Touring Unicycle build Q: V-Frame or P-Frame?

I’m planning to build myself a 29” frame specifically for touring and some commuting when it isn’t loaded with bags.

I’ve got limited experience with metal working but enough (I hope) to build my own frame.

There’s a few things I’m struggling with, what type of design to go with that will both function well and look pretty cool too, and also geometry for this kind of uni. I’m aware it mostly comes down to how I ride and the dimensions of my body, but if anyone could share what types of angles are most comfortable for long distances that’d be very appreciated.

If anyone has any input on what types of bike saddles could be comfortable for unicycle touring as well, that would also be appreciated.

I’m thinking either a V-Frame or a P-frame but I just can’t decide on which one, they both seem exceptional for touring, but I feel the V- Frame looks more aesthetically pleasing. But the P-frame will likely be lighter than the v-frame.

Anyone that thinks they have even the slightest bit of input that might help, please comment on this thread. I appreciate all ideas/advice.



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So as someone who was looking at the same thing I got some advice from Jakob. V is for sprinting like a time trial bike, and P frame are good for having a handle you can put some bags on.

I currently have a 4kg 29" build I use for Unipacking. It’s not anything custom but I found the smaller handle has made me really lose interest in making a custom frame due to weight at the end of the day. My KH frame is 680g and I really notice the weight difference coming down from a stock unicycle that might be 40-50% heavier.

For trips too I’ve put my money I would have spent on a frame on fancy backpacking gear, got a 450g Gossamer Gear Kumo 36 and the bag itself weighs as much as a single bike rack and can comfortably carry up to 25 lbs or so. Just a consideration as you decide where to put your money

@Rebekka (I think I have the right account) just did the European divide trail and I think they’d have a good perspective though.

I’d say go with the frame that reduce how upright you sit on the uni, drag/air resistance will have a bigger effect on your speed as I find you tend to get adjusted to the weight of your equipment. The more you ride the easier a heavy build gets to push.

Processing: PXL_20231017_210406008.jpg…


@Becky98 is the right one, not Rebekka :wink:
@jaco_flans and @toutestbon may have some insights. The first one building frames, the second one riding V and P-frames :wink:


I have a very simple and not too expensive solution I would say. I just got a bike seatpost rack and a version of a KH t-bar made out of steel by Jakob with standard T-piece.
For the front I designed a square bag and my mum did the sewing. For bags in the front in general it has to be taken in account that they can’t be too wide because you legs will be in the way. Moving your legs outwards will most likely result in knee pain.
What I like about my setup is:

  • it offers a huge varion on handle bar angles
  • it packs down very small (good for flying)
  • it is stable enough for unipacking (but if you want a aero bar, I would recommend a P or V frame)
  • it is light
  • the uni can be used with way shorter handles for other purposes
  • a seatpost rack can be found in lots of bike stores in case it brakes (my first showed cracks after 7000 km of in multiple trips, but replacement on the road was easy)

But this set up definitely needs a unicycle seat.


I’ll start with the disclaimer that I’ve never actually been touring with a unicycle, but I’d really quite like to! – not at the level of Ed Pratt or Becky, but some muni packing/touring type gravel thing in the wilderness for a few days… (!)

For some time now I have been toying with the same idea as you – I’d really like to build my own touring frame (CrMo) – I’ve got the ability and tools (he said arrogantly :slightly_smiling_face: ) but I just seriously lack the time at the moment to do anything about it. However I’d really like to go touring on a frame I’d designed and built myself on a wheel I’d built myself – that appeals very much.

All my thoughts have centred around a V-frame design, primarily for its load carrying capability, rigidity and ability to resist twisting from pedal torque with a good handle setup. The latter also lead me to consider using a bicycle saddle rather than a unicycle one.

The type of saddle which Vogelfrei80 experimented with in this thread looks pretty interesting:
Handle saddle cushion ideas - #23 by Vogelfrei80 .

You’ll also see Hammer has a similar saddle in his setup in the Handlebar thread:
post your homemade handlebars here! - #460 by Hammer .

and of course toutestbon’s Flansberium V-frame with a bike saddle:
Post a picture of your unicycle(s) - #580 by toutestbon .
post your homemade handlebars here! - #461 by toutestbon

JimT also did a thread on a noseless saddle, but I was not so keen on that idea, probably since I quite like narrow bike seats…
Noseless Unicycle Saddle .

