Types of Unicycles
Believe it or not, there are a lot of types of unicycles. Each type has its own qualities and advantages that makes it unique from others.
Unicycles fall into 7 different groups. These groups are:
Click on each of the types of unicycles above for a description of each one.
A standard unicycle is just your average, "normal" unicycle. It has a 20" wheel diameter. This type of unicycle has become the most popular unicycle ridden. This is because it is a "middle of the pack" unicycle. It's not a small wheel, but not a large wheel either. This allows for excellent maneuverability and average speed for traveling short distances.
Also, it's great for tricks. Many unicycles, such as street, trials, and freestyle unicycles, use the 20" wheel size. The thing that is different about them, though, is the frame. For example, if the frame for a trials unicycle was actually the frame of a beginner's unicycle, it would easily break.
If you're just learning how to unicycle, a 20" unicycle is probably your best option. Once you learn how to ride, it is possible to do more advanced tricks, without having to buy a new unicycle, like you would with a big wheel.
A cruiser is just a unicycle with a big wheel. Cruisers are often called "Big wheel unicycles" or "Road unicycles". They are meant for speed and to be ridden on the road. You would use them when commuting from one place to another.
Unicycles with a 28" or more wheel diameter are considered cruisers. Due to the big wheel, it is more difficult to make sharp turns on cruisers than it is for standard unicycles.
Big wheeled unicycles aren't really meant for tricks, such as hopping. The hub of the wheel can bend more easily than a normal unicycle.
Cruisers shouldn't be used to learn how to unicycle. It would be harder to learn with it. However, once you've learned to ride on a standard unicycle, then go ahead and buy a big wheeled unicycle. They're a lot of fun!
Now where do giraffe unicycles get their name? Hmm...maybe it's because they're colored and spotted like a giraffe? Or maybe because they're TALL?
Giraffe unicycles are a great addition to anybody's unicycle collection. They are a real jaw-dropper. I mean, imagine seeing a 5 foot or more unicycle riding along a sidewalk. What a sight!
Giraffe unicycles start at 5 feet tall, a respectable height. It's quite a view being 8 feet tall while riding.
Giraffe unicycles' pedals aren't attached to the wheel. If they were, your legs would have to be about 5 feet long themselves! Not likely. Instead, the pedals are above the wheel. The pedals rotate a gear, which a chain rests on. The chain is connected to another gear on the wheel. This makes it so when you pedal, the wheel turns also.
Some giraffe unicycles can be used to do some hopping, but I don't recommend it as the frame for a giraffe can possibly break if it takes too much abuse. Giraffes aren't like trials unicycles - they're not made for too much abuse.
Also, most giraffe unicycles use 20" wheels, although some use smaller or bigger.
Ahh, mountain unicycling, or muni as some people call it. Do you like to be one with nature? If you do, then you'll love mountain unicycling. It's not really riding down a mountain, unless you want it to be, but rather it's riding on trails in the woods.
It is best to have a mountain unicycle to do this style of riding. Why? Because unless the trails you're doing are perfectly flat, there's going to be a few drops here and there, a few rocks you have to ride over, and a lot of hopping over obstacles in your way.
The unicycle you are riding will take a lot of abuse, meaning that it will have to take that abuse. If it can't then you'll be coming home with a broken unicycle. Not the best thing in the world, huh?
Mountain unicycle wheel sizes range from 24" to 29", but a 26" wheel provides the most momentum allowing you to roll over rougher terrain and keep you more in control.
Hmm, what's so ultimate about an ultimate wheel? Well, to start, it's a unique unicycle. An ultimate wheel doesn't have a frame or seat. That's right, only a wheel and pedals.
To ride it, you have to stand up. An equivalent to riding an ultimate wheel is riding with the seat in front on a normal unicycle. It's not exactly the same, as the ultimate wheel is much harder to ride than a normal unicycle with the seat in front.
The ultimate wheel doesn't have spokes, if you noticed. This is because it's a safety precaution so you don't hit your ankle on the spokes while riding.
Ultimate wheels come in pretty much the same wheel sizes as normal unicycles - from 20" to 36".
"Umm, if it's impossible...how the heck do I ride it?!" Good question! Of course it's not impossible! But it is very hard to ride. The impossible wheel is also known as the "BC wheel".
What exactly is it? It's a wheel with metal plates replacing the pedals. You stand on the metal plates and glide for a little bit. There is no pedaling required to ride this unicycle.
BC wheels only come in one wheel size - 20". You can ride on flat land and gliding until the wheel stops, or go down hills (not too steep, please!). If you do decide to go down a hill, let me remind you that there isn't a way to slow down. Once you're rolling, you're rolling.
A monocycle or monowheel, is the rarest unicycle. You sit "inside" the unicycle. You pedal like a normal unicycle, hold onto the handlebars, and the outside of the wheel turns - not the part you're sitting on.
Most monocycles can coast, meaning they can ride without pedaling, down hills for example.
They are chain-driven and fairly expensive. Aside from the cost, these unicycles are very cool looking.
Now-a-days, you can get a monocycle that isn't pedal powered. It is motorized. If you had one of those, though, it'd be a motor vehicle, not a unicycle.
As you can now see, there a lot of types of unicycles to whet your appetite. As unicycling continues to grow in popularity, who knows what types of unicycles might come out next?
Now that you know about the different types of unicycles, you can decide which types of unicycles interest you the most.
I still have to try 2 of the types of unicycles - the ultimate wheel and the monocycle. Hopefully soon I will own all of the types of unicycles possible (well, except for monocycle, since it is too expensive for my budget)!
As the list for types of unicycles grows, so will my collection! Hopefully this is the same for you...
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