Unicycle Marathon

Dear all,

I registered for the unicycle marathon at the end of April in Dusseldorf. It’ll be my first marathon so I am kind of wary as to what to expect. I’ve done 30km or so rides before in about 2hr-15mins-ish. The marathon in april is just a preparation to me for Unicon come July.

My main concern is in terms of my unicycle. I’ve had my Qu-Ax 29" for the longest time and I’m really used to it. I’ve never changed the tyre either, so it’s the stock one. I plan to change it to the big apple within the next few weeks. (I hope this is the correct choice?)

My other concern is regarding crank lengths. I’m really used to the 145mm ones that I’m currently using, I’m not sure how much shorter I can go while respecting control, is it that big a concern to use 125 on a 29"? Is that even possible?

Any other suggestions and points brought up will be eternally grateful.

Thank you.

I use 125s on my 29er and I’m far from being a unicycle expert. You should be fine with that crank length. That said, make sure you give yourself some time to adjust to the crank length. You don’t want to ride 145s and then change to 125s the day of the marathon. No better way to train than to ride the same equipment that you plan on riding at the event and it even helps if you train on the same course.

I assume the marathon is on pavement. The big apple should be fine, you definitely don’t want a knobby on pavement. Just ride with some decent air pressure in the tire and tear it up. If you can do 30km in a little over 2 hours then you shouldn’t have any problem doing a full marathon.

Dont get the BigApple! For the marathon you want a tire thats labeled 28x1.75.
Cranks not shorter than 114mm. THen you will compete in “Standard” group, not against Schlumpf and other 36" riders.

A good tire choice: Schwalbe Marathon or Marathon Plus

You may even want to change for 114 mm cranks for marathon (its almost flat, only 2 bridges to cross). Thats what i will ride :slight_smile:

I agree with Smilymarco!
Don’t get the big apple and use the 114mm cranks. You get used to them and after a while you just think how you could ride with the long ones.
Sometimes I think I’m really slow with the 114mm cranks :wink:

I think at Unicon you’re allowed to take the big apple tyre in the limited class. I think it just says that it has to be a 29" Unicycle, without any other restrictions, but they’ll probably change it (?!).

Concerning the big apple- there’s 2 sizes, both 29-er, but one is smaller volume. The bigger one is generally considered a bad choice for unicyles- I think the smaller one is more liked.

For cranks, if you like 145s there’s no reason not to use them. But 125s work well on 29-ers too: just make sure you spend a month or so riding whatever size you’re intending to use. Same goes for your intended set up- whatever tyre, cranks etc you’re planning to use, make sure you get plenty of time practicing on that exact set-up.

I’ve always wondered who you are… I’m assuming you’re Singaporean? I’ve done marathons on my stock 29" qu-ax…

That said, I’ve got a spare Schwalbe Marathon Plus at home if you’re still in town. I’ve rode it for about 40km, took it to Wellington and never used it since.

You’ll probably want a pair of shorter cranks… I don’t know about terrain but if it’s hilly, get used to 125s. If it’s flattish, get a pair of 100s.

I’m also signed up for düsseldorf on my 36". The terrain seems to be completely flat according to the site, so I’m trying to go with shorter cranks.
Also curious as to where you are from since most of the riders seem to be German, but there are also some other interesting places.

Thank you all for the replies, that was indeed helpful. I think I have the 125 somewhere in my room so I’ll try that out for a bit. I’m not sure if I’ll want to go down till the 114mm though, we’ll see.

Yes, I am Singaporean. I’m based in Belgium so Dusseldorf isn’t that far, and I’d like some experience riding a full event with other competitors and all that jazz that comes with a full fledged marathon before Unicon.

JH, I met you last month at the unicycle hockey event back in Singapore. I think I introduced myself as Kelvin’s friend. I’m back in Europe now so I’ll have to find the Marathon Plus tyres somewhere here, but thanks for the offer.

I’ll be pretty happy riding with other unicyclists to be honest, not aiming for 1st place.

One more question, does anyone know a reputable shop to get the Marathon Plus? Unicycle.com doesn’t seem to carry them.

Thanks again.

Chain reaction cycles are generally pretty good, and ship everywhere. The have lots of schwalbe marathon plus variants available.

You can check them out here…

When you decide what tyre you’re going to buy, it pays to check the price with their direct competitor Wiggle as well.

I have ordered a lot of items from both of them, and have had minimal issues.



Thanks Dmac, so many types, which one do I use? Smily mentioned 28x1.75 which I don’t see that size on any of the different Schwalbe models.

You could get it at amazon:


Or just ask you local bike shop

Awesome, thanks. Just bought it from amazon.de with my nonexistant German. Strangely enough, amazon.co.uk which I usually order from didn’t carry it and amazon.fr wouldn’t send it to Belgium.

I got them from chain reaction cycles. One word of caution though - they’re a bit loose on the qu-ax rim. My rim tape (stock) was too skinny and I didn’t know that so as I was sprinting, it slashed my tube and let’s just say it (and my face) wasn’t a pretty sight.

Normally there are two unicycle categories for 10k racing, 24" and Unlimited. 29" would be in the Unlimited class, up against the 36" Schlumpfs. But with 29" racing being an existing category in Europe, the organizers can add categories if they want. If they do have a 29" (700c) category and go by the IUF rules for that size, the maximum tire diameter is 75 cm. Documentation I found on the Unicon XVI web site does not list what wheel size classes will be used for the 10k.

For the Unicon Marathon (42k), they are only having an Unlimited class.

I only had a problem with the wider Big Apple tire when riding a Schlumpf in high gear, but for racing purposes, I would go with the narrower one anyway. It’s a great tire. Comfortable, but probably not the lightest.

For cranks, if 114mm marks a change in category, stick with 114. If you’re not sure, ride the 125s for a while first, then try them. On a flat course, they’re still longer than you need. I raced the Unicon XIII Marathon with 102s on a 36" wheel.

Can’t really help regarding equipment choices except for the obvious point of being very comfortable with what you will be using well before race day.

But there are a number of youtube vids taken at various Dusseldorf Uni marathons over the years, so you can have a look at things. It is a flat course from what I have seen.

Wish I could go too… :frowning:

John’s right. From what I know, the Big Apple is pretty daaaaamn heavy. It’s great for rockier courses I guess but if not for the fact that my schwalbe exploded, I like it as a tire. Very light!

Oh, get a handlebar too. Very useful.

You could have bought it from municycle.com. German distributor, their website is in German and English. Very friendly and reliable.
Regardless, with this tyre you can compete in what the Germans call standard class in Düsseldorf if the cranks are not shorter than 114 mm. From what I read, yours will be longer so that’s OK.
For Unicon in Italy, there are two classes for the marathon, i.e. unlimited and single-speed 29". There is no restriction on crank length. So the same unicycle will be allright for the 29" class at Unicon.
I’ll see you in Düsseldorf, I’ll be in the “standard” class as well.

I like the idea of a 29" category for the Unicon Marathon, but haven’t found any information about it. Can you post a URL or similar to show me where they have that listed? Thanks.

In September last year, I emailed the Unicon organisation that there was a 29" class for the marathon on the registration form, but no corresponding information in the pdf explaining long distance rides. David Weichenberger emailed me back:

Thereupon, I registered for the 29" class, and my registration details show it as such.

I just looked and the pdf on the website is unchanged, mentioning only Unlimited class for the Marathon. I am not sure if a “blank” registration form would show the 29" class, but my populated form does. I will email them again for clarification.

Thanks! I hope to bring a geared 29", so no change for me if I do…