the diffenence between a 26" and a 29" uni?

Of course…please tell me that the 29" uni has a 3" bigger wheel :sunglasses:

So I am getting better on my 26" uni and I am putting on a Schwalbe Kojak HS 385 26x 2 when it arrives for a smooth roll. I will be doing all my riding on road no Muni at all. I have 5" and 4" cranks to put on my 26" uni as I progress (running 6" cranks now).

Looking at the gear ratios between the two wheel sized unicycles (26" & 29") they are almost the same. So for me to upgrade to a bigger wheel and get a noticeable speed difference I will need to go with a geared 29" or a 36" uni…am I right?

For me I am leaning toward the geared 29" for size, convience and versatility, but I am not buying for awhile so I have time to figure it out.

Thanks for any advice and comments.

Hi, there have been a couple of threads about this subject before. If you do a search you’ll find a lot of information.

But if I understood you right you want to do pure road riding, no muni, right? Then there’s still the question how steep you want to be able to go up hills. If there are no real steep climbs to be made, there is no reason not to get a 36" right away. I’m sure you would love it.

An ungeared 29" can be great fun too but for pure road riding it would feel pretty slow compared to a guni or a 36". With a geared hub it might be exactly what you’re looking for though.

Another option would be to get a KH26 Guni, they’re gonna be coming soon. But that would make more sense if you wanted to do muni too. There are a lot more tires available for 26" of course. KH26 Guni is what I’m going for now, but I already have a 24", 29" and 36", which I love and will continue to use.

You will want a 36er eventually.

Then you will want a geared 36er. That’s where I am at now, someday I will drop the coin. From what I have read here the 26 is basically not much different than the 29. I ride 26 Muni and have even done some longer road-rides on it. It works great for all around Colorado riding, even longer distances aren’t quite so bad.

We need to get together, you can try out my 36er, I know you will want one…the are TehUberFun!!. I should be in Boulder in the next few weeks, I’ll PM you then

A 29er will be faster than a 26; a priori, a little over 10% faster, all else being equal. You can make a 26 as fast as a 29 by running shorter cranks on it. There’s an additional factor for distance riding, which is that saddle discomfort is more directly related to the number of pedal strokes taken than the distance covered. So while you can ride a 26" with 102s about as fast as a 29" with 110s or a 36" with 150s, the 36" will be the most comfortable for long distances, and probably the most sustainable.

All that is ungeared. Once you get into gearing, things get more complicated. The nice thing about gearing, if you’re a big gear masher on a bike, is that you can use more leg strength instead of spinning madly. You get further with fewer pedal strokes, at a cost of more energy input. Personally, I like putting in more energy, but it’s definitely more tiring to ride my geared 29er in high gear. It’s also harder to control; I wouldn’t ride a geared 29er or 36" in pedestrian traffic. But it’s much more comfortable for distance, and gets the dang ride overwith sooner, too.

A geared 29er is more versatile than a geared 36", mostly because it’s smaller and lighter. The low gear on the 36" is more useful than the 29er in most contexts, but in Colorado you might be better off with the 29er low gear; on steep hills, the lower gear and lighter cycle are nicer.

Geared unicycles are more finicky to deal with, even if your hub doesn’t fail, so in general I would recommend getting a stable of two or three ungeared unis before jumping up to the GUni. My rule on my geared 29er is that I don’t ride it without a helmet and wrist protection; none of my other unis have a blanket restriction like that.

No muni?!

I live in Boulder, too, so I can give you a pretty good idea of what the sweet local rides are. First of all, as the title says, no muni?! That’s crazy talk. I am a relatively new, relatively unskilled rider. Yet I love the muni around here because it ranges from totally nontechnical smoother-than-asphalt, just-you-and-the-birds bliss to, obviously, technical way beyond my skills. For example, the trails just north of Boulder (Eagle, Sage, Lefthand), east (Teller Ranch), and south (South Boulder Creek) are smooth and great for a beginner, while Marshall Mesa and the trails southwest of it are a good mix of smooth and intermediate (which is to say that there are a couple of spots that I haven’t cleared yet and probably won’t for a while). There is just something about unicycling through Ponderosa pines (southwest of Marshall Mesa) that is unmatched by unicycling on the road. I’d be glad to meet up with you and do some easy trails together. The easy ones don’t even need a true muni.

