Versatility of the KH 29er with 150mm cranks?

Has anyone logged some miles on the KH 29er?

I’m looking at getting myself a new Muni for XC type-riding. I like the agility of a smaller wheel when it gets rough, but wouldn’t mind the speed and roll of a larger one for the flatter/smoother parts. So, while eyeing 24" and 26" Munis, I noticed the 29er and got to thinking…

I ride a 29er single-speed mountain bike and it is amazingly versatile- fast downhill, good traction uphill, and momentum-preserving roll-over-itness all the time, but I’m wondering about the short 150 mm cranks on the KH 29er unicycle.

It looks like a speedy devil for the flats, but how’s it climb? How’s the agility and hoppability for logs and when the trail gets tight and rocky? Kris, care to share some theory on the specs?

I’d love to hear people’s experiences with a 29er Muni with such short cranks.

I ride (frustratingly) a mix of rolling singletrack and really nasty and steep babyheads. I think the freeride 24 might be a better fit for the rocky stuff, but I’m temped by the fun of my 29er MTB and the potential of a really fast Muni. Split the difference and look for a solid 26"? Is there a 29er out there with cranks in the 165mm range? Whaddya think, folks? would probably swap out to 165mm cranks if you asked them to.

I’ve done quite a bit of riding on a 29er with 150mm cranks. It is fun for cross-country riding, and I would say that it climbs hills on fire roads at least as well as my 26x3.0" with 170mm cranks, due to the lighter weight. It doesn’t roll over things as well, of course.

I tacoed the wheel on Slickrock (was using 170mm at the time), so I would say it’s not up for serious hops and drops. But the light weight should make it reasonably easy to hop up things with.

This is a stock 2005 KH29, Tom? What were you doing when it tacoed?

No, it was a Pashley 29er, but it had the Kovachi-built wheel so it should be pretty comparable.

I was going down a steep bit near the beginning of the loop part of the trail (about 3 miles from the trailhead, going counter-clockwise around the loop). The total steep bit had maybe 5 feet of vertical drop, with a small ledge about halfway down. I tried to slow down when I hit that ledge, kind of slid off it sideways, and landed hard with some sideways momentum.

So, I wasn’t intentionally trying to stress the equipment; it was a combination of terrain and poor technique. But I don’t think my hard-core MUni would have died in the same situation.

I had a spoke wrench with me, and was able to jump on the rim enough to make it rideable; I finished that ride and rode the next day up to Porcupine Rim.

I prefer 165s for riding trails on my KH 29.

Ah, thanks, Tom. Well, I do believe my 29er wheels are the best out there, but I’m not convinced one would survive that scenario. One of my Coker wheels – no problem. Thanks again.

A 29er/150mm combo is what I do most of my MUni riding on. It’s very light and fast and climbs better than anything else I’ve ridden. I don’t do super technical stuff, I prefer going fast on singletrack.

A 24 or 26" with long cranks like 170’s can get you up super steep stuff, but not very fast- you’re faster walking if its too steep to ride on a 29’er/150. While a 24" MUni with long cranks can climb up/hop up just about anything, it’s like riding a uphill on a donkey :stuck_out_tongue:

With good tyres, like a Motoraptor- the 29er will stick to anything, and it’s so light you can flick it around even when applying a lot of power on the uphills.

It doesn’t handle drops as well however, mainly because of the bigger wheel. Make sure you get a good wheelbuilder to build you up a strong wheel. And maybe think about converting it to tubeless with a Stans no-tubes kit to avoid snakebites. You’ll need slightly more finesse when landing so as not to taco the wheel. If you drop off things like an elephant then it’s probably not for you.

I love my 29er’. The only time I’d ride my 24" MUni is on a trials ride.

I agree with Gizmoduck that a 29" with 150mm cranks is a good combination. In fact I really wouldn’t bother putting anything longer than 150s on a 29er. Otherwise you lose the speed that they are so renowned for. 150s are specced on the KH29er as they are a good all-round crank length. If anything you should consider getting shorter rather than longer cranks. I really liked my 29er with 140mm cranks (until they got rounded at the Moonride), now I’ll have to go longer and put 150s back on.

I bought my Yuni 29 with 125 cranks. Great fun zipping around on streets and gravel/dirt roads. But I had a hard time on trails. Hard to climb and bumps tossed me off. I switched to 150s two yrs ago. Great rig. Quicker and easier recovery from bump hits means no loss of speed. I can climb all but the toughest tech parts. Haven’t even considered changing back. I can still keep decent rpm when on streets. But this machine is basically dedicated to XC.

I have to agree- if it’s not super technical I also prefer riding on a 29’er with 150’s- it’s faster and feels a lot smoother. It’s not quite as good for hopping but you can roll over a lot of things more easily with the larger wheel diameter. You can also corner faster without having to worry about hitting your pedals. In my opinion 29’ers will eventually become just as popular as 24" MUnis.

Rim strength is an issue though, because the geometry of a larger wheel is inherently less strong. For what it’s worth the KH29 rim and splined crank setup feels quite stiff compared to a regular 29’er, sort of like the difference between a regular Coker compared to a Coker with an airfoil rim and wider hub.

Lennard Zinn, author of Zinn and the art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, runs a company that produces ultra high-end custom mountain bikes including 29" mountain bikes. He’s now spec’ing the KH rim as his strongest 29" rim option on these bikes.


I’d say 29er with 150mm cranks is quite versatile. I don’t know where you got the idea that 150mm cranks are short. When I had a 29er (before the Nanoraptor prematurely failed) I had 125mm cranks on it and I found I could ride most off-road tracks comfortably with that length. I find that the extra momentum and smoothness of the turning circle makes up for any lack of leverage. I can’t wait to try a KH 29"- square tapers just don’t satisfy me like they used to.

Lennard Zinn must be the one of the first bike-riders to have a bike made with unicycle rims. Unicycles have always used bike parts- now for a change it’s the other way around!

At the '05 Moab MUni weekend we encountered a guy riding a custom Zinn full-suspension bike with the KH 700c rims. Pretty cool- first time I’ve seen that. I don’t think I got a photo but I should have, this guy was huge- 6’6" or something like that, with the biggest dual suspension frame I’ve ever seen.



If memory serves me right- the guy that imports 29" WTB tyres into the country (New Zealand) is running KH29" rims on his bikes. I also know of another 29’er bicyclist that has specced his bike with KH 29"rims.


Re: Versatility of the KH 29er with 150mm cranks?

On Sun, 3 Jul 2005 11:06:22 -0500, “danger_uni” wrote:

>At the '05 Moab MUni weekend we encountered a guy riding a custom Zinn
>full-suspension bike with the KH 700c rims. Pretty cool- first time
>I’ve seen that. I don’t think I got a photo but I should have, this
>guy was huge- 6’6" or something like that, with the biggest dual
>suspension frame I’ve ever seen.

One of the top Dutch Mountain Bikers emailed me (maybe 6 months ago)
for advice re building a custom mountain bike with two strong 36"
wheels. He is very tall but he also saw benefits in better
rollability. I don’t know if he eventually got round to building it.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“As with all great social movements, the origins of mountain unicycling are unclear. - Hannah Nordhaus (Los Angeles Times)”

I bought a few months ago a KH29XC from, and decided to go for the default 150mm cranks (although I was kindly invited to specify another crank length with my order if ever I wanted longer/shorter cranks).

[ If I was in the right thread to elaborate on that, I could tell you how wonderful this unicycle is!!! ]

Well - guess what I ordered a few days ago (and just received today BTW!)? A pair of 127mm replacement cranks for my KH29!

I actually use my KH29 in 2 pretty different occasions: everyday of the working week to commute to work (i.e. flat/short trips on the road), and on the Sunday as a real XC Muni riding in the Alps mountains around there (i.e. steep/long offroad trips).

