Return of the Bacon Slicer

Long-term forum-ites may remember back in the day when I used to write up many of my rides on my varied fleet of unicycles.

One such uni was the Bacon Slicer, so called because it has a custom made wheel with a deep rim and a very narrow tyre. Mainly I rode it on a 700c x 23 mm tyre pumped to about 120 psi, but for a while I even took it down to a 20 mm section tyre.

The result was a very lightweight wheel with virtually no “squidge” in the tyre and very little momentum. If a 29 is a broadsword that hacks its way down the trail, the Bacon Slicer was a rapier, fencing the trail, seeking the neatest route between obstacles.

Since I moved out to Lincolnshire, most of my riding has been either on the 36 or the 29. However, recently I had a yen to get the Bacon Slicer out again.

Experience on the local rutted bridle paths had shown that the 23mm tyre was just unpleasant to ride for any distance, and was very vulnerable to punctures.

I therefore invested in a 700c x 35 mm Schwalbe Marathon tyre. It has more puncture resistance, a bit more grip, and as it is a tiny bit fatter I can run it at medium pressure - around 60 psi.

This gives me a uni that is lighter and more demanding to ride than the 29, but less of a handful than the original Bacon Slicer with its skinny road tyre.

Yesterday was the first day out on it and I enjoyed it so much that I went for two separate cross country rides!

I am no longer a committed short-crank rider. The original Bacon Slicer had at various times cranks from 89 mm to 125mm and was mainly ridden on 114s. For now, I’ve put some very light 125s on it and I found myself able to ride a lot of stuff that would be challenging on the heavier 29.

On routes where I would normally be confident to manage either a clean run (no UPDs) or at worst the occasional “step off”, I had two or three spectacular running dismounts, and two where I had to roll to dissipate my momentum. This is more like unicycling as it used to be.:slight_smile:

I got mine at a shade over 3kg…it could be much lighter but I like having broader tyres and pedals for performance over weight.

Have you tried using a 700x28c? Its almost as light as a 700x23c without feeling like you’re riding a touring tyre, but with a bit extra rubber to compensate having only one wheel. With short cranks, its also as fast as a 36". I hardly ever ride my 36"anymore…the 700c doesn’t tire you out because it’s so light it glides. Much more fun.

This is more or less my setup (without brakes, broader pedals and shorter cranks). I’m waiting for Triton to make me a narrower frame:


700c uni’s look great, probably going to be the next uni I get (Whether or not I’ll just use my existing 29er and buy a second wheel/crankset for it remains to be seen).

How was your ‘bacon slicer’ (Love the name) On-road? I’m currently debating a few options for a ‘commuter’ road-only uni, and 700c skinny is up there on my list. Given that the setup is so light, do you need to run super-short cranks on it to allow yourself to not spin-out? How easy are they do idle, especially with short cranks? :smiley:

Right on, I loved reading all your right-ups though I rarely commented on them. I sort of miss my skinny tired unicycles. I recently resurrected my 700X (32") wheel by re-building it around a schlumpf and throwing the modified Racing Ralph on it. It feels great geared up but I miss the light weight precision of the skinny tire.

Oh and Piece Maker, if you want to try it out I would get a second hub and find a junk road bike, hopefully you can re-use the spokes from the front wheel and build up your own bacon slicer style uni. You will probably want shorter cranks than you ride now but I would start with what you have. I ended up liking 114s on mine and if I did it again I might go a bit shorter.

That was essentially my plan - use my current 29er frame/seatpost/saddle, and build a new wheel that I can easily swap out my proper 29er wheel for. 114’s sound really short, but I guess if the wheel really is that light I’m going to need it to feel under control at all :smiley: I lose control fairly quickly with my 29er and 137 cranks if I pedal it up to speed, I’d imagine that effect is magnified a lot with small light wheels.

Stripping the rim/spokes off a beater road bike sounds like a good plan, specially as there’s probably a few 700c wheels lying around my house already (Dad runs a ‘from home’ bike repairs and never throws his junk away) So all I’d really need to buy is a hub and cranks (As well as maybe a tyre!) :smiley:

This is all just thinking out-loud, as I have a few plans on what to do with my next wage, and I don’t really have the space to build up a proper collection :smiley:

“much lighter”? That’s already close to just a scant 7 pounds! I can’t fathom how a 29" uni - with the lightest frame, saddle, seatpost and clamp, hub, spokes, rim, tire, etc., can weigh so little. Amazing! My 24" with alum frame, cf saddle, titanium hub and super light single skin, skinny rim, ultra light pedals and super light tire still weighed in at 8lbs, and I thought that was light!

Okay, maybe a little bit more than 3kg. My current 700c set-up is 3.336kg, but I want to make a lighter, narrower frame…just waiting for Triton to get some equipment to bend their Ti tubes I think.

I have lighter pedals, tyre and tube, but the unicycle needed to perform as well. The nice thing about this setup is that it rides like a regular uni- with the smaller pedals my feet never felt secure. With these other bits the unicycle weights almost exactly 3kg, and with a lighter frame it would come in well under 3kg.



If unicycles used bicycle technology, it should be closer to 2kg.

