What Makes A Better Than Average Unicycle??

Are the better ones made of lighter materials like aluminum?

The rider?

Most unicycles above a minimum price ($150?) are quite nice. If you want a rugged one you will need to pay more. ISIS cranks are a good buy for durability. A nice seat is important if you are doing a lot of riding.


*Holm’s are the best in my humble opinion…Lighter and top notch quality (worth every penny)
*Nimbus’ are great quality and many are steel…Little heavier and priced a bit more reasonable
*Tokers would be the next in line, but if I’d jump up to a Nimbus for a little more $$…

Just my my novice opinion…

I think it’s basically more strength for less weight.

A better than average unicycle is made of titanium. A good strong unicycle (like a Kris Holm) can be made of aluminum. Steel ones are good, but heavy.


Improvements are made in a couple of categorizes many of which are conflicting hence the exponential increase in price:

Lighter is better. always. A light unicycle is easier to control and takes less effort to move around. This increases you endurance as you are using less effort. There is some physics involved here dealing with momentum and inertia.

Strength is important for obvious reasons, you don’t want to brake your unicycle. This directly conflicts with weight, the less material your unicycle is made out of the lighter it is, but the less material you have the less material you have to distribute force. There are sub categories here.
*Stiffness: The stiffer the unicycle is the more responsive it is and the less you waste energy. This is mostly effected by crown design and material. here are some material listed from stiffest to most flexy: carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium and steel are roughly equal. And before people start to argue this it is simple fact there is no comment on better material, a well designed steel frame could ride better than a carbon fiber frame. Also there is a limit to how stiff you want a unicycle to be and this is a matter of personal preference.
*Durability: This explains how long your unicycle will last. As you put force into the material it begins to break down, aluminum has a number of cycles that it can go through before it simply breaks. Titanium and Steel have this too but you will never reach the maximum number of cycles. Carbon fiber can be designed to not fail but this is highly dependent upon manufacturing process and weave etc.

Design has a lot to do with how the unicycle performs, round hollow tubing is a way to reduce the weight while increasing the stiffness. There are better shapes but this comes down to availability and price. Increasing the diameter of the tube will allow a better distribution of force and thus thinner wall will do the same job (meaning less material over all), up to a point. Crowns also make a huge difference, you can see this in bike forks as well as unicycle frames. Many attachment points can stabilize lateral weight and increase stiffness, KH frames do this with the extra angles in the crown.

So to conclude, better unicycles are stronger and lighter. The extent of this is what determines the price. To make a unicycle stronger with the same weight requires more design which requires more cost in R&D.

Quality & Sturdiness makes a better than average unicycle. department store brands and low end unicycles (generally <$150) in bike shops or hardware stores are “average” unicycles in my opinion.

a better unicycle has these features:

Titanium, Chromoly or aluminum instead of high tensile steel frame
double wall aluminum rim
stainless spokes & brass nipples
double bolt seat collar
aluminum seat post
cotter-less bolt style “square taper” or “isis” standard axle (old cottered and nutted style square taper axles require constant attention.)

You can improve on anything and accessorize, but the core construction dictates weather or not it’s worth upgrading vs replacing if you become or are a serious rider. There is nothing wrong with the average unicycle for learning or occasional use. However, if you intend to really ride the thing and often, get a good Uni. Even the best unicycle has to be assembled properly to function properly, and be maintained. It is more cost effective to purchase an entire unicycle of quality then it is to piecemeal parts to create a quality rig or upgrade an average rig since there is greater retail margins on parts. Buy once, buy right, don’t buy again & good luck!

Done in one. Close the thread! Good work scott.

Give an average rider the best unicycle and he is still average. Give a great rider a crap unicycle and watch in awe as he rolling hops up a loading dock.

The unicycle doesn’t do anything without a rider on it.

Exponential? The difference between an average and a high end unicycle is much less than an order of magnitude…

There are physics involved with EVERYTHING, but that does not mean there are notable effects.

The difference between a Jason-and-Torker system (175 lbs + 15 lbs) and a Jason-and-custom-muni system (175 lbs + 10 lbs) is only 3%… do you think you could notice a 3% difference?

This statement could be made about any product… how does this illuminate the discussion?

The OP seems concerned with weight but what he should be focused on is durability. IMO, there’s no better value than a steel frame…

So how much are you willing to pay for bling? :slight_smile:

In the world of mountain bikes, you have a much wider range of products to choose from, in any given category. Everything from the cheap crap at Wal-Mart, to a wide range just at a decent bike shop, to really high-end art that costs many thousands of dollars. Unless you’re an elite athlete, that’s paying for bling.

But those bikes ARE NOT made for elite athletes only. In fact, only the elite athletes with good sponsors or money can buy them. They’re for anyone who can afford it. Crappy riders buying top-of-the-line products is a great way to support the sport!

Features I want in my unicycles:

  • Most important: Doesn't break. Usually there is at least a little bit of compromise here.
  • Next most important: Comfortable seat. Seats can be changed.
  • Third most important: Doesn't weigh a ton. Again, compromises here on money vs. weight.
  • Fourth most important: Being pretty.
Those aren't hard-and-fast rules, but good general guidelines. It occurs to me that my most expensive unicycle, my custom-built KH/Schlumph 36" with mostly KH parts, is not particularly light, did already break, but is very, very pretty! :D

Given the massive number of cheap, rubbish unicycles probably any branded one would be classed as above average. As John says, unicycles are way behind bikes in terms or choice so there are only a few stand-out options. I’d put strength top of my list, too. I’ve also suffered a broken KH (although it was also lightweight and pretty :sunglasses: )

I think this nice triangle applies here (just ignore “compact” :wink: ):

The “best” unicycle is what you expect it to be. For example if “best” is what you can afford and you want it to be strong it will for sure weigh a ton.

When you ignore the price I think the best unicycle would be as light as can be while still being as strong as one made out of steel. But thats just for the frame and the wheelset. When it comes to seats or tires it completely depends on the rider.

ISIS cranks are good for durability only for the types of riding where ISIS/splined are useful (e.g. muni/trials with big drops etc).

For general low-stress riding (e.g. distance or road) square tapers are every bit as durable, and possibly more so.

It’s a (long established) myth that KH’s are lighter than the likes of Nimbus- every time I’ve seen it claimed that a particular KH model is lighter than the equivalent non-KH, when I’ve gone to a site and checked the weights, the opposite has been true.

Here for example-

KH 24" muni weighing 6.9kg (!)

and the nimbus 24" muni-

weighing 4.9kg

Not isolated examples either- it’s the same with KH 29-er (7.1kg) and Nimbus 29-er (5.9kg)- Kris Holm makes good, strong unicycles, but they are not light- it’s time this myth was laid to rest.

A good uni is light, stiff, and durable.

A frame should be stiff, aluminum is the stiffest. Ti is just a steel alloy, only worth the extra cost if you have the $$.

A good wheel build is worth the cost.

Don’t skimp on tires, they are your suspension and traction all in one.

Unis are similar to bikes in that can compare across in terms of quality and materials. But unlike bikes, unis are very simple and there really isn’t much extra you can do, ie no new technoloy relating to geometry or suspension.

One thing to watch out for on cheap unis is steel rims- check the specs and ensure the rim is aluminium. Steel rims tend to be much heavier, and it’s weight where you don’t want it, cos it’s rotating.

In general weight on rotating parts (wheel, cranks etc) is going to be worse than weight on non-rotating bits, as weight on rotating parts will come into play every time the wheel is accelerated/decelerated.

Personally, I’m not that bothered about a little extra weight on frames etc, so I’m happy to have a steel frame- it will be a little heavier, but, IMO, that’s compensated for by the extra durability of steel.

For me, it’s not a deal-breaker- on my nuimbus 24x3 the frame is steel, on my KH 29, it’s aluminium: both are fine- no issues.

But the tyre that came with the KH was overly heavy (a Stout I believe) and, after finding it very noticable on steep hill climbs (going up a rev at a time involves accelerating and decelerating the wheel on every crank turn) I took the trouble to source and buy a lighter 29-er tyre, which I felt really did help on the hills.

For cranks, rotation is a factor, but not so much as with the rim (weight there is further out, so physics dictates it will have more effect (all other things being equal))- on my KH 29 I have dual-hole chunky KH cranks- I could get a much lighter set, but, I find the dual-hole option sufficiently useful that I’ve stuck with them.

Dave, seriously, there is no myth. Essentially, all unis weigh close to the same because components are very similar, esp for stock unis.

The listed weights are often wrong, so to conclude that a uni is lighter without weighing it yourself, well it’s sorta like believing everything you read on the internet :roll_eyes:

The difference in weight between Ti, Al, and steel is minimal. In reality, though one material may be lighter by volume, they each need to be used in different volumes to achieve the same relative strength. A strong Ti frame is very close in weight to a strong Al frame.

To lose weight in a significant manner, you need to look closer at the heavier components, i.e hub, tire/tube, cranks/pedals. Using the KH 24 as an example: You can cut weigt with a Ti hub, 500gm or so. You can cut weight with cranks and pedals, 500gm or so; if you are willing to spend the money on machining your cranks and buying CNC pedals or nylon. You can use a lighter tire and tube and cut another 500gm or so.

The only way that the Nimbus uni is lighter than KH is by using lighter cranks and a fixed seat post.

  • the Nimbus rim is slightly heavier than the KH (no holes)
  • the hub and spokes are the same as KH
  • the pedals are the same as KH
  • the seat is the same as KH
  • the Nimbus fixed seat post is slightly lighter than a KH adjustable (but the same weight as a KH fixed)
  • the tire and tube are the same as KH
  • the frame is slightly heavier than KH (steel vs Al)
  • the Nimbus Venture cranks are lighter than the KH Moments

The downside of the way Nimbus has decreased their weight is that the Venture cranks are not as strong as Moments. This sort of reasoning works with most things: Decrease the weight and increase the risk of failure. I’m not saying Ventures are too weak, I ride them for muni, but they are not as robust as Moments.

You could have a KH 24 that is lighter than the Nimbus 24 by getting it outfitted with a KH Fixed Seat Post and Nimbus Ventures, but the weight difference would be neglible: 150-200gm.

You could drop 500 gm by changing to a lighter tire, but then you lose some ride and suspension quality :wink:

There must be a mistake on that Nimbus 24" Muni weight. It’s lighter than my trials uni, which is really light. On municycle.ca, the Nimbus is listed at 17lbs and the KH is 14lbs. My friend ordered a Nimbus ISIS Muni last week, and it is heavier than my customised KH Muni (both 24").

The myth about KH unis are light is a myth… which means that KH unis are light.

What Makes A Better Than Average Unicycle??

A bicycle.

I’ll add here a reminder that frame weight is not significant to unicycle performance. For the most part, it’s hard to even tell if your frame is light or heavy when riding. “Exotic” materials (hey, we’ve only had aluminum for a few years now and Ti for even less) add to the bling factor as much as anything else.

I like some bling. :slight_smile:

I got my aluminum MUni in 2003. It was one of the lightest frames you could get, but it’s still paired with a relatively indestructable 24" Sun Doublewide rim and heavy tire. Frame weight not significant.

Okay, me too, got me a gold framed guni, color themes for all my unis, cool little valve caps, but beside that…

Weight is a funny thing on a uni, I’d swear my KH 29er is the easiest and lightest muni to fling around on the trail, and yet it’s heaver than an equivallent KH 26.

The biggest difference for me in terms of “what makes a better uni” has been going to a lighter tire, it reduces the swing weight so significantly that it makes riding easier and faster.

Yeah, yeah, I fought this at first, was irritated when Kris designed the KH 26 frame for an Ardent sized tire (2.4-2.6), but once I got used to a lighter tire it is hard to go back because everything else feels so awfully unwieldy!

What makes a uni better: Riding, riding, riding :slight_smile: