What size for a little person/dwarf?

I am mostly looking for advice on what size unicycle I would be best riding. (This would only be for basic riding, nothing fancy or long distance) I did search the forums already, and there was some talk about shorter people and a 36", but I think my situation is a little different.

I am only 4’0 and have very short legs (don’t have a completely accurate way to measure at the moment but around 16"-17" inseam, yes including shoes). I am assuming the children’s 12" or 16" would be what I could ride? Which would be a better choice? Looking at measuring charts on a couple of sites, they suggested that a 19.5" inseam was minimum for a 12" with 200mm post, so that makes me think the 12" might even be too big? :thinking:

I did see the suggestion on another post here about making the pedals taller, and that might be something I have to do, but for now just looking at a general idea if riding one is feasible and what size I should look for.

Also, since I have an average torso and most of my weight is on my upper half, would that create balance issues?

Thanks for the help!

you should be able to ride a 20" with no problem, you may have to cut down the seatpost though, and if need be, you can even cut the frame down and make another notch for the seatpost clamp. It’s not particularly advised, but it can be done : P

as you have said, there is no way to get on a 36er, I’m 5’8" and I can barely ride it on the 150mm cranks. a 24" may be possible, but that may be as large as you could go.

I wouldn’t think the torso issue should be a problem : ) in fact, more weight, higher from a balance point makes it easier to balance, not harder.

you may have to make a few changes to the uni, but I wouldn’t let that discourage you.

Try contacting a dealer (unicycle.com is an awesome group of fellas!) and asking them what the best option may be, you are more than likely not the first person to ask : )

I doubt it :roll_eyes:

I doubt it:p:D

To lower the seat, you can always saw off the top of the frame and use a stub of a seatpost.

With a 17" inseam, a 20" wheel would definitely be too big, unless you use short cranks/tall pedals. 10 inches for the wheel, plus 5 inches for the cranks, 3 inches for the seat, and 4 inches for the cut down crown+seat clamp=22 inches.

A 16" wheel would probably work. A beginner can handle shorter crank arms if they’re on a smaller wheel, too.

I would start with a 16". A 12" unicycle ends up being kind of distorted from the proportions of a larger unicycle, making it pretty wide and with pedals that will hit the ground a lot. I’d start with this one:

If necessary you can cut the seat tube. Just remember to cut a new slot down the back so the seat clamp will work.

Your body proportions will not be an issue (assuming you can get a good leg fit). Learning to ride is hard for everybody so you’ll never know the difference. :slight_smile:

Once you learn to ride, you might enjoy moving up to a giraffe!

Cutting down a frame is a very easy task even if you only have a vague idea of what you are doing, so don’t let that put you off. There are tutorials on the forum.

I’ve just measured two 20" unicycles out of interest and if you did go for one you will need to do a lot of modifying to get it to fit as the saddle would need to be right down by the frame. Talk to Roger at Unicycle.com UK if you want a special frame made for you as they’ve done this sort of thing a few times before (with 36" as you said).

Starting with a 16" or 12" would be ideal, with a 12" you probably wouldn’t need to do any frame cutting but as John said, a 16" would ride better.

2nding the suggestion of short cranked 16 rather than 12 inch . gives that bit more pedal from ground clearance, and goes a bit faster too. Cut down frame if need be. My son has a cut down frame on a 16 with short (102mm) cranks, he is around 104 cm tall , in seem of around 42cm .

Thanks all so much for the help! I’m really excited about trying to learn to ride, and been reading the forums with interest. There is a place nearby that sells them and I will see if they have a 16" to test out and figure out what kind of modifying would possibly be needed. I definitely will look into a custom one if I figure out how to ride!
Thanks again.

I would certainly ask the dealer to show you a 20". If you can manage a tweaked 20 rather than a 16, I would expect your experience to be far far better long term. Some quite small kids ride 20’s.


are you into entertaining reald? :slight_smile: tell us about yourself :slight_smile:

+1 on Naomi’s idea. If you have access to a 20" to try out, see if it’s within your ability to fit. If you can, there are a lot more choices of cycles as well as tires.

I do a lot of work in full costume suits, both shows and walk-around. It just hit me the other day that unicycling would be an awesome skill to have while in suit. Not sure how I could use it at any of my current gigs at the moment, but you never know when an opportunity may present itself. Of course, learning to ride while in costume adds a whole other level of difficulty.

I hope to go visit a couple of shops on Monday to check out their sizes.

don’t give up! you may find it difficult at first but it really would be cool if you learnt!

20 /2 = 10" plus 4 " cranks = 14" , then figure 4 " maybe for the frame and seat. You might be cutting it close. A KH trials seat is pretty comfortable, and the thinnest I can think of. I am not sure of the best tire hugging frame.

I would guess it is this old style flat frame. Worst case scenario, you could take it to a welder, who could bend the flat strap down to where it is almost kissing the tire. Then it would fit for sure, with the thin KH seat mounted to the frame strap, you are looking at about 16 ".


Welcome to the forum.:slight_smile: I suggest starting along a wall, and just get used to sitting on it and pedaling smoothly, using the wall to balance for the first few days. Don’t actually try to ride it until you feel comfortable with pedaling it along the wall dragging your hand for balance. The first day may be very tiring but most of that is energy wasted in muscle tension. Once you learn to relax, you will be able to ride miles, but the first day, a few hundred feet might really do you in. It always gets better !:slight_smile: