There are lots of different styles of unicycles because there are lots of different things that you can do on a unicycle. When deciding which unicycle is suitable for you it is worth deciding what sort of riding you are planning to use the the unicycle for. Here are some of the main styles.
We use this term to describe those unicycles that we feel most suitable for someone who is learning. These are generally the same as the freestyle unicycles but of a less specialist nature. To help people when they are buying their first unicycle we have produced learner kits that contain the most commonly bought items when learning to unicycle. We have two types of learner unicycles; Dodger and Club unicycles, which are suitable for children and are not recommended for people over 11 stone (70kg) and not for jumping or rough use; the Trainer and Circus unicycles are more robust with CroMo hubs and stronger saddles so are suitable for adults as well as children. If you would like a stronger unicycle, have a look at our Freestyle Unicycles.
This is a term used to describe the unicycle competition where music, movement and high skill level are mixed. This is an up and coming style in the UK with more people learning freestyle tricks. You will find a good selection of these tricks in our One Wheel No Limit DVD or UNICON dvd. The most common size for freestlye is a 20" wheel. Freestyle unicycles have slick tyres to help with tricks. At Unicycle.com we also use the term 'freestyle' to describe the basic ranges of unicycles that are suitable for majority of tricks and games, like unicycle hockey or basketball.
Trilas riding is a style which involves jumping over obsticals such as picnic benches, up stairs or along railings. Trials Unicycles have special 19" rims and massive 2.5" wide tyres to help absorb the impact from landing and for greater stability. Trials Unicycles are available with ISIS hub/cranks or cotterless hub/cranks. ISIS hubs being much stronger.
It would not be sensible to use a 20"unicycle to commute to work or school, but there are unicycles suitable for this, these we refer to as road unicycles. They generally have larger wheels and proportionally shorter cranks. The UDC 36" and the Coker have a 36"tyre are capable of speeds in excess of 20 mph with an experienced rider, while the 29"Nimbus is quite capable of exceeding 15 mph. These large wheeled unicycles can also be used for cross-country unicycling when fitted with an off-road tyre. With the Schlumpf geared hub you can now also use a smaller wheel but gear it up for commuting or long distance riding. These are not really learner machines and are for experienced riders.
This is the commonly known abbreviation among unicyclists for Mountain Unicycling. Muni was originally used by Pashley for their range of off-road unicycles, but is now used to mean any off-road unicycle. Off-road unicycles have to be very strong and generally have bigger wheels and longer cranks. The wheel size can vary with 24" for technical Muni and jumping, and 26" and 29" for covering greater distances. Unicycles with splined hub and cranks are much stronger than cotter-less but can be more expensive and heavier.
A giraffe is a tall unicycle or to be exact a unicycle which is driven with a chain, this needs to be said because there is no way you could call the fleet mini giraffe a tall unicycle at only 18"above the ground! Giraffes are generally easier to ride than a standard unicycle after you have over come the fear of being so high and the problem of getting up there. This being said, they are not for the beginner because falls can cause injuries.
These are like a unicycle with the saddle and frame missing, just a wheel with pedals attached. Quite challenging to ride, though the bigger the wheel the easier they are to ride as you can pedal more slowly.