The frame could lighter if designed specifically for road use (eg a carbon road fork should be under 500g), and carbon cranks and carbon seatpost…could easily drop a kg.

The NNC saddle is quite light, but was built stiff in order to take a handlebar. If you don’t ride one, then there is no need for this amount of stiffness. The Mavic Open Pros are excellent, but it’s still a 36 Hole rim. Road bikes run on 2/3 that number of spokes.

Plenty of ways to get the weight down.

On Sunday I did the toughest cross country ride I’ve done for about 4 years on it. Came back muddied up to the eye balls. I was amazed by what I could achieve on it. The limiting factor was traction. I had a dozen UPDs and had to roll out of a couple of them. It was the most exhilarating ride in ages.

Then yesterday I put the 114mm cranks back on and did another cross country ride. Of course it’s less capable than the knobbly 29 with 150s, but what fun. :smiley:

If it makes you feel better, I weighed by 24" standard racer today, and it came in at 3.66kg, so 300g more than my 700c racer.

I think it’s easier to make a lightweight 700c racer because you can get better rims/tyres/spokes.

Great to see some 700c variations about.

This was my old girl. 700c Guni. Had a 28c wide tyre and i ran it about at 80psi.

Honest all given it was the most terrible ride and worst uni i had ridden sadly. It was light and stiff and slow ungeared and fast and unstable geared up.

A 36er guni would be far better of a Uni for the road besides the weight which i can live with. a 700c really needs very short cranks. 137mm on my soon to be 36er guni will let me climb any steep road and blast along the flats geared up.

Is it possible a little Mass in the Uni weight can add to stability? or was it all in the tyre width. I never did explore it further.

I Just ended up deciding Bigger is better when 36er Vs. 700c

700c geared up is not a great experience.

Heaps can be done to lower weights. i didnt have much chance to keep it low given the geared hub and aerobar. i dont remember the weight of it anymore…

700c rims, blade spokes, tubeless tyres, magnesium pedals and carbon post was best i could do which im sure one could make a ultralight 700 Unicycle. Carbon frame would be nice to see one day

It is a truth universally acknowledged that for ease of riding and comfort on uneven surfaces, a fat tyre at medium pressure wins over a skinny tyre at high pressure. Similarly, there is no doubt that a big wheel is better for distance, and generally easier to ride when there are few obstacles.

But that isn’t why I have my skinny 700c. I rode it for a few miles the other evening on rough grassy footpaths with tight bends, occasional short slopes and dips, and various hidden wheel traps. I could have ridden it all easily on the 29er but it was exhilarating and challenging on the skinny 700c. It’s a sort of “back to basics” unicycle.

My 36 has bars, lights and a rack. My 29 has bars, lights and a mudguard. My 24 is a mud plugger. The 700c is just a simple, no nonsense, lightweight uni that reminds me how much fun it used to be when I was new to it.

fun project

need to make a areo time trial unicycle… anyone have disposable income and a wind tunnel they dont need?

maybe zipp or hed will step in the unicycle bandwagen and make us a disc uni wheel, with enough marketing it can be as succesful as the areospoke

I may have found a ‘missing link’ along this subject…

I have an ancient old road bike, that has a 700c rear wheel, and an old-timey British racing 27x1 and quarter wheel on the front. I’m planning to ditch the weird front size and replace it with a 700c so I can get good, modern tyres for it.

That front wheel is SLIGHTLY larger than a 700c, and takes skinny tyres. I know it’s a small difference, but you never know… :smiley: It’s an extremely light rim and doesn’t have many spokes, so it might be hard to find a uni hub to build it onto, but I may give it a go at some point, as I’ve been interested in the whole skinny road uni for a while, and well, the bigger the wheel, the faster the ride, right? :smiley:

Not going to be trying anything yet, as I’ve not got a replacement wheel for the bike yet, but something to think about for the future… :roll_eyes:

I rode around on a 27 x 1 1/4 wheel as my road wheel before I got my first 36er. Skinny tired unis are a whole new kind of fun and well worth experimenting with if you have the parts laying around.


I never rode a uni over 24" that had a normal width tire, my 700c uni is very twitchy, so far i tried a .23 .22 and a .32 wide tire as you can guess the .23 felt very harsh, the .22 was just too twitchy had to inflate to 110psi and it felt like it was going to break on every tiny bump, very hard on the manjewels too. the .32 felt great, my ghetto ground frame will not take any tires larger but i am sure anything up to about 1/2 inch will have the same feel. This setup is pretty much a paved surface ride, great for bike paths or urban areas with lots of pavement. sidewalk cracks can be felt, but sidewalks are doable if they are not too messed up. it is also funny as hell to ride next to someone on college campus on a single speed hipster bike/fixie they usually don’t know wtf to think.

I like to tell em “its a fixtie” in a lisping voice just for the reactions.

I use that line lots too, also like to tell them I’m saving weight/going minimalist :smiley:

You will probably like Christophs 28x1" 1:2,6 geared killer machine. Just look here.

that looks awesome… Shame I don’t speak that language so have no idea what he’s actually made that out of :smiley: