The Missing Link: A 32" unicycle, a' la Walmart and UDC

I first learned of this huge cruiser from a thread on MTBR:

I tried to ignore the urge, but it just wouldn’t leave me alone… Fast forward a few months, I was talking with Josh at UDC and he mentioned the Walmart 32er and how cool it would be to build up the wheels for a unicycle. The plan formed, Josh agreed to build the wheels if I supplied the parts…and off to Walmart I went.

They had a big ole display of the Genesis 32" Super Cruiser, color choices distracted me for a moment, would it be green, red, or blue? I spun a few wheels, skipping the bikes with flats :astonished: , and chose a nice neon green beauty. I paid my $199 plus tax and road her to the car. I drive a Honda Element, not a small vehicle, but even with the seats out it was a struggle to get these beast of a cruiser into my ride.

Away we went, home that is, no stops, it was demolition time! My wife begged me to reconsider, she said: “Why not wait until Alex gets home so he can ride it?” I then suggested Mrs Nurse Ben ride it first, so down the road she went, a whole twenty feet before exclaiming: “this thing is a pig, who’d ride a bike like this?” :roll_eyes:

Two hours later the wheels were broken down and ready for shipping to Unicycle.Com headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

And now, for your viewing please, I bring you the Super Cruiser 32" Unicycle…

Who would have thought that Kent and Walmart would the ones to bring us the first production 32" wheels?

And for my next trick, watch me build a “Sakatchewanian style” Racing Ralph 2.4 custom tire for this little lovely :stuck_out_tongue:

This sounds like a fun project. It doesn’t seem practical unless you have some sort of reliable source for replacement tires. I assume you can get away with 29" tubes, but I would want to know I could always get a new tire.

So, I’m curious about this “‘Sakatchewanian style’ Racing Ralph 2.4 custom tire”.

How does it ride? Does it feel different enough from a 29" to make the whole thing worth it?

Nice work chap

A 32" would be good for the smaller ridder, I could ride a 36" but I would have the tire almost in my butt crack :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for sharing this with us Nurse ben
It does look good :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

The way it’s set up now, it is a very nice road cruiser, not really a trail rider, so that’s the reason I’d want to make a better tire. Saskatchewanian has been making tire by combining two smaller tire to make a great big one. He did for a 36ers, of course now we have a good trail tire for the 36er…so I’m going to follow his lead and make one for the 32". He has a thread or two out there on his projects.

The underlying reason I did this was that Josh told me he would send his wheel to Roger in the UK and see if it motivated the powers to be toward building a new wheel standard, i.e a 32". It doesn’t have to be this one, in fact I’d like to see a wheel size that is closer to the mid point between the 32 and 36.

Imagine, a new wheel standard, like the 650b, but bigger :smiley:

A big wheel for smaller riders, yup.

Nice cruiser there Ben,
I looked for one of those 32" bikes, could not find one. Glad you found one to build this fine unicycle. That is one unique ride.

It’s a nice cruiser, the tire they made for this wheel is pretty durn good considering the source. The wheel built up fine, some odd lacing, 4x, but it tensioned well and has no signifeicant flat/low spots where spoke holes were skipped. A 32h hub would be a better hole skip pattern and of course a 48h hub would be a straight forward lace up.

I did some simple calculations comparing rim sizes and it appears that the 32" rim has the same size step above the 29" as seperates the 26" and the 29" (2.5"). This makes sense from a design perspective, though I wish the step was larger in order to place this wheel solidly between the 29" and the 36" (~3.5" step).

When I first rode the 32" it felt like stepping up from a 26" to a 29".

I found a bunch of these Genesis 32" Super Cruisers at my local Walmart, but apparently not every Walmart has them. For $200, couple hubs, and some sweat equity, anyone could build a set of 32" unicycle wheels, you could even use the stock spokes which are decent quality, though I’d suggest new nips. If you’re worried about a source of tires, then get a complete bike, build one wheel, and keep the parts in storage. I’ll probably get another bike if they go on sale, otherwise I’m going to move forward with a Frankentire Racing Ralph 2.4 :smiley:

Hey Ben,
Cool project! With the ties you’ve got, this certainly could be a good wheel for road cruising for riders that don’t fit well on a 36er. And with the right rim and tire, 32 could be a great xc muni. That said, with the rim and tire you’ve got, it looks like a 29er with better rim and tire will still be faster on trails. I also wonder how the new “29+” tires will compare in effective diameter.

Tire height does make a difference, which is why in the group photo the 29 x 2.4 seems so close to the same size as the 32" and the 36 x 2.25 seems so much bigger than the 32". The actual rim size step is the same for the 26:29 and the 29:32

For perspective, tire measurements from rim sidewall to highest point on tire tread:

32 x 2.125 tire = 1.75" tall
Duro 24 x 3" = 2.6" tall on a 42mm rim
Hans Dampf 29 x 2.4" = 2.25" on a 47mm rim
36 x 2.25 prototype = 2.25" on 42mm rim

To be fair, when the tire compresses, the knobbies do not stand “tall” so a taller knobby and a low volume casing is probably not as significant as a short knobby and a high volume casing, so the RR 2.4 is probably just as tall as the Hans Dampf 2.4, even though the Dampf measures slightly taller than the RR 2.4 when unmounted.

The 3" Surly Knard will gain only a 1/4-3/8" in height over the existing fat 29er tires, so not that much of a change, a 2.4" tire on the 32" would add 1/2" or more, so if we’re comparing “apples to apples”, a Knard for the 32", then it would have a sidewall 3/4" taller, so 1.5" taller than it appears in the picture.

The big sell on the Knard is the bigger volume and lightweight, so no one should be expecting a 29er Gazzolodi, instead think more like a beefed up RR, Surly style; supple with low tread height, like a mini Larry.

The 32" is a nice wheel size for folks who want something bigger than a 29", but don’t want to go all the way to a 36", but now the question is if/when someone will take this thing and run…

10-15k for the tooling to build a new rim, 5-10k for the tooling to build a new tire.


Cool, I just checked Walmart on line and they have that 32 bike available to order. It was tough choosing what color, but settled for a pretty Blue one! Can’t wait… $215 with NY tax.

We just got back from a trail ride, single track, roots and rocks, a little wetness after a thunderstorm soaked us half way out, we rode just a couple miles, but overall the 32er did quite well, though “cheap”, the 32’ tire rode better than a Coker or Nimbus tire.

I found the 32" to be easier to throw around than my 36er with the prototype tire, not that much more unwieldy than my fat tire 29er, the tire/wheel is quick and responsive, noticeably faster than a 36er in getting up to speed, and slow speed maneuvering is nicer.

I started with 20psi, added a couple more psi so I wouldn’t pinch flat, I took it easy sort of, but I did ride over some roots and downed trees up to 8-10" in diameter, a couple abrupt bridge edges, some rocky ledges, and of course some rooty and rocky downhills. I like it quite a bit :smiley:

Switching wheels is so awesome on the Impulse/Oregon unis, just four bolts, one wheel off, and another wheel on. I have disc brake love :smiley:

Tomorrow I’m doing a long ride at Tsali or Enterprise (flattish single track) on the 36" wheel. If I had an equivallent 32" wheel set up, 2.25 mtb tire and a burly rim, I’d probably take that since it’s a lot of work to ride a 36er on tight trails. I’m looking at tires for the Frankentire, the Racing Ralph 2.25 with the snakeskin sidewall looks good.

Good job! So what hub are you building on? If you go with a 48h hub, there’s a chance you’ll have to cut the spokes, it depends on the flange height. The stock bike hubs have a smaller flange than a uni hub, so longer spokes. If you go 4x that might take up the length, either way a little cutting is easy, just take them to a bike shop and they can do it with a spoke cutter. Josh at UDC would help you make the calculations; he’d be excited to hear about some one else building a 32" :slight_smile:

Thank you Nurse Ben for breaking ground on this, listing the details and the helpful suggestions. I will check with Josh before I build the wheel. I can spoke a wheel, but am not confident about spoke calculations and yeah, want to avoid experimental wheel building… Ordered a Nimbus 48h hub for the wheel build. Plan is to initially swap the wheel into my KH 36.

I think a 32" Uni would be pretty marketable assuming tire choices improved. I look forward to the possibilities.

@NB, does this mean you are going to be selling another one of your Uni’s to thin out the stable again? lol I’m enjoying your old KH-26 more and more… I’ve put quite a few miles on it now.


I’m waiting on the Surly Knard 29 x 3", then I’ll have two wheelsets for each frame, so KH 29 Oracle will go on the block. I still have that Nimbus 24" Muni I got from Wes (Knoxuni) which gets rare use for doing silly pet tricks, so I’ll be down to three unis, five wheels sets, and a 20" traineer for teasing bikers :smiley:

For XC a slightly taller 29" is pretty sweet, and I think that’s what we could have if it gets enough press and someone makes it happen. I’m not a wealthy guy, but if sweat equity counts, I’ll make the investment.

Now for a tire…


Wonder if a schlumpf hub would be ok with the odd spoke spacings??

32 to 48 works pretty well but 32 to 36 is not fun. Since it is a single wall rim I would just re-drill the rim for 36 spokes.

A geared 32 would be a great commuting setup.

Eric, the rim is double wall, I am not really sure if that makes a difference for re-drilling, as I have never attempted to re-drill a rim.

I could see surly make something like a 32x3 knard. That would be interesting.

Hey Eric, look for a pm, I have a couple questions for you!

OOPS, Sorry.

Re-drilling a double wall rim would be a bit tougher but I can’t see why it can’t be done.

You might be able to get away with 24 spokes for nice even spacing and tension without drilling new holes…