I started riding unicycles when I was 11. It took me 3 hours to learn. I could ride forward, backward, turn and spin like a top, piggy back a friend, off road, ride one foot.
I’m now 48 and still have my first unicycle. It has a 20" wheel and is way too small for me now and haven’t ridden it for any more than 100’ in the last 30 years, but I can still ride it. About 8 years ago I ran into a couple guys with 24" unicycles and asked if I could try them. They were impressed at how well I could still ride and after a few minutes I was tutoring them on free mounting and some tricks.
I really liked the 24" wheel from the 20" that I had only ever ridden. It wouldn’t be easy for me to find all the different sizes to try out and there are so many sizes right up to 36" now.
I’m not looking for a commuting unicycle, but something that I could still use off road if I wanted or for some trials type unicycling. I am 6’ tall. I’m looking for a new unicycle, what would you all recommend for a size that would work for what I am looking for?
For trials unicycling you would need to stick to a smaller uni. For both trials and off road a 24" muni with a duro tyre might be a compromise. The duro makes a 24" wheel closer to a 26" road bike wheel and has a lot of bounce and roll over.
As the wheel size goes up, the agility goes down but a 26 or 29er muni are capable of much greater speed.
Most dedicated trials unicycles are 19" with a fat tyre. They can ride off road but are very slow.
For either muni or trials an isis hub is pretty much essential for an adult.
Also if the 20" is too small, there should be replacement seatposts available from unicycle.com that would fit it and bring the saddle higher.
Agreeing with davejh. Lots of us senior-citizen and long-legged unicyclists have 20" unis in addition to our bigger wheels. The light wheel helps for skill-building practice and slow speed means you can do more in a limited space, good for late-night driveway sessions under the porch light and for folks with suitable basements. A longer seatpost is cheap if you need one, and seats have come a long way in 25 years so you could think about that too.
For bigger sizes, like he says a 24" mountain unicycle is actually pretty close to 26" and best for super technical off-road stuff. Lot of folks end up on a 36" unicycle sooner or later. 29" is also really popular for all-around riding on neighborhood streets and light to medium trails. The actual tire makes a big difference and the choices for 26" (mountain bike/etrto 559/650d) and 29" (road bike/29er/etrto 622/700c) rim diameters are literally endless.
My suggestion is to use the forum search tool or Google and spend some time reading through older discussions archived here. There’s a couple of decades of information on how we got here and what people do with the different sizes that will give you a better idea than we can give in a few replies.
Welcome back to the sport and good luck. I hope you stick around and keep us posted on your progress.
A 24 is probably more ideal for both trials and trails but I absolutely love riding a 26" unicycle off-road. They roll just a little bit better than a 24 and have a absolutely massive tire selection to choose from. I am not really into trials but I can still hop around a bit with my 26.
24" is a great all rounder. I ride mine with Kris Holm 127mm/150mm twin hole ‘moment’ cranks and a 3" duro wild life leapard tyre for off road. You have tried riding the 24" and you liked it so I reckon that’s what you should buy. For trials riding you might want to check on the weight of the uni before buying. Google Unicycle.com and you will discover a whole range of unicycles and parts to choose from.
I love my KH 24" to bits with its big bouncy tire, though I don’t jump much. But I’ve been tempted to get a 26" for the extra speed I keep hearing about. It would help for longer rides. Wouldn’t put a fat tire on it (they’re really heavy), but I don’t know if it would eventually rule out the 24. Also, if I was to get a disc brake, don’t know on which one it would be best.
I don’t think you are going to get much more speed from a 26. I certainly wouldn’t get one in addition to your 24 for speed. You could just get shorter cranks for your 24. Not sure what cranks you run. I run 137s. Most folks run 150s on 24" munis, which I find too long. The 24" wheel size with 137mm cranks is a great combo. It offers pretty smooth strokes with enough control even on pretty steep downhills (with brakes).
If you have a 24 the reason to get the 26 is probably more tire selection. But then I’d probably get rid of my 24. They are just too similar.
If you want more speed and you have a 24 I’d get a 29 or a 36–probably a 36. With a nice light 36 and light components you can do a surprising amount of muni with it. I can even do most x-country comfortably with it with 125mm cranks.
If I had to choose one uni (heaven forbid), it would probably be a 26. If I could choose 2 it would probably be a 19 and 29. If I could choose three, it would be a 19, 24 and 36. Because I have 10 unis, I don’t even have a 26!
The thing is, I can only speculate about what a 26" would be like based on what I read here. You’re right that with the big tire, my 24" is probably just a tad smaller than a 26". I’ll try to borrow a 26" to see how big a difference there is. There is no better way to know than to actually try it.
I’m currently using mine on 125mm and I love those crank sizes because they allow for much smoother pedaling. My current rides are pretty flat because there is only one wood not too far away where I practice weekly. I put the 137mm on it a few weeks ago when I went to another forest, much more hilly, and it was still confortable yet allowed me to do my first steep(-ish) down hills, with no brakes.
I’ve been unicycling seriously for only a few months now - I started a year and a half ago, but didn’t do it regularly enough to really progress. Since september, I go at least once a week for a proper session (at least 5 miles). I bought a second hand KH29" before xmas - very good bargain, I just couldn’t miss that - but I haven’t used it much since I realized it was best (for me at least) to get much better on one uni (the 24") instead of being average on two. The 29" has a big apple tire, but also came with its original knobby tire. It has 137/110 cranks.
What I sort of foresee is that the 125/150 which are on the 24" might end up on the 29", and the 110/137 on the 24". I sort of feel that a 24" on flat XC can do well with 110, yet can be switched to 137mm for more hilly rides. Maybe with a disc brake for really steep ones. Meanwhile, the 125/150 on the 29" seem to make sense. 150 for XC, 125 for town riding.
But wait… I’ve just heard that a guy I know here might sell his QX36" disc equipped for a pretty decent price… Gosh, I need that one too! It reassures me to see you have 10, though I have no idea where I would put them. I ‘only’ have 4 so far.