Returning Rider & Hatchet Questions

Hi, I know, another Hatchet thread. I’ve searched and read most of them but a lot of my worries are still present. I guess I’ll run down my situation.

I’m in Canada and I used to order from the Canadian storefront of unicycle.com. Having to go through the UK one brings a hefty import fee (so I was told). This makes buying the Hatchet expensive and worrisome. I’d appreciate if I could get some very direct help as you peeps are much more knowledgeable.

Before starting, I did contact unicycle.com via email with some questions but they never replied to me. I also want to note that I very much want the Hachet. The Nimbus Oregon, its predecessor, was everything I wanted out of a unicycle so it was painful to sell due to an ankle injury and needing some money at the time.

1 - After not riding for so long I’d like a 27.5" wheel to ride asphalt to get back into the groove (while the Hatchet’s 26" will be for offroad). The Nimbus Oregon had a 26 x 3.8 tire that was too wide for comfortable street riding and 29" is too big. What tire (and width) do you recommend for 27.5" street riding?

2 - This question is why I hesitate a purchase. I’ve asked what wheel setup I should go for but the amount of information given to me was overwhelming - to the point I put off buying anything. I don’t trust myself to buy and build a wheel. I need to be told “this tire and rim is good for asphalt”. Could I buy a complete wheel with cranks included? Do you know someone or a website that offers this service?

3 - A fender. Lights. Bottle mount. Accessories are fun! For anyone who owns a Hatchet (or similar frame real estate), what sort of accessory have you put on it? Links welcomed!

I hesitated to bump an older Hatchet or fat tire thread as I did in 2020 or 2021 because I just thanked whoever replied to me and I never bought the Hatchet after all. I don’t want to miss out again, so apologies in advance.

Hi @livejoker, welcome back on the wheel :wink:

It is understandable to be worried especially when getting back in the sport and being anxious about getting the wrong thing.

I will try to get you started on some answers (won’t be comprehensive):

  1. road tires are maybe the simplest to choose :stuck_out_tongue: No tread to worry about and just the section that would matter. Usually, a ballpark for the tire section would be between 2.1 and 2.5. Depending on the uni brand for the rin (see section 2), you can even check what tires get spec’ed on complete uni and pick the same one.

  2. Not everybody has the patience or desire to build a wheel they are options. The laziest one is to buy rim+hub+spokes in a uni shop and pay for the build (i.e. Wheel build Labor | Unicycle.com). Another possibility would be to buy rim+hub and bring those with the frame to a LBS for them to do the build (usually MTB forums may contain pointers on shops to favor/avoid in your area).

  3. For the lights, it would likely end up on your saddle/body/helmet so no difference with another uni. For the fender and bottle cage, if you cannot find anything on the forum (except the thread about bottle cage mounting on the frame neck/seatpost) maybe you can get creative and share your result here :slight_smile:

Good luck and happy riding !

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Welcome back. My personal opinion, 29" is not too big for asphalt, unless your legs are too short. A 26" hatchet with fat tyre must be very close to being 29er size.

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Welcome back @livejoker!

A wide tire on a smaller rim will have the same circumference as a slimmer tire on a larger rim.
e.g. 26x3.8 is almost the same as 29x2.6 BikeCalc.com - How to calculate Bicycle Wheel Size

I assume your reasoning is to have one frame with two wheel sets for cost savings. And if you want a “fat” rim/tire and a (relative slim) “street” rim/tire then that seems like the only choice. But if you are open for compromises a 29x2.6 tire and dual hole cranks might be worth considering. Then you just lower/increase the tire pressure and switch crank hole whenever you want to off-road or street ride.

but … don’t overthink it … just buy the hatchet and get out and enjoy the ride (again).

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Which unicycle.com?

UDC UK have always been quick to respond to my questions, so perhaps try sending another if they didn’t get back to you, especially if you’re planning on buying from there.
They’ll also normally happily build up whatever you want and swap a few bits around, so long as they’ve got the parts in stock.

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I got my Hatchet 26" and Nimbus Oracle 27.5" unicycles from Unicycle.com from the UK site.
The US site doesn’t ship to Canada.
I bought the Oracle first and a few months later i got the Hatchet.
I’m in Montreal, Canada…the shipping was fast! They both came to my door in less than a week of ordering. And the duty charges might have been just over $100 cdn.
I love both of these wheels! They are different in feel though.
The 27.5" Oracle is responsive and more nimble and there is no off-camber pulling when riding in off-camber paths.
The Hatchet is great in the snow and it rolls over stuff easier. It’s sluggish compared to the Oracle. It takes a bit more to steer it but it is more comfortable just cruising. I put a 3.8" tire on the Hatchet to help a bit in the off-camber pulling.
I go back and forth between the 2…love both. Love the cool looking factor of the Hatchet!!!

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Thank you so much everyone for the comments! I’m really pumped to start enjoying my summer once again so this is HUGE help. My next step is to pick my parts out, view how much it may cost me, and contact UDC again just to double-check.

