Tyre profile

Most of you will know this anyway, but for those of you who haven’t experimented:

My Pashley MUni came with a cheap knobbled 1.95 section tyre. It was horrible. The knobbles were so far apart and soft that the central row would smear to one side, making the uni almost unrideable on a hard surface.

I replaced this tyre with a slightly bigger one that was slightly better. I later made an impulse purchase of a Gazzaloddi 2.3" tyre. I bought it primarily because I’d read the name in this forum.

The Gazz gave me loads more volume and grip, but I never really got to like the handling. The Gazzaloddi has quite a square profile (more like a car tyre than a motorbike tyre) and the knobbles scrub as you turn on a hard surface. If you run it at low pressure, it deforms as you turn, and you get a wide contact patch which “cones” making the uni unpleasant to ride.

In early August, I had a brief ride on Rob Northcott’s MUni, and found it amazingly easy to idle and steer. His tyre has a rounded cross section, and (from memory) the knobbles are closer together so there is less “smear”.

So, a few days ago, I splashed out yet again, and bought a Maxxis Holy Roller 2.4". This tyre has a very rounded cross section, and a tread made of square blocks, but with no central ridge. Fitting it was a bit tricky, but initial tests suggest it will be loads nicer to ride. When I turn, I’m using the profile of the tyre, rather than fighting it.

OK, so I might lose some grip in the mud (the Gazz’s tread is more aggressive) but if that makes the uni more manoeuvreable and, most importantly, more fun to ride, that’s a sacrifice I’ll willingly make. The tread is clearly grippier than the Coker’s and it is rare for traction to be the primary reason for a dismount on that!

Also, on the 20, which is a Nimbus, I just replaced the original Cheng Shin with a Maxxis Hookworm. The Cheng Shin had a very square profile. The Hookworm is narrower, and much rounder in cross section. The difference is spectacular. In fact, because things happen so quickly on a small uni (I do more idling, reversing, tight turns etc.) it’s taking some getting used to.

And on the 700c, as has been well documented, I went from a cheap 35 mm tyre to a better 28 mm one with a much rounder cross section. Again, the steering has become much more lively.

The net effect is that all three unis are more fun to ride. The 700c and 20 both have narrower tyres, and the MUni now has a (slightly) wider tyre, so it isn’t the volume and bounce that’s made the difference, it’s the rounded pofile.

As I said, many of you already knew this. However, for the rest of you: the difference a round-section tyre makes to the pleasure of riding is well worth the investment.

thank you

Thanks for that, Mike. Now I have a better idea as to which types of tires to look out for.

These reasons are actually why I think I’ll prefer a Duro to a Gazz when I get my MUni.

I think Keith (keg) from Hampshire had a gazz 2.3" and hated it, but likes the gazz 2.6" that he replaced it with. The two sizes are different in shape in some way that makes the 2.3" one not such a nice tyre to unicycle on.

I’ve ridden with both rounded and gazz shaped tyres and currently ride with a gazz on my 26". I’ve never been sure which I like best. Like everything else, there seems to be a tradeoff between the two, with the roundy one you gain turning ability, but also get turned around when you don’t want to turn around more, I think this is most likely on fast rocky downhill riding.


I have just replaced the duro on my 26" with a hookworm, really improves the handling and rolls so much better. Not much good in the mud though.