Transitioning to 36" from 24"

After lurking a while and gathering lots of information from searches and such, I finally have some questions that I haven’t quite found in searching…

I’m a long time cyclist, everything from road criterion to MTB-trials to MTB-Downhill, but MTB-Freeride is my main sport. I picked up a 24" Muni a few years ago and learned to ride but didn’t really start getting into unicycling until a little over a year ago when I stared doing Muni rides about once a week. On the 24" I’ve really progessed and gotten a lot better and can ride pretty much all the local XC trails in Munich. About a month ago I got a disc brake and that really opened up a lot in terms of downhill. I’ve since done about 5 Downhill trips in the Alps and last week I was at a MTB-Bike Park and managed to get in some time with the Muni and ride up the T-bar lift with the unicycle and had about 5 downhill runs, which were great (it was tiring as I had no break while riding up the lift as I had to pedal and balance the entire time).

After researching a lot here in the forums I bought a 36" Nimbus Oracle with KH 127/150 Spirits a few weeks ago, primaily for my 16km (10 mile) commute that I usually do on my bike. Thanks everyone for all the great info, especillay Yeti for all his info on commuting with the 36".

Other than mounting I pretty much learned to ride the 36" with the 150s right away and did very well. Last week I then scouted my route to work and switched to the 127mm pedals and then rode 3 days last week (last week I rode 160km on my unicylces!). It worked out great and by the end of the week I was doing all the downhills and most of the uphills and only had to walk about the last 5 meters of one uphill. And my static mount is about 60% and getting better. Plus I’m doing fine at intersections and with other cyclists on the bike path as well as confident avoiding pedistrains and dogs and whatnot. So that’s all good.

However, I’m not so happy with my speed. On my bike I cruise about 30km/h with an overall average of 24km/h for my commute. On the 36" I’ve been averaging about 14.9-15.5km/h with top speeds around 21/22km/h and a cruising speed of around 18km/h (I don’t have a cycle computer but use my smart phone GPS and the underpasses give me false max speeds of like 38km/h).

I’ve read some posts (not necessarily the max speed one as those speeds seem impossible to me now) that seem to indicate that 25km/h crusing speed should be doable on a 36" with 127s, but I am a long way off with my absoulte max up till now being 22km/h. I’m pretty fit (I’ve been riding minimun 150+km/week on the bike for like the last 10+ years), a pretty strong cyclist and in general pretty coordinated and talented in balancing and learning new stuff (I ride in MTB in Bike Parks and jump doubles, road gaps, ride skinnies and do 2+ meter drops, etc.), so it seems like I should be doing better with my speed.

I’ve played with the seat height a bunch, but I can’t seem to figure out what’s best. Do I want the seat high enough that I have to flex my ankle and “point my toes” at the bottom of the stroke? (that’s like my optimal seat height setting for road racing like a bike time trial) Or is that too high? I read in some post a single recommendation that the knee should stay bent at max extension. I had the seat up this high and then lowered it down a bit to maintain a bend in the knee. My pedalling is different (not really better or worse), but my speeds are about the same…

I find that I ride faster if I kind of lean forward (so like “falling” forward to get more acceleration). However, I can’t seem to keep this up for more than a minute or so. Should I be maintaining the lean all the time? Or even beyond this: is it necessary to by almost on the verge of falling forward to ride fast? And so I just need to push myself by leaning way forward and learn to deal with it?

I had been riding without a handlebar. Tonight I installed the KH T-Bar and will try it tomorrow, but I’m not sure it should really help so much with speed? Any tips on using the bar? Should I try and puts lots of weight on the handler to then make my stroke more round and less wobbly?

I was thinking of trying 110mm cranks but I don’t have any. I do currently have pair of 100mm cranks. Would tryng the short cranks help my speed? or is 100mm as a newbie just way too short? I have about 3 relatively short hills each way of about 8%, 12% and 15% (I can make the 15% with the 150s but and almost make it with the 127s but not quite yet, but soon I think). Or should I first concentrate on improving my technique with the 127s and getting my seat height dialed in?

