Lightweight Bigwheel

Discussion in 'rec.sport.unicycling' started by AlbertKarel, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. AlbertKarel

    AlbertKarel Guest

    Greetings from Santa Monica.

    On the morning Coker ride, I began wondering what it's like to ride
    a skinnytire bigwheel. I guess I mean a 28 or 29 inch skinny tire
    lightweight uni.

    How do they ride? Wouldn't they be the ultimate
    travelling machine, given short enough cranks? Light weight must
    count with uni's...it's so seemingly important in bi's.

    Any input will be appreciated. Don't get me wrong...I love shoving
    off on the "Big Wheel", but I'm curious about lo/mo (low momentum),
    lightweight bigwheels. Thanks.

    AL
     
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  2. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    It is a totally different experience. I ride a 700c x 32 (that's a 28
    inch wheel with a road tyre) with the tyre pumped up good and hard. I
    have 110 mm cranks on it.

    The lightness makes it nimble. The lack of rolling momentum makes it
    skittish on uneven surfaces. The short cranks mean you need more
    precise foot control - there's more to it than simple percentages and
    leverage, because you are moving your foot less distance, and using less
    muscle - or even fewer muscles (I'm no physiologist).

    If the Coker is a broadsword, then the 28/110 is a rapier.

    Strangely, the 28 gets more respect form bicyclists. It's less of a
    novelty item, and looks more like something they can recognise and
    relate to. It also intimidates pedestrians less. It is surprisingly
    capable off road, but you have to fence the trail, rather than hacking
    at it.

    Yesterday's ride on the Coker was 33 miles. I have done pretty much the
    same route on the 28. The Coker is faster over the distance.

    A slim 28 is possibly the most elegant unicycle. The Coker isn't
    elegant, it's majestic.


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  3. joemarshall

    joemarshall Guest

    Light weight, at least overall/frame weight isn't as important in bikes
    as people think it is. It's a big myth put about by manufacturers to
    sell very very expensive lightweight bikes.

    Light weight rims, tyres and tubes might make a bit of a difference
    though.

    I found I gained speed by going to a fatter tyre, as it rolled over
    things better and wasn't affected by bumps. A skinny 700c wheel unicycle
    might make a great thing for riding on very smooth race tracks, but is
    never going to be so good on a less smooth surface.

    Joe


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  4. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    That's more or less what I meant. The extra momentum of a heavy wheel
    smooths out minor irregularities which would trip up a lighter wheel.
    Also, a fat soft tyre will smooth out the bumps, compared to a thin hard
    tyre.

    BUT that doesn't mean that the skinny hard lightweight option is bad,
    because nobody takes up unicycling because they are attracted by how
    easy it is!

    Back to an old hobby horse of mine: the special beauty of the unicycle
    is its simplicity. I'd compare it to a simple 2 stroke motor. There
    are only a few variables, and once these have been selected, they are
    fixed until such time as the machine is retuned. With a 2 stroke, it's
    bore, stroke, porting, timing. With a unicycle, it's wheel diameter,
    crank length, tyre.

    The performance of a unicycle will depend very much on which variables
    are chosen. There is no equivalent to variable valve timing, or
    automatic advance/retard, or electronic mapped ignition. You make your
    choice and live with it.

    And the fun comes from this. You can either optimise the machine for a
    particular use, or you can try to find the most versatile settings. You
    can optimise for one use, but end up doing something else, in which case
    you get a fantastic sense of achievement. I once rode a 250cc 2 stroke
    single commuter motobike 550 miles in a day. I once rode about 15 miles
    off road on a 700c unincycle with 110mm cranks. The sense of
    achievement, and the sense of the ridiculous, was similar in each case.
    So much more of an achievement than doing 550 miles on a BMW 1000 cc
    tourer, or 15 miles off road on a 24x3 MUni.

    Another argument for the lightweight skinny option is that it feels very
    "pure". With all the softness taken out (no squidgy tyre, hardly any
    momentum) it forces you to focus on your riding in a very direct way. I
    wouldn't want it to be my only uni, but I like riding my 700c x 32.


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  5. carjug

    carjug Guest

    I have a feeling you asked the wrong question. You probably already know
    how to ride something smaller than a Coker, I wonder if you want to try
    MUNI or if you want to do some stunts? If you just want an excuse to get
    a 29er I am sure we can help you out!
    I have a 29er and a Coker; the 29er is simply a large unicycle, the
    Coker is the bomb.
    I would love to try some of those giant penny-farthing style wheels, I
    wonder how fast a 4+1/2 foot diameter wheel could go?


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  6. Mikefule wrote:
    > * It is surprisingly capable off road, but you have to fence the
    > trail, rather than hacking at it.
    > *



    I found my 29" Yuni with Nanoraptor tire great for off road, and the Big
    Apple great for road.

    What does this mean: Fence the trail, rather than hacking at it.
    What's the difference between fencing a trail and hacking at it.

    Billy


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  7. mgrant

    mgrant Guest

    BillyTheMountain wrote:
    > *What does this mean: Fence the trail, rather than hacking at it.
    > What's the difference between fencing a trail and hacking at it.
    >
    > Billy *



    > If the Coker is a broadsword, then the 28/110 is a rapier.



    It would follow then that you hack with broadsword (coker) and you fence
    with a rapier (20/110).

    -mg


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  8. Klaas Bil

    Klaas Bil Guest

    On Wed, 4 Aug 2004 10:21:56 -0500, "Mikefule" wrote:

    >A slim 28 is possibly the most elegant unicycle.


    That's right. The first uni I got from Roger was a fat and mean 24" x
    3" MUni, probably setting expectations with my wife for everything
    that came in a unicycle.uk.com box.

    The second was a 28" x 1.35" road machine. When I had assembled it, my
    wife exclaimed "How... elegant she is!" Therefore I named that uni "De
    dame" (the lady).

    Now that that same uni has been retrofitted with a 29" x 2.35" Big
    Apple, she's called "Dikke dame" (fat lady). Less elegant maybe, but
    imho much more pleasant to ride.

    Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
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  9. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    BillyTheMountain wrote:
    > * Fence the trail, rather than hacking at it.
    > What's the difference between fencing a trail and hacking at it.
    > *



    Take a typical forest track or riverbank, or any other piece of rough
    trail. It will present a number of obstacles such as sudden bumps or
    hollows, tree roots, puddles, patches of mud and so on.

    On a Coker, I will tend to take a fairly direct route, or even go
    looking for the obstacles to make the ride more interesting. Generally,
    the idea is to keep the speed reasonably high (but with a bit in
    reserve) and to use momentum and the size of the wheel to carry me over
    the obstacles. This means I have to make few concessions to the trail -
    I just "hack at it".

    On the 28, with its narrow higher pressure road tyre, complete lack of
    grip, tiny momentum, and the short cranks, this approach would soon lead
    to me falling off. Every sudden bump could trip me; every sudden dip
    could become a wheel trap; every patch of mud or slime could cause a
    side slip.

    Suddenly, the trail looks very different. Instead of it being an uneven
    surface to be crossed, it becomes a maze of small obstacles to be
    avoided, or selected. My exact choice of route becomes critical. If I
    go to the left of this puddle, will I be in a good position to get past
    that deep rut? Should I ride the edge of the rut, or drop into it? If
    I do, how will I get out of it? What's the best way round that tree
    root?

    On the 28, the trail becomes a puzzle to be solved. I have to think
    ahead, avoid being trapped in a blind alley. Small changes in height
    matter - even a few inches of gravity karma gained here could carry me
    past the obstacle 10 metres further on.

    I use the fencing metaphor because I do fencing. I can see huge
    similarities between cross country unicycling and fencing, and these
    similarities are more obvious on the 28 than the Coker.

    I'm not saying it's for everybody, or even that I would like all my
    riding to be like this. However, there is a lot to be said for
    selecting a unicycle that adds value to what might otherwise be an easy
    and boring trail.


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  10. jagur

    jagur Guest

    i was thinking about this sort of uni also but with all the expirance im
    hearing, i think i may have to re-think my idea for a new commuter uni.
    ive done the 29er fat tyre thingy twice already so im not going to back
    track and make another one.

    this may not be the droid im looking for.


