What 36er should I buy?

I’m saving up for a 36" Unicycle. I have ridden a friends once before and loved it. Could you tell me what the benefits are of the different 36ers? I wouldnt spend a lot more on the best coker if it isn’t that much better than another one I just want to know what the cheapest 36er that is the one for me. That could end up being the most expensive.

Tell me about 36 inch Unicycles :slight_smile:

I don’t claim to be the world expert on cokers, but FWIW:

I think it’s worth the extra money for an aluminium rim (like a Stealth) and 14g stainless spokes. When I upgraded mine from the old steel rim and thick 12g spokes it was a massive difference in feel.

I think the square taper/ISIS choice is a matter of personal taste. There used to be more lengths available for square taper, but now most are available ISIS as well.

I had a super-wide hub in my old wheel, then swapped to a normal-width one in the new wheel. I reckon the normal hub is wide enough for strength with a good rim and tight wheel build, and I like the slightly reduced Q. I ride mine mostly cross-country and not had any problems (and I’m not ridiculously light like Sam W and Ken Looi - I’m 12st).

Of course, if you go for a KH frame, you have to use a normal width hub anyway. I’m quite happy with my plain old Qu-Ax Coker-copy frame at the moment, although the KH is probably a bit stiffer.

Apparently the new Nightrider tyre is nice, but I’ve not tried one so I can’t really say - still using my old ever-lasting TA.


I am by no means a Coker expert but here goes. Listing various 36ers with key features.

Coker Big one:
super wide 48h square taper hub
regular style aluminum frame
V brake compatible

Aluminum frame is the lightest you can get. I don’t know about its flex.

Coker V2
Same as Coker Big One but with a Cro-Mo “squid” style frame.

Heavier and stiffer than Coker Big One. Possibly stiffest (and heaviest) frame on the market.

Qu-Ax 36
48h regular width ISIS hub
regular style steel frame
V-brake compatible

Rim does not have a flat breaking surface

Nimbus Titan
36h Supper wide Square taper hub
regular style steel frame
no brake mounts

Nimbus Nightrider
36h Super wide square taper hub
triangulated Cro-Mo frame
Magura compatible.

Frame has great torsional strength but is a bit flexy laterally

Nimbus Nightrider Pro
Same as Nimbus Nightrider but with:
36h super wide ISIS hub
eyeleted rim with machined braking surface

KH Moment ISIS hub (regular width 36h)
KH aluminum frame (27.2mm seatpost)
Magura compatible
Eyeleted rim with machined braking surface
Double hole cranks standard
KH-Schlumpf compatible

What it all means:

36h or 48h: a 36 spoke wheel will lighter than a 48 spoke wheel but a 48 spoke wheel will be stronger.

Regular width or Super wide hub: a Super wide hub will give you a stronger wheel build but forces you to have a wider stance making fast spinning more difficult. In theory a 36 spoke supper wide will be slightly stiffer laterally than a similarly tensioned 48 spoke regular width wheel.

ISIS - vs - Square taper: ISIS is a spline interface which results in a stronger connection between cranks and the hub.

It used to be that you wanted a square taper hub for a 36er so you could get short and light cranks. Qu-Ax now has lightweight ISIS cranks in most popular sizes and they are relatively cheep. Another advantage to having an ISIS setup is that there are readily available dual hole cranks for added flexibility.

ISIS hubs use 42mm bearings and Square taper hubs use 40mm bearings so you may not be able to put a ISIS wheelset in a non ISIS frame etc.

Magura - vs - V brake: Magura brakes are hydraulic rim brakes, they are more expensive but very smooth. V brakes are what are found on most non disk mountain bikes. They are cheeper than maguras but can work almost as well if set up properly.

Eyeleted rim with machined braking surface: Eyeleted rims will allow for higher tension resulting in a stronger stiffer wheel build. Machined braking surfaces result in buttery smooth braking.

I believe that the Qu-Ax and Coker rims are 32mm wide and the Nimbus and KH rims are 42mm wide. All rims are double walled aluminum alloy. A wider rim will be more stable but may have more wind resistance (negligible).

Hope that helps

Wow, Saskatchewanian, what a comprehensive reply!

+1! Thanks Man!

Can I translate that to post on our website (It still offline but we’ll have soon online!), with credits to you?

Sure, when crediting my name is Eric Pulvermacher.


Great post! Thanks.

That is far beyond my exploration into 36er’s but definitely of some interest to me.

Do you have any translation of value/$? The price of the KH is 1/2 again as much as the Nimbus Nightrider. The Coker and Nimbus in the mid range, and KH at the high end. Is it worth the $$?

Since this is going to be reproduced I decided to check a couple things I wasn’t 100% on. I guess the Coker Big One frame is not the lightest any more, the KH is 94g lighter (799g vs 705g).

