Uni comparisons

For completeness I posted a brief ride report of today’s ride over familiar ground on the KH24. Over the last two to three weeks, I have ridden the same territory on five very different unicycles, and thought the experience might feed into the continuous “What uni?” “What crank length?” debates that keep this forum alive.

The unis I’ve used are:

  • The Coker. Standard steel rim. 150 mm cranks. Pinned pedals. Viscount seat.
  • The Road Razor. Nimbus 1, with skinny 28 mm smooth tyre, 125 mm cranks, and Miyata seat.
  • The Bacon Slicer. Nimbus 1 frame. Super skinny custom wheel, with ultra light weight tube and 23 mm road race tyre. 102 mm cranks. Miyata seat.
  • The Holy Roller. Pashley 26" MUni, with 125 mm cranks, and Holy Roller 26 x 2.4" tyre. UDC gel seat.
  • HK24 MUni (US = Freeride?) with 24 x 3" tyre and 165 mm cranks and KH Fusion seat.

The terrain may be familiar to many of you from my interminable ride reports. However, it is made up of:

  • Flat smooth tarmac.
  • Artificial landscaped banks with steep slopes and short mown grass.
  • More natural hills with rough tracks and long tussocky grass.
  • Baked mud single track.
  • Tracks strewn with loose ballast.

The Coker. The only one to make it up one particular short steep hill with a slightly uneven surface. It’s good for rushing obstacles where other unis need to be worked up slowly. Max speed highest of all. Rolls over almost everything. Only weaknesses are it’s hard to restart if it gets bogged down in difficult terrain; it’s a bit unwieldy in tight corners; I can’t take it under low trees (head strike!); it requires caution on steep descents. High average and max speeds and an easy ride make this the machine of choice for a generally enjoyable long ride.

The Road Razor. A close second. The steering is beautifully precise. The gear ratio is low enough for almost any hill. Has to slow down for very rough or loose ground. Takes more concentration than the Coker. An elegant and rewarding ride in the dry. It would lose out entirely after rain had made the ground slippery. The tyre has no grip at all.

The Bacon Slicer. Mad as a box of frogs. On the tarmac it’s so easy as to be almost boring. The tyre is so hard that the seat is noticeably less comfortable than on the Road Razor. Off road, the light wheel copes surprisingly well, but you need to stand out of the saddle a lot on broken ground and it is very vulnerable to pinch flats. The max speed on this was less than the Coker, but comparable to the Road Razor. The average speed was lower because of the extra margin for error made necessary by the short cranks. The Bacon Slicer gave me a cardiovascular and cognitive work out equivalent to more than twice the distance on a Coker, and left me feeling I’d achieved something even if I hadn’t necessarily enjoyed every metre of the way.

The Holy Roller. Fantastic fun on this terrain. I finished the ride on a real high. It’s like a transistorised Coker, and only loses out on the ability to rush short steep hills. On the other hand, you don’t get so many “head strikes” on low branches, and it’s more manoeuvrable. 26 x 2.4" Holy Roller tyre and 125 cranks is highly recommended for mixed terrain. (On the other hand, it was a pain to ride in Sherwood Forest. It needs to keep flowing over the ground and is not good at stop start on rutted paths.)

KH24. On this terrain, the least enjoyable ride of all. It’s a tractor where the Holy Roller is an SUV. The seat is the least comfortable, although my judgement could be influenced by a few hours of hockey yesterday. The combination of fat tyre, small wheel and long cranks means that the uni feels ponderous except when it is doing exactly what it as made for: going up and down steep rough stuff or over difficult terrain. I finished each climb or descent thinking that the unicycle had done it, rather than thinking I’d achieved it. It feels like a well-designed tool, but lacks personality. However, it was great fun to ride on more extreme terrain on Dartmoor recently. It needs the extreme terrain to justify its existence.

Heres and idea

Have you thought about doing a bacon slicer II? perhaps using an extra skinny Hub and frame? You could get a hub “skinnied” in the same (reverse) process as used one the widening on some coker hubs and get a frame built to fit it… much less Q would make it feel totally different.

ps, Coker’s rock

I’m skint for the next three years, having ordered a new motorbike. However, what I will do is ride the Bacon Slicer on progressively wider trails so that the wheel becomes proportionately narrower.

MMMM. A new motorbike, eh? I seem to remember another thread where there was advice asked for and given regarding this kind of purchase. :wink:

Cathy

And someone advised me to get the motorbike, because you only live once. (Although often not for quite as long if you buy a motorcycle, I might add.)

I didn’t know Heckler and Koch were making unicycles.

Oooh! I love motorcycles. I have 2 BMWs. But, that’s another topic for JC. Back to the topic of unis, I kind of liked the idea of a super thin Bacon Slicer for a stricktly tarmac machine. Back when I rode bikes more, I was always a road bike person. I just loved the zen aspects of putting my head down and smoothly and effortlessly cranking out lots of fast miles.

I don’t think you can really compare these five uni’s under the same conditions. Any terrain where the KH24 is great fun to ride is undo-able on any of the other uni’s. I’m ofcourse talking some extreme downhilling. You’re going to love the wide 3" tyre on leafy downhills, where grip is scarce. The Road Razor and the Bacon Slicer are more comparable to each other, whereas the Coker is in another league completly. The Holly Roller is slightly the odd one out, maybe for a bit longer MUni rides, where terrain isn’t extreme but simply challenging, and would ruin your Bacon Slicer rim and tire.

I was thinking similarly.

You have decribed them more than compare them. And the descriptions are kind of obvious.

Who would have thought that a super skinny road-rim/tyre unicycle with tiny cranks would be hard work, suffer punctures, and be slower than a coker over rough ground?

Or that a 24x3" with big cranks would get the same rough stuff easily, but slowly?

You haven’t shed any light on the “What crank length” debate at all as far as I can see.

Who did you write this for?

T.

That last comment was bordering on rude. Why write anything in the forum? because I think that some of the many hundreds of readers might be interested or amused. Clearly you were one of the many who weren’t.

As for the descriptions being obvious, I disagree, because I have been riding on that terrain for years and know it intimately, but I was surprised to find how much fun I could have on the 700c x 28, and how much could be achieved on the 700c x 23 with 102s. I proved to myself that the high gear/high speed Coker can go up hills that the lower gear 26 with 125s ought mathematically to find easier, but doesn’t. I was also surprised at how much the supreme competence of the KH24 made it less enjoyable rather than more.

But if I made a post you found to be pointless, I apologise unreservedly.

dude that would be sweet, have like a machine gun mounted to the seat:)

Wow you’re quick, I went back and took that last “and why” off as soon as I posted, cos it did seem a bit rude, even to me.

I’m glad you proved mathematics wrong, and if the KH makes it seem boring, you need to be riding it on more challenging terrain.

Apology accepted, just don’t let it happen again.

T.

No idea who that might be. :astonished:

Back to unis again.

I find this kind of post extremely helpful in the general scheme of things. Something has to help me decide what/not to buy next.

Cathy

:slight_smile:

Spoken like a true christian.

That’s true, ofcourse, but each of these uni’s is great in their own right. The KH24 is an amazing bit of downhill kit (albeit severely unsuited to street riding, due to it’s flimsy cranks), but can’t touch the Coker in a non-extreme environment. Which is, I think, what the KH24 was designed for.

I guess that’s what this shows, mostly. If you’re not going to be doing northshore, downhilling down 30-40 degree slopes, big drops, and a bit of natural trials as a sideorder, you’re better off with something else.