The future of 26”

I’m currently riding a 26” Nimbus Muni which is great and does everything I want. It came with a 3” Duro leopard tyre which I’ve swapped out for a maxxis ardent 2.4” and seems very capable for hacking around on gravel light grade stuff. I’ve done plenty of rides and the tyre seems hardly worn. I intent to put the duro tyre back on when I get better off-road but for now I’m keeping it off as it’s seems to be a soft compound and wears fast - and these aren’t cheap.
It seems the cycling industry have acknowledged 26” is no more and that shows from the lack of tyre selection available (well
In the U.K at least). I worried about a time where I may no longer be able to get tyres for this.
This is making me think at some point I may have to consider to move to a 27.5 or 29er wheel.
This is a shame as I think the 26” wheel is a good size.
What are everyone’s thoughts on here?

If you already have a 26", and it works decently, I wouldn’t mess with the 27.5", since it is so close in size to the 26". A 29" might be a good option if your riding conditions are closer to XC than muni. I have been riding off road on my 24" and am loving it. I feel more in control on the smaller wheel. I stopped and chatted with a guy on a 29" mountain bike, yesterday. He encouraged me to ride on a larger wheel, that it’d be easier to roll over stuff on a 29". I am okay, however, with feeling every bump on my 24" (and yesterday I had the tire pressure set to 40 psi). And, there are many steep hills in my neighborhood. Near the end of yesterday’s ride, I rode down a steep switchback trail. It was a couple years ago I rode that trail last, and that was on a larger wheel, a 26", I think. Now, maybe I’ve improved in the last year, but I felt way more in control on the 24". This is purely my own perspective, based on my age, my riding style, my local conditions. Bottom line: you don’t need 100 good 26" tire choices. You only need one. I’m sure there will continue to be at least a few good choices.

I agree. The 26" is a perfect choice between a 20" and a 29". I do doubt that the 26" will disappear completely. Like elpuebloUNIdo said, you don’t need a hundred tyre choices. But I will say a few for off-road and one for on-road.

If you like nerding on tires, yes the decline in popularity of 26" will make it harder.
However, it will not go away overnight nor anytime soon as demonstrated by the 24" size (a lot less common on popular adult bikes yet there is a limited selection still covering different types of riding).

Long-story short: enjoy your ride 'till you break you uni :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

The more you ride, the less difference it makes what unicycle you are on. Many of the nominal sizes almost overlap if you allow for the thickest tyre section on a smaller diameter and a skinnier tyre on a larger diameter.

A 2 inch difference on a circumference of 26 inches is either plus 8% or minus 8% (rounded) which is less than 1 tooth difference on the rear sprocket on a bicycle. An extra 2 inches diameter makes for an extra 1 inch in seat height, which is negligible.

26, 27.5, 28, 29 are all much of a muchness with slight pros and cons, but there is no perfect size.

Availability of tyres is the most important consideration. As others have pointed out, even though very few people use 24 inch tyres on bicycles, but we can still get decent 24 inch tyres. There are very few 36 inch bikes, but we have 36 inch tyres for unicycling, and ditto with 32 inch.

There is always going to be some tires to choose from (as others have pointed out, there are still 24" tires in existance). But while currently, the situation for 26" is okay for someone like me, who is a bit particular about their setup, I’m seeing the writing on the wall. If you are happy to just put a tire on that is in the ballpark of the width, profile and compound you want-I guess you will be okay for probably another 10 years at least.

The thing is, it’s not only 26" options getting fewer, the rise of enduro and E-Mountainbikes has given 27.5" a lot of very attractive tire options. A lot of 2.5-3.0 wide tires to choose from, which happens to be a range that many Muni riders (including me) really enjoy. Just as an example, Maxxis has at least 5 completely different 27.5x2.8" tires, and only one 26x2.8 available right now. That isn’t including the different compounds and sidewalls available, with those, the numbers are even more exagerated.

My general recommendation is:
If you are getting a new Muni, I’d go 27.5 over 26 at least when you are paying equal money for them. If you are on a budget can get a much better deal on a 26" (maybe shopping used, or on sale etc.), I wouldn’t worry too much and just get the 26".
If you already have a 26" unless you want to upgrade anyway, I would just keep it for now.


And really, if anybody is looking to buy new and is feeling concerned that 27.5 might be more than you can handle, please don’t be. The size difference to a 26er is minimal, I was thinking perhaps I couldn’t manoeuvre a 27.5 well, but when I got it, it turned out to be a non issue. And if push really comes to shove, use a 24 or 20 inch instead.

Since I already have a 29", I rather have a 26" than a 27,5". 24" feels too small, and again, I already have a 20".
To me it’s a no brainer. The 26" is should not be forgotten.