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  11. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    Try a 24 x 1.95 with 102 mm cranks. That's fun, and surprisingly
    versatile. Portable, easy to store. I once did a 24 mile day on this
    set up. And the advantage of the 102 mm cranks is that an opportunist
    thief is unlikely to ride it away.;)


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  12. AlbertKarel

    AlbertKarel Guest

    Yoiks! 102's!
    Just got 120's to replace the stock 150's.
    The first 30 feet was amazing.
    Noticeably tiny little circles with the feet.
    Pleasingly better speed.
    Wonderfully less jerkiness for a RA (rank amateur).
    So....102's sound good.

    Thanks for the great comments to my original question.
    I think I'm lusting after a 28 or 29 incher.
    Shorter cranks to be sure.
    Thanks for all the good and helpful comments...
    Any more will be appreciated as well.

    Is Mike "Aspen Mike" as in, visit to Colorado...?

    By the way, Lars with his rearmounted handlebars is coming
    through Santa Monica next weekend. Gotta go meet him and
    check out the rear bars. They seemed to work just fine on
    the Cokering of all the States.

    Being unable to freemount the Coker makes a tour alongside the
    Great Wall of China possible for me, but Mongolia....no.


    AL
    Santa Monica
     
  13. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    AlbertKarel wrote:
    > *
    > Is Mike "Aspen Mike" as in, visit to Colorado...?
    >
    > *



    Not sure I understand the question. The Mike (Mikefule) who has
    responded on this thread (i.e., me) is not the same as Aspen Mike.

    Mikefule is from Carlton, Nottingham, England, and isn't 1/10 the rider
    that Aspen Mike is.


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  14. jagur

    jagur Guest

  15. GizmoDuck

    GizmoDuck Guest

    Try some really short cranks on the 700C- they work really well on
    smooth ground and are great fun to ride.

    I had a chance to ride Yuta Ando's 700c racing machine with 65mm cranks
    (Yuta won the Unicon12 10km race). Boy- it's glides along with just the
    faintest ankle movements. It's really weird at first but I had so much
    fun I think I'll try some 65's on my 29'er. The wheel is so light that
    it is no effort to pedal at all. Much less energy for about the same
    speed as my Coker/102's. I don't think it will work well on rough
    ground but it seems to climb OK.

    Ken


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  16. albertkarel

    albertkarel Guest

    Now that I'm totally jazzed about getting onto
    a 29er...I need help on which one? Unicycling.com
    lists a Yuni and a Sem and a Sun. Sun's cheap, but
    I've read some discouraging comments. So...
    Yuni, Sem...other??
    Any comments will be much appreciated.
    90% road, 10% easy trail.
    Schwalbe Big Apple?
    Short cranks for sure.
    Riding over to the "little store" drives me crazy on the
    24 (120 cranks), and the Coker seems excessive for
    such a practical trip. A 29 with short cranks seems perfect.

    AL
    Santa Monica


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  17. teachndad

    teachndad Guest

    Al,

    I can loan you my 29er for kicks if you want for a week or two. I also
    have some short cranks that you can swap out if you want to try it with
    a short crank set up. I live in West Hills in the Valley.
    I even have a narrow tire sitting gathering dust.

    It's got 140s on it right now, but I have some 110's in the parts bin
    and I think some 102's, also.

    Email me at teachndad(at)aol(dot)com


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  18. leo

    leo Guest

    AlbertKarel wrote:
    > How do they ride? Wouldn't they be the ultimate
    > travelling machine

    They are harder to control if it comes to speed (accerate AND braking).
    Steering goes better with this narrow tire. But I think one of the good
    things -for long travels- about a coker is its lazy response on steering
    actions.

    me on a big wheel
    picture by arno de kock.


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  19. onewheeldave

    onewheeldave Guest

    jagur wrote:
    > *i was thinking about this sort of uni also but with all the expirance
    > im hearing, i think i may have to re-think my idea for a new commuter
    > uni. ive done the 29er fat tyre thingy twice already so im not going
    > to back track and make another one.
    >
    > this may not be the droid im looking for. *



    I thought of this thread, but couldn't find it- cheers to Matt for
    helping to locate it: -

    http://tinyurl.com/6amq8

    On it there's a good pic of 'hell-on-wheels' super lightweight 700c road
    uni


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