Unicycling is a more diverse activity than you might first imagine. Buying a unicycle can become confusing if you’re not familiar with the nuances of unicycling as you’re presented with a whole range of one-wheeled machines with weird names like “freestyle” or “municycle”.
So to help you out we’ve put together this buyers’ guide. It’s primarily aimed at those new to unicycling or at parents buying a unicycle for their children but it also explains the more advanced types of unicycle.
Further down the article is a size guide for unicycles so you can get a better idea of what size unicycle to buy for your height.
The Best Unicycle For A Beginner
For a basic unicycle that is able to take the punishment of tricks and hops, check out the Club Freestyle range. A bit more expensive than the Concept and Reflex unicycles, the Club Freestyles have been designed for those starting to learn hops and other basic tricks.
You should also consider where you’re going to be riding. If you’re planning on unicycling indoors at a gym or in a hall then you may well need a non-marking tyre. If a unicycle has a non-marking tyre it will be mentioned in the products description but a good rule of thumb is if the tyre is white then it’s non-marking. Contact us if you have any doubts.
Types of Unicycle
Freestyle Unicycles: Freestyle unicycles are generally used on flat ground. They are usually fitted with narrow saddles, long seat posts, relatively small wheels and a squared fork. The squared fork allows for one-footed tricks, as you can rest the other foot on the fork. This type of unicycle is often the type that jugglers will use in their street shows. Other freestyle unicycle tricks include idling, one-footed idling, wheel-walking, bunny hops and leg arounds.
Trials Unicycles: Trials unicycles are used for navigating obstacles. Jumping onto and off of blocks, pallets or any other high obstacles, grinding rails and edges and tackling other challenges are some of the things trials unicycles are used for. Tricks like 180s and 360s can be done while traversing the obstacles. Trials unicycling is often done on a purpose built course but can also be done on obstacles found in your surroundings (this starts to turn into street unicycling). This type of unicycle usually has a 19” or 20” wheel with a chunky tyre to help absorb impacts. The components also need to withstand punishment so are strong and durable which makes trials unicycles quite expensive.
Mountain Unicycles: aka municycles. This discipline is similar to downhill mountain biking only with fewer wheels! Again, a strong unicycle with sturdy components is needed to cope with the rigours of this sport. Munis have quite large wheels, 24” or 26” to help on the rough terrain though 29” wheels are sometimes used for longer treks. The saddle tends to be thick and padded for comfort and brakes are sometimes used if the descent is steep.
Road Unicycles: Road unicycles are used for commuting and racing. Their primary function is to get from A to B quickly so they use large wheels between 26” and 36” to cover more distance with fewer pedal revolutions. Brakes and gears are sometimes used on road, or touring, unicycles as well.
What Size Unicycle is Best For Learning?
What size unicycle to choose is dependent on the lengths of your legs – obviously you have to be able to reach the pedals from sitting in the saddle. On the other hand you don’t want a unicycle that’s too small for you either.
The size of the wheel and the length of the seat post determines what leg lengths are suitable. To make life easier we have given guideline inside leg lengths in each unicycle’s product description. Unicycles can be made to fit shorter legs by cutting the seat post down with a pipe cutter. We have also given minimum leg lengths for cut down seat posts on each unicycle.
For smaller children our advice is to get the biggest unicycle they will fit on. A unicycle with a 20” wheel will be easier to learn on than a 16” wheel. Very young children may need a 12" unicycle.
Older or taller children and adults who could fit a 24” wheel unicycle should consider what type of unicycling they are most interested in. If you want to do tricks, so interested in freestyle, trials or street unicycling then we recommend sticking with a 20” unicycle as these are more manoeuvrable. If your preferences lie with travelling distances on road or in the wilds then a 24” wheel will help you cover more ground and is better at coping with rough terrain.
Of course, if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or drop us an email.