When am I ready for a MUni?

So how do you know when you are ready to get a MUni? Like when you trash your current uni? Or when you wear out your armour off-roading? Well I haven’t done either and a most of my riding has been urban. I do love the cross country stuff: trails and paths in the woods, easy single track and moderately bumpy downhills. But I haven’t done anything overly rugged yet… nothing that I couldn’t do with my 24 inch Sem with its Maxxis tire and metal platform pedals.

So maybe I am being kinda silly to fantasize about a MUni. Maybe it would be overkill for my kind of riding…or then again maybe it could serve to open up all kinds of terrain that I haven’t ventured into yet…

When did you get a MUni? Was it an expensive frill or an awesome addition to your uni ‘stable’?


I think MUni is really the activity, not the machine. The name means ‘Mountain Unicycling’ which is a bit of an exaggeration for most of us. More realistically, MUni is riding a unicycle ‘off road’ where the rider chooses the route for the challenges it presents. And it sounds like you’re already doing that. :0)

Very generally, anyone who wants to enjoy MUni needs to be able to freemount with almost 100% success. Failed freemounts are exhausting and demoralising.

Ideally, you need to be able to idle for short periods and reverse for short distances. At the very least, you should be able to stillstand for a moment and then start again. That is, a rider who is still at the stage of having to keep moving to keep his/her balance is not really ready for MUni - although they can still have fun on short sections of rough path.

And hopping and jumping? These skills go with a certain approach to MUni, and only work on certain types of ground anyway. I’d say useful but not essential.

So if you can get on to the uni, ride it and stop it, you’re ready to DO Muni. After that, there is no reason whatsoever why you shouldn’t OWN a MUni - which is no more than a unicycle biased towards off road use. That will mean of nothing else, a fairly wide and fairly knobbly tyre. Probably 150 mm cranks. Probably pinned platform pedals. Possibly a handle.

There’s no mystery or elitism to it. If most of your riding is going to be on tracks, paths and rough ground, you would be happier on an off-road biased machine.

Have fun. :0)

Agree totally with Mike. MUni is an activity not the machine. I rode my cheap 20’ uni off road before I knew dedicated MUni’s even existed. That said, you will have much more fun riding your unicycle off road if it is set up that way. ie 24 or 26 inch wheels, the fattest tyre you can fit into the frame, good seat, strong wheel, and appropriately long cranks for the terrain you live around.

Check out Muniac.com if you haven’t already done so.


My first machine was a Pashley MUni. I say go for the off-road right away if you can handle the inherent frustration. Do your freemount practice - at least some of it - on a trail. By the time you can ride comfortably, you’ll see smooth terrain for what it really is - a luxury! I can’t even imagine riding on a gym floor…

Re: When am I ready for a MUni?

I hope not. Keep that old uni and you can use it as a loaner for others to learn on, an indoor or trick riding cycle, etc. If you break it, it may not be worth the cost of repair and that’s one less unicycle.

You are ready to MUni right now. It’s all about where you want to ride. If your trails are mild and you’re not an aggressive rider, you don’t need an indestructible machine. But your street uni may not be up to the task if youre serious about riding on dirt, and you don’t want to break it.

Some people start right into MUni. Geoff Faraghan (maker of the Telford MUni) came to his first MUni Weekend with a ski pole in hand because he couldn’t mount yet. But he went on all the expert rides, and had a great time.

That’s right! If you see more terrain that you want to ride on, go for it.

As for me, I already had a stable. I took my 24" street unis on the trails because that’s what I had. Just before the first MUni Weekend, I crammed a 26" wheel into a 24" Schwinn frame. It didn’t work very well, and I rode my reliable 24" Miyata for most of that first weekend.

I can’t remember if I got my first proper MUni in '97 or '98, a Roger Davies carbon fiber special. It was an expensive, awesome addition to my uni stable. That was followed by one of the first DM ATUs in '99. Now I’m waiting for my red Wilder framed 3" tire fun machine…

Just do it. Some skills help but I think that if you can freemount and do some little hops and maybe a good still stand you’re ready to go.
I would suggest for your initial rides bring an air pump and whatever you need to raise and lower your seat so you can find a comfortable air pressure/seat height for the uneven terrain.
Enjoy the ride.

Re: When am I ready for a MUni?

Erin wrote:
> So how do you know when you are ready to get a MUni?


I think anyone is ready for MUni after they try it and enjoy it. My son
has the bug so bad he doesn’t want to ride anything but MUni- and he
rides on a 16" United!

> I do love the cross country stuff: trails and paths in the woods, easy
> single track and moderately bumpy downhills

Sounds like you have the bug as well…

As for the purchase of a mountain unicycle; a good off road tire makes a
big difference, particularly in the rain. I think it can make the ride
more enjoyable, because you can ride on slipperier, more aggressive
terrain. I just changed out my son’s street tire with an off road model
and his MUni riding is improving quickly. I believe he’s riding more
aggressively because he has less fear that his tire will slip.

I bought a trials unicycle so I could have nicer (slower) MUni style
rides with my son on his 16" wheel, but I now have ‘the bug’ too and I’m
planning on purchasing 24" mountain unicycle in the near future.

I know from reading your posts over the summer that you have a tendency
towards off road riding, so I say go for it!



Hey, nice to hear from you again Jason! Did you wife ever “catch the bug”?!

Thanks to all who have given me feedback. I just got in from a 20 km urban ride (…along Coal Harbour, around Stanley Park here in Vancouver and all along the seawall around False Creek - for those of you who know the city). Jumped down all the curbs I could find and sought out all the rooted off the road trails… it was a blast. Hopped, practiced the early stages of idling and did loads of sprints with both hands on the seat in front, just for fun. Now my legs are thrashed… I love to ride till I just can’t ride any more… wow, really I haven’t had this much fun in a sport for years.

I feel the strong urge for a MUni machine will win out very soon!

Again thanks for your perspectives and advice.


Re: When am I ready for a MUni?

Erin wrote:
> Hey, nice to hear from you again Jason! Did you wife ever “catch the
> bug”?!


Yes, she caught the bug but it escaped from the jar.

She decided to wait until spring. We had quit a bit of rain about the
time she started learning and she lost her inspiration. I’m not a pushy
person, but I will nudge her gently when the snow melts. :wink:

Keep us posted on your new MUni-cycle decision.