skinny vs. fat tires

I’ve searched for a thread on this, but haven’t found a suitable answer.

What are the pros and cons of skinny tires and thicker tires on a 20" Torker for somebody who isn’t riding a mile yet. (I plan on being able to do that soon.)

I have 2 Torker LX (20" and 24") with thick tires.
I’m considering getting an extra 20" uni (Torker CX, I think) for a second location (at work) so I don’t have to keep carrying them back and forth. I want to keep the original 2 sizes at home.

Would the skinnier tire be useful? For say, more control, easier turning, etc.?

One of these days I’m going to get an expensive model, but I’m not there yet.


I think the main difference between those tires is that the K-rad on the LX can be pumped up to 65 psi. That will make it feel very responsive and quick. I can’t tell what that tire is on the CX. It looks like the one that came with my Sun uni. That one maxed out at 32 psi, which felt a little sluggish in comparison.

I don’t know if the widths matter that much. 1.75" vs. 1.95" is pretty similar. The CX might feel smoother since there’s less tread on the tire.

That depends on which tires you are talking about. The 1.95in that used to come on the LX is probably the ideal size for a fairly new unicyclist. It is wide enough to give a comfortable ride, but not so wide that it causes problems with cambered surfaces. If you go narrower, you’ll feel every little bump. If you go wider, you’ll notice every little change in a road’s camber. The 2.3(?) that came with the DX is still easy to learn on if you put enough air in it though.

I wouldn’t get a CX. The LX is a much nicer uni. The seat on the LX is ok for short rides, but the seat on the CX looks like it would be painful for anyone over 4 1/2 ft and 90 lbs.

Don’t get the CX it’s weak and uncomfortable for anyone but little kids.

Instead of another uni almost the same as what you already have how about a trials, then keep one of the three at work (I’m thinking for you right now the only big downside is only trials tires will fit).

A 1.9ish tire is a good all round tire. A 1.75 would be a bit more zippy in turns. Wider a bit less so, can lower the pressure more for bumps, and a bit more influenced by camber.

Man I read that and thoguht it was skinny vs fat riders…

Now I have less to say about this topic :wink:

For control and distance on pavement I would go a thinner tire… For hopping and rough surfaces wider tire.

HAHAHAA i had to reread the topic several times… so i didn’t start anything…

Skinny = speed

fatty = traction

just like on a bicycle, car, pretty much anything with wheels (and some) >_<

TopHatPlus: It isn’t so much skinny is fast and fat is for traction, it’s finding the appropriate width and pressure for the surface. Contact area is determined by pressure more than width.

57UniRider: The tires on the Torkers are pretty close to optimal for the riding they are meant for.

As someone who just started riding about 6 months ago, and now I’m riding 20-25 minutes daily on the road, I agree with the statement above about 1.95 or so tires being optimal for pavement/hard surface riding for newbies. Although I can now ride a 24 with a 3.0 tire, it is still noticeably harder than when I have a 2.1 or 1.95 tire. The unicycle is just harder to control all around. I expect it will become easier as I gain experience, but for now I’m sticking with skinnier tires.

Thanks everyone.

I’m beginning to think I might like to try a skinny tire.

rpt50, what unicycle are you riding?
Did you buy it as a complete uni, or did you buy the tire separately.

I just want to get the whole thing at once without having to figure out a separate tire.

Also, I don’t mind spending more money if that would get more control.

If I want to get a complete uni that comes with skinny tires and a decent saddle, which uni do you all recommend?

Thanks Everyone!

If you like the seat of the Torker LX, those are a good choice, and they come with a good tire. Any of these should be OK too.

Those look like good basic unis, but I wouldn’t get any of the Schwinn’s.

What about the Nimbus II?

Thank you to all of you who offered opinions!

One reason I was considering the Torker CX for uni #3 to leave at school is that, to my amazement, I discovered the local bicycle shop has the CX in stock. They have only that one unicycle.

However, I went by to try it out today. I’m glad I did that, because my immediate reaction was I don’t want it. You all are absolutely correct. The seat is immediately uncomfortable. The thinner tire seems like it would be less stable, but I didn’t give it much of a chance to prove otherwise.

What do you all think about the Nimbus II, shown here?

I’ve compared the Nimbus II (above) with the Nimbus Phantom Trials shown here.
The price of the Nimbus II is more to my liking.

What’s so good about the Nimbus Phantom Trials vs. the Nimbus II?

After looking at the Torker CX and trying it for about 30 seconds, I definitely don’t want that one.
I’m also now thinking that the thinner tires would not be an advantage to me.

Any thoughts on the two Nimbus Unis (linked above)?

Do you think either, or both, would feel or ride much differently than the 20" Torker LX?

Thanks Everyone!

Are you kidding me?

I learned to ride on a 24" Schwinn from 1967 with cottered cranks and 28 spokes!

It’s still running great (although I never use it anymore), even after some light muni, hopping, and small drops!

The Nimbus II is a freestyle unicycle, and the Nimbus Phantom Trials is a trials unicycle. The only difference between the two unicycles are the cranks, rim, tire and pedals. The Nimbus Trials has a wide 19" rim and a wide and grippy trials tire. The 19" rim does not fit standard 20" tires. The Nimbus Trials cranks are stronger than the Nimbus II cranks and the Nimbus Trials pedals are metal pinned pedals. The pedals are very grippy but very hard on shins. The Nimbus II has plastic pedals. They both have ISIS hubs which are far stronger than the cotterless hub on the Torker LX.

I don’t imagine that the Nimbus II would ride much differently than the Torker LX. They are both 20" freestyle unicycles with smooth tires. The main difference is that the Nimbus II is much stronger than the Torker LX.

The Nimbus Trials, however, would feel very different from the Torker LX. The wide grippy tire rides a lot different than a smooth tire like the one on the Torker LX. Trials tires tend to feel a bit sluggish compared to smooth tires. The Nimbus Trials is mostly meant for jumping and doing tricks, and would probably not provide any advantage for riding.

Although it’s fairly strong for a basic uni and it’s had a few improvements since then, still one of if not the biggest drawbacks is still there. You can only adjust the post in fairly large increments (two inches I think). Also if I remember correctly the frame is pretty heavy.

The II has a much wider tire selection (any 20"), it’s basically the same as your LX but better parts all around and has a super strong splined ISIS hub, giving it the option to upgrade to a wider variety of size and/or increased strength in cranks.

The second is a trials, and therefore only trials tires will fit (19", sometimes actually called 20" on side of tire or in advertizing). Better for hopping around, doing trials lines, and riding rougher terrain like Muni (but most adults preffer 24" or bigger). Also most flat & street riders use a trials uni. And there are MANY color combinations available.

If it were me, since the II is so similar to a uni you already have, I’d get one of the trials.

Get a large wheel, you’ll go farther and learn more.

Throwing money at inexpensive unicycles will only get you inexpensive unicycles, better bet to buy quality and have a variety of sizes.

Tire width is a significant variable, but less so than wheel diameter.

A Nimbus II 24" would be a good “next” unicycle.

But she already has a 24.

Using your argument, Ben, I’d say don’t get any new unis untill she can ride significantly farther (2+ miles easily) and learns more skills.

Just pick either the 20 or 24 to leave at work and continue practicing regularly. Daily is best, shoot for an hour.

Ben has a point. If you get another inexpensive uni now before you can really make good use of it, you’re less likely to get a high quality one later (I got a Torker DX and have put off getting a KH for years). Unless you have multiple people in the house that may be using them simultaneously.

Thanks Everyone.

I think I will take your advice and hold off on getting another one for now.
When I can ride 2 miles easily, I will reward myself with a more expensive uni.

Your explanations about the Nimbus II (Freestyle) and Nimbus Phantom (Trials) was very helpful.

Right now, the 24" is all I think I can handle as far as size goes. Maybe by the time I feel comfortable riding that one 2 miles I will think a 26" sounds great, or even a 29" :astonished:

Since we are on the subject, and you all have such great advice…
When I do get to the 2 mile comfort zone,
which more expensive uni do you think I should go for?

Think in terms of a 24". I may never think I want to go taller than that.
You can give me your thoughts on the 26" if you like.
Right now, I can’t imagine falling off of a 29", although many of you speak so fondly of them.

Thanks so much for your help with this!
After actually sitting on that Torker CX, I knew you were absolutely right!
No way on that one!

Thanks Everyone!

Start saving your $ and when you can ride the 2+ mi. w/o zigzaging allover the place and mostly w/in an imaginary 12 in “skinny” easily, move on to other stuff. Put on some short cranks & go for dist., tricks on flat, and/or light Muni/trials unitil you have the moola for your next ride. I often do “urban Muni” on my 20 - fast enough for my 2.5 mi commute, easier to UPD clean, and because it doesn’t roll over stuff well (then easier to do bigger, riskier bumps on my Muni). Watch vids to help you decide which direction to take.

Depends on your budget and what kind of riding you want to do. I’d save up for the best uni you can stand, w/in reason (ie a KH).

I got a 26 LX and size wise it’s about the same as my DX. If I did it again, I’d go streight to a 29 or 36. To help bridge the gap you could ride for a while w/ short cranks on the 24 (ie 102mm) and/or long ones on the 29.

On the size thing, bear in mind that a 26" uni will put you exactly 1" higher than a 24", and a 29" will put you 2.5" higher. Small potatoes.

That doesn’t mean you should run out and get one if it isn’t what you want though. For best results, if you have other riders you can meet up with, that’s the best way to figure out what other types of unicycles you may want in the future. Nothing beats a test ride. :slight_smile: