Returning to the Uni

I had a uni as a kid, and now 20+ years later I was given an 18" that rides ok, but it’s a bit small for me to do much with.

I was bitten by the bug again and I truly miss riding now, so off to the store I go. I am looking at a Nimbus 29" touring with an Isis hub. I have a few questions and would welcome any opinions to save me future troubles.

Crank length, standard is 125, I was thinking of going to 145mm so I dont have to pedal so fast. I MIGHT plan on doing some light trails through the park here, but nothing you couldn’t easily walk.

Isis hub… Someone told me that this thing is a free-wheel hub like a bicycle… Any truth? :thinking:

Optional brake system - Do I need it? (see above) and when would you use it? Long down hills I would guess, so would it be worth the $220 USD :astonished: additional?

We do get snow, mud, and rain here, should I just get the off road tire for it? or is the Duro Easy Ride going to be sufficient for now in the light stuff?

Thanks in advance!

I think you’ll be fine with the stock setup. The hub definitely doesn’t freewheel. You can always add a brake later if you think it would be useful, but it’s probably not necessary for what you want to do. Stick with the Easy Ride if you’re primarily riding roads. And I’d stick with 125mm; it’ll take a couple rides to get used to, but once you do, it’s a lot more fun to have the shorter cranks.

Welcome back!

Hey welcome to the forum. I think your choice of unicycles should be a good one for you. It might just take a little while to get used to the larger tire, but once you do it will be a blast.

The hub is not a freewheel hub, it is direct drive like (almost) every unicycle.
If you are going to be doing almost all riding on the street, I would suggest not getting an off road tire, the rolling resistance will make distance travel a lot more work.

The need for a brake will depend on your area mainly. If it’s really hilly, a brake may come in handy, but I wouldn’t drop $200 bucks on it. There are other more affordable options out there though. You can always get the brake later.

There are others on here who probably will have more detailed advice and opinions for you. Good luck with your new uni!

+1 I run 125s on the 36" and they’re fine for climbing hills.

I don’t think a brake is necessary or even wanted on a 29er, there’s just not a need for one.

OOOPs, one thing I forgot in my post is a “handle”
By the looks of it, I could make one myself, do I need it for longer rides?

I love mine, and wouldn’t ride a big wheel without it, but I’ve seen/heard about people who will ride 80 miles without one : P

they help, especially if you’re going fast, going up a steep hill, or want to take weight off of the seat.

I don’t think I see them on 29ers as much though. You can always get one later : )

I suggest the pi bar or the KH touring bar over the T7

Personally I would stick with the stock setup but getting a pair of 145s would not be a bad idea. If you do get the 145s get them in addition to the standard 125s so you can experiment a little with different crank lengths.

Unless a trail is slick and muddy high volume road slicks can preform surprisingly well, Get a new tire if you feel the one that you have is not up to the task you are putting it to.

Handles can be really nice but become more useful as your skills and balance increase. For the first few months of riding I was waving my arms way to much to be able to hold onto a handle but now I would not want to ride anything bigger than a 24 without one. The only commercial handle I have used is the T7, it is pretty flimsy and will break eventually if used regularly but at the reduced price is a pretty good place to start. Once it breaks (the front plate will eventually crack or snap) you can cut off the front and back and use it for your custom T bar or extended T7 style handle. Look up homemade handles on the forums.

I definitely agree with this advice. If I was just going to buy one extra item with the uni, it’d be a second set of cranks (all the other stuff is probably unnecessary right now).

I bought my 29 with 115s and then ordered these 145s. The two are completely different - the 115s just carry you along really smooth, while the 145s (though not as nice for cruising) give you a lot more control over speed and are much easier to idle/freemount with (a good idea if you’re just getting used to unicycling again).

Also, you’ll need to make sure you have a crank puller if you buy two sets of cranks.

