Thoughts on using a 24" for commuting?

Hi all,

I’m considering getting a 24" Torker to commute back and forth to work. The commute is about 6 miles each way, pretty flat, on an off-road paved bike path. I’m wondering if this is doable on a 24" or if I would need to go up to a 29" to do the commute in reasonable time? I learned on a 20" and that’s definitely out of the question…

Thanks for any thoughts on this!

Ugghh… I feel slow commuting 5km on a 29er, I’d hate to do it on a 24. How much time do want to spend commuting each day?

If I was getting a Torker for commuting I would at least get an LX 26, or if you can still find one an AX 29. A good budget commuter would be a UDC Trainer 29. I don’t know about the seat on it, but it’s a good price for a uni that could do the 6 miles in a somewhat reasonable time.

A 24 for a 6 mile commute isn’t my idea of a good time. I commute 4 miles, and the 26 seemed a bit too slow for my tastes. I liked the 29, but eventually got a 36. Most likely I’ll be back on a 29 someday. It’s a very versatile size.

Wow, I was afraid you’d say that. How much time is your 5k commute on the 29"? I’d like to keep the 6mi commute to an hour tops.

Thanks jtrops, I think that link you posted is exactly what I’m looking for. I’d love to get a 36" at some point, but I need some more riding under my belt before that happens.

My vote is also for the 29. There is a world of difference between the two sizes when commuting. When you first get on the 29, you will say “why the hell did I ever listen to that bonehead Kerv”? When I moved from a 24 to a 29 I was very intimidated by the height. But, after you get used to the height, you will be grateful that you listened to that same bonehead.

Thanks Kerv - it sounds like there’s a consensus that 29+ is the way to go for any serious commuting.

it’s not as bad as Kerv makes out. A 29 isn’t much different(heightwise) to a 24. But Kerv is right, you want a 29. It’s a practical size, you can ride cross country with it and once you get stronger (it is of course effectively a higher gear) you can go quite a bit faster on it. Might take a little while to get the mounts reliable, (I had to use a truck this morning, had had a hard weekend…) but it is an ideal size. You won’t regret spending your money on the 29.

Incidently, what is a practical 29er time for 10k? 40 minutes? I know the 36er riders can get around a marathon course (42K) in around 2 hours but they are racing.



I’m a relative noob and it takes me about 30mins to cover 5km on my 29er. Lots of small rolling hills and I go faster uphill than downhill. There’s plenty of room for improvement.

Previously I’d only ridden a 20" and when I got the 29" I felt far more comfortable on it (after a brief adjustment period of ~2 hours). I’d only just learned to free (static) mount my 20" at the time and found mounting the 29" much easier.

You should easily be able to cover 6km in an hour, but that’s quite a workout at 2 hrs. a day. You’ll be sweaty.

The best vehicle for the job is a 36", but that’s a big jump from 20". If you don’t want to go all the way to the real commuting machine, I recommend a 29". Its less intimidating, easier to store, cheaper, and can still cruise pretty quickly with short cranks.

I’m with the others you will need a 29 at least. I bought a Nimbus 29 nomad from UCD switched out the Stout tire for a WTB Raptor Nano now its fast and can handle off road. I think some 110 125 KH crankes and you are going to be plenty zippy.

It is easily doable on a 24" or a 20" with slightly more patience. It is surprising how fast you can travel on a 20" compared to walking, it is like fast jogging and is fairly efficient when you don’t battle the unicycle. I would definitely aim for the 29 or 36 eventually for commuting cos they travel further and easier. I have done 20km in an hour on my 29er a while back, which is similar to what I can do on a 36".

Shortish cranks are good for spinning fast on commuting.
The next step I guess will be the Schlumpf 36… :smiley:

I’ve spent time commuting on all sorts of unicycle sizes, including a 20" giraffe and 20", 24", 24x3", 28", 29", 36" and I think having the patience to get somewhere on a 20" helps with getting further on any of the other sizes since they are all slower than a bicycle. As long as you have fun along the way is the main thing I reckon! Show other people that you don’t need a car to commute.

Twelve miles on a 24" uni, now that sounds like a chore.

But to actually commute at that low rate of speed, sounds like you’re really into pain and suffering.

A 29er would be better, but still quite slow, I could run twelve miles to work faster and with less effort than I could riding a 29er.

A 36er is the best choice, they can be found used and new, more efficiant that running, fast enough to feel the wind in your hair, more stability, more comfotable.

Definitely a 36er, 29er could be a close call depending on terrain. It’s not that hard to ride a 36er, in fact some folks find it an easy uni to ride due to the tremendous stability. Free mounts can be hard, but there’s no reason you can’t mount off poles, trees, fences…

My vote is for a quality 29 like the UDC Nomad w/ shorter cranks and road tire, or a geared up giraffe.

A giraffe can get to just about whatever equivalent wheel size you want, but a stock one is just as intimidating if not more to ride as a 36 and similar storage isues.

Do you not like riding a unicycle? It is plain and easy and not much of a challenge but it is an enjoyable chore- and chores that are fun seem more like play than work.
You must be a good runner- 29er is way easier than running cos there is next to no impact. 24 or 20 is easier than running for me.

I’d like to try a low down, geared up giraffe. I’ve always just used 1:1 ratios. It sounds like a cheap and feasable way to achieve a higher gear.

On a similar note, it looks like the Huni-Rex is finally available:

Back before I had my 36er, I rode 10-15 miles daily on my 24". It took about 2 hours. While it wasn’t the fastest, and it wasn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world, it worked just fine. However, with my 36er (and probably a 29er with very short cranks) I could cover 25 miles in the same amount of time.

If I was going to decide for you, I’d have to get the 29er. You don’t need a terribly expensive one, because you’re not going to be going on technical trails and it won’t be under too much stress, if it’s main use is commuting.

I’m not sure how tall you are, but I consider myself relatively short, and I’m very comfortable on my 36er. When I bought it, I stood 5’6" with a 31" inseam. After a week I could free mount 80% of the time and I was very comfortable. That first 3 mile ride I did was hellish though, and terrifying. It was like riding a bull through Macy’s, or swallowing (whole) and then regurgitating a baby headless rabbit (which my dog did).

LOL about riding the bull through Macy’s. I agree with your advice - the 29" seems like the right thing to do. When I’m comfortable with that and maybe ready to dare riding in real traffic (the full commute is 10 mi each way) I’ll think about the 36". I’m 5’8" so it sounds like that won’t be a problem.

This brings up a question I have for you 29" and 36" commuters: what do you do at red lights, i.e. how easy/hard is it to idle on a 29"/36"?

Thanks for all the great responses!!

Idling on a 29" is pretty easy. Idling on a 36" is fairly difficult; most people hop in place, or find something to hold onto, or dismount at lights.

First off, if you can ride on the sidewalk, go for it. It’s safer and you’ll be significantly more comfortable. I always opt for the sidewalk if I’m commuting. No one has ever given me any trouble, but some places have rules against it. There was a thread a while back about the po-po on a university campus that forced someone to dismount his 20".
If you can’t take the sidewalk for any reason, riding on the street works too. I imagine that you would be able to learn idling on your 29" without too much difficulty, but I could never do it on my 36. I just dismounted, then hopped back on when the light changed. At first the mounting of these two unicycles seems daunting and impossible, but eventually it’s as natural as drinking a cup of tea; only problem is, you’ll make a weird face if the tea tastes bad.