Beginner Series/Regular Unicycles
by John Foss
For basic unicycling and learning to ride, this is the place to be. Not too long ago, all mass-produced unicycles were in this category. Anything else required an expensive custom order, assuming the rider knew where to order it from.
Today, with all the brands and models available from Unicycle.com, riders have an enormous selection of size, price, and features. For proper sizing, see our sizing chart. To select the proper wheel size, read on.
16-inch — This size is mostly used for children who are too small to fit the larger wheel sizes comfortably. A 16-inch wheel is also popular for comedic effect (it looks funny with a big adult on one), and it fits a small storage space. Some entertainers use small wheels because they can be carried in a suitcase.
20-inch — This is the most common size for learning. Thanks to our bicycle brethren who made BMX and Flatland Freestyle popular, a wide range of 20-inch tires are available. 20" is also the preferred wheel size for doing tricks on a unicycle. If you main interest is there, stop at 20".
24-inch — This is the larger wheel size for traditional basic unicycles. Years ago it was the largest wheel size available in a mass-produced unicycle, but not anymore! 24" is good for cruising the neighborhood, and as a larger wheel it will get you there with fewer wheel turns than smaller wheels. 24" isalso the traditional size for unicycle racing, in competitions held using Unicycling Society of America or International Unicycling Federation rules. If you want to compete with other racers, get a 24" unicycle with 125mm crank arms. You can also do lots of tricks on a 24", and it has advantages for certain things such as spins, or anything that's better performed with the longer distance covered by a turn of the wheel. Both 20" and 24" are fine to learn on, as long as they properly fit the rider.
Once you've chosen your wheel size, it's time to look at the other available features. As with anything, if you buy the cheapest one, you will be making compromises. In unicycling, this generally means you are making compromises on comfort and/or durability.