What other tips do you guys have for increasing my speed? Or will it just come with practice? I’ve now done my commute 3 times (so 6 x 16km) and my number of dismounts has gone down a lot and my total time, but my average speed has not changed at all (actually the 3rd ride was lower than the second ride even though I had fewer UPDs).

Or tire pressure? I’ve got the Nightrider tire and have been riding about 55-60psi (about 3.8-4.1 bar I think). It has a max of 65psi. Should I go up to the max. for best speed or is there something else coming into play (i.e. bouncing then causing bad pedalling technique)?

2nd Question:
Today I took the 36" out pn my XC trails that I usually ride with the mountain bike or the 24" Muni (also with 150mm pedals). I switched to the 150mm pedals and I did pretty well and managed the same route as with the 24" in about the same time. And I did great on roots, rocks, corners and such. But I was pretty cautious downhill (uh, scared) and didn’t even attempt most of the downhills I ride with no problem on the 24". And the uphills were not even close to the 24" but then I expected that. My questions: what tire pressure can I run in the Nightrider? it says 40-64psi I think and I dropped it to 40psi. I ride about 15-20psi (1-1.3bar) in my Duro 24x3" so this is a big difference. Couldn’t I ride the 36" with something more like 30psi (2bar)?

That the uphills don’t work like on the 24" is clear as with the same pedals the gear ratio is different. For extreme downhill I’m going to stick to the 24" but for XC I think the 36" should work out. Any tricks on getting over the fear factor on the downhills with the 36"? On my 24" now I pretty much confident enough to try almost anything and then I know I can jump/bail and save myself, but on the 36" today on one downhil I kind of caught my leg in the wheel as I jumped off sideways and then got all tangled up. Another time I was flying uncontrolably towards a big log on the side of the trail and barely missed it (i.e. the 36 is so big that I can’t so easily throw it around with I dismount and bail). Is this just the way it is with 36 offroad? or any special techniques here?

OK, sorry for the novel of a post.


You are very intrepid, and obviously have a natural ability for this kind of thing. You’ve barely started riding the 36’r, so give it some time for your brain to process and internalize what’s happening. This takes some time.
The tour bars will help your speed. They will take some getting used to, so have some patience. Shorter pedals will help your speed, as you have seen, but also sacrifice control, so take it slow and let yourself work into it.
Good luck, and post some pictures!

Sounds like you are doing a great job. Welcome.

I don’t mean to sound nasty, but as far as speed, I am not sure what the obsession is about, especially on a 36. If you really want speed, ride a bike, or a recumbent, or better yet a car. To me, anyway, unicycling is not about speed. If I need to get to work fast I ride my bike. If I want to have fun I ride my uni.

That being said, maybe you bought the wrong 36, though the Oracle 36 is a great uni. A KH36 would have allowed you to “invest” in a geared hub, allowing you to go faster than you should ever go on a unicycle. Have you considered that route?

Well, first thing that comes to my mind: training, it just takes time.
Second thought: Schlumpf Hub!



Yeah, I had the touring bars on for today’s commute and it worked out pretty well. I guess it’s mostly psychological and I’ll have to get used to them because my mounting percentage went way down and I often had to use traffic lights and light posts again to mount. Once I got moving though the bars were great. At first I had them short and relatively high but for the second half of the return commute I extended and lowered them and I could really put some weight forward. I then felt that I could spin a little better without so much side to side. So yeah, I’m going to need a few days to get used to the bars.

To help you go faster on the road you need to reduce wasted energy. I.e. reduce side to side wheel oscillation and reduce upper body movement.

You can achieve this by using short cranks with zero Q factor which will make your unicycle feel much more stable and causing it to go in a straighter line.

The handlebars will stabilise your upper body and make your posture more streamlined by bringing your arms in close to your body and will also help to restrain wheel oscillation.

I don’t recommend leaning forward too much or pressing down too much on the handlebars for increased speed.

For road riding I use my kh 36r with 50 psi and with Quax 114mm zero Q factor cranks. I have my handlebars set close to the saddle handgrip.

For cross country I ride the Impulse 36er it has a wider hub. I run kh Moment twin hole cranks with 10mm Q factor which help to generate more control and I have them set on 150mm. I prefer no handlebars for cross country. When going down steep hills I lean back and pull upwards on the grip handle while feathering the brake with my middle finger while using my other arm for balance This gives me more control and helps to stop me from being thrown over the front of the unicycle. I wear soft soled grippy trainers so that I can feel the pedals under my feet.

Hope this helps.

P.S. Your average speed is faster than mine so your doing fine.

In general I agree and I know that the unicycle will never be as fast as a bike, so yes, I am also unicycling for the fun. However, part of commuting is to get somewhere and unfortunately I have some time constraints. For example on Wednesdays I need to pick up my daughter from day care and I have exactly 1 hour from the earliest I can leave work to the time I have to pick her up, so then time matters. I need around 40 minutes on the bike for the 17km, so planning a little buffer for mishaps or whatever I need to allow 45 minutes (if something happens I can then “regain” about 5-10 minutes by riding really really hard), so I have an “extra” 15 minutes at work in case someone shows up at my desk at the last minute. Presently I have been taking about 1:03 to 1:10 on the unicycle, so I need to plan at least 1:15 to make sure I will make it in time (maybe more as I could crash a lot or have a bad day and there are currently just more unknowns on the unicycle as it’s still new for me). So I would like to be capable of getting my potential time down to 50 minutes, as well as being able to really speed up if I really have to… (right now I don’t think I could average more than 20km/h no matter how much effort I put in)

In general I think a Schlumpf is what I will eventually do after a year or so if I end up regularly commuting. However, I didn’t want to make that kind of investment up front and besides I wouldn’t be ready for the Schlumf for a while anyway. I guess I hadn’t thought about the upgrade compatibility. Does the Schlumpf really not fit in the Nimbus frame? But compared to the Schlumpf investment a new frame wouldn’t be the deciding factor (worst case I could sell it and buy a Schlumfed unicycle).

Oh, any thanks are in order too, as a lot of your posts abot your previous comtemplations and experiences with a 29" or 36" were also very helpful. I had been originally thinking of a 29" but after posts like yours decided (rightly) that a 36" is better for commuting significant distances. How the 36" pans out for XC I’ll have to see. I guess I’ll just have to think of it as something different with its own advantages (more speed, more momentum to make it up hills and fun leaning in the corners) and not expect it to be just like the 24" with the big fat tire on the downhills.

I’ll respond on the seat height thing because I didn’t notice if anyone else did. The “optimum” seat height depends on the type of riding you are doing, followed by personal preference. The general rule is to adjust the seat so that your knee is almost completely straight while having your heel on the pedal.

That’s great for learning to ride, Freestyle and some other activities. But it’s terrible for Muni, Street and other types of riding. Also I don’t think it’s best for Road riding. For that, I go just a bit lower. What I want is a little extra margin in case I hit an unexpeced bump with one foot at the bottom. If you’ve never experienced that, it’s the kind of bump that knocks your foot off the pedal, which makes your foot go out behind the pedal, which is hard to recover from if you’re going fast!

So Lower the seat just a bit from the optimum Freestyle height, and tune to taste.

Speed will increase with experience and training. There are two kinds of speeds you go on a 36":
< running speed
> running speed

At less than running speed, anything goes. experiment and take risks. But when going faster than running speed, I recommend a gradual learning curve, since dismounts can be a lot more ugly, and can lead to rehab time spent off the uni!

what about should max running speed be?

Thanks John for the seat height clarification. I guess that all makes sense (for Trial it is obvious that you want the seat lower and for Muni it’s the same as for mountain biking). And the little part about a slight bend to give a margin of error makes sense. I interpret that to mean that it’s close to the same height as on a road bicycle but a touch lower because a) margin of error and b) if it’s too high you have to sway left to right which on a bike is ok, as you can use the handlebar to stabilize but on the unicycle will give you an uneven and wobbly stroke.

The running speed comment makes a lot of sense, even though I neved thought of it in those terms before. I’m not getting close to that speed yet, as I think my max speeds have been something like 21-23km/h with sustained speeds of 10 seconds or more of only 20-21km/h.

But how exactly is the max running speed to be interpreted? Do you need again a margin of error as you also with a UPD you have to catch yourself as you fall? Or is the maximum running speed like from the track really the cutoff? i.e. I think I run the 100m in just over 12 seconds (that’s what sticks in my mind, maybe I’m way off). Even just taking the average for the 100m (the true maximum speed must be higher), that translates to a top speed of 30km/h. So my “real” top speed would be something like 31-32km/h? Although I’m remembering a time about a year ago where there was a traffic speed indicator set up that was next to a wall and could be triggered by running and I don’t think I was hitting 30km/h… I worked hard to break some “round” number, was it maybe 25 km/h?? not sure. What should be a ballpark figure for someone who’s a strong sprinter in the general sense (not like I ever won any track races or anything, but I have a high percentage of fast-twitch muscles).

I “had” to ride the bike again today for the 17kmx2 because of time contraints and wow, I didn’t realize how tired and sore I was from unicycling that last 10 days! I was really slow on the bike because my muscles were so tired (total combined average only 23km/h and few times I broke 30km/h I could feel that I was hurting). But then, I’ve ridden about 200km on the unicycle in the last 8 days (plus about 100km on the road bike and a day in the Downhill mountain bike park). So I think it is also reasonable to assume that I will get faster when I am sufficiently recovered. But both Thursday and Friday I should be able to commute on the 36er again, and I have the T-Bar low and fully extended. Saturday should then be a recovery day as it’s supposed to rain anyway.

I think “running speed” here should be interpreted as “how fast can you go and still run out a UPD?” Since going fast on your 36’r is obviously a pretty high priority for you, I would seriously suggest practicing UPDs at speed. Because you will have them. (Not trying to single you out or anything, we all have them.) Personally, I like to keep my cruising speed just under the run-it-out-speed, but that’s just me. (and it probably goes without mentioning, don’t forget to wear good knee/palm/elbow pads)
You might want to check out some stuff from other fast unicyclers for tips and tricks. Ken Looi is one of the better-known “speed demons” on this forum, here’s a write-up of his:
And there are others. Use the search function, and you’ll come up with some interesting stuff.
I’m sure we are all interested in hearing about your progress. Records are made to be broken!

dog scared by unicycle?

So overall I had a great commute on the 36er again today and this afternoon my sore muscles are recovering a bit. On my return trip I went slow the first half (see below for why) and then put in some decent speed and I made it in a record time of 56 minutes. 50 minutes was the goal I originally estimated and set when I ordered the 36er as being hopefully attainable after a few months, so I’m happy with already getting pretty close. I had at least 4 dismounts and the first half was slow, so I think 50 minutes is doable :slight_smile:

However, I had my first real crash this morning :angry:
I am so glad that I had on my protective gear as I would otherwise now not be a happy camper. I was near the end of my commute and turned off the relatively busy multi-use/cycle path along the river onto a very lightly used dirt road through the park (no cars, few bikes and the occaisional walker). I had been concentrating doing a little bit of speed and then relaxed a little. The dirt road doesn’t have such good visibility as there’s lots of trees and branches hanging down low. Well, there was a lady with a dog, I think walking her bike in the other direction. But the dog, which was some kind of a black lab mix, was on my side of the road and not facing me, and so basically appeared out of nowhere right in front of me on the right side of the dirt road.

I’m pretty used to dogs as I grew up with dogs, have owned a lot of dogs and have encountered lots of dogs in my many years of biking. But this time was different than anything I’ve had on the bike. As the dog was suddenly in front of me, my instinct was to get him to see/hear me. But then I think he saw me and neither of us knew what to do. He didn’t do the cower-down scared thing but he didn’t look like he was going to get out of the way either. In retrospect I think he had never seen a unicycle before and felt like he was being attacked by some 7 foot tall non-human creature with a metal bar posed 4 feet off the ground

Anyway, in my few miliseconds to respond I could not “read” the dog and I think I tried to use the brake to stop while keeping my hands on the handlebar. Well, I fell straight to the ground and landed on both hands and my right knee and rolled to my right side. The unicycle bounced around and scared the dog even more and he started barked and jumping all around like crazy. My full-fingered gloves and wrist guards worked great and my hands and wrists were not injured at all. Even my still-recovering left wrist was not reinjured (I hurt it but not really badly last Saturday on one of my last runs on the mountain bike in the Bike Park after it had started to rain and I skidded out on a 90 degree right turn on a tall north shore wood platform and slid into the guard rail, with my wrist and fingers taking the entire impact). My KH leg protectors worked pretty well too, although I did bruise my right knee a bit. However, I was able to get back on and ride to work. And after sitting at my desk all day, my knee did not swell at all, and I was able to ride home without any pain. But to the touch I have a pretty sensitive spot where the top of the kneecap is bruised. But as there doesn’t seem to be any swelling it doesn’t seem to affect my riding and should be better in a few days :sunglasses:

I think I was going about 17km/h (about 10.5mph) when I wiped out.

Anyone encountered dogs being scared of the unicycle and freaking out before?
I did a search and found this topic here: Dogs

This sounds about like what I was speculating: that the dog was really spooked and felt like it was trapped and being attacked.

Actually, I have sort of encountered this before when I sometimes used to practive wheelie riding on my commute to work. I noticed that dogs would completely freak out and bark and jump around like crazy if I rode up on only the back wheel. My theory then was that the dogs a) were used to bikes on two wheel and joggers and people but were not used to a creature with one wheel up the air ready to attack, and b) were particularly threatened by the front wheel elevated up in a seemingly aggressive attack position. On almost all these occaisons I would simply let the front wheel back down and the down would miraculously return to normal. :thinking:

So it’s obviously a good idea to slow down, but considering the number of dogs I see on a normal ride it’s not really feasable to dismount for every dog. Anyway have any more tips? Or is the basic rule a) slow down and be ready to stop when you see a dog and b) if it then looks really freaked out, then dismount?

Oh, another question then (I don’t really think it would have helped here so much as I didn’t really “plan” to dismount):
What’s the best way do an emergency stop? jump off the unicycle and run? or is it worth trying to lean way back and use the disc brake?

Dogs are the absolute bane of my unicycling existence. You sound like a dog person, so I hope you won’t be offended when I tell you I hate them! :smiley: I think you (and many others) have it right when you say that dogs aren’t used to seeing a unicycle and so freak out far more than they would if you were a biker/runner (Though my dad rides his bike around the same spots I uni and is always complaining about crazy dogs too).

Onto your questions. I tend to slow down enough that I am able to dismount if necessary without inconveniencing myself too much, essentially. Even as a dog-hater, I can honestly say most dogs don’t pose a real problem (even the ones off the lead) and so if you ride past them, maintain eye contact and maybe say something in a nice voice (hey there!) they usually won’t attack. Another thing I tend to do is yell out in advance, just like if someone was walking in front of me. A simple 'scuse me! works, the owner will usually get the dog over to them in time.

Now, dismounting. Yes, I dismount if a dog gets too close, whether or not it’s going mental. Even a calm dog can easily take a pedal to the face if it gets too close, and as well as kicking an innocent animal, this can easily cause you to fall (Yes I have done this, I swear it was an accident!). I tend to dismount off the back even for ‘emergency’ dismounts, and I do this by just leaning back, and letting my right (non-mounting) foot hit the floor. If you’re already slowing down, this shouldn’t be too ungraceful (though I’ve never done it on a 36er so YMMV) and you probably won’t run over any furry creatures that decide to take an interest.

