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What are the advantages of owning a Unicycle, as opposed to owning a bicycle?

I can think of several:

  • They are lighter and smaller than bikes
  • Easier to maintain, fewer moving parts
  • They provide good practice for balancing
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The answer to this will depend greatly on the kind of riding you'd be doing. People commute on unis, ride cross-country on them, and probably much more. Could you please clarify the question? –  Neil Fein Apr 14 '11 at 18:09
    
No headset, only one tire to maintain, unless you get a tall model, no bottom bracket or chain. Therefore much less maintenance. (But can you get disk brakes on a unicycle??) –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 6 '11 at 20:01
    
No disk brakes. All unicycles I've seen are essentially fixed gear. This is a requirement as the only way to balance on a unicycle is by pedaling in the direction required to get the wheel underneath you. Of course, somebody is going to link to some freewheel unicycle, but that is definitely non-standard, if it even exists. –  Kibbee Dec 6 '11 at 20:20
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Well, if you can't get disk brakes on 'em I don't want one!! –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 7 '11 at 1:24
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And you can do kids' parties on the weekends... –  lawndartcatcher Dec 9 '11 at 17:32

8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

One less obvious advantage is that they are not a bicycle, legally speaking. So while you can't ride on the road in most places, you can take one on public transport and into buildings etc. I commuted to university on one for that reason - I could ride into my lectures :) For a while anyway, there's the "Moz Memorial Rule Against Unicycles" now.

They work a different set of muscles, and train a differet set of reflexes. Balance skills are useful to have, and the entertainment value of a unicycle should not be ignored. Both in the "I'm waiting, I know, I'll practice stairs" and the "look at me, put money in my hat" senses.

For commuting I found a 26" was ideal as a compromise between speed and size, although I ended up using a 20" a lot just for easy of parking. If I could have got the Schlumpf hub it would have been perfect.

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Actually, whether or not they're legally a bicycle will depend on the jurisdiction. For instance, under California law a short unicycle isn't a bicycle but a tall unicycle is legally a bicycle (because of the gears). –  freiheit Apr 14 '11 at 22:08
    
@freiheit: I hadn't heard that one. Most places it's just the wheel count. The idea of a tall unicycle with derailleur gears is potentially quite exciting. Or combine a SA 3 speed fixed hub woth Schlumpf to get serious gearing options (also serious backlash and the surprise neutral in the SA). –  Мסž Apr 14 '11 at 22:52
    
@moz Heh. I didn't mean derailer gears. I'd think only an internal would work, since unicylists usually want to be able to pedal backwards. From what I've seen, short unicycles have cranks directly bolted to the wheel, while tall ones are basically like a fixie. 2 cogs and a chain is a "transmission". This also means that in California a penny farthing isn't a bicycle/vehicle. –  freiheit Apr 15 '11 at 2:34
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Cambridge banned 'bicycles' from the city centre - naturally being Cambridge this led to an outbreak of unicycles. Then a hurried replacement of all the signs banning 'cycling' –  mgb Apr 15 '11 at 2:42
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@freiheit: I knew what you meant, I just had a mental image of a giraffe with some horrid assembly of freewheels supporting two sets of derailleur gears (giving the possibility of different gears for pedalling forwards and backwards... bug or feature, you decide :) –  Мסž Apr 15 '11 at 2:46

Presumably a 50% reduction in punctures?

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From an exercise standpoint, a unicycle works a much different set of muscles than a bicycle. You use a lot more core strength to maintain balance and steer.

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A unicycle is almost the ultimate cross-mode transport system. I mix it with our trains and buses without restrictions (we have public transport policy that separates unis from bikes). I commonly put it in the back of the car when I go somewhere with my wife that is not parking friendly. I can carry the thing through shops and malls without any issues. It is easily stored under my desk at work. It is fine in winter if you have end-of-trip faciliities, better in fact than when I was capable of riding a bike.

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Fixed a typo, but please revert my edit if I changed the meaning. –  Neil Fein May 2 '11 at 4:24

Impressing your friends with your awesome skills should you master the thing? Potential work in the circus field? Vast improvement in balance?

On the downside... Lost skin, closer relations with your orthopedic man...

Good luck! I've always been rather balance-challenged.

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Tried riding my friends uni a few years back. Very hard to ride, but I can't say they are very injury prone. If you start to fall, you just walk off. Biggest problem was the spikes on the pedals, since he had an offroad unicycle. My shins did not like that. –  Kibbee Dec 6 '11 at 20:32

More fun. I've ridden a uni for 30 year, and it feels like skiing or skating. Biking, for me anyway, is just boring.

Also, in regard to another post, unis now-a-days do have disc brakes.

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Good for your posture and lower back I would have thought as you're engaging those muscles in order to balance.

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Unicycling helps you get in touch with balance. Thank god for them.

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. We're looking for answers with more detail. A one-line answer like this is likely to be downvoted by the community and possibly deleted. –  jimirings Nov 25 at 16:00
    
Given the other one line answers already upvoted on this question, I think it should be left. –  andy256 2 days ago

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