Touring Unicycle Questions

Hello! I have been lurking around here for a while, and finally joined recently. I started riding about a year ago on a 20” and upgraded to a 26” muni as soon as I could ride around the block without a UPD. The unicycle bug bit me hard, and I ride almost every day and think about unicycling 24/7. I was recently inspired by Jim T’s ride-your-age post, and decided to start a yearly tradition of my own.

I only average between 7 and 8mph on my 26” with the knobby tire, which would make for a long and arduous 40 mile ride. So now I’m in the market for bigger wheel. I have read many discussions on this forum about touring unicycles, but I still have a few questions that I am hopeful the experts here can answer.

There is no way I could justify the cost of a geared hub to my wife, so that is not an option at this time. I am leaning toward a 32” for easier mounts and more maneuverability as compared to a 36”, but would consider a 36” if a case can be made for the bigger wheel.

The best options for a complete 32” or 36” unicycle appear to be either Nimbus Oracle or KH. The 32” KH Limited on UDC-USA is a 36” frame with a 32” wheel. My initial thought was that I would buy or build a 36” wheel down the road and get double duty out of the frame. Are there any disadvantages to having a frame that’s larger than the wheel?

I also plan to get a handle for whichever model I end up buying. Is one brand’s handle system better than the other?

The KH Fusion One looks interesting, but I am unsure about the single bolt, as I am 6’1” 210lbs. My road bike has a similar setup and I have ridden many thousands of miles without issue though. Has anyone had any problems with the KH one bolt system? I don’t like the stadium saddle that came on my 26”, so I would definitely upgrade the saddle if I end up buying an Oracle.

I appreciate any help you can provide to help me make a wise purchase on my next, but definitely not my last, unicycle!

I’ll make the case for a 36" over a 32". Unless you can’t fit a 36" (which at 6’1" shouldn’t be a problem at all), to me, it feels more like the combination of bad things from both a 29" and a 36". It’s too big to (easily) carry on public transport and fit in cars, feels 95% like a 36" in terms of maneuverability and mounting, but is slower than the 36". From my point of view, 32" is only really good for short people.

What I’ll have to add to this is: I know people that would say the exact opposite, and think of 32" as the perfect balance between 29" and 36". And at the point where I first tried a 36", I was already riding many years, and at a point where I could hop onto almost any unicycle and not think about it twice.

Go big or go home! Screw those 32ers if you think about covering distance or even touring. 36ers are not just fun but very useful for commuting - bigger means faster means more useful means you gonna ride it more often and thus your skill progresses faster… I’d say.

Compared to a 29+ the effective diameter of a 32er is just 5% bigger, while the 36er’s is 19% bigger. Or compared to a 26+ it’s 15% for a 32er and 30% for a 36er. (calculations: [787mm+2⋅70%⋅2,25in;686mm+2⋅70%⋅2,25in]/(559mm+2⋅70%⋅3,0in) )

Manoeuvrability: that’s rather a question of personal skill and also a quite complicated word. See Cédric - for a rather extreme example, I admit.

I’d say the best option might be a QX RGB 36er. It’s got an internal disc, has 100mm-spaced hub, ligher and has a lower q-factor than KH or Nimbus as well as a better saddle for most riders. It’s also ridiculously cheaper in North America than the others.

You middle-aged married blokes from the USA are so funny - a lot of you sound like your wife’s your mum and you have to ask for pocket money when you want to buy something for yourself :smiley:

“Double duty”: works, to put it short, but looks ridiculous. If you already look ridiculous on the uni, it might not be a problem. But if you wanna look glamorous, that’s a no-go. :wink:

Handles: Are you sure you even want some? You might prefer none at all like a lot of riders.

I agree with others, if you really want to cover some ground in style, use a 36er. With a 36" you can glide along at 11 to 12 mph at a 103 to 112 comfortable cadence. To match that 11 to 12 mph on a 32" you’d be spinning at a 116 to 126 cadence.

For a store bought handlebar I like the shape of the Qu-ax Q-Bar touring handle best. It is made for a unicycle and not something that is kind of modified from bicycle handle parts. I make my own similarly shaped handlebar that is well shaped, strong, durable and ridiculously cheap ($2.00 USD). Some assembly required.

I’m saving for a KH36.

I’m a fan of the symmetrical wheel and the KH muni bar.
I also like the Fusion Freeride on my KH29 but would be willing to try the One when I buy.