I think there is a lot of good advice in all those other posts but here are just two general things about unicycles:

  1. You don’t use larger cranks so you don’t have to pedal that fast. A wheel has always to move the same distance for one full revolution so you do not have to pedal faster or slower with different sized cranks for the same speed. In fact shorter cranks allow you to reach higher speeds because your feet do not have to go that far during one wheel revolution and you CAN pedal faster if you want. On the other hand longer cranks give you more leverage which means more control, more braking power and easier climbing.

  2. ISIS hub does not mean free-wheel hub. ISIS hubs are splined hubs and it is just some sort of “standard” for mounting the cranks. ISIS is really bombproof so if you want to do lots of drops and jumps it’s the way to go.

From the woods::
Not to try and argue because I do appriciate all advice, But shorter or longer cranks would affect the “gear ratio” and have a dirrect effect on the pedaling speed for a given traveling speed at a constant with the same wheel size…

In effect - Wheel travelng at 33 RPM covers x amount of space per revolution in a given amount of time “Feet per second” (speed)

A shorter crank setup would in fact increase the revolutions per minute of the feet / cranks. And in therory, a shorter crank setup (in my opinion) make pedaling up an incline easier of a load, but more revolutions to get there.

So my question was addressing this fact, my old (borrowed) 20 inch schwinn (sp?) was ok and didnt wear me out, but upgrading to a 29" wheel at age 40 I am curious as to the pedal ratio to make it a similar or slightly less physical load for a continued length ride with moderate hills. I still live in the same area of when I learned to ride. And this question was brought to light by unicycle.com suggesting a 150mm crank upgrade for riding off road paths and woods trails.

You’re right, changing crank size is like changing gear ratio (unless you’re using the old style, where the gear ratio would be your wheel size because they didn’t consider crank size, and it’s 1:1)

BUT . . . this is wrong. It doesn’t take you more revolutions to get up an incline with shorter cranks, it takes you the exact same number of revolutions, but your legs don’t have to travel as far around the hub, making it a higher gear ratio and harder to pedal.

I will say that people tend to spin faster with shorter cranks, simply because that’s why they have the shorter cranks to begin with, it makes you faster : ) (well, usually that’s the reason. Some freestyle riders have other reasons as well, such as clearance issues, maybe, but I’m speculating here, for smoothness also)

It’s not a “gear ratio” as much as a “leverage ratio.” Since the cranks are directly connected to the wheel one rev. of the cranks will always equal one rotation of the wheel. In other words the gear ratio is 1:1. Longer cranks offer more leverage at the cost of a longer arc, and consequently a greater distance for one revolution. This has the opposite effect to what you seem to be describing. If the wheel is moving at 33 rpm’s, then your pedals are also moving at 33 rpm’s. Longer cranks mean that your feet are moving faster to make a revolution because they have to cover more distance in the same amount of time. If you get your feet moving at the same speed as they were with the long cranks you would in effect be going faster.

I think you are over-thinking the gear ratio thing. Unless you have gears one revolution of the cranks = one revolution of the wheel. What changes with crank length is how far your feet travel in relation to the hub in one revolution.

150mm cranks are 20% longer than 125mm cranks your feet will travel 20% further in one revolution (in relation to the hub) but the travel of your wheel will remain unchanged. Still the same amount of revolutions to get up the hill no matter what crank length you use.

using a crank that is 20% longer will give you 20% more leverage, but require your feet to move 20% faster for the same road speed. That is why people say that longer cranks are better for control but shorter cranks allow them to go faster.

hope that sort of made sense.

oh and if you want the same leverage on a 29 as a 20 you need a crank that is 45% longer I don’t think that that is really what you want though. 150mm is plenty long unless you are doing some really rough offroading and even then 150mm seems to be the length that most choose for an offroad 29.

Thank you all for clearing that up… I knew that the crank length would make a difference other then leg length but I can see where my thinking was a bit skewed…
So then I think I will go with the stock 125 and get a set of 145 or 150’s for later and for comparisons… Will let ya’all know when I get it!:smiley:

Then maybe 125/150 dual hole cranks would be an ideal option for you.