I am also a Big Fan of 26" . There aren’t many 26x 3.0 tires (I know 5 models). But if you have a wide frame, you can also mount fat bike tires. 26 inch is also known for fat bike tires and the selection is good in this size. I ride a unicycle with a 45mm wide rim myself. I can ride the Surly Dirt Wizard 26x 3.0 as well as the Surly Nate 26x 3.80

1 Like

I am also a fan of the 26". As a kid I got the hand-me-down 28" schwinn b*ke from my older brother. By the time I needed new tires they had all but disappeared. I still have that bike, and after no tires for 60 years they bring out the new size, TA-DAH! 38x700c single tube tires and I’m riding it again. As it has been said “What goes around comes around”. I do not expect them to totally disappear, but the great selection will dwindle.

I’m also a fan of the 26” size. I’m sure 27.5 is great, but in my new to me 26” GUni I feel pleased that the unicycle size is just right in 1:1 and feels pretty compact when wheeling it around.

I’m running the Hookworm on this unicycle at the moment which seems to be well respected for non-muni detail. So far I like it but I do wonder if I’ll need to go on a hunt for a more knobbly 26x2.4 / 26x2.6 type tyre.

I have the older narrower KH26, and I’m fine about not running 3” wide tyres.

However all the ones I see recommended in the 2.4”-2.6” on this forum seem to have been discontinued or just hard to find.

Not to mention it seeing likely that a 2.6” width won’t work in this frame. The Hookworm is 2.5 and it seems a bit close.

Considering testing:

(This looks like a safe bet fit wise and seems pretty decent)

But this is tempted also by this Continental

I’d really like to try the 2.6” of this - Schwalbe Magic Mary

But I suspect it might be wiser to run the 2.35”.

There does seem to be a good few models out there for 26” that appear like tyres that would work well on a unicycle / GUni.

Be curious if anyone has ever tried the above, be ace to know (rather than just take a gamble they aren’t good or in my case don’t fit the KH26 narrow frame)?

I think most 2.6" should just about fit, but tire manufacturers vary a lot in how they measure tire width (what Schwalbe calls a 2.5" is the same as what Continental calls a 2.4"…). I’m guessing with a Schlumpf hub, you are not going to be necessarily testing out the limits of traction all the time, so I think both the magic mary and the continental are probably a bit on the too agressive side. I absolutely loved my magic mary for the traction, but it’s the absolute opposite of fast rolling the continental is similar as far as I know.

1 Like

Thanks for the insights here. Really appreciate it.

I like the size of 26” wheel size but don’t have much tyre experience - barring the Surly Larry (but that’s so big it is closer to my 29er.

As I want to test more in the 26” space and just have something a bit more rough path ready than the Hookworm.

After what you’ve said I’ll likely suss out testing the High Roller.

See how that rolls!…

See if you can find a Holy Roller in 26 x 2.4. They definitely used to make them, not sure if they’ve been discontinued in that size.

For something a bit more muni-ish you might still be able to find a Hans Dampf in 26 x 2.35. I’ve used one of those before and found it pretty well behaved.

1 Like

I don’t get the urge bicycle makers have to replace the 26”. It seems to me that wheel sizes are a continuum and rather than one being decisively better, they are better at some things and worse at others. All materials being equal 26” wheels will be both stronger and lighter than 27.5” wheels, will fit a smaller rider better, (on a bicycle), will have a lower center of gravity and will be more responsive. Of course the same could be said for 24” when compared to 26”.

Putting 5’ tall riders on 27.5” wheels, (still talking bikes as they are 99.9% of the tire market), just isn’t a good idea in my mind. In fact there really should be a better selection of 24” bikes.

1 Like

That is true, a real 3" tire may not clear your frame. However, the KH have been shipped for a long time with the Duro Wildlife Leopard that is marked as 3" (even if measurement are more of a 2.8" if I remember correctly).

Going for a 2.4/2.6 should be fairly safe.

As for the tread, you should be able to find a good middle point between the bald and the aggressive treads in the XC-style of tires. However, it is possible that these treads are not (or rarely) available over 2.35"…
You have a quest on your hands :wink:

1 Like

You can still get them

1 Like

I also had 20, 26 and 29, and didnt see the point of getting a 24. Then for the championships for most activities only the 24 is allowed. Then I figured I should have one. I bought a QUAX and even though b/c of circumstances I cant participate, I have ridden it a lot. Also 12+ km and it turned out to be a great size.
26" I have is a KH and was my second uni. I have ridden many many kms on it and still think it is a great size

1 Like

I too like the 24. It is a nice sweet spot of being compact enough to fit in a few places where bigger unis do not and fast enough to make it possible to use for transport. Also small enough to use for learning (or preforming) tricks that would be hard on a bigger unicycle.


Thanks for the suggestions here. And for the link Ruari! After today’s ride on the Hookworm I’m 99% I’ll be trying the Holy Roller. Need a bit more grip and normal MUni feel I am used too :pray:

1 Like