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Durham Juggling Convention 2016 - Review

Unicycle.com have been involved with the organising of the Durham Juggling Convention for years, but this year it was all new.  We moved it to Teesdale school in Barnard Castle.


The format for the event was a Friday evening in The Hub (or pub) eating, drinking, chatting and juggling in their small halls there.  Saturday at the School where there was workshops, games and practice space then a public show in the evening.  Then back to The Hub for more socialising and entertainment.  This included a massive fire pit to huddle around.


All in all the great success, the school gave a great space for all activities without any restrictions on unicycles.  We then had the local community centre called The Hub for the evening and night activities on the Friday and Saturday nights.


You can read a fuller review of the convention on Jugglingedge where JonPeat has done a review.
Luke Burrage made a video review of the event.

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SPD good or bad?

SPD on Schlulpf'd Oracle 26

I am not the first to try SPD's on a unicycle, I have even tried them myself briefly, but not on a Muni.  So I went for a ride with some friends to Hamsterly Forest today to find out how well they performed on my Schlumpf'd 26" Oracle.

My initial impression in the car park was that they worked great, I could change up and down with no problem and had no problem clipping in and unclipping. 

My fellow riders were both supportive and unsupportive of my experiment.  During our normal gladiator session on the way to the trail-head Joe Baxter just pointed at my feet and said "I think you are about to loose...."  So I avoided him very quickly! 

The first section of the trail is mildly technical with slimy clay mud and rocks going up a hill.  I made it only 10m when I tried to correct in the first deep mud section and went down... still connected.   Yes, they laughed!

It was not the only fall that I had, but as the ride went on and my confidence increased they were less frequent.  The big advantage was that they were great on the climbs where they gave considerably more and smoother power.  They also were great on slippy rocky sections where the wheel kept better traction due to the smoother pedalling strokes as I did not need to concentrate on losing my feet on the pedals.  In sections of deep mud or very changeable conditions as on the top of the moors they were less good; here I would normally have dumped a foot down to transfer direction and recover my balance, this was not possible.  I also found that on the sections where you needed to "have faith" that you could ride; like narrow muddy ruts or on big drop-offs, I would wimp.  Although a lot of these will change with more practice I am sure.

So to conclude, good or bad...  I would say it is ,mixed.  I am certainly going to be using them again, but I will be looking for a pair of single sided SPD platform pedals to use so I can switch in or out depending on conditions.  One piece of advice for anyone else trying this, make sure you put on wrist-guards and expect to fall more.

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Oracle 36” Review By Julian Page

After seeing the Oracle 24” and 26”, I have been waiting with great interest for the release of the new 36” Oracle and bought one as soon as it was available.  After ordering it on Friday it arrived on Monday at mid-day. On opening the box the first thing to stand out was the bright green rim – “to die for”. Smooth and silky.

Building the unicycle was straightforward. I had heard rumours that fitting the tyre on a 36” would be awkward but it only needed a little assistance from tyre levers. The foss tube felt weird but slotted under the tyre OK. Watch out for it being crimped by the tyre. The brake was easy to install with an extra instruction sheet telling you how to fit the d’brake correctly.

I ordered a KH saddle rather than the standard UDC one – It’s softer… The first impression on handling it was the weight. 7.5kg felt so light –even with the brake. The unicycle looks great –you cannot miss the bright green. It comes with a matching green double-quick release seat clamp. The only pain was cutting down the seat post.

My first ride was 16.5 miles along the Millennium trail to Lancaster then to Morecambe –all traffic free and flat. Free mounting a 36” is a bit of a challenge but managed on the fourth attempt, then 3.5 miles all the way until Lancaster. First impressions SMOOTH, very smooth. For those who have not ridden a 36” the style of riding is different, its more spinning the wheel, keeping it moving, rather than two separate pushes with smaller wheels. It seems to take less effort. The 125cm cranks are about right. A word of caution you move faster so it is harder to keep on your feet with unplanned dismounts so wear suitable protective kit. On one section of the trail the tarmac was cut up a but the 36” seemed to roll over them fine. I even managed to go down a couple of shallow kerbs –not bad for me.

36” riding eats up the miles faster. In Lancaster there is a paving slab with a sculpture of a bear on a unicycle- no idea why. Had to take a picture.

I then rode along the Prom to Eric Morecambe’s statue. The ride back was straightforward. I was surprised how I felt after 16 miles. On a previous ride over the same ground on my 29” I was knackered but on the 36” I felt fine with almost no breaks except for lunch.

My next test ride was at Blackpool along the Prom, two days later wit Rob Day –another sponsored rider, JL Coldham and Bobby Byrne. 7 miles down wind with a 7 mile slog against the wind on the way back. We tested the brake on a few hills –smooth. Rob who has an expensive holt brake on his 29” felt it was a lot smoother than his with minimal griping but without as much stopping power but acceptable for a 36”. I just thought it was SO SO much smoother than rim Magura’s and better than the helix brakes fitted to the 24” and 26”. A definite step forward.

We would have had young Bobby test it but her feet wouldn’t reach the pedals!

Altogether the 36” Oracle is a fine piece of kit, it looks cool and is smooth to ride. I am very happy with it. Maybe it’s an Oracle 26” next?

