If all goes according to plan, my commute to work will be roughly cut in half - 20 miles to 12 miles. I’m in the beginning stages of looking at road uni’s, and any input from other commuters/road riders would be greatly appreciated. As of right now, I’m considering the KH 2015 29" mountain unicycle:
I’m considering a 36", because I can obviously cover more distance with it, but want something versatile as well, not something that can only handle flat, smooth pavement. Has anybody ridden the KH 2015 29" for commuting, and if so, how was it compared to a “pure” road unicycle?
I have a road “29” (the 700x45 is actually about 28.5" in diameter) and a KH 29x2.3 setup for muni. The road uni has 114mm cranks and is light. It’s top speeds are not far off what I can do with my 36" but the 36" cruises at speed so much easier.
A KH29 with a smooth tire would be fine for road riding, but a 36" takes much less effort overall. The 29" is easier to start, stop, make tight turns, idle, etc, but the 36" is easier to ride in a straight line - it just goes. For a 12 mile commute on roads, I’d go with the 36".
I think a 29er would work, but the commute will take some time. Then if you’re thinking of commuting that distance by unicycle then you have to accept that.
I have been commuting a little less than 10 miles each way about 2-3 days/week on my 36 (my commute just got a mile shorter about a month ago). I takes me roughly an hour on 127mm cranks (a few best times under 52 minutes).
The issue with the 36 is not that it can’t handle anything other than smooth pavement (or small hills), it’s the slow-speed stuff and tight turns (what davidp said). If you have a lot of pedestrian-heavy areas or heavy traffic or otherwise slow and hard-to-navigate areas with lots of unexpected maneuvering then a 36 can be difficult and a 29 would be much better. Anything where you have to go at or less than walking speed is pretty hard on a 36 (gets better with practice of course).
In my opinion at that distance the extra speed with the 36 is way worth it. With some practice you should have a comfortable cruising speed of 11-13mph. In Boston I wouldn’t think you should have any huge hills (i.e. no long long hills). I make it up short 10-15% grades easily on the 36 and (although at the beginning it seemed impossible) I am now almost always able to ride the 20% grade (although with 100mm cranks I’m only abut 50% success). If your commute is predominantly “open” road riding then I would definitely go with the 36. If on the other hand you have lots of heavy stop-an-go traffic or other intimidating areas then the 29 might be much easier and more comfortable to navigate.
I guess what I’m saying: go with the 36 unless you think you can’t manage the slow-speed stuff on your commute, then go with the 29.
A 36" IS a pure Road unicycle. While they can also be ridden on dirt, they are best suited to the road. A 36" would be great even if your commute has some dirt in it, unless it’s really, really technical.
The obvious downsides to using a 36" are that it takes up more space and it weighs more. Beyond that, it’s all advantage for the commute.
Thanks for the advice! I actually don’t live in Boston, I live about an hour away. Where I currently live (and where I’m hopefully looking to move) are both very rural locations, long stretches of roads without lights, not much pedestrian traffic at all…I think you sold me on the 36".
I don’t have a KH29 2015 but I tried the Knard on the road with my 29er and compared it to other tires I used for commuting. I have been surprise by it’s smooth rolling despite the tread and volume. However, it is not as good as a smaller volume tire or a slick one.
On the upside, you are welcome to come and visit me and you can try the 3 different tires on my 29 on the bike path