Road rides: back to back to back, 32, G24, 36

Took all three of my road worthy unicycles out for a spin today. Took them each for a spin around the block to make sure that they were all dialled in and good to go, and for a warm up.

I have a loop that I do, it is about 3 1/4 miles or about 5.2 km. Highway, then soft gravel, then old gravel with lots of washboard, then a quick jaunt through town (pothole slalom). I was not going as fast as I could, just a comfortable commuting/touring pace.

First up was the 32. It has a 32x1.75 tire, 114mm cranks and a short handle. Gain ratio is 3.5

This thing is a joy to ride. Not real tall like a 36, but a big enough wheel you don’t feel silly riding it on the road. The 114s feel OK but with the wheel as light as it is and relatively small wheel I am thinking that 100s might be better for pure road rides. I have some on order.

The first thing I notice on this thing when I start getting it up to speed is how quickly it accelerates and that it needs a longer handle (another thing that is ordered). It climbed the two hills like they weren’t there but on the way down the second hill I was missing some of that flywheel affect from a big wheel and brakes to keep the speed in check without tiring my legs.

Got onto the soft gravel and it was no problem. I could feel a bit of resistance but not too bad. turned onto the gravel road that wasn’t recently graded and floated through the woopwoopwoowoowoowoowoowoop of the washboard for about 100m before the lumps in the road unsynchronized with my wheel and I had to work at keeping the unicycle under me a bit more.

Got to town and didn’t really have any problems. Most of the bad sections were filled in with loose gravel but I had to do some dodging. Rest of the ride was uneventful and I got back to the house 19:20 after I left.

Next is the G24. 24x2.25" tire a mid-length handle and 125mm cranks in high gear giving a gain ratio of 3.7

The Guni is great for traveling but I am not sold on it being better than a fixed wheel for riding. Definitely has its positives and its negatives.

On the road there were no troubles, felt a bit more in control on the downhill but felt more sluggish in the soft gravel. It didn’t have the same rhythm as the 32 on the washboard but did OK. Very manoeuvrable and easy to miss all the potholes in town and got back in 19:50, not much longer than the 32.

Last but definitely not least was the good old 36. Long handle, 36x2.25 tire, 137mm cranks. Gain ratio of 3.3

What can I say about a 36er, it is a beast. You have to jump to get on the thing but once you are cruising they are pretty tough to beat. I would normally have shorter cranks on but I last used it when there was snow on the roads.

Powered up the hills, dragged the brake on the downs, floated right over the gravel and washboard, didn’t really dodge the potholes but it would go right through most without hardly noticing. The big wheel with the big handle tracks really strait when you want it to but I did have a bit of an issue with wind sitting that high up.

When I got back I was surprised to find that I was only gone 17:40, The loop was 1:40 faster than the 32 and 2:10 faster than the G24.

In summary:

wheel - time - gain ratio
32er - 19:20 - 3.5
G24 - 19:50 - 3.7
36er - 17:40 - 3.3

Despite having the lowest gear the 36 was the fastest on a mixed road-ride.

The 32er and G24 were fairly evenly matched, the 32er having the advantage in the gravel (loose and washboard) and the G24 having the advantage with better maneuverability in town.

It felt like the most effort went into riding the G24 while the least effort went in to the 32. If not for the side wind the 36 might have felt like the least effort.

I would have to do a whole lot of loops with a whole lot of setups for this to really mean anything but I find it is a fun little experiment.

I have done the 32 -vs- G24 once already and wrote it up here with similar results.

The 32 and G24

the 36

very cool. you should build the g24 into a g26

That’s the plan. :slight_smile:

And how about a geared 32"? Should be a lot of fun too. :sunglasses:

Thought about it but I would have to build a different rim, that one being 32h with drillouts.

Maybe some day.