So pedrotejada, if you could just say that the Coker Big One frame is light instead of the lightest that would be more accurate for your site.

I am not going to try saying which is a better deal. Prices are different everywhere and everyone is unique in their preferences. This was written to help people see the basic differences between the unicycles without having to sift through all the other information we are given at sites selling them.

The added price for the KH pays for the lightest and probably stiffest stock frame as well as the nicest stiff cranks out there. If you plan to ride offroad and/or up and down big/steep hills, then you’d appreciate the stiffness. Otherwise you’d probably be just as happy with a Nimbus or Coker.

I agree. Another benefit of the cranks on the KH is that they are damn strong. I have bent countless square tapered cranks on my Coker(s)/Nimbuses. That stopped when I moved on to the schlumpf ISIS hub with the strong KH 125/150 cranks. That enough is a reason to get the KH, but now that the new Nimbuses have ISIS hubs,it may no longer be a main selling factor.


Thankyou for the advice everyone! :smiley: Especially saskatchewanian! I still havn’t decided what to get, but I still don’t have the money. so I have plenty of time to decide.

If you own a 36", which one did you buy?

I think some of those Nimbus models that Sask mentioned are US-specific, but there are a couple of versions of the Nightrider 36ers on UDC UK. I don’t think anybody imports the new Cokers either, so if you want one of those it would probably have to be a personal import (although I may be wrong).

My 36er started off as a Qu-Ax copy of the original Coker. When I bought it (it used to be DarkTom’s) the hub had been swapped for a UDC super-wide hub and a 29er tube was fitted (I’ve never used a proper heavy 36er tube). I added a bmx calliper brake and rode it like that for a couple of years before I decided to upgrade the wheel. My new wheel is a Nimbus Stealth Pro rim on Nimbus ISIS hub (normal width) with 14g stainless spokes and Qu-Ax lightweight ISIS cranks. It’s very noticeably lighter and much nicer to ride.

I’m using a normal KH Fusion saddle, which I find pretty comfortable, although I don’t tend to do enormous rides (longest I’ve done in a day is about 60 miles, but I rode the unicon marathon without a dismount). No handle at the moment apart from the KH saddle handle (I mostly ride cross-country, but if I can rig up an easily removable handlebar I may give it a try for road riding).


EDIT: Actually, having just had a look on the UDC UK site, I think what Sask called a Titan is what UDC UK just call a UDC 36" Unicycle. Looks like they all come with aluminium rims now as well.

I think i’ll get a Qu-Ax http://www.unicycle.uk.com/shop/shopdisplayproduct.asp?catalogid=696

If I was going to buy a 36" unicycle and I was going to use a brake, then a machined braking surface would be the way I would go.

I was put off a 36" by falling off due to brakes grabbing when the rim flared. This was before machined 36" rims were available. I went for a KH 29" and I love it.

36" Unicycles are very popular though, and if you have used one, then you know that you will get on with it.

Enjoy it when you get it.


Sascatchewanian, Above you mentioned a disc uni hub? Are they available anywhere. I’m halfway through an ISIS splined disc hub for one of my homemade uni’s but if they are made to some spec. I’ like to copy one.

I’d just like to mention the ability to expand to a geared hub would be a big factor for me. Geared 36er riding is ultimate ride for speed junkies and long distance warriors. If your road unicycling trajectory is anything like mine that is where you will end up someday. A KH unicycle would allow for such an upgrade eventually. Then again, you could always sell your first Coker when you make the move to a geared machine. The demand for used 36ers is pretty high.
Also, an adjustable seat post, (also standard on the KH) is a tremendous upgrade that make a big difference in seat comfort. Good luck!

Did I?

I remember seeing a few disk brake unis here on the forums but they were all home made/one off creations. If I remember correctly one was one of your creations. I would love to have disks brakes for my unis but dont have the time or money for custom projects at the moment (OK I have time but no money :o)

I remember seeing a bolt on adapter for adding a disk to a non-disk bike hub when I was still using tire chains for winter riding and therefore unable to use rim brakes.

I look forward to seeing whatever you end up building with that hub.

A great thread, mostly thanks to Eric. Due to a lack of information in the original question (he hasn’t said what type of riding), Eric came up with a pretty detailed compilation of the current market in 36" unicycles. Here’s a few of my comments:

Common use:
No, 36ers aren’t just for road riding. In fact, the category that might contain the largest # of 36" unicycles might be what you call “exhibition” or “show-off” riding. People who buy them for novelty. If you’re in that category, shop based on price because the other factors won’t be so important.

For road riding, you might consider the KH to be overkill. Nice aluminum frame, but maybe more weight than needed in the crankset. But most important for road riding is to minimize rotating weight, which means less spokes, and light rim & tire. Alloy rim and 36 spokes would be better there. Also comfort, which for road riding translates into a combination of handle setup and seat that works for you. This is a more personal choice than brands and models can answer (and covered in other threads).