When I want another unicycle, I look at my wife, I put my foot down, and I demand permission!

Thanks for bringing the QX-RGB 36" to my attention, Linoleum! The narrow, 100mm spacing, low Q-factor and low weight make it very appealing!

I was getting close to pulling the trigger on a new KH36 when my Triton came up on Gumtree. It came with a very comfortable flat carbon fibre base saddle with customised padding.

I changed the tyre to a Nightrider Lite when they came out. It promptly blew off the rim so I built a new wheel on a Dominator2 rim which has a much more substantial bead retainer than the original rim.

With a KH muni bar and disc brake it only weighs seven kilograms and is an absolute joy to ride.

When I bought the Triton and told my wife how much it cost she said, “So?”. She spends money on her hair and shoes and recons my uni extravagances are a relatively cheap way to keep me happy.

Some men have a middle age crisis and buy a Harley Davidson.

With my missus, it’s not the money (or won’t be, when I get something pricier) but the fear that I might damage myself. To be fair, there has been a certain amount of damage already and I’m still on my 20". I tend to minimise the injuries to counteract this, but some you can’t hide. Oh hai, Alison, didn’t realise you were looking at this forum!

I don’t think my wife cares about the money or me damaging myself. It seems to be primarily about space saving. :stuck_out_tongue:

For example, I really want to buy a penny farthing but they have pretty big wheels, so I don’t know if it will ever happen.

Not for tall people. But building an entire wheelset from scratch can cost more than buying a whole unicycle, so it’s not really a way to save money.

It’s more a matter of what people like; I ride a hybrid of the KH T-Bar and the Nimbus Shadow. That is, I’ve broken too many of the Shadow handle bases, so took my existing bar (which was powder coated to match the rest of my uni) and put it on a T-bar setup.

KH Fusion One: No problems with the single bolt, just give it a second tightening after riding for a bit; sometimes it shifts a bit. Mine has never come loose after doing that.

My first big wheel was a 45", in 1982. In those days they were handmade, and used hard wheelchair rubber tubing for a tire. A pneumatic tire is way better. So for me, a 36" is too small. If you want to ride long distances, go the full route.

Woah, if you live in central/south Florida, you don’t need a brake. While it can be handy for quick stops, mostly it’s extra weight if you don’t have any big hills. My wife & I just drove through Tampa two weeks ago; you don’t need a brake to ride down bridges, etc. Unless you have old knees with previous abuse.

That is correct. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I do recommend a handlebar, especially if you plan to do long rides. It provides more support, and can take some of the “load” off your crotch. That Qu-Ax 36" sounds pretty good; see if you can get it without the brake.

Thanks for all the replies! I’m now leaning toward a 36”, and I really like the look of the 36” QX #RGB. A brake is unnecessary in Tampa though as johnfoss noted. I had a brake on my Impact 26” muni, and have enjoyed riding it even more since I took it off.

Haha!! It’s not quite that bad! This will be the fourth new unicycle Ive purchased in the year I’ve riding, but a Schlumpf hub might be pushing it. Besides the awesomeness of a geared hub would be wasted on a noob like me anyway.

Rgb ftw

I ordered a Black QU-AX #RGB 36" yesterday. My main reasons to go for the Qu-Ax were:

  • I already own another 27,5" RGB, so I wanted to go for a uni with the same crank/axle system (Q-axle)
  • I like the Q-axle system. It is superior to ISIS imho.
  • I like the internal disk brake, so no KH
  • It is lighter than a KH/Nimbus. (according to manufacturers specs)

I’m going to keep the brake though, I probably won’t notice the difference in weight anyway…

– I sold my 36" after I built my own 32" (this was before they were commercially available). I take 20 - 30 mile rides fairly regularly, if your rides are longer than that, then a 36’r might make sense for you. The 32 is easier to mount and maneuver (for me). (BTW, my 32 is built on a KH36 frame, and I don’t think it looks weird. It fits better in my trunk than a regular 36, too.) (I also have a Schlumpf hub, but don’t ride in high gear that often. I’m just not in that big of a hurry most of the time! :p)
– Everyone says you don’t need a brake, and that’s true, but besides downhills I use my brake EVERY TIME I dismount. It gives you very confident control.

Try different sizes and options, and choose what works best for you. Unicycling is one of the most subjective sports on the planet. It’s different for everyone.
Good luck! :slight_smile: