trying to feel the 29er muni love...

I’ve been really trying to get into the 29er for all my muni needs and am not able to completely do it. I guess I’m looking for a bit of insight from you 29er riders here.

I have a Nimbus nomad, with an ardent 2.4 tire, 150 venture cranks. For cross country riding I’m completely satisfied, I can ride at a good clip and feel pretty good doing it. It’s the more technical areas where I’m having a tough time. I took my kh 24 out a couple of weeks ago and really had a good time hopping through root covered sections of trail and over logs, but I can’t get into the zone like that on my 29. I’m not sure if it’s the tire volume, the crank length or what. Seems like the difference in being up 2 inches higher shouldn’t matter too much.

What do ya think?

I can’t get a bigger tire on my frame. Seems like most people are pretty happy with that size tire.

I thought about increasing crank size to 165’s.
I’ve been contemplating a 26, but seems like it’s probably not necessary.

Do I just need to ride more?

I’ve experienced the same feelings that you are. I love my 29 and have taken it on a few pretty awesome rides, but I’ve had some issues with tech. muni, and some of the steeper climbs I’ve done. Really considering a 26 muni, as I feel like I may be a more effective rider on one.

But then I reeeeaaaaallly want a Coker. :roll_eyes:

Honestly, I’m just glad to see I’m not alone. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove my 29 to death. Just think a 26 might be a better fit for me and my trails. I’m sure the more a person rides anything, the better you’ll get. If you devote enough time to anything, it can become second nature.

Sorry, not very helpful I’m sure. Just thought I’d share my experience.

FWIW, my ride is a Nimbus Drak with 2.5" Dissent and/or 2.1" SB8.

Hopping a 29er is not really ideal, so you have to roll stuff. Rolling rough terrain is a different skill set, not easy to do if you’re used to hopping a smaller wheel.

I tend to ride my 29er on rough terrain as I would ride a bike over that same terrain, not sure if that helps, but see if you can approach 29er muni as you would on a 29er bike, so no hopping, just rolling and bouncing over obstacles.

It can be done, I ride technical stuff, rooty and rocky, on a 29 as my primary muni, I rarely hop.

Thanks Ben. Rolling over stuff is definitely a weakness for me which may explain it. Do you think running 165s will help, I know you have a lot of experience running different crank lengths.

165s make technical stuff easier, since you have more leverage over the wheel, and the wheel has less leverage over you (so less likely to overextend your ankle on a bad landing for example). But it really slows down the spin and flow on the easier trail sections.

I ended up deciding that the 26" was my wheel for technical stuff, and the 29" for longer, faster, XC type rides, and I have 150 cranks on them both right now. I think the Ardent 2.4 is a good XC tire, fast rolling and pretty light. I have a much heavier, slower 2.6 downhill tire on the 26" wheel.

I find the 29 the most practical all round unicycle, but the least charismatic. It does everything I require it to do pretty well. However, it is slower than the 36, more unwieldy on the rough stuff than the 24, and less precise than the 700c x 23mm.

On the other hand, there are certain trails where the 29 is just right. It rolls over stuff that the 24 would have to fight. It makes “short tricky sections” out of things that the 24 would treat as “a series of numerous tiring obstacles”, yet it is far more manoeuvreable and re-mountable than the 36 when the path gets narrow, rutted and twisty.

The best cure for having a “bonding problem” with any unicycle is to ride it more, in conditions that suit it. Then, when you love it, you can try it on other stuff on its own terms, instead of comparing it to your others.

Yes, it gives you more power and a wider platform, esp if you use the Moments which are much wider (~25mm) than the Ventures. You pay for that power with a wonkier spin (pedaling in a box feeling).

I’m running 150’s for the winter because they spin smoother and because I get less spin out in the mud (over torque). I could run shorter cranks, but I need enough torque to climb big hills; 150’s are my minimum length for hill climbing.

For me, a small wheel just doesn’t have the rollover I need to ride fast on tech terrain. A 26" wheel is a lot smaller than a 29" wheel when you’re rolling over roots and rocks; a 24" wheel is so small that you are forced to hop.

If you like to hop, a 24/26 is a better bet, esp if you are riding short distances and more interested in rolling trials. But if you want to ride faster and get away from the slow mo hopping style, esp if your biker counterparts are flying though stuff you are stopping to hop, then I’d say the 29" or even a 36" will be a better bet down the road.

Take a look at Brian riding his 36er (mild tech stuff starts after the first miniute):

Depending on your experience and skills, you might see the terrain in Brian’s vid as best ridden on 24, 26, 29, or 36.

I ride the same kind of terrain on a 36er as you see in Brian’s vid, flowing XC with some mellow root and rock sections. This would not be a place I’d ride a 29er because the terrain is relatively flat. But a couple years ago, I would have ridden that terrain on a 29er, and when I first started riding muni I would have rode it on a 26er.

Push yourself to ride the big wheel, add some long cranks, drop your seat, get a good handle, air up your tire (Ardent 20 psi), and go ride. Skip the 24", it’ll only hold you back from your true potential :wink:

If you don’t have a brake, try fitting one; it really helps on technical downhill.

But on really technical stuff, I still have more fun on my 24" than my 29". I bring the 29" when the ride isn’t going to be too technical; if I’m headed to the rock gardens, I’m taking the 24".

Like tholub, I find the 29" best for less-technical rides. If it’s something really intense, I find that a smaller wheel is just going to be more fun (and less taco-prone). So perhaps the key to 29er riding is location. The best 29" MUni riding I’ve done was on relatively easy trails, when I had 140mm cranks on it. Narrow, windy singletrack at high speeds was a blast! To add to the excitement, it was spring, and the poison oak was sprouting all along the sides of the trail. One false move and I’d have been paying the price! :slight_smile:

But what about trails that are mostly easy, but have great technical spots or steep areas? That’s where you have to decide which unicycle you’d prefer that day. My 29" goes on some trails, but never on others. It just wouldn’t be fun (for me) on super-technical rides. But on a trail like the one I mentioned above, I’m okay with walking some of the steep uphills in exchange for speeding the flatter parts. And I can still ride most of them.

Today I have 150s on my 29", which is a compromise. It’s still faster than my 24" (which has 145s), but I can crank it through almost everything if I want. And neither of those has a brake, so that’s a factor in my riding.

I guess what we see depends upon our experience. For me, the video trails look like a great place for a 29", with just enough rocks and roots to keep it from being boring. Right now I have 165 mm cranks on my 29", but this section would be fun on 140-150.


This video is a couple years old now, but a good example of 29er muni riding. This is mostly tech XC riding - some rougher stuff towards the end. KH29 with 150 cranks. I don’t ride the 29 so much now that I have a 26 guni.

Impressive riding, I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable tackling that stuff on my 29er…

I do pretty well if it’s downhill, I can get over most obstacles (or can see doing it at some point). I have a fair amount of up and down riding, lot’s of small ups and downs. It’s on the ups that I am getting really frustrated, I just can’t generate the momentum to roll things, which is why I’ve been hopping. I guess it could partially be a fitness thing I’m sucking in that dept. right now.

I see the Oracle 26 is on sale right now. :slight_smile: There are trails I’d like to do that I just can’t on a 29, lots of roots, tight twisty single track and logs. I guess just keep the 29 for XC and use the 26 for technical stuff. I had a 26 muni a couple of years ago and really liked it.

Thanks for all the input, it helps.

I have trouble with roots on climbs too. Sometimes when you’re close to stalling out because of the slope, there really is no way to roll over an obstacle. I end up turning sideways and hopping at that point. It’s not pretty, but it works.

I’ve been practicing still stands and skinnies a lot over the last few months. I think it’s a great drill for muni. It’s easier to thread my way around obstacles now, even going up hill.

Have you thought about increasing your time in a cardio exercise program? While Muni is good exercise, for me it is not as effective in building good cardio fitness as other activities which are more continuous. It’s harder to control your heart rate in Muni and there’s too much start and stop as a result, for it to be the most effective cardio training. Increased cardio sessions have greatly improved my ability to plow through technical sections and to climb hills.

Andy, that’s a fun video, provides a nice “picture” of what a 29er can do.

I ride everything on a 29er, but if it’s flat enough or I feel “motivated”, I’d even ride the stuff in Andy’s video on a 36er, though I’d probably have a few more UPD’s esp with all those cactus guarding the edges :astonished:

A smaller wheel can make certain things easier, and I’ll admit that I used smaller wheels to build my skills, but for me there was a point at which a smaller wheel was not an advantage unless there was significant hopping or maybe very extreme drops/vertical; neither of which I do.

Last summer was my last ride on a true 26er (26 x 2.6), I did the second ride of the day at the Raccoon Mountain Munifest on my KH 26 after having been riding a KH 29 continuously. I found the 26 to be very twitchy, slow, and “harder to ride” than my 29. I still have a 26 x 4 for mud and snow, but it’s darn near the same diameter as my 29 x 2.4

There is a learning curve with each wheel, I suppose I could get back into riding smaller wheels if there were some reason to do so, but once I got the big wheel “feel”, there’s no reason for going back. If I had a younger body and was into hopping and jumping, a small wheel would make more sense.

The most important thing is that you feel that you are achieving your best results at that moment in time, so if you choose to go down a wheel size and as a result you can do more, then by all means do it! A riding buddy recently went down from a 29 to a 26 after a few years of doing muni on a 29, and he is now riding noticeably better, getting more climbs, doing harder moves. It’s not a bad thing to do better on one sized uni than another, it just is what it is.

29" bonding

I like the 29 for cross country. Mostly jeep trails. For technical singles I prefer the 24" anyday.

Yes the 29 rolls over bigger rocks and tree roots but with the 24 you have so much more suspension! When I ride the 29 with the 2.1" tire I have to really use high air pressure and I feel the jolts much more.

The 29 is more fun on flowey stuff but when you have bumpy and or technical stuff the 24 is just a more comfortable ride that is easier to munimance with.