventually I might sell my 24" unicycle to one of my roommates if they ever really get into it.

Would new pedals really help that much? I haven’t had too many problems with these, but I’ve never experienced fancier ones so I may just not know what I’m missing. I also let my friends practice on mine and I would think plastic would be easier on the shins than chromoly. Am I mistaken in thinking that? Would these pedals also help them?

Lx

I had a 24" Torker LX and found that I could not ride fast enough in the evening to stay ahead of the mosquitos. (A requirement to ride in the evening in Florida). Until I bought a new 29er, I used shorter cranks on my Torker and I was able to spin them fast enough to stay ahead of the mosquitos…it didn’t take much to get that little bit of extra speed. I considered buying some 125 cranks, but decided to go with 114s since I was an experienced rider. Was glad I did and it worked well. Then I got my 29er, which I ride with 125s.

Carey

Wait for Xmas, poo on that. If you know you are going to spend the money anyway . . .

I have IRS problems and I bought my 20" and 29" by the justification of the IRS can’t put a lien on my unicycles. I guess my thinking is unicycles will get me through times of no money, better than money gets me though times of no unicycles.

I’m just sort of joking with you, since you know your own situation best (but the IRS part is true), but I will say that my 29" gets all the mileage now and the 24 and 20 mostly sit.

What pedals do you have on the uni? My torker CX came with crappy plastic pedals. Good plastic pedals will have “pins” on them for traction and while they won’t tear up the shins as much as some metal pedals, they’ll still do a number.

+1

http://www.unicycle.com/unicycle-hardware/crank-arms-parts/cotterless-cranks/united-cotterless-crank-arms.html

these’ll make a 24 really fast, but give you a lot less control : ) this is the cheapest crank you could get for it, but if it’s a torker, they’re comparable to what’s on it.

Going from 152s to 89s would be one hell of a jump. Ideally he could get a range of crank sizes and progress his way down until he finds the size he likes.

In my opinion 114 would be the size to pick if unsure. 127 is still pretty long on a 24 for the road but you would have more control than a 102 or 89mm crank. You can’t have speed if you don’t have control.

I played with a pair of 110’s on my 24" muni on the road. It was fun, not too hard to control and definitely more speed available.

Yep I’ve got the crappy plastic ones. Like I said I’ve never used anything better though so I’m not really sure of what I’m missing.

Those things are tiny!!! I would definitely prefer to make a slightly smaller jump than that if and when I do get new cranks

And esas, I’m still in college, so when we all get together for Christmas I can still ask for either help buying a unicycle or just ask outright for something depending how expensive it is. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the responses though guys!

Ride lots. Push yourself to ride on uneven ground, up hills and so on. Do short sprints and gradually do them for longer.

Practising is completely free.