Although I can absolutely confirm that 150mm cranks are very versatile on a XC 29er, I actually realized that I wanted more speed during my “working week” use, and more control, more power during my “week-end” use.

This is why I bought the 127mm - to commute at a higher speed, basically.

I intend to swap cranks (any of my 2 pairs being equipped with their own pedals, to make this swap operation as quick and easy as possible) and put back the 150mm ones for my off-road use. Later on, I will certainly buy longer cranks for off-road, probably 165mm ones - and I will hopefully have found the best fit for each of my 2 different uses!

I can’t imagine how happy my 3-year old daughter will be then, when I will offer her a pair of magical 150mm musical sticks!!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

so would you say that a 29er with 125mm cranks for 60% mild offroading and 40% onroading is a no no?

i am thinking of buying the nimbus 29er from New Zealand (i would buy it from Australia but they are out of stock). it comes stock with the big apple and 125’s. i think the tyre will be allright for me, but should i get 150’s?

Hey Saam,

You have the same birhtday as me :stuck_out_tongue:

The Big Apple is more of a touring tyre- it’s a slick so won’t be much good for any serious MUni especially if it’s muddy/slippery.

The 125’s (or better still 110s or 100’s) would be better for riding on the road if you don’t have plans on getting a Coker anytime soon. 150’s are great for off-road, in which case you might also want to look at an offroad tyre like a WTB Motoraptor.

As it sounds like you want to do both road and light off-road, I’d suggest getting WTB Nanoraptor tyres and a combo of 150’s and 110mm cranks. If you can’t be bothered changing cranks too often, the just get the 125’s. 125’s don’t have much leverage for really steep off-road though; whereas you can ride just about anything on 150s, and speed around on 110’s/100s.

What part of Queensland are you from? I’m heading to Toowomba this weekend for the Hidden Vale Classic- got time free on Saturday and Monday for a ride if you’re closeby.

If you are thinking of doing a bit of mild offroading you may like to switch to something like a Kenda claw XC for the tyre and 150s for the cranks. Note the Nimbus 29er is definately intended as a road machine. The rim is not as strong as the KH and I do not think it will stand up to rigourous offroad riding although it should be fine for mild offroad use.

We used to stock the WTB nanoraptor hybrid tyre but the last batch of them, with a flexible kevlar bead, were very prone to pinch flats. It was such a problem that we no longer sell them. If you can track down an old one in a bike shop that does not have a flexible bead you are on to a winner.

I suggest that you get yourself a set of 150s and 125s and that way you can experiment with both to find what you like. I prefer 150s for offroad riding and 102s for road riding.

Give us a call at if you want to talk about swapping cranks or tyres.

+64 21 864 292

Peter with his UDC hat on.

You have kevlar Motos as well? I could be up for some :slight_smile:

I don’t see how a kevlar bead can be any more likely to pinch flat than a steel beaded tyre. The Nanos are one of the best ‘hybrid’ tyres- if you can call them that. I think of them more like an off-road tyre that doesn’t dissolve when ridden on the road.

If you’re worried about pinch flats have a look at converting to a tubeless system like Stans.

hey GizmoDuck thanks for the invite to ride but i live about 7 hours away and i got school :frowning:

thank you peter.bier and GizmoDuck for the information. i know the nimbus 29er isn’t a XC uni but i fits well in my price range. i think i will stick with the 125’s and buy some 150’s later if needed, o and with a crank extractor, are they needed or do they just make life a thousand times easier?

but i would like a XC tyre and the choose of crank length, so peter.bier, it is to my understanding that UDC NZ runs UDC AU, if i am correct when will UDC AU be restocking the nimbus 29er, and when the are restocked will they come with the same specs as the nimbus 29er on UDC NZ(-ie- the big apple and 125’s and no choose of cranks or tyre) or will they be like they used to? and one more question about UDC AU are the prices in NZ dollars or AU dollars?

thanks again for the valuable and prompt responses