Hi there im new on this site and have been unicycling since chirstmas last year (2003) i have just brought a tip-top "24 as im progressing further with the skills of unicycling but i was wondering if a "24 was a bit big for on road cycling as im usually on road but only a small time im off road because thers no really good off road terrain near me please e mail me with your suggestions or comments! Bungle!
You are asking what appears to be a simple question. However, the answer is a lot more complicated than you might expect.
There are about 6 common sizes of unicycle wheel/tyre, measured in inches across the diameter: 20, 24, 26, 28, 29 and 36 (Coker).
There are about 7 common sizes of crank, measured in millimetres: 89, 102, 110, 125, 127, 140, 150, 170.
Tyre sections vary enormously. A 28 inch uni might have a 700c tyre which is as hard and narrow as a road bike tyre. A MUni might have a 3 inch section tyre which is fat, soft and squishy.
Now, take these three variables, and you get a huge variety of unicycles. Some are general purpose; some are best for one style of riding.
Here are some very general rules:
Big wheels are faster, but harder to control.
Short cranks are faster, but harder to control.
For high speed over a long distance, the big wheel option is better than the short crank option.
For off road, a big wheel will roll over uneven terrian better than a small wheel.
For off road, a fat tyre will roll over uneven terrain better than a thin one.
For off road, longer cranks will provide more leverage and control - within reason.
So, back to your question: you have a 24 which you mainly ride “on road”, and only occasionally ride “off road”. As a new unicyclist, your definitions of “on” and “off” might be different from mine, so I can only give advice based on my experiences.
On a 20 inch unicycle with 125 mm cranks (i.e. a fairly standard set up) I have ridden 20 miles in a (long) day, some of it on the public road, but mainly on pavements and footpaths. I wouldn’t choose a 20 as a road uni. The wheel is a bit small for off roading too. However, I’ve seen a fat tyred Onza 20 used to devastating effect down hill on rough trails.
On a 24 inch unicycle with 102 mm cranks, I’ve done many miles on the road, and my maximum recorded distance in a day was 24 miles, mainly on the flat. 102s are an acquired taste. With 110s or 125s, you’d have a good general purpose unicycle. With 150s, it would be a bit slower, but excellent off road (depending on the tyre). 24 is widely seen as the most versatile size of uni.
On a 26, I’ve done 10 - 15 mile rides off road with 150 mm cranks. it’s slow but it gets there. Most 26 inch tyres are off road biased, so a 26 is NOT a good choice if you’re planning to do much of your riding on tarmac or concrete.
On a 28, with 110 mm cranks, I’ve done some serious distances (30 miles plus) and I’ve also done a surprising amount of light cross country. With 125s, a 28 can be a good general purpose uni, but you need the experience and confidence.
I’ve never owned a 29 (basically, a 28 with a much fatter tyre) but I know you can get road tyres or off road tyres in this size. If you have the confidence and experience, you can do serious distances on road or cross country on a 29.
The 36 (Coker) is a special case. You either love 'em or hate 'em. 50 mile days are possible, and many people have done the 100. A skilled and experienced rider can do a LOT of off road on a Coker.
So, how does this affect you? Well, you already have the 24, and, for now, I’d say it is a good general purpose size for you until you develop a taste for a certain style of riding. You can optimize it by changing the tyre and cranks and putting some grippy pedals on. When you feel you’ve “outgrown” it, you’ll know whether you want to move UP to a fast long distance wheel, or DOWN to a nimble, tough 20.
My reading of the runes is that the current trend is for 24 inch unis with very fat tyres (effectively making the wheel nearly 26 inches) for MUni; 29 inch unis for cross country; and 20s for trials and freestyle.
MUnis tend to have cranks in the 150 - 170 mm range; trials unis tend to have 140s (or thereabouts); freestylers use 110s or possibly 125s; anything shorter than 110 is for speed freaks.
A good pair of grippy pedals is worth one “step” in crank size or wheel size. A good handle is also worth about the same.
That help or confuse?
Re: which size?
Mikefule <Mikefule@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:
> On a 26, I’ve done 10 - 15 mile rides off road with 150 mm cranks. it’s
> slow but it gets there. Most 26 inch tyres are off road biased, so a 26
> is NOT a good choice if you’re planning to do much of your riding on
> tarmac or concrete.
Am I missing something in riding my 26x2.5 hookworm tire and 125mm
cranks on the street. I’m under the impreassion that this is a
rockin’ “do lots of stuff around town” uni, but I am ready to be
24 is the all purpose size when it comes to unicycles. 24 is the preferred size for MUnis, but you sai dthat’s not an issue.
24s are fast enough to get you around, small enough to freestyle with.
most importantly is the size you’re comfortable with. If you are not comfortable on a 24, then find a 20 inch. 20" are for more urban freestyling, or trials. lots of fun.
Personally, if you’re just learning, then a 24 should be great. when you get a little more focused, then get the proper equipment, and have a ball
Re: Re: which size?
That’s how this forum works best. If someone asks a simple question, very few people try to answer it, but as soon as someone does, someone else has a comment on the answer… and that’s good.
I was of course generalising. Certainly most of the 26 inch tyres I’ve seen for sale have been off road biased. Some of them are quite unpleasant to ride on tarmac. I’ve never seen or ridden a hookworm.
Common sense says that, given an appropriate tyre, a 26 will be a good compromise between a 24 and a 28/29.
My general perception from reading this forum is that the availability of certain tyre sizes has made the 24 x 3 the muni of choice and the 29 the cross country ride of choice for a lot of people. The 26 seems to fall between two stools.
Re: Re: Re: which size?
To me, the “standard” MUni is a 24" only because of off-road trials. The 26" is a great cross-country ride and has a huge choice of tires and rims. The 29 has a limited rim choice and not nearly as many tire choices. So although each has its place, the neglected 26 is actually an excellent road and off-road uni.
Re: Re: Re: Re: which size?
I agree about the range of tyre sizes and treads. I can buy 26 inch tyres anywhere. I use my 26 purely for what I would call Muni, although no doubt some of the people in this forum would call it ‘flatlanding’ or something equally disparaging. I think I’d prefer a 24 x 3 for MUni.
However, I’m not hugely persuaded by the argument for a 26 as a road machine. A true 26 is only 8% bigger (faster) than a true 24. A 29 is 20% bigger than a true 24. So a 26 is only a very slightly enlarged 24. It’s a difference of emphasis, rather than a fundamental difference.
My favourite road and path machine is my 28 (700c x 32) with 110s. Light, nimble, elegant, and a little bit challenging to ride.
Each to his (or her) own.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: which size?
But you could say exactly the same about the 26 and the 28/29 being pretty close to each other so not being fundamentally different. The main difference between the gearing of an offroad and onroad unicycle is likely to be by the crank size.
26 is the only size with a big range of on and off road tyres. Nowadays all sizes of road tyres except the really small (sub 1 inch) tyres are available for 26". Similarly, rims from very narrow to really very wide are available. The range of tyres and rims is close enough to that for 700c rims for it not to make much of a difference which one you get. As a bonus, you get a much much bigger choice of offroad tyres for the 26.
For muni, the 26 is good as long as you don’t want to do a lot of big upwards hops. It’s great for offroad riding on mountain bike trails.
Re: which size?
Mikefule <Mikefule@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:
> U-Turn wrote:
> > *So although each has its place, the neglected 26 is actually an
> > excellent road and off-road uni. *
> However, I’m not hugely persuaded by the argument for a 26 as a road
> machine. A true 26 is only 8% bigger (faster) than a true 24. A 29 is
> 20% bigger than a true 24. So a 26 is only a very slightly enlarged 24.
> It’s a difference of emphasis, rather than a fundamental difference.
Well, in that case a 29 is only a very slightly enlarged 26x2.5 (7%
different). Is this just “a difference of emphasis” too?
> My favourite road and path machine is my 28 (700c x 32) with 110s.
> Light, nimble, elegant, and a little bit challenging to ride.
Now we are talking about less than 4% difference in diameter between
your 28" and my 26" (which measures 27"). The more important
difference is tire height. Your tire has half the width. That’s not
better or worse, but it makes for very different rides with different
strengths and weaknesses. I also choose longer (125mm) cranks for
doing steep descents and learning skills.
Although I haven’t ridden a 28", I don’t think I’d want to trade for
one given the variety of street riding I like to do.
The most popular size for MUni today is not 24", it’s 26". A 3" tire on a 24" rim is not a 24" tire, so we should take care not to mislead people (especially new people) with this odd tire size.
Though a “normal” 24" tire can still be lots of fun on trails, the common size is either a 26" rim and tire, or a 24" rim with a big fat tire, bringing it up to a nominal 26" or so.
I’ll apply some newly learned (for me) forum knowledge here…
Isn’t “crank ratio” a big deal here? I was asked to modify my UniCalc Windows software program to include ‘foot speed’ and ‘crank ratio’, so I did that…
The lower the “crank ratio” number the easier to pedal; right?
But long crank needed to get that easy pressure needed to climb means that ground speed will suffer. This is becuase given a constant “foot speed” the longer crank will not let you spin the wheel as fast.
That all sounds logical, but in the end don’t you have to know how a given uni ‘feels’ to you so you can adjust the cranks and wheel size to suit your needs?
Shameless plug: UniCalc is free from http://www.ironjungle.com/
That “common size” of 26" is really about 27 3/4" for my Gazz 26x2.6. That’s essentially what Mikefule is riding and calling it a 28. However, the designations 24", 26", 28", 29" - while they deserve their caveats, they are still useful and simpler to work with.