Yay! Earlier today I took the new KH36 (affectionately known as “Gargantu-Wheel”) out on the open road for her maiden voyage and shakedown cruise, and I’m happy to report that the new uni more than met my expectations! For comparison, I followed the same route I used for my recent 30-mile spin on the smaller KH29, adding 20 miles of Burke Gillman Trail to get the desired 50. Whereas that previous ride sorta beat the crap outta me, today’s much longer jaunt ACTUALLY FELT WAY MORE COMFORTABLE!
For one thing, the stability of the larger wheel allowed me to keep both hands on the t-handle pretty much all the time. Good thing too, because as the ride progressed, I found it not only possible to go two-handed, but necessary. A little pressure on both palms allowed me to settle back on the seat, shift the upper body forward, and take alot of weight off the lower back and crotch–nice! This more bike-like position may partially explain today’s complete absence of any of the knee pain than made the last part of the 29er ride a bit of a slog.
Then there’s the speed! I wasn’t going for time, but on the way out, I took only two 5-minute breaks for water and rest, then checked my watch at the turn-around and noted a time of 2 hrs, 24 mins for the first 25 miles. On the way back, I forgot about the clock and just enjoyed the lake views. It was great to hit milestones sooner and with less effort than before…I even managed to keep up with a little kid on a bike! After pacing him for a mile or so, he started to fatigue and then I made my move, dumping the little brat in fine style! Look out, grannies…you’re next! Muwahahahahaha!
Oh, one other interesting thing: after my MP3 player’s battery conked out in the last hour of the ride, and I could listen to the outside world again, I heard the same funny, occasional clicking sound that I’d heard from my new kh29 after it had been ridden a bit. I checked the bearing caps, and sure enough, all four bolts were finger-loose! I’d packed the Allen wrenches, so it only took a minute to secure the bolts, and if experience repeats itself, I should have no problems going forward–is this a common issue with new unis? No big deal, probably just part of the break-in.
Looking forward, I think if I want to make my goal of a uni Century before the end of my first unicycling year, I’ll have to get better at riding (of course) and learn to use shorter cranks than the stock 150s I used today. But even if I never ride that far, I don’t care, because today’s middle-distance spin was REALLY fun!
Great Job. Thanks for the report!
i’m happy you got fun, reading your story get me thinking about buying a 36"
i’m sorry because a boy in england sold a 36 some days ago for 100£ but he did’t want to ship to italy …
My 36er is scheduled to arrive within this week! I cant wait to hit the road with it! I did a 33km Muni ride on my 26 yesterday and wonder how it will feel on the 36!!
Well done on your first beeeg ride!
Nice job!! 50 miles is great, especially when you were originally frightened to get on the thing.
Wow! Sounds like a great ride. We’ve been dreaming of going big waffling between 29 and 36 but everything I hear about the 36 makes me wonder…
What seat? you should get the todd tire also
I’m even more sorry as I’d have jumped at that if I’d noticed (and don’t have a shipping problem).
Without risk, there’s no reward.
You’re going to have to think about your risk tolerance. I admired and pondered the 36er for a couple of years before making the leap pretty much on impulse. The first year, I fell a couple of times and got a little banged up (never anything more than badly skinned arms and knees). It continued to make me nervous for a long time. Fast forward a couple of years, I couldn’t imagine not having my 36er to get out on the road. As a side benefit, I’m in markedly and objectively better shape.
YouNeeNoob, I think it is time for you to change your name here. I also have fifty miles on my new KH36, but it took me a week and a half. I’m looking forward to being able to use the t-bar. I’m just getting to the point that I don’t have to wave my arms all of the time, or hold both arms to my right side to balance. I can’t wait to pass a bike.
To anyone considering a 36, to me it seems much easier than my 20 or 26. I never rode either of those enough to get comfortable though, the 36 seemed to be easier right from the start. I do wear lots of protective gear.
My new uni is a totally stock KH36 with a Nightrider tire and the Freeride seat. I really like the seat, but the tire is a magnet for little pebbles–they get stuck in between the treads. No big, I just pop 'em out with my car keys while giving the uni a quick post-ride shine.
Thanks for the nice words, everybody.
As far as the 29er vs. 36er thing, I was originally attracted to unicycling by Unigeezer’s Big Wheel videos and the prospect of actually doing extensive road miles on a unicycle, so I’ve always been biased in the direction of touring and commuting, with little or no interest in muni / trials / street, etc. I would say If you plan to do any offroad riding, you might want to think twice about the 36" wheel, but if you’re like me and you just want to ride on roads, I can’t over-emphasize the tremendous and exciting change the 36er has made in my unicycling experience.
I also wouldn’t be too put off by concerns about risk and safety. I’m not especially skilled or athletic–pretty average, really. I’ve only been riding for about nine months, and at 54 years old, I’m no spring chicken. Still, I had absolutely no problem moving up to the 36er from the 29" wheel. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this transition was WAY easier than moving from my learner 24 to my KH29. I’ve only had the 36er for a week, but it already feels really comfortable.
One thing: I’ve never been very good at doing rolling mounts, and although I can static mount the 36er on flat ground, I find it MUCH easier to start off on a slight downhill–even if it’s just the little wheelchair slope on the sidewalk. The fact that the 36er is a bit more challenging to static mount is the only drawback I’ve found so far.
Anyway, that’s my experience–as always, your results may vary. :o
Thought the same thing. I remember when the Noob was a YouNeeNoob
Congrats on the 50 miler (about 80km) Can’t wait to see a video, I thought you were belting along on the 29 in your vid a few weeks ago. I’d be interested in how fast you rev, seemed to be about 90 rpm on the 29. It was all very fast and smooth…