Wheel size vs effort

Hi,

I’ve learnt to ride in the last few months and I’m now finding that progress is
just too slow if I attempt any kind of distance with my 20" wheel.

Therefore, I’m thinking of getting another uni with maybe 26" wheel to use for
distance, while keeping the 20" for learning new skills.

However, I’m finding that with the 20", even a slight incline is a major
obstacle and wears me out pretty quickly, so surely this would be even worse
with a larger wheel. A 20" wheel travels 63" per rotation, while a 26" wheel
travels 82". Therefore, the effort to turn a 26" is almost 1/3 as much again as
a 20", so the same incline would be almost impossible on the larger wheel.

In view of the number of people who do ride larger wheels, there are 2 possible
conclusions :

  1. Something is wrong with my theory.

  2. I’m hopelessly unfit and should gain more fitness on my 20" before going to a
    larger wheel.

Any comments?

Incidentally, how easy is it to learn on a larger wheel skills that have been
learnt on a small wheel? For example, if I can idle on a 20" machine, should I
expect to be able to do it on a 26" machine with just a few minutes practice, or
would it take more relearning than that?

Mick

Re: Wheel size vs effort

Mick W (m@somewhere.com) wrote:
: However, I’m finding that with the 20", even a slight incline is a major
: obstacle and wears me out pretty quickly, so surely this would be even worse
: with a larger wheel. A 20" wheel travels 63" per rotation, while a 26" wheel
: travels 82". Therefore, the effort to turn a 26" is almost 1/3 as much again
: as a 20", so the same incline would be almost impossible on the larger wheel.

This seems about right. However, a lot of people riding larger wheels use longer
cranks than they would on a 20" wheel - giving better leverage and reducing the
amount of force required (especially offroad). For road riding when it isn’t
stupidly hilly though a 26" wheel with 125mm cranks is fine - yes you need more
effort than with a 20" but it isn’t too bad.

: 2. I’m hopelessly unfit and should gain more fitness on my 20" before going to
: a larger wheel.

This is a big factor! You need to get the relevant leg muscles used to climbing
and aerobic fitness is also important - I speak as one who need more practice
and fitness myself (being sidelined with a knee injury doesn’t help at all).
Technique is also important; pulling up on to the saddle at the front can help
you get more leverage as you climb.

Hope this helps.


Paul Selwood “Smock, smock, smock, smock, smock, smock!”
ps@scs.leeds.ac.uk --Hobbes

Re: Wheel size vs effort

I have recently learned to unicycle and experienced the same problem, short
rides sometimes wore me out, which seems ridiculous compared to the short
distances cycled. However the better I get, the less it wears me out. Not
because of my improving physical condition - that still sucks, but because I am
less tense in the legs.

In the beginning I used a lot of power just to keep correcting my body position.
Constantly accelerating and braking, to keep me from falling over forwards or
backwards. With improving sense of balance, my body stays closer to the point of
equilibrium necessary to keep speed and balance.

There is a point, where I am allmost falling forward, and here the unicycle
seems to propel itself. The longer I can stay at this point, the less tense my
legs are, and the longer I can go. So stayin power is just technique (now what
does that remind me of?). It’s overtensioning the legs, that gets you tired.

By the way, I ride a 24" wheel and still find it allmost impossible to
idle. But I’ll get there.

Chris

Re: Wheel size vs effort

>I’ve learnt to ride in the last few months and I’m now finding that progress is
>just too slow if I attempt any kind of distance with my 20" wheel.
>
>Therefore, I’m thinking of getting another uni with maybe 26" wheel to use for
>distance, while keeping the 20" for learning new skills.
>
>However, I’m finding that with the 20", even a slight incline is a major
>obstacle and wears me out pretty quickly, so surely this would be

it kind of sounds like your seat is set too low. On a 20" the seat should go to
about your bellybutton. This makes ridding alot easer, but free mounting might
be a little hard at first if you are use to having toe seat low.


You don’t need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail. Get
completely free e-mail from Juno at http://www.juno.com Or call Juno at (800)
654-JUNO [654-5866]