Rolling Mount on 36, idling on 24

So I thought I’d update how I’m doing with the 36. It’s been fun and I’ve commuted to work 3 times a week for the last 3 weeks. My times are getting close to my initial hopefull target of 50 minutes (as I said above). I need around 40 minutes with the bike (32 minutes all-time best) for the 16km along the bike path with about 4 traffic lights and the last 2 weeks on the 36 with 127mm cranks I had times of like 52, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59 and 65 minutes. So total average speeds between 15 and 16.5km/h (on the bike I average around 24km/h with traffic lights). My max is about 22 or 23 km/h (GPS gives crazy wrong readings of max speed of like 40km/h). I think in a few weeks if I really try and maybe have a ride with no dismounts (or maybe only on the steep hill), then I can probably get a time under 50 minutes :slight_smile:

On average I’ve been dismounting about 4-5 times per direction, usually once for one of the 3 steep uphills (I’m fine with these as they’re both over 10% grade) and then once for some intersection crossing (also fine with me) plus around twice for UPDs where I lose concentration and maybe once on one of the downhills, either the steep one or the one with a 120 degree corner at then end (although in general I have little trouble with the downhills, even the two at around 15% grade).

I’ve also ridden local XC trails twice on the 36er and I did ok, although it was a throwback on what I can ride: many uphills and downhills that I now ride easily on the 24" are way above my skill level on the 36 :(. But it is fun anyway.

Last week I got the static mount with the 150mm cranks to about 80% but my static mount with the 127mm cranks was only around 40%. This week I managed a rolling mount with 150mm :smiley: on Monday and then on the commute home on Wenesday I did 4 of 5 rolling mounts with the 127mm! :D:D So I hope that I’ve now learned the rolling mount as that would mean I can mount with less hassle when I have to dismount at an intersection.

And today I rode the 24" for Muni and WOW, riding the 36er has really helped me on the 24" too. My uphill balance is way better and I can ride slowly uphill. Plus I easily did many uphill mounts, which used to be impossible. And then I also made major progress on idling: on the 24 I can now idle 2 times back and forth (I could’nt get 3 though). And I rode backwards a few revolutions and I think it’s just a short time (and a bit more confidence) until I can ride backwards!

I’ve ridden over 100km/week on the unicylces for the last 3 weeks! And I’ve only had the one real crash described above with the dog. Otherwise either voluntary dismounts or UPDs I was able to run out. On my commute I pass at least a few cyclists on every ride although I am frequently passed by “slow upright bikers” going around 20km/h plus of course all the fast cyclists and mountain bikers. And I’m getting used to all the “You lost your other wheel” comments and stares. And my knees are feeling great. Actually, I was almost pleased that I had a little tighness in my left knee, as my right knee is the ACL-operated one and it is not making a peep.

I still need to practice my emergency dismount at some point, but otherwise I’m feeling pretty confident on my commute and happy I got the 36, although (as expected), I think I would have preferred a 29" for XC as the 36" is still a handfull offroad.

Wow, you learn fast. Makes me really want to jump onto a 36er right now.

no UPD for 16km!

I made the whole 16km commute to work today without a UPD! :D:D (I stopped once to take off my long-sleeve shirt but that doens’t count). I even made it up both steep uphills (On one I passed 2 cyclists working hard to climb up and on the other I passed a cyclist pushing her bike up).

Getting way more comfortable riding with the T-bar. I pretty much always have one hand on the bar and it even seems to help on the uphills. About 1/3 of the time I have both hands on the bars and I can tell that I’m wobbling less (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to ride with both hands on the bars).

I put on an old cycle computer - the cord is barely long enough :frowning: - and my max speeds thus far were 22.9km/h, 23.5km/h and this afternoon 24.9km/h :slight_smile: with my cruising speed being 18-20km/h.

My rolling mount on the 127s is still only about 50%. This afternoon I rode pretty fast but I had to dismount 5 times, mainly because of walkers and cars pulling out in front of me (a group of guys carrying a case a beer, a car driver who should have yielded but didn’t, two people walking a dog, a police car backing up on the bike path, etc.), but I guess it was purely mental, as after I got “flustered” I couldn’t manage a mount again and had to grap a pole :frowning:

Still haven’t broken the 52 minute total time yet, but my “moving” time for my trip home today was 49 minutes (58 overall with the 5 dismounts and the problem remounting).

I had a “voluntary” UPD going about 20km/h today (the guys with the beer on the bike path) and it was so “easy” and I just landed on my feet. Actually, it was kind of cool as by random chance a work colleage was walking in the other direction and witnessed the whole thing and suddenly said “hi” just as I stopped running (even though this was like 8km from our office). I think it actually looked somewhat graceful (or at least as much as a sudden stop and just into a run from 20km/h can). Ok, I was going straight and on a smooth bike path, but at least it sort of helps the confidence to try going a little faster…

Update: 100mm pedals!

So despite being winter I’ve been able to ride the 36er to work 3 times a week thus far for January! And I’m getting more proficient with the 125mm cranks, with only a rear dismount for traffic lights or conditions and very rarely a real UPD. Despite winter conditions and usually the necessity to stop once to take off a jacket after about 20 minutes (temps around 0C, 32F), my times have been in the mid 50s for the 16km: 54, 52, 57, 53 minutes.

Monday I had a near-perfect (meaning mount and absolutely no dismount all the way) until a car stopped in front of me at a green light on a steep uphill (manual transmission and he stalled the car) and I had to dismount. Then Tuesday I had a real perfect!! in 52 minutes!:D:D

So then I started thinking again about crank length. A friend gave me some 100mm pedals a while back. At that time I was like, “I’ll never be able to ride those!!”. I looked at some of the threads here and almost everyone was running 125s or 137s on the 36ers… but a few people had 114s and about 2 entries with 100mm on a 36 (plus a crazy one with 74mm!!). So I kept thinking about it, and then Wednesday night about 11pm I decided on a whim: what the heck! I mounted the 100mm pedals, raised the seat accordingly and took a short ride down the street around midnight. I was able to ride away immediately the first time and it felt pretty good, so I decided to try it for the commute. Some time in the night I was thinking how crazy I was but, whatever…

Well, the 16km commute went quite well with the 100mm pedals. Although I was actually a touch slower at 57 minutes, my max speed was 22km/h. On the way to work I did pretty well navigating intersections and I mastered all 3 uphills and 2 big downhills, plus the 180 corner! The slow maneuverung was different with the 100mm pedals but I did all right and felt pretty much in control. However, I went slow, which explains my slower time. And I was cautious as to top speed. So I would say I showed that I could do the commute safely with the 100mm pedals and there is potential to go faster!

The commute home was harder. I think it was a combination of the darkness making it harder (especially mentally) plus the fact that I was tired from work. I had to dismount probably 10 times total and took 73 minutes. But this includes 2 dismounts where I had to walk at least 100m to find a suitable help for remounting, as I was in no condiontion to try the free mount with 100mm pedals, so I didn’t take it as a real setback, but rather the learning process. The only really scary thing is that the seat is SO HIGH. The height difference compared to 127s is considerable and a LOT higher than with 150s (5cm higher!). I think the regular static mount seems daunting at that height, so the rolling mount is probably the way to go. Or, in the last week I first mastered the jump mount for the 19" Trials and then for my 24" Muni, maybe the jump mount is an option?

Anyway, tomorrow I work from home and it’s supposed to get cold again and snow, so I will have a few days to recover and see if I try the 100s again (I think so), or switch back to the 127s… If I were to stay with it and practice, I think sub-50 times should be possible with the 100mm pedals (NOTE: just under a year ago when contemplating a 36er for the commute, 50 minutes was my very optimistic future goal).

