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)?
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.