Yes, 36ers are also fun offroad. For that I recommend a KH or Coker wheel. KH has the stronger crankset, and Coker has the 48-spoke wide hub. Personally, I haven’t bent or broken any cranks or hubs on my Cokers but Corbin has. Hard pedaling is one source of stress, and the other can be dropping the unicycle. At the moment my original square taper Coker hub from 2002 is still going strong after some thousands of miles; mostly road but some dirt.

If you’re like many of us, you don’t fit any one category. I use my Coker to show off sometimes (though I have a 45" wheel that’s better for that). I mostly do road riding with it, but I also take it on some dirt side trails. had have used my old Coker for some full-on MUni. Later I got a second Coker which is now dedicated to the rough stuff. If you want to do a combination of activities, you actually have more choices because you have to compromise anyway.

Additional comment:
I don’t know that the KH frame is any stiffer than the Coker aluminum frame. Because the KH is lighter, it probably gives up a bit of strength compared to the Coker. Aluminum is stiff in either case, so I wouldn’t quibble on that. However they are apples and oranges outside of their material, as one has a nice one-footable frame (not necessarily useful on a 36") and a different bearing system at the bottom.

The Coker V2 frame looks cool, but functionally there’s nothing “necessary” about it. Also it’s pretty wide so riders with short legs may find their knees touching it as they pedal. Buy it for the visual statement it makes. Also it’s pretty light for its size. Coker says it’s lighter than the Nimbus (thin tubed) frame.

This background info also serves as a disclaimer:
I have 2.5 Cokers, and I didn’t buy any of them. I started with a handmade (Unicycle Factory) 45" big wheel that I’ve had since 1982. It’s heavy, but turns much better than a Coker due to it’s narrow, solid rubber (wheelchair) tire. Great for sweeping turns and spins. And Parades. Crap for long rides.

Then I got the UDC Coker Deluxe in 2002. Nobody bought the one they’d brought to Unicon 11 by the end of the convention, so I took it home under my relationship with the company as a partner. A ton of people had ridden it around at the conventions, so it was slightly used. Many seasoned unicyclists may have taken their first 36" rides on it! It has served me faithfully ever since, and I rode it last year in Ride The Lobster. Now it’s my road machine, with a Wyganowski handle setup.

Last year Coker gave me their second-generation cycles. That is, a whole one, with parts to switch to the other model. I put lots of miles on it and wrote a review for On One Wheel, plus lots of feedback here (and to Coker). They gave me both sets of stock cranks, both seat posts (steel and alloy) and both frames. I first rode it as the V2. My knees would touch the frame, but it never got in my way. Looks striking. Then I switched to the Big One frame, which made for a sleeker, lighter unicycle. My only problem making the switch was a surprise with the brake. the Big One brake setup requires a bit longer cable than what I’d left myself on the V2! But this is not a scenario that most Coker buyers would encounter, you would buy one frame or the other and it would be fine. That brake works great BTW, and the lever location is simple and easy to reach.

I’ve had the 150mm cranks on my new Coker most of the time, and after varied testing it has become my Coker MUni. Though the 48-spoked wide wheel is heavier than a skinny 36-spoke one would be, I think it’s the right choice for banging around on trails. And it’s a great workout! It provided much of my hill training for RTL.

A few additional facts (with an opinion thrown in for good measure):
The only difference between the KH and Nimbus Pro 36" wheelsets is the hub - the Nimbus Pro models are still ISIS.
The Coker hub width is the same as Qu-Ax and Nimbus.
Comparing the Qu-Ax and Coker 48-spoke wheels: Qu-Ax is ISIS while Coker is not, so I would say the Qu-Ax wheel is preferable although there is a weight advantage with The Big One.

All that said, we’re publishing a 36" wheel weight-saving guide in Issue Nine of Uni Magazine :slight_smile:

First 36’er ride!

At Cotter’s Barn Trials yesterday I got a chance to finally ride a 36’er … it was wonderful hearing the wind whistle through my helmet! Awesome to use an over-used word … but it applies here. I rode a KH 36 with 150’s and A Coker with really, really short cranks … thanks to Dan Hanson. Had a tough time adjusting to the short cranks but his set up is Dan specific.
So … my 51st birthday is coming up in May and my wife says “sure you dork … I’ll get you one, price is not an issue!” … I love her :smiley:
I will ride some off-road, will do drops!.. and smooth paved trails here. Want a handle and brakes. LOVE the KH … but I need more convincing on the Coker.
I have read all the threads on 36’ers on here so I have an understanding of all the differences and such.
Not considering a Nimbus at this point. Want the KH … Would get a Coker. There is a big price difference but hey, we got gold money!!! And have worked our whole lives.
Help … what should I get … any more opinions? … pros/cons?
I redundantly thank you uni-sperts,