With the short cranks I think I used a bunch of different muscles that don’t normally get so much stress in biking and “normal unicycling”. Some muscle in my hips (hip flexor maybe) feels crazy and I can feel muscles in my calves and the bottom of my foot. OK, this is also after 5 straight days of riding, including a Muni and Trials ride on Wednesday… I felt pressure in my knees but I didn’t have the feeling that it was overstressing or really bad for my knees… I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow.

I read somewhere on another thread that riding the 100s is like floating, and I think that really fits, especially when riding in the darkness. It’s a pretty cool feeling, although I kept having to remind myself it’s not like a dream, as if I have a UPD at 18-21km/h in total darkness it could kind of hurt. Anyway, still enjoying the 36er!!

I have tried 100mm cranks on my 36" too. They are good rideable on flat roads. But freemounting is very hard. My topspeed with them was 28km/h.

I have tried 75mm cranks. Freemounting is impossible for me but i can ride this setup. Its a lot of fun, but i am faster with longer cranks.

For flat roads i prefer 114 - 125mm cranks

100mm’s on a 36er! :astonished: no thanks! I switched from the stock 145’s to 125’s on my 36er after only a week of riding, and seem to be in the minority with that, but I doubt I could go any shorter without some SERIOUS training. Some hills I ride are barely doable with the 125’s!

Keeping my eye on your thread, as my experience on the shiny new 36" wheel has been similar to yours - I took to it immediately, and have hardly had any issues re-learning to ride/mount, but my speed has barely increased over the 29er. I’m hoping this is because 2014 was a year where I basically did nothing except uni - two hours every day at the very least - and so I just need to have a similar 2015 on the 36er! :smiley:

As far as super-short cranks go. I think preferences with this depend as much on your leg length as your muscle strength. If you’re one of those who have legs up to their armpits, you can probably spin a bigger circle, and if you’ve got short little pins, you’re probably going to find longer cranks, well, too long. Obviously I have no proof for my hypothesis, but I use 125mm cranks on both my 29er and 36er, and find the length to be perfect for both. Surely if the only factor was strength, then I’d want shorter on the 29er (or longer on the 36er) to get a similar gear ratio? :smiley:

I ride with 100s on my 36er, but I live in a very flat region. Once you get the hang of it, 100s make for a smooth ride; it’s like you’re barely pedaling. Right now I’m training for a 21-mile off-road race (Monster Cross in Chesterfield, Va.), so I’ve switched to 145s on my 36er. It feels good on the trails I’ve been riding.

which mount with short cranks?

It’s great to hear such resonance about the 100mm cranks! I think there’s definitely a lot of potential there as far as top speed goes. I took off my speedometer, so I only have the unreliable GPS, which said I had a top speed of 21km/h, which feels about right…

I think the climbing potential is pretty good, as I made it up the semi-steep hills on my commute. Basically I made the short 10% and short 12% climb, as well as the moderately long 10% climb, but did not make the 15% climb. But the big 15% climb seemed hopeless with the 127s for quite a while and only in the last few weeks have I been able to do it successfully about 50% f the time: here I really have gotten better at the slow speed uphill cranking, which is a pretty great feeling.

So which free mounts do you guys recomend with such short cranks: Actually the jump mount seems the best, as it is pretty much independent of crank length, but I haven’t yet tried it on the 36er (and I just startet the jump mount a week ago, first on the 20" and now only my last outing of the 24". Otherwise, I sort of tried a rollling mount a few times, but mostly chickened out (i.e. I never really put my weight on the rising pedal). And the static/rollback mount seems daunting too: I think here I am especialy reluchtant, as my only painfull crash in the last while was falling on my chest/stomach/knees about 2 weeks ago while mounting the 36er with the 127mm pedals. Even through the knee pads I really bruised my knees!! So which mounts do people recommend with short cranks?