4 Good, Affordable Unicycles for Beginner Riders
Want to Learn How to Ride a Unicycle?
Unicycling is a unique sport. It really grabs attention like nothing else, and it's tons of fun to boot. If you're planning to learn how to ride, you're going to need a solid starting point, and that means equipment as well as technique. Finding the best, cheap unicycle for a beginner is extremely important. You don't want to break the bank, but you also want a solid ride that won't fail at the wrong moment.
Unicycles demand a solid construction. They're built to hold your full body weight on a single wheel, which means the wheel itself has to be strong and well built. What's more, they need to have a solid yet light frame to withstand the punishment of drops during the learning curve. And, of course, they should be easy to maneuver and fun to ride.
This article is intended to help you find a perfect balance of all those attributes. We'll be looking at a few of the top unicycles for beginners, reviewing some great, affordable options. Hopefully by this process you'll run across something to suit you. Let's get going!
What a Good, Beginner Unicycle Looks Like:
If you're new to unicycling, you can technically learn to ride on anything. However, it's a lot easier to learn and become proficient if you understand a few of the fundamentals. Here are a few things I'd suggest looking for.
Unless you're a giant, I'd recommend that smaller wheels are the best for beginner unicycles. First, small wheels are more maneuverable and give you slightly more control than a large wheeled unicycle. Secondly, they're lower in height, and that makes mounting and dismounting a lot easier.
Once you're more comfortable, you can upgrade to larger wheels, which give you more top end speed.
If you're a new unicycle rider, I'd recommend finding one that has wider tires. The larger surface area gives you a lot more stability, and a bump or crack in the road is less likely to knock you off balance. Larger tires does mean it's less maneuverable and harder to pedal, but it's worth it. If nothing else, avoid the skinny tire types.
Most of the best unicycles for beginners will include a handle, but not all. A handle is nice because it's good to have something to hang on to when dismounting and steering. Not everyone prefers to use their handle, but I find it very helpful.
Avenir: A Good, Cheap 'Mountain' Unicycle
As I mentioned earlier in the article, it's good for a beginner unicycle to have larger tires. This one has about the widest and 'grippiest' tires you'll find, and it comes at a great price tag too.
With the 20" wheel, this is a great beginner unicycle to learn on. It has a shorter seat post, so it's not the best choice if you're tall. That low height makes getting on and off a lot easier, however, and the small wheel makes it easy to control.
If you're hoping to get into trails unicycling, this is a good learner, though you'll probably eventually want to upgrade; the 20 inch wheel is great for learning, but you'll need something bigger for serious trails riding.
It has a rigid steel frame with a modern, cotterless crank system that's easy to upgrade. The tires are huge at 2.5 inches in width, and they have copious tread. The one thing I wish this one had was a seat handle, but it's still one of the best unicycles for beginners, and it's cheap in price.
Torker LX: A fantastic unicycle for learners or pros
Torker is a wonderful brand that's well known and respected. It's also a lower priced brand, meaning that their products are among the best unicycles to learn to ride on.
The LX has a few features that make it special. First off, it's gorgeous. The frame is a specialized chromoly fork that's about as strong as you can get. You'll notice that the top of the fork is flattened. That's intentional, and it's done to give you a more stable platform for your feet if you want to learn tricks.
The wheel is a 20 inch, which I recommend for beginner unicycle riders because it's easier to mount and control. The tire is a wider, street style, which has low tread but good stability: ideal for pavement.
The seat itself has a front handle, and the whole thing is very stable and well thought out. It's among the best, cheap unicycles for beginners, but it's one you'll still enjoy riding even if you're a pro.
M-Wave: A cheap, entry-level unicyle
If you're looking for a unicycle that's inexpensive and durable, M-Wave is a brand to check out. Their cycles are definitely a little more basic than a few of the more expensive options I've reviewed, but they're pretty good. Certainly adequate to learn, ride and have some fun on!
In many cases, the best choice for a beginner unicycle is one that's cheap and effective — who knows whether or not the rider will stick with it, so why invest a ton of money? For most of my friends who want to learn, I recommend starting at a low price point for this reason.
This one has an aluminum alloy wheel that's paired to a wide, mid-tread Kenda tire. The fork itself is high tension steel, and the seatpost comes with a quick release adjustor to change the seat height on the fly.
It doesn't have a handle, but there is a prominent front 'lip' that you can hang on to.
Overall, if you're learning how to ride a unicycle and you want a simple and inexpensive ride, M-Wave is a good option.
Nimbus II: A seriously awesome beginner's unicycle
One of my favorite brands is Nimbus. They consistently produce an excellent quality unicycle, and they're built to last. While they're not cheap, they're one of the best unicycles for beginner riders because they're so nicely balanced and smooth.
The Nimbus II is a 24 inch unicycle, so it's a good size for a learner, yet big enough for an intermediate rider to enjoy. The cranks are modern, three piece in style, and the crank arms are made out of light but strong aluminum alloy. The crank itself is very smooth.
The frame is aluminum as well, making it very light, though the seat post is chromed steel. The seatpost is pretty long, and you might need to cut it to the proper size if you're quite short. The seatpost is double bolted for added strength, but that makes tools necessary for adjustment. The wheel has a massive 48 spokes, making it extremely strong. The tire has a good width to it, making it stable but without too much resistance.
The saddle has a place to grab on both the front and the back, making it excellent for both learning and for doing tricks. It's a very well rounded ride, and one of the best cheap unicycles for beginner riders around. Well worth the price tag.
I'd also encourage you to check out Nimbus' selection of higher priced unicycles, they're a great brand to move into once you're comfortable on one wheel.
How To Ride a Unicycle: Some Tips
There are other articles that do a better job of teaching you how to ride a unicycle, so I won't spend too much time here. I will just give you some personal tips to help get you up and riding on a single wheel.
- I'd definitely recommend you start learning to ride next to a wall. You can then put one hand out to steady yourself if you feel off balance. That way, you only have to worry about the front and back, not the 'side-to-side' balancing act.
- Get a helmet and pads. It's actually really unlikely that a beginner unicycle rider will fall and injure themselves (most riders always land on their feet), but you never know. Get the proper safety gear and avoid the scars.
- Remember that momentum is your friend. You'll have the temptation to go really slow, but you'll only feel stable if you're moving at a decent clip. If you feel like you can't get over the 'hump', try adding a bit more speed.
Hopefully you won't give up. Learning how to ride a unicycle isn't an easy task, and it can be quite frustrating. Read some of the other great articles out there and absorb as much as you can. At a certain point, it will just 'click' and you'll be riding like the wind. Good luck, and thanks for reading!