The Ultimate Touring Machine?

There have been so many new developments that I figure it’s time to upgrade my stock Coker and get the Ultimate Touring Machine. My criteria for the unicycle are (in no particular order):

  1. Should be easy to travel with (planes, trains, buses, etc).
  2. Flexible enough to do large distances on road yet strong enough to do a bit of off-road (distance and bit of technical riding too).
  3. Lightweight, lower maintenance and strong (so things don’t go bust in the middle of nowhere).

I’m looking at a 29" option and a 36" option. Let’s assume that money is not an issue :slight_smile:

The 29" Option:
Frame: 29" Triton. Like Ken Looi’s. (Would those be the lightest (taking strength into consideration) available? Any issues with them I should be concerned with?)
Would a Ti seatpost and handle be any good?
The KH Schlumpf Hub
Cranks: Double-hole Moment cranks in 150mm/125mm length (Would it be possible to get a 110m hole custom drilled or would the holes end up being to close? You do get ISIS cranks that are smaller then 100mm, right?)
Rim:700cx38mm, 36 hole, double wall KH rim
KH Fusion Freeride Saddle
Not too fussed about the pedals, tyre and spokes at this point.
Any flaws with this set-up?
The good thing about this unicycle is that it’ll be easy to travel with. It’ll be very versatile coz I can do long distance on the higher gear, and more technical muni and city riding (Asian cities!) on the lower gear. There are lots of options for 29" wheels. And if I have issues with it travelling in a remote region (like a busted inner tube), parts or make-do parts should be easier to find.

The 36" Option:
Frame: 36" Triton. (Would those be the lightest available? Any issues with them I should be concerned with? The new KH 36"would be a good option too.)
Would a Ti seatpost and handle be any good?
Cranks: Double-hole Moment cranks in 150mm/125mm length (Would it be possible to get a 110m hole custom drilled or would the holes end up being to close? You do get ISIS cranks that are smaller then 100mm, right?)
Rim:The Nimbus Al rim. The KH 36" rim will be similar, right?
KH Fusion Freeride Saddle
Tyre: The Nightrider looks good at this point.
Not too fussed about the pedals and spokes at this point.
Hub: I’ve been riding a non-geared UDC hub for a while. I can climb, do flats, a bit of muni etc on it. Do I really need a geared hub? With the lower gear of the geared hub, I can do a lot. So, with the higher gear??? Some people like it. Some people say its only good for certain types of terrain. What types? Is there any problem with the hub in terms of maintenance and durability at this point? Also with the geared hub, I may need a brake while descending hills. I’m not too keen on a brake as it’s more things that can go wrong in the middle of nowhere. So, descending in the lower gear should be ok (for now).
Any flaws with this set-up?
Not as easy to travel with, compared to a 29". Not the best for too much city riding. I really like the feel of the Coker though- feels stable and powerful. Not as many options as a 29" but this seems to be changing.

I think the holy grail of adventure unicycling is to do an unsupported long distance muni tour. Hence, I want my uni to be light, so I can attach my gear to it (that’ll weigh it down) but of course, be strong enough to carry all the stuff.

Thoughts? And if you have answers to my many questions, please go ahead…I’m all ears. Looking to slowly acquire the parts over the next 12 months.


I personally like the idea of a geard 29er, fast, yet still very versatile. I plan to get a geared up for my 29er. I got the 29er instead of a 36, planning to get the geared hub for it.

The only thing I would change about your setup is the cranks. I didn’t like the KH cranks for speed at all. Something straighter nad lighter is better IMO. If your actually gonna be doing some muni, its easy enough to change the cranks to something with more Q.

Yup, makes sense to carry different pairs of cranks for a general trip. Gives you more options.

The reason I was interested in the double drilled cranks was so on an unsupported trip, I can keep weight down by not carrying extra cranks. I could also try getting customised double-drilled cranks instead of the KH ones.

Talking about cranks, on a geared 36", one would use longer cranks. Is this ideal for a long distance trip? With longer cranks, your legs make larger circles that could potentially tire you out faster and make you bounce around a bit more (saddle soreness!). But then again if you’re able to go faster, you reach your destination faster and that gives you more time to have a rest before the next day. On an ungeared 36" with short cranks, you may go a tad slower but the ride’ll be a bit smoother with the shorter cranks. Would I be right? Normal 2 wheeled bikes use longer cranks (compared to unis) and they can be ridden all day- so maybe long cranks aren’t all that bad…Thoughts? Preferences?

i think the shorter the cranks the faster you go but its harder to climb hills. i think.

I’ve gone back to using 29" for travelling/touring because it’s lighter and more portable than a 36". For speed, I’d still go for a 36", but I find that a 29" with short’ish cranks (say 100mm) like I was using on Uninam was fast enough to keep up with the group with (all riding 36").

Shorter cranks are definitely more comfortable for riding. Your comparison with bikes does not take into account the fact that you tend to run bigger gears on bikes (you push down harder on the pedals…it does relieve some sitting pressure), and also the spread out handlebars are better for spreading your around with. And they don’t tend to have fat saddles wedged against your crotch.

The Schlumpf hub does add a degree of versatility, but also adds weight and complexity. So far they have proved to be pretty reliable, but still not as reliable as a solid hunk of steel you have with a fixed unicycle.

If cost is not an issue, I would look into getting a V framed geared uni, similar to Unisk8s Red Menace. I think that that would give you a much better sitting position.

Well yes and no. Your revolutions are the same no matter the crank length; but the shorter the cranks, the smaller circles you make and less up/down leg motion and wheel wobble, so that in itself would aid in going faster.

If you get a titanium frame, you won’t want a Ti seatpost. The two (frame and seatpost) are subject to oxidizing and fusing together, according to some Ti-owning bike riders I know. I haven’t owned any Ti stuff, so can’t say from personal experience.

If you tighten it up and leave it there without taking it out for a couple of years maybe :stuck_out_tongue:

haha halarious.

Sid, there’s no way you’d ever be able to carry enough food to do an unsupported long distance muni tour–unless you opted to slay animals on the way. :wink:

I like the concept of a geared 29er to omit cumbersomeness yet retain speed and relative stability.

I’m putting on my 125mm cranks next week–I moved my legs too much on Uninam.

Oh, and, Ken. The x-rays I took today show no break in the toe! Guess I got lucky this time. They asked what that painkiller was you gave me but I couldn’t remember the name…

Still pealing from the sunburn… :smiley:

Oh good, I was pretty sure it would be broken. Anyway…we had relatively few injuries so I’m happy with that :stuck_out_tongue:

I gave you some Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. I think you guys call it something funny…acetaminophen or something like that. I just realised I had some tramadol too but it didn’t sound like you needed to be drugged up anymore.

I think every sport has its limitations to using the term “unsupported”. In unicycling, my definition would be not having a support vehicle or a bike to carry gear. I’m hoping to get food, water and maybe some shelter on the road. But all personal belongings should be carried on the unicycle to be unsupported, I reckon.

Good luck with the healing :slight_smile:

Yup, I’m not sold on the geared 36" yet. I do understand that longer cranks can tire you out. The first time I used 125mm cranks after a long gap was in Uninam (was using 110mm before that) and I felt really sore during the first rest day. Though 125mm cranks are the perfect all round cranks and that’ll probably be what I’d prefer lugging gear long distances).

I haven’t ridden a 29" (geared or ungeared) enough to estimate how fast I can go. So, I’ll have to buy/ borrow one and ride it for a bit. Once I get a reasonable estimate on speed, it’ll be interesting to see how climbing is on a 29" with 100mm cranks (there is a similar thread doing the rounds about some people preferring shortER cranks for climbing.

I’ve done exactly this kind of riding, with a geared 29er. Multi day unsupported trips, bivvying out, carrying water / food etc. Like you say, I’ve always been able to get food at least once a day, and I fill up water on the way at streams or whatever usually.

Personally I would just buy the stock KH geared 29er. The triton frames are nice looking if you have the money, but you are basically buying pimpyness, they don’t weigh much less than the kh frame (and the frame is such a small part of the weight of the unicycle anyway).

The 29er is easy to take on planes, buses, trains etc. if you need to, as long as you have something to put the wheel in (at a pinch you can get it in a plastic survival bag, or put the wheel only in a binbag), it isn’t a bike, it’s just another piece of luggage. I’ve also had no problems with hotels, just carrying the 29er into my room. Cokers are hassle at any point when you’re not riding them.

In terms of stability, I don’t think there’s masses in it between a coker and a geared up 29er, once you’ve learnt to ride the 29er.

In terms of speed, the geared up 29er is fast enough for touring. It’s easy enough to go 12mph / 20km/h and you don’t really need faster than that for general touring. Being able to pootle around in cities in low gear is fantastically handy though, and it is great being able to ride muni on the same unicycle, whereas you get somewhere on your coker, thinking the muni looks fantastic, but you have no way of trying it.