I’ll reply to everyone.

@Siddhartha_Valmont - This is a good idea! UDC seems to love the Duro Crux tire and I’ve read good and bad things about it, not that it matters since I’m back to being inexperienced. I’ll probably borrow the specs of another Nimbus uni for a 27.5" or maybe a 29" (more below).

@Gockie and @Hammer - I always imagined 29" being much taller in pictures… I made the jump from 20" to 26" and now I can’t ride 20" as well. Would the same apply to a 26" to 29" (and back) for when I wheel swap? And yes, having two wheels instead of two unis would save me money, though I haven’t picked out the parts yet to gauge how much I’ll save. I’ll do this soon!

@mowcius - I contacted the UK storefront about a week ago. I’ll try again! The snow is melting here so I’m just itching and a bit impatient. (edit: somehow, I never sent an email to them… I’m a bit confused.)

@CaryG - Oh nice! I’m quite close to that location so all this info is exactly the kind that puts my worries to rest. The whole “camber” thing is new to me. I never knew there was a term for it. I got used to the Nimbus Oregon so I know the Hatchet will be a fun challenge. Your setup is basically what I want!

Hello! When you get a little more experienced, you’ll work out your issues going between wheel sizes.

29” is really similar overall to a 26” hatchet with very fat tyre, but probably easier to handle (I’ve never had a hatchet but that’s what people seem to say).
I find 29 x 3.25 Duro crux tyre very user friendly.
29” with a less wide tyre is also fine to use and very manoeuvrable, but you might find using a 20” weird for a while after!

You only want a 20 for hockey, picking up new skills or (19”) trials etc…

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@Gockie I started with a cheap 20", after bending the wheel on a stairs jump I moved immediately to a 20" Kris Holm. The Nimbus Oregon came after once I realized offroad was more my thing. I’m glad you mention the 29" size and the Duro Crux…

So, UDC got back to me VERY quickly. Within hours! Nick was a huge help and labeled all the parts I needed (including links!). He sent me this:

Duro Crux 29" x 3.25" Tyre or Schwalbe Magic Mary 29" x 2.35"
Inner Tube 29" x 3.0 Presta
Kris Holm Rim Tape (29")
29" Nimbus Dominator2 Rim - Blue (42mm)
Spokes - 14Gauge, Black (284mm - 18pcs)
Spoke Blank, 14 Gauge, Black (18pcs)
Spoke Cutting and Threading Service (287mm - 18pcs)
Wheel Building - Unicycle
Nimbus ISIS Disc Steel Hub - 36 Hole (125mm)
Nimbus VCX ISIS Cranks (Grey) - 150mm

I decided on the Duro Crux (he suggested a “street” tire if I wanted to pick, which is really appreciated). It’s… expensive but after looking at the other unicycles with delivery fee I’m still saving money on wheel swapping. The only thing I would need is to add a disc brake rotor to the secondary wheel which shouldn’t be difficult. I’ll call local bike shops for that.

I’ll be ordering when I can and will post pics here of the uni/wheels as a thank you for all the help. I’m super hyped to ride again!

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Read the thread again. If you want two wheels and 1 frame, best to double check the 29" Crux fits in the hatchet frame, the diameter of the frame might be too low. I’m sure someone cam confirm this though.

UDC recommended it for that application, and that is the standard tire sold on a 29" hatchet… :man_facepalming:

I think I said this last time a similar topice came up, but I think since you like the feel of fat unis in general @livejoker, I think the crux is a good tire that performs pretty well on various terrain.

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As your skills improve switching sizes will become easier. Everyone is different but I regularly switch between 27.5"/29"/36" and different crank lengths (but similar saddles+handlebars) and I usually feel comfortable right away or at least after one or two minutes. My biggest “hurdle” is that the first (static) free-mount sometimes takes a few attempts as I have to adjust how much pressure to put on the pedals as 27.5"/137mm is quite different from 36"/117mm. As soon as this is in place I can usually free-mount with a 80-90% success rate no matter the wheel size.

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It’s HEEEEEEEERE!

I cannot thank everyone in this thread enough for all the help and motivation. Special shout out to UDC, specifically Nick, who sadly moved on from UDC just recently so to have his help before he left is quite special. As I said previously, Nick helped me with all the parts for a spare wheel.

I included pictures. Not shown is the extra parts like tube, tools, extra pedals, etc.

I’m not really happy with how expensive shipping and customs fee were but this is on DHL. I can’t really do much about it. I’m also not keen that the spare wheel’s box was damaged, luckily the wheel is in perfect shape. I send it off to a local shop for a 180mm disc brake and to fit the tire, cranks, etc. I wasn’t interested on assembling the rest of the wheel, truth be told, and I’m happy to support my local shop.

The Hatchet is insane. I can’t stop staring at it. It feels just like when I first got the Nimbus Oregon, amazed by its presence. To think this has an extra inch of width on the tire blows my mind. I need to cut down the seat post and figure out a nice way to place the brake line, though I have plans to possibly paint the frame. I’ll look into that at some point.

I’ll slowly start riding again and hopefully be comfortable to ride the trails like I used to. I’m very excited to try out the massive tire on mud and sand, testing different PSI levels. I’m also interested in my first ever 29", though since it is 3.25 I can still take it offroad. It was a pricey venture but I’m pretty much set for a good couple of years!

I hope this thread helps anyone else in a similar situation that I was in (looking to wheel swap + ordering overseas). I could post a pic of the 29" wheel once it comes back from the shop but I think that this thread has run its course. I’ve yet to fit the wheel under the frame, though…

Thank you for letting me make my own thread - I’m so used of other forums where I just get links to other threads and get mine locked. This was a huge help. I can’t explain how eager I am to ride whenever I have the time (and energy, I will definitely be out of breath!). Thanks peeps!

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That looks like a 26x4.8? I’ve been riding one myself for the past few months and it is an interesting beast. It does some things phenomenally well and at other times it feels phenomenally awkward and clumsy. It will roll over obstacles effortlessly and up curbs, logs and the like with the pedals in any position. Camber is severe and it can be overcome, but at a price. I’ve ridden mine on some serious sidehills. The key to overcoming the camber is to stand on your pedals like you’re climbing a steep incline. When you do this you can ride it pretty much anywhere, but you’re going to be more winded afterwards. It just takes way more energy to ride that way. Also, tight turns are a problem. It does not turn on a dime. What you will find however is that despite often being forced to take a line you didn’t want to, that giant tire will just keep rolling over terrain you thought was impossible.

Overall, my opinion is that in sand, mud or snow it is probably unbeatable. Riding over obstacles it is noticably better than a smaller uni with a 3" tire. On techical terrain I’d opt for my 24". Being able to turn quickly and carefully choose my line beats the fat tire rollover ability any day. For cross country, it’s a toss up. So long as you can remain seated, pedalling a fat tire Hatchet is not particularly tiring. Once you have to stand up however it takes a lot more work. So if you’re riding over cambered or technical terrain it’s at a disadvantage in terms of effort. With 170mm cranks, climbing isn’t too bad. What kills you in the climbs is the inability to quickly correct or choose a line. You’ve got the leverage to turn that big tire, but not necessarily the ability to point it in the right direction.

Overall, it is what it is…massive flotation and rollover ability at the expense of maneuverability.

Yup, 26 x 4.8. I took my first ride a day ago and then rested yesterday - a mixture of being out of shape and battling the camber put me out. The tire is so grippy and I never thought about camber this much. The upside is I’ll have a 29 x 3.25 for street/light offroad which I’ll use to get more comfortable with the uni. Maybe an actual street tire down the line some day.

Do you reckon more or less air will help with the camber? I pumped it up quite bouncy but I was still taken aback with how much I had to work against it. Local roads have a “hump” and are flat in the middle. I’m not comfortable to ride trails yet and my other tire isn’t back from the shop so I’m practicing with this one.

I’m very happy to hear it’ll be right at home on the trails which is my favorite sort of riding!

More air seems to help with the camber. What I would recommend is to try and ride it on the worst cambered slope you can manage. Don’t try to ride any great distance, just a hundred feet or so and learn how to muscle it into doing what you want. By putting your weight firmly on the pedals and pulling up firmly on the handle you can make it go anywhere a smaller tired unicycle would go. If you ride a badly cambered road or trail with your weight on the saddle and no pulling on the saddle then it will feel like you’re bent 45 degrees to the side.

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The lime green bike lock is too clunky and flashy, it’s swapped for a black one that wraps around the neck instead.

@Duff - I did two rides with the Hatchet until I got my 2nd tire. I could practice more but I think the only street the 4.8 tire will do is from my house to the trails and back.

The new tire is such a joy on the street. I’m so used to fat tires that this one is so smooth! I’m very happy with my selection.

I mentioned not wanting to bump my own thread since my original questions were answered but I have a new question. I always unscrewed the screws that holds the clamp for the bearings as the wheel seems to turn more freely. The bike shop owner was worried when I unscrewed them, as he had them super tight and the wheel didn’t turn as much.

Should I unscrew them like I have been or should they be screwed as much as possible? I never knew the right answer to this despite doing tests myself. I always summed it up to being out of shape since my legs would tire faster when screwed more.

Super tight is not good - it’ll wear out the bearings and you along with it. Some people put in flat washers, and others use loctite or similar. You don’t want the bolts to fall out. “snug” is what you want.

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Bearing cap bolts should never be very tight unless you do this:

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The tightest case of bearings caps assembly is for Sxhlumpf hubs (4 Nm) because of the knuckled bearing. For other hubs, the value should be lower (or at least anywhere higher).

@JimT (and other riders with spacers): what thickness of washer are you using with which frame ?
It feels like a useful information to keep around for those of us who would feel better to have a real tight assembly without the risk of bearing damage :wink: