Riding in snow

This is my first winter on the uni. Some of the weather reports forecast some snow for London. Last Feb we had a lot of snow in which made most of the transport systems go down. Could I still get about on the road with a 36 with a TA tyre in such conditions?
I’ve seen several photos of unis in such conditions but these all seem to be smaller ones with chunkier treads.


The TA might be a bit sketchy in snow. In general though I reckon unicycles are better in icy conditions than bikes. Il use a unicycle for my commute in preference to a bike when it freezes because I feel much safer. Partly because it’s much slower and doesn’t hurt so much if you wipe out, but it does seem to grip better as well - possibly because of all the weight on the single tyre, or it could just be that you’ve got more “feel” (a bit like being on a fixed-wheel bike but even better).

If it’s icy I’ll usually ride my 26" muni though, rather than the coker. I do often ride the coker on my (mostly cross-country and often muddy) commute though, and it’s surprising how much you get away with on a TA tyre.


Lower the tire pressure and give it a go! Denver was hit with a bunch of snow last week and I couldn’t get on the city roads with my bicycle. I had MUCH more control on my nimbus 36er than my bike…I did have the nightrider tyre though.

I was a unicycle commuter year round and when the snow hit I was not happy with the grip of my TA tire. I found the little grooves between the ribs would pack with snow and I would not have very good grip.

I cut some tread into my tire and it was much better. I would also change my cranks depending on the depth of snow I was going to ride through. 125 all the way up to 170s when it was really thick.

The larger voids also prevented any snow from building up and pakcing in the tread.

I also used a 26X3 Muni a few times but I in most cases the 36 was better for commuting. They were very close in terms of which one had more float but the 36 seemed to take less effort to roll through the snow. The 26 was easier to turn though.

If it snowed much more than 6-8 inches in the nigh I would ski. :slight_smile:

I don’t have a TA tire, and I actually don’t even have a 36’er (yet). But I’m still really curious how you cut in those blocks in such a regular manner. Looks like a very nice job – now share your secrets on how to go about doing it! :slight_smile:

Howdy all,

I live up in Anchorage Alaska and commute all winter mostly on my Fat bike (Surly Pugsley). Occasionally though when we get the snow cleared off the paths I’ll ride my 29 uni around.

I’ve found that the Nokian Extreme 294 studded tires work extremely well. They have a nicely spaced tread pattern which helps keep snow from clumping in the tread. Riding on hard snow or glaze ice I am able to ride up some fairly good hills without fear of slipping. Its actually more dangerous dismounting than riding :wink: I’ve also tried some riding around on my KH24 but that tends to be to slick on the hardpack or ice even with the tire pressure lowered.

There is a whole thread on TA modifications: 36" Wheels TA tire converstion.

Unfortunately the website I linked to in that thread got deleted. I am a little bit bitter about that as I wrote up a few good tutorials for that site putting in lots of effort and kept some information exclusively on that site. I was given no warning that the site was going to be shut down so I could at least re-post the information here.

Basically I just cut away with a filleting knife.

Wow, 10 hours - but it sounds like it was worth it.

saskatchewanian that mod looks real cool. I don’t think the unmodified TA would go very well in snow.

Of all the 36" uni tires, which (unmodified) handles snow the best?

I used to do alright with the button tire, but now I’m riding with the TA and, like everyone else here says, it’s not for snow.

Is there something better than the button tire?

I just got my Coker, with the Coker Non-Skid tire. I’ve only ridden it one day, but I did take it on some snow and ice on my street (somewhat unavoidable), and it did really well. The Non-Skid has a pretty aggressive tread, particularly in comparison to the other 36" tires available. It’s got to be better than the button tire for snow. Not sure how it compares to the Nightrider, but it does seem good for muni/snow use. I also intend to weigh it and post the weight, because I’ve haven’t seen anyone else do that. Anyone have tips on how to accurately weigh one of these tires?

Another pic of the Non-Skid from the Coker website.

coker ns 2.jpg

The Coker Non-Skid tire is fully snow capable. Like any 36er tire it has a bit more side to side sway than a full 3" knobby MUni tire, but with tire pressure dropped to 10 psi it becomes reasonably stable. Could probably have gone a bit lower if I made sure not to hit any rocks or curbs.

Front to back traction is excellent, you won’t slip trying to climb a hill or worry about slipping out on a downhill; I tried to with my 125mm cranks and couldn’t. Also easily climbed a road which a car just failed to get up.

Since the Evolution of Balance Grant post I was thinking somebody might consider trying to do the Iditabike on a unicycle. Weld two rims together, do that funny tire stitching thing and bam you’ve got a 4" tired 36er!

Today I rode a trail in Toronto that had had a lot of pedestrian/jogger traffic on snow. It was a warm day, around zero C, with some sun. The trail was a bumpy mix of ice, snow, slush, and mud. My KH26 with standard Doughty Whatever tire worked really well. As I rode back up the trail I could see my tire track from the outgoing journey, and it appeared to have bitten into the compressed but softened snow surface really well.

That sounds like a great idea for someone with good cold tolerance. Wasn’t there a thread about ideal unicycles? Triton 26" frame, Endomorph tire and Large Marge rim, Schlumpf gear…

Do we have any volunteers?

(I would do it but I get chilled when the temperature drops into the 50s F).

thanks everyone, it looks great!

sometimes on glare ice the button has slid out sideways, fast.

any experience with that with this tire?

On glare ice tread patterns make virtually no difference. The tread cannot push into the ice and so does not provide better grip. The only tires that won’t slid out fast on glare ice are studded tires.

I’ve heard that one can make temporary ice tires by zip tie-ing lengths of chain around the tire and rim. This obviously prevents the use of a brake.

But no discussion is complete without anecdotal evidence so I’ll tell you that I’ve ridden the Non-Skid over patches of glare ice and not fallen, but I was being very careful and not making any real turns. I also briefly tried mounting on a frozen pond that had fresh snow fall on it, finding it perilously slick (in all directions).

Ahh. Yes, that is true. No tire will matter. Even if the glare ice is hidden under light snow.

and to prevent a lateral slip-out, you’d need LOTS of chain.


Too much chain and too low a pressure and your wheel will skate. Studs are the way to go.

But if you are riding on snow with no real icy sections studs/chains just add weight, I swap tires based on trail conditions.

Ah! Iditarod reference. I’m surprised a non-alaskan is familiar with it. Anyway I would totally be up for doing that if there was an organized group to go with