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:
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.
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.