I think choice of what gear to carry makes way more of a difference than choice of unicycle though, I’ve done long rides on coker and 29er, and for sure what makes the biggest difference is carrying less random junk when you travel and being obsessive about what is a vital thing to take. Whatever unicycle you take, if you’ve got a 20kg load of gear with you, you’ll have a crap ride, whereas if you get it down to 4kg, it’ll be fun.


But the whole point of a Triton frame is pimpyliness. C’mon…why else would you want one?

I can think of the only other advantage over the KH frame being that it’s more robust…doesn’t corrode and no paint to scratch off.

I’ve got to say that I agree with your 29" geared Triton Schlumpf type option.

Why have I got to say that? Well, that’s what I’ve gone for :smiley:

Almost exactly, but not quite. I’ve got the non-KH hub though, which is perfectly addequate for riding, touring, fire roads and light muni. (For more technical muni, I prefer a small wheel anyway). The only thing I’d prefer the KH hub for though is that it takes splined cranks which are much easier and less scary to change than square taper ones.

I’ve gone for the 29" Triton Sponge frame too, which is an absolute beauty. As Joe says, it doesn’t weigh much less than the KH (610g vs 675g), but having the older hub with the torque arm I needed something custom.

You haven’t made any mention of brakes, but a pair* of Maguras will be very handy if you’re touring around hilly areas, or if you muni adventures are steep.

I’ve got the MG1 magnesium pedals too as they’re nice and light and very grippy, but pedal choice comes down to personal preference.

As for the saddle? Well, I’ve got an older Fusion saddle on another uni, which is ok, but I use the Nimbus Gel saddle mainly and that is quite comfy day in day out. Can’t comment on the newer Fusions though.


  • Is one ‘set’ of maguras a pair as there are two halves, or is a ‘pair’ enough for a bike? :thinking:

Geared 29

Personally I’d go with the KH 29 with new geared hub and a
KH Fusion Freeride seat.

From a maintenance stand point tires and tubes should be easier to obtain than a 36" wheel and tube.

The 29" plays around in the city and off roading with greater nimbleness than the 36. In geared mode the 29 is bound to go fast enough for long distance touring.

Personally, I’d classify the gear 29 the ultimate rather than gear 36.

Transporting a unicycle via car, plane, train, motorcycle easier on 29".
Off roading easier on 29 (My humble opinion)
Commuting and off roading can be done on 29"
Rider confidence on a smaller diameter wheel for freemounting, idling, etc.

They can build em to work with the old schlumpf hub too. I’m kind of considering one for this reason, although part of me is thinking that if I have £300 to spend on a frame, maybe it’s worth saving up and spending £1000 on a kh/schlumpf instead! Hmm. Maybe that’ll have to wait until the days of studentdom are over though.


Yup -

In fact, they can build them to pretty much whatever spec you want.


The reason I put the new KH/Schlumpf hub in a 29er is for unicycle touring this summer. Traveling with it will be a lot easier than a 36er. It was kind of a hassle getting the 36er on busses, cabs, planes, etc.

My touring set up is going to be the kh/schlumpf hub, kh frame, dual drilled 125/150mm cranks (which will allow me to check out some XC trails), snafu pedals, gb4 handles, miyata plastic base, gb4 stiffener, custom foam (i may put on a CF miyata base though). All I need to do now is find a way to use the brake lever in conjunction with the GB4 bars…there isn’t really a good way to make it fit other than a bar end, but they dont make bar ends that fit 27.2mm posts! UGH! It is quite frustrating, I wish I didn’t like the GB4 handles so much.

As far as carrying everything…I am working this out now. I will be getting a lightweight medium sized camelbak backpack to fit the following:
-tarp shelter/guy lines/2 light stakes (will be around a pound)
-synthetic sleeping bag (i have had bad experiences with down)- 2 pounds 2 ounces if I use a 32F bag, and 2 pounds 14 ounces if I use a 15F bag. If I use the 32F bag I will be bringing a thermolite sleeping bag liner as well(adds 10 degrees F to the bag), and this might work better for me. Anyone know how cold Norway/Iceland get on summer “nights”?
-light weight foam pad.
-water in a camelback pouch
-2 layers of polypro or wool
-2 bike shorts/etc
-rain gear
-and some other “essentials” that I don’t feel like listing right now.

I find climbing in low gear on the schlumpf harder than climbing on a 36er. Harder meaning…slower and it doesn’t feel as efficient. Ungeared 36ers also feel like they are less mentally and physically draining than a geared 29er…this may just be because I am still new to the 29" guni though. An ungeared 36er is probably one of the best unicycles you can go touring with, but if you want to go traveling with a unicycle and do touring, XC, city riding, muni, and not have to worry about it not fitting in a bus/cab…the 29 guni wins.