I bought a Coker a few weeks ago and have been enjoying that as well. I’ve taken it up Table Mesa, but as the poster above suggests, it’s not that great for big climbs. So whereas I’ve been up Flagstaff (to the top no less) on my muni (26" Nimbus), it will be a while before I attempt it on the Coker. I mainly got the Coker to cruise out on the plains and to commute to work, and it is indeed great for both. In the long (long!) run, I think a Schlumpf 29er will be the way to go for a good mountain ride. I’m not sure I’ll ever go that way, though, as I enjoy bicycling in the mountains.

In short, you may have a good reason for eschewing muni, but then again, you may just think that it’s something different that it really is. It doesn’t have to be technical at all. It can just be a great way of getting away from cars, enjoying nature, and enjoying unicycling.


I don’t have a 29er, per se, I have a unicycle with a 700c wheel (same size as a “29er”), which presents me with a lot of tire choices. That’s what I like about it. I can ride a 700 x 23 super- lightweight skinny, or I can ride a 700 x 45 touring tire, or I can ride a true mountain “29er” size tire.

I like the versatility of being able switch my tire based on the kind of riding I’ll be doing. As far as I know, there are only a few tires (3 listed at Coker, TA, and Nightrider) available for a 36" wheel. Not that that makes them any less awesome. I’ve ridden 36ers a few times, but don’t own one myself.

I have also had some spectacular crashes on my 700c unicycle.

I would advise riding both as much as you can before buying, or even borrowing one from someone local so you can evaluate how you like it over time- You can borrow mine if you like, I don’t ride it that often. Shoot me a PM if you’re interested.


I appreciate the offers for rides, it sounds great! I am still learning and after 42 days of straight practice I have just found myself fully sitting down and I still can’t turn very good? This Unicycling thing is taking me a very long time to get…but I will be going on long rides by the summer.

I’ve taken it up Table Mesa,
So whereas I’ve been up Flagstaff (to the top no less) on my muni (26" Nimbus),

The above 2 roads I do know and I will say you are the man! Flagstaff is a long steep road and while Table Mesa is shorter it is steep.

I used to race mountain bikes in Texas, it is a lot flatter and fast single track. I am not a hill climber at all, I just don’t have the lungs for it. That said I will put a mountain tire in my 26"er and go for an easier boulder Muni ride. My weekends are pretty full and it is easier to jump on my uni and go for a ride for an hour after work then be home (Longmont) to put my kid to bed.

I will take you up on the 36" ride when I can ride without UPD after 300ft and oh ya when I can freemount my 26"er. I think my biggest fear of the 36" is the hills and control. So if I could really feel how it is before buying that would go a long way to saving $1200 on a Guni.

I have the bug big time and I am saving for a 29"Guni for next year but I can afford a Coker this summer so I guess I will just have to see if I like the 36" first. In Texas my Apartment had a room with 12 bikes in it from fixed gear to recumbent…I don’t have the money for that anymore but I do have $3000 worth of Paintball gear after only 3 years of playing :astonished:

I have to get this quick because my 6 yr old daughter is getting her 18" uni this week and I just know she is going to pick it up right away.:slight_smile:

9.6% assuming both are using 50mm (2") tires

26=559mm+tire and 29=622mm+tire

26 and 29 are just approximations (and not very good ones for the 29er) with a 2" tire the 26 will measure 25.9" and the 29 will measure 28.4"

Sorry for the technical crap, for some reason I feel the need to correct corrections.

The main difference is availability of different styles of rims and tires. There are more light weight offerings in 700C (29) and there are many more sturdy wide mountain biking components available for a 26. If you are already running a fairly light rim and tire setup I would not bother getting a 29 for the road. If you were using a 26X3 Muni you would feel a world of difference by switching to a lighter wheelset (a skinny 700C wheel should fit in a big 26er frame)

I wouldn’t want to go too skinny though, real skinny tires (like a 700X23) will give a harsh ride.

I am planning on making it to a Wizard’s Chest Juggling and Unicycling club meeting once I get better at riding and I hope I can try other sizes of uni.

I finally was able to really sit in the seat the it feels way better and I like I am in more control!! I am getting it slowly but surely :slight_smile:


IMO, there are two ways to think about the 26 or 29 for muni. One is fit - for smaller riders the 29’er just feels bigger, like riding a larger frame size. So for similar terrain riders may want the 26 versus the 29 based on their size.

As far as terrain goes I think it depends on personal preference and the specific spec of the unis (e.g. XC tires versus DH tires; narrow versus wide rims) I’d put the 26 in an All-Mountain category and the 29 in an XC category. On a trail with tech sections but where the main point of the ride wasn’t to seek out hard terrain (e.g. rooty bumpy XC with both climbing and descending), I’d personally prefer a 26 with a Stout tire. For more pure XC rides I’d use my 29’er. That said, on longer All-Mountain ride, the 29 with a Stout tire and 47 mm rim (coming out Spring’09) works well as long as you are comfortable with the size of the bigger uni. If it was really rocky or the point of the ride was more freeride-oriented, then the 24 would still be my choice.

On a geared muni I prefer the 26 because on the 29 I almost never shift into 2nd gear offroad. Last week in Taiwan I was riding a geared KH26 with a light Panaracer XC tire on a 47 mm rim, and it worked well as we had a bunch of paved and dirt road riding plus some reasonably technical XC, and it worked well for all of it (photo below). If I mostly rode on the road and muni was a secondary consideration, then a geared 29 would make more sense.


Nice silver frame you have there;)
I’m looking forward to mine.


What kind(s) of robots do they have in the KH factory in Taiwan? I’m a welder and am really interested in the kinds of new technology and robotics that are used in volume production.

Also, not that it’s any of my business, but what happened to your knee?

vinnya42: We look forward to seeing you some Saturday. Feel free to come out whenever you like, we have a couple of unicyclists that are at various stages of learning; from one guy who started last week, to another person who is working on learning to turn without taking up the whole street width.


P.S. Any and all Colorado unicyclists are welcome to come out to the Juggling and Unicycling Club on Saturdays at Fillmore Plaza (the corner of Fillmore and 2nd in Cherry Creek) from 12 until 2.

I was thinking that would be the case for hills, but it seems that the 36" would be more versatile on roads due to the two usable gears (a concept Tony Melton has explained to me a few times). The low gear can get you up the steeper hills, and the high gear will be good on the flat and downhills. I’ve only tried a geared 28" but if I were to get a Schlumpf the 36" would have to be the best size. I didn’t feel any faster on the geared 28" than I am on an ungeared 36".

Depends on the surface you are riding on. On a smooth surface 700x23 would give a smoother ride than knobbly or fat tires. Not many roads are that smooth though. I wonder if the narrow tire would work better with a narrower rim- I was using the numbus blue one when I rode 100 miles with 700x23.

I appreciate this post! Since I’m very short, I think I would feel more comfortable for a commuter uni on a 26". But I cant seem to find any road 26" that arent torkers! Will there be some within the next year? I think UDC said they would get some in but not sure. Otherwise they would have to re machine a 29"er for my short legs lol. Since I do this for fun, doesnt seem to be worth it. I’ll stick with short cranks! For muni, I’ll stick with a 24" one eventually.

No robot used in KH frame production - volumes are too small and everything is handmade. I hurt my knee in a big wipeout in August’07 - ACL rupture and meniscus tear. 2 surgeries later it is getting better thankfully.



I have a 26" sun I got for $90 shipped from, it is a great uni except for the rim. The rim is a single walled steel that is heavy and flimsy. If you were to buy a good aluminuim rim and have the rim replaced and throw on a good tire it would be a perfect commuter.

I think I am buying a Coker from someone locally so I guess I better get busy and learn to ride my 26"er. Yesterday I was making it everytime to the end of the block before trying to turn up onto the sidewalk and come back…I can almost get up the little curb to get on the sidewalk…almost there!!!:smiley:

I agree with this…I’m almost certainly going to get a 26" GUni as well. I have a 29" Schlumpf, but I don’t think I like it off-road at all…except for very flat dirt roads…the 26" would be faster. Also, there’s many times more choices in terms of rims and tyres on a 26". The 29’er choice is pretty pathetic.

If you didn’t feel faster on the geared 28", either:

  1. You needed to ride it more, or
  2. You’re wrong.

The 29er has a useful lower gear, but it’s only really useful for steeper hills than the Coker low gear. If you ride steep hills a lot (10%+ grade), you’ll be happy with the 29er low gear. If you ride moderate hills a lot (5-10% grade), the 29er low gear kind of sucks. If you don’t ride hills much, you just leave it in high gear.

I had a 26" wheel for a while, and rebuilt it as a 29’er. I felt the difference right away, and my comfortable crusing speed is at least a mile/hour better, closer to two. I haven’t been riding that long so some of the speed difference could be that I am just a bit better than when I had the 26" wheel.

I noticed that you are in Longmont. If you want to try out my 29’er we could meet at Roosevelt park or maybe down by Isaac Walton pond. Of course we’ll have to wait for this snow to pass, maybe this weekend.