Wafer Thin: mint!

It had to happen. I’ve been riding the Bacon Slicer on a 23mm tyre for a while and just had to go skinnier. I couldn’t find a 19mm tyre, but today my mail order 20 mm tyre arrived through the post.

I took the time to swap the cranks too from my “winter cranks” (125 mm) to “summer cranks” (114 mm). The longer ones are more practical and versatile, but the 114s are more fun.

Surprisingly, the kitchen scales showed that the new skinny tyre was a couple of Ounces heavier than the 23mm one. I even fancied I could tell the difference by hand. However, at a glance you can see that new one is more puncture resisitant. Punctures have been a perennial problem on the 23 mm.

Down to the riverside, where a Goldfinch on a nearby bush watched me adjusting the seat. Goldfinches: the birds with the Midas touch.

After three missed mounts, I was up and away. I had to dismount for the gate, and I remounted first time. I had over adjusted the seat height and was just a tad too far away from the pedals. It’s amazing how a few mm can make so much difference to your confidence, as the Bishop famously remarked.

A few hundred metres of tarmac with a couple of speed humps, and then I reached the cattle grid. A wise man once said, “Don’t ride your unicycle across the cattle grid!” (and an unwise one ignored him) and I wasn’t going to risk it in damp conditions on a slick tyre pumped to over 100 psi.

I took the opportunity to lower the seat a few mm and it instantly felt better. Onwards… and now I’m relaxed, the unicycle almost silent beneath me, with none of the grumble and buzz of a knobbled Muni tyre on hard ground.

Then down onto hard baked mud between damp grass. Right at the gate and a picturesque if brief swoop through the woods with undergrowth brushing against my bare legs (yes… I know…) and out onto the farm track. The grass here is long and wet, and I sense that it coneals ruts. I stand on the pedals, and instead of extra fine control I get extra torque and the slick tyre spins beneath me without gripping. The uni dumps me unceremoniously.

I remount and pick my way carefully, then turn along the field boundary. So far so good, but the tiny but steepish damp slope at the end is beyond me and I UPD. A short section of tarmac, then a quick climb over a gravelly bridge, then a long and careful ride along a green lane, interrupted by a pleasant chat with a dog walker.

20mm tyre? It seems to handle better than the 23mm. It gives no assistance whatsoever in coping with bumps, roots and loose surfaces. This is unicycling as pure balance and concentration with none of the “just go for it” gung-hosity of the Muni. Great fun.:smiley:

Uni tyres.jpg

I seem to recall the wise man was riding across the cattle grid when he said that. I guess the key word was “your”:wink:

Ah, yes, it is only wafer thin! And we all know how well that turned out for Mr Creosote in TMOL:

I’m sure you’ll have better success!

Is that photo of the ISIS display team showing off their ‘walk like an Egyptian’ pose?


Spencer, your mind works in very mysterious ways!

Scarily, now I look at the pic again I can see exactly what you mean.

It does seem to conform to the old norm of there always being a larger lady in singing trios;)

Your muni’s going to end up with anorexia.

I put a thin 30mm tire on my 29er. I think, i can pedal faster. Riding curves is easier. On uphills i’m faster too. OK, the diameter of the tire is smaller, but it feels faster. I have 100er cranks on it and now i wish to have shorter cranks.

I think you will find that you start to lose top speed and average journey speed once the tyre gets much smaller than 30 mm. Reason being, you need more air pressure, so the tyre is less forgiving of minor changes in the surface, and because it’s lighter, it has less momentum.

The advantages are that as it’s lighter, you can accelerate, decelerate and idle much more easily; and as it’s skinnier and harder, it makes an otherwise easy section more challenging.

Super skinny is not for everyone, but I think of it as unicycling in its purest form. It doesn’t offer the “blast over the obstacles and to Hell with it” excitement of a fat Muni tyre, but it does offer a sort of Zen like focus to your concentration on even a simple stretch of single track.

Thanks for posting, Mike and others. I browse these forums a lot and don’t read too many reports about skinny tires.

Now such a skinny-ti[/y]red unicycle is on my list of things to try.

That’s still how the more unbalanced uniclists (or at least me) experience all forms of unicycling.