short woman, bigger tire? (was 26 x3 vs 29-er)

Hi all,
If I can steal this thread, I’m thinking about moving up to a
bigger uni from my 24" Miyata. I’m a short (5’1") Level 1 rider who has
been riding paved bike trails or roads, an 8-9 mile loop three times a week
for a couple of years now. I’m on the cautious side and really hate bad
falls, since I tend to bruise or crack ribs or twist something and then I
can’t ride at all for a month or two (I’m 52). So while it is long and
laborious to ride a 24" that distance, at least I can do it and it is good
exercise for me. If I fall, I’m not going too fast. (I do use 4" cranks,
though, and am now comfortable with them.)
Since Unicon I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to go a
little faster. Any advice on whether to go with a 26" or a 29"? I’m not a
great freemounter, and I’m afraid a 29er will be too big and too hard to
mount. A Coker terrifies me.
Carol McLean, I know you’re using a 29er now. Why did you decide
on that rather than a 26"? I’m really sorry now that I never got around to
trying out your 29er at NAUCC 2004.
Any advice welcome.



>Unlikely I know, but has anyone had experience with both these?
>If so, how does a 26 x3 compare to a 29-er.
>I’m asking as the effective diameter must be pretty close to that of a
>The 26 x 3 would have the advantage of a stronger rim, and probably the
>disadvantage of a very heavy wheel/tyre.
>onewheeldave - Semi Skilled Unicyclist
>“He’s also been known to indulge in a spot of flame juggling - but it’s
>the Muni that really fires him up.”
>onewheeldave’s Profile:
>View this thread:
> mailing list -

I’d go for the Yuni 29" with Big Apple tire. That’s what I rode for the 10k at Unicon (Coker would have been better). With a 29", if you don’t like it you can always switch tires and move down to 28". Also it will hopefully be a race-legal unicycle in the future.

The only real difference between a 26" and 29" in unicycling is one goes faster. They both ride about the same. Also you get more tire choices with the 28/29" (77c) wheel.

There will be an initial period of getting used to the bigger wheel. Best way to cope with this is to do some riding on a Coker if you have access to one. Everyone should be terrified once in a while, it’s good for you. :slight_smile: After the Coker, the 29" will feel almost just like your 24".

Also you can start out using a slightly longer crank than what’s on your 24". If it has 125mm cranks, put 140’s or 150’s on the 29" to start. It will ride almost exactly the same, and the difference in impact on dismounts is barely noticeable. Until you start riding faster than you could on the 24"…


the 26" wheel size has more choices than any other size hands down. oh and a 28/29 wheel is 700c not 77c

I agree about the crank length.

After a lot of riding on my 24 x 3 with 150mm cranks, I found riding my new 28" with 125’s a challenge.

Switching in a big tyre, making it a 29-er, helped a lot as it made for a smoother ride with few UPD’s.

Still, it was a very different feel to the 24 x 3, especially on steep hills and rough terrain.

Recently I switched to 150 mm cranks and it’s really not a big leap from the 24 x 3 in feel, though it goes considerably faster.

As you’re currently using what sounds like 100 mm cranks on your muni, I’m sure you’d easily adapt to a 29-er with 150’s.

For road riding or light offroad, if you’re not comfortable with a Coker, get a 28" Yuni frame and put a nice 700c rim with a Big Apple tire in it. It’s a great combo. You might like 125mm cranks at first which should feel similar to your 102mm with your 24" wheel. But once you’re used to it, stick on the 102mm cranks to go faster.


Hi, Jody.

I really wish we had gotten you to try my Yuni 29 at NAUCC.

I’ve been riding my Sem 27 most often lately. It has a very narrow tire, and I was hoping to get comfortable on the 29 this summer, because it has a wider tire and would be better for the distance riding I do. (The wider tire would be better in handling small obstacles on the road.)

It’s taking me forever to get comfortable on the 29. I think it’s because there are several differences to get used to – much wider tire, slightly larger frame, more grippy pedals, the wider KH saddle, and altogether a different feel. Gus has been wonderful in helping me adjust it, to try to get me rolling, but my skills are very limited.

If you can move up to a larger wheel, do it. I think it’s more enjoyable to ride the largest wheel that you feel comfortable on. (Right now, for me, that’s the 27.) I’m sure that with your experience, you could easily handle a larger wheel size.

I’ve ridden a Coker, but I don’t think it’s for me. I want to be fairly sure I can run fast enough to survive a fall from a Coker, and that’s unlikely. Freemounting would be an issue as well. And it takes skill to control the momentum of that huge wheel. I’d have to get a lot better before I’d attempt to ride a Coker for any distance outdoors.

Good luck with the decision!


I think a 700c rim with what tyre you want to put on it would probly be better than a 26. a 26 inch slick is not very much bigger than your 24inch set up, if your gonna go for a biger distance machine, go for a 700c rim. I now have a big apple on mine making it a 29er , I used to have a cheap as chips chunky touring bike tyre on it which made it about a 28. the big apple is a smoother ride.
The saddle issue, I’m sure you have a saddle your used to and like, use it on your new uni, its one less thing to have to deal with. If your buying a frame for your new machine try to get one that will take the wider 29 inch tyre even if your initally only useing a 28. Comments on cranks, I’d agree with the start on something a bit longer than you use on the 24 line of thought. I am now down to 102s on the 29er but for ages used 125s ( and 150s for its muni incarnation)
As john said, 700c might ( hopefully) become a new racing size so as well as owning a distance machine you would be able to join me and debbie in the 700c class at next unicon:-)