I tried someone else’s bike with a Selle SMP saddle recently and I really quite liked it – I have been a fan of Brooks leather saddles for a long-long time (Swallow, Swift, B17 etc) but could be converted to the Selle one.

Anyhow, the frame idea would probably integrate some rack and bag setup as used by the likes of Ed and Becky into the frame structure rather than being attached to a seat post (Ed has a new uni-packing adventure coming soon on a 29"er so it will be interesting to see the the details of his setup there and compare with Becky’s European Divide setup).

I need to start sketching stuff out before starting some drawings – however at the moment it is still at the stage of daydreaming when I need to take my mind of work when things aren’t working – I am an expert at procrastination at least!


I think Turtle was one of the first to use a V frame. He can definitely provide experience


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I am also intrested to hear from Ed how his unipacking setup worked since he did some stuff different to mine. But there are definitely similarities since Ed asked me for some advise and definitely used some of that.
One thing that I learned from unipacking in the past 6 years is, that there is always something that you want to do different after each trip and its a constant development of gear. But you can get very close to the ideal set up:) And I encourage trying and finding your ideal set up! Looking forward to all your builds:)


Did you plan to bend the forks to fit or use steel lugs? I personally think the steel lugs could look very cool especially on a unicycle.

I was intending using mostly straight CroMo fillet brazed tubes in whatever configuration I come up with (!), so reasonably custom – that also needs some time invested into jigs though. Any bends would depend on how I’d get on bending the steel tubes… my pipe bender might be okay with 15mm steel, I haven’t tried it (just with copper!) More gentle bends should be possible without a bender though, I’d need to see what is possible without kinks (and investigate bending with ice inside).

I had previously found a source in the UK for small quantities of different sized 4130 chromoly tubes (round, square and oval as I remember) who sold to amateur aircraft constructors, but that seems to have gone now (I bought some tubes from them for some HPV stuff I made quite a long time ago). Google will hopefully find me somewhere else to buy the stuff though… :slight_smile:

I’d also quite like to just machine some steel bearing holders like the Mad4One ones as they look pretty clean and would be pretty straightforward and quick to make from some round bar. I did consider trying to make a quick release bearing holder at one point – ‘just because’ – (I think there is a thread on here about those) but nothing as fancy as the really nice machined ones which Jakob Flansberry is now making (see the photos on his Instagram account).

The easiest thing to do for bearing holders however is just to buy the steel ones from UDC and braze them on:

I have previously bought a set of these for making the adjustable adapters I made for my Park Tool wheel stand (allows me to do build any width hub (100/125) up to 36in in a “proper” stand with bearings seated properly – I originally made these for building my fat carbon wheel for my Hatchet). They are a pretty useful resource and brazed no problem as I recall.

Anyhow, the work/life balance at the moment is basically tipped to just ‘work’ with no time for ‘life’, or at least the optional, enjoyable parts! So it might be a while before I get to this – but it will happen.

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I came up with a design I think could work… it might be a little heavy, as I plan to go with steel.

I’m a little stuck with tubing sizes and how to make the handlebars adjustable, would you happen to have any advice for that?

For crmo tubing I was on a site the other day that had all kinds of options for diameter and shape, I’ll see if I can find it again.

I don’t think the weight will be all that much of an issue to be honest, you are going to be loading the thing up after all.

With respect to the handlebar adjustability, my thoughts were on mounting something like a KH T-bar so it could be adjusted for angle and length, maybe even pointing back a bit depending on the length of the top-tube of the frame. . Again, if you look at Jakob’s instagram page you’ll see a 36" frame that he made with a handlebar extension (20 May, last picture in set) – I was thinking of something like that, but with maybe a couple of bolts rather than a single pivot bolt to keep it firm.


I used a KH T-bar for Tour Aotearoa.

In regular riding I don’t need much of an extension, but on tour with multiple 100km days on the road, I found the more stretched out I was the more efficient and comfortable. By the end of the TA, it was extended as far it would go (and I have short arms and legs!). It can get pretty flexy at full extension.

I think having a V-frame is a good idea for rigidity and reach. It shouldn’t be too heavy if you use high end bicycle tubes. I used a stainless steel KVA chainstay tubeset for my custom unicycle, so it might be worth considering in a V-frame configuration.


Weight is really important, even loaded up. Unlike a bike, you have limited gearing choices, and more ways to fall off. Unless you are touring on smooth, flat roads, a 10kg uni/load is more enjoyable than a 20kg uni/load.

I know our geometry will be different but just out of curiosity how much reach do you think you had on the fully extended bars? I’m measuring from the t on the bar to the seatpost. And what angle did you find most comfortable? Right now I like the handle pretty much flush with the seat when the frame is sitting perfectly upright. I’ll just attach a picture rather than describing…


I’d have to measure it when I get home. If you look at my gallery below, you’ll see the angle and degree of extension. It’s a 1st generation T-bar so is straight. At the start of the tour it was fairly short, by the end it was extended just beyond maximum. I also tend to sit on the back part of seat when cruising.


I certainly take your point especially given all your experience.

I was coming from the perspective that a bit of extra weight from the unicycle isn’t so significant compared to what you are carrying and you could perhaps lose weight more easily there - but weight is weight and if you lose it once on the unicycle itself you lose it every time you use it.

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Sorry I misunderstood. Yes, pack weight is probably greater than the unicycle, but there are easy ways to shave weight from the uni without compromising reliability.

My somewhat unqualified 2 cents:

A V frame is probably very awesome if you pretty closely know the position you want to achieve and you are sure you’ll always be in a forward, on the handlebar position. It’s a very good design for rigidity and strength with a long distance between seat and handles, but you are probably limited in your options of adjusting reach and height.

A P frame you could probably build in a lot more adjustment, even up to the point where you can use it as a “normal” unicycle frame with a shorter handlebar. It’s a bit less efficient structurally because of the bending loads on the fork legs.

For equal strength, a V-frame could probably be a bit lighter than a P frame, because the load paths are better, but maybe tube availability will get in the way and negate the shape advantage.
My instinct would be to start out with a P-frame with a fair amount of adjustability in the handlebar section, so that you can experiment with your position. Then you could rebuild the handlebar section to your final geometry to remove weight and complexity of having adjustment. (Or start over and build a V-frame to your found geometry).


Hi PJ! Here I’m posting the answers I gave you in PM before opening your topic.

My 36 V-frame was made for speed, for racing. It’s not very practical for touring. I used it as inspiration for my 29" touring frame. Which is really good for touring. In particular, it allows you to use a frame bag and have rigid handlebars (and a bike saddle). This optimizes load distribution on the unicycle, and greatly improves comfort.

I’m currently hesitating to remake a 36" version of this frame, but I wanted to make a compromise between touring and speed. But if I were to make a 36" frame again, it would be more of a speed frame, an improvement on my first 36" V-frame.

You can use a V frame for touring, but you’d need a different design, with a higher horizontal top tube to mount the frame bag. And you’d need a custom-made frame bag.

For touring, I much prefer the P frame design :grinning:

In my opinion, the P frame has nothing but advantages over the V frame. The frame’s rigidity is very good, and it’s easy to attach lots of standard bike panniers.

It seems to me that this is in line with other opinions expressed here.

I think a V-frame allows a lot of possible adjustments, but if I were to make a version 2 of my 36" V-frame, it would be a P-frame.

For a P-frame, it’s the position of the horizontal tube that’s crucial. The higher the tube, the more space there is between it and the tire. But you don’t want to risk ending up with your toes on the pedals and the handlebars too high…

The P-frame allows you to have a central frame bag and panniers all around:

For rear luggage, you can also use a seatpost carrier or any other system for attaching panniers. I wanted to use only bikepacking packs.

The only drawback I find with my uni is the side wind resistance of the central pack. I could have opted for a slightly smaller frame bag.

Otherwise, the improvements I could make: pump and multi-tool integrated into the head tube and handlebars.


I appreciate all of the input on this stuff on both this thread and in messaging back and forth.

I’m very torn between the v and p frame simply because the v (in my opinion) looks better as it looks more symmetrical. While the p-frame is definitely lighter and probably easier to build (mine would be all one piece not detachable as I am not as skilled as flansberrium by any means).

Whatever I end up going with I do plan to use a seatpost carrier.

Also when your loading your uni for touring are you putting more weight in the back so that you can essentially “lean” on the handlebars more?

The tool kit built into the frame is a very good idea… I will keep that in mind!