Julian Page
UDC Sponsored Rider

Nimbus 'Cyko-Lite' Tyre Review by Simon Berry

The Cyko-Lite is now on sale but with it being such a new tyre its relatively unknown.  To try and show people how good this tyre is we gave one to the famous Simon Berry of Voodoo Unicycles for a review. Coming second in the British Street Unicycling competition, Simon is one of the best in the UK. Constantly striving for bigger and better street tricks, here is what he said about the Cyko-Lite:

When unicycle.com contacted me and asked if I would like to test their new lightweight tyre, I accepted of course, but I have to say I was sceptical.  I had ridden the 880g try all light in the past, and I felt as though anything lighter would just be impossible to be a good, functional tyre. However, I’ve been riding with it for just over a month and I’m very pleasantly surprised.

Upon receiving the tyre one of the first things that struck me was how round it was, which for me has been a very good thing. My style of riding involves mostly rolling hops and flatland tricks, so the round profile makes riding seem slick and smooth, yet still grippy with the knobbly grip. (Especially in comparison to very square tyres such as the Eagle claw.) The round profile of the tyre is a slight disadvantage while riding skinnies, but I found it still perfectly do-able.


The tyre has thinner sidewalls than any other tyre I’ve ridden with, so to compensate I started riding with a slightly higher pressure, in order to prevent it folding. I was surprised at how well the tyre compresses and bounces, especially for static hops, so my worries of it not being great for trials did not continue. I found myself able to sidehop, rolling hop and gap just as far as I could with other tyres, so it’s definitely usable for trials riders. Bear in mind, due to the thinner sidewalls and curved profile, the bounce isn’t as good as the Monty, which has become the favoured tyre among trials riders, but the weight loss may make up for it.

Now to the tyres main selling point, the weight. This tyre is LIGHT. At almost half the weight of a Nimbus Blizzard, and 200g less than a Monty Eagle Claw, this tyre is by far the lightest on the market, only comparable to the Try all light which is twice as expensive as the Nimbus Cyko. While using the tyre I found that flipping crankflips became far easier, and helped me to land a 1 handed quad flip within 10 minutes of mounting the tyre, something that would have been far more difficult while using a heavier tyre. One of the key features of making a light wheel to crankflip is not necessarily the lightness, but where the weight is on the wheel. The tyre is a large part of the rotational weight, so losing weight on the tyre is great for crankflips. To a lesser extent the weight loss is also noticeable for unispins, which is always a good thing. For the trials purists among you, trials rider Mike Padial cut every second side knob off the tyre, losing another 70g of weight, pushing it down to 770g. An extraordinary feat for a trials tyre!


Think about it, if you’re riding a uni with a creepy crawler tyre (which is most of you), using this tyre is around the equivalent weight loss of installing a mad4one hub, which is much more time consuming, expensive, and awkward.

The tyre seems fairly long lasting too. I’ve been riding quite heavily for around 5-6 weeks and there are no signs of wear. I predict that I’ll get around a year out of use from this, in comparison to about 6 months I used to receive from a Creepy Crawler.

To conclude, I think the Cyko Lite is a great tyre, especially for street and flat riders, due to it’s weight and rounder profile. It’s also a really good tyre for trials, although it’s bounce isn’t quite up to that of the much heavier Monty. If you’re looking for a new tyre, this is definitely worth a shot, especially at only £24, it’s hard to go wrong!

-Simon Berry | Voodoo Unicycles

Nimbus 'Flat' Saddle Review by Jason Auld

Nimbus are releasing the new Nimbus Flat saddle in April which is designed for Trials and Street rides.  Naturally every new product is tested extensively so who better to give this product a good testing and review, Jason Auld. If you don't know who Jason is, former UK Street Champion and the team manager of the UK's only Extreme Unicycle Display Team Voodoo Unicycles. Their head man was sent the first production version and here is what he said:

  After around 3 years of riding the sturdy, reliable, war horse that is the chunky KH street saddle, I decided it was time to go our separate ways and find a younger, slimmer model. After breaking the slim line KH Street saddle within 10 minutes of using it, it seemed that my old girl really was the only thing that could keep it together under the pressure, until Roger from Unicycle.com gave me a call and told me about the new Nimbus saddle and how he thought we'd be a match made in Heaven.

 When it arrived, I was immediately impressed by how light it was yet it still seemed incredibly firm. I also picked up on the handle, without the sinister hole that has claimed many a finger of many a rider. Once out riding, I found myself having to raise my seat height slightly as the saddle was so thin, it had taken about half an inch off my normal seat height. When performing tricks or hops pulling up on the handle, it's the perfect thickness to fit ones hand, allowing a comfortable yet uncompromising grip.

 One of the biggest points for me when using a new saddle is gripping it seat out when doing unispins. I must admit, my first impressions were not overwhelming but after a couple of weeks of getting to know each other better, the puzzle began to fit together. It seems to hit that middle ground, thin enough to get a good grip but thick enough to cushion your hands without slicing off a finger or two like a helicopter rotator blade when spinning. The material covering the seat is comparable to that on the standard KH seats, so it does allow for ideal purchase, even when your hands are clammy. Although I'm no expert, the seat feels comfortable for seat out side hops, providing plenty grip and easy hand positioning.

 The saddle feels more like a gel than foam inside and consequently it feels like one piece rather than multiple parts of a whole, which means it also lacks that horrific draw string cover that resembles someone's shoelaces. In my previous foam saddles, I have had trouble with gripping too hard and relieving the foam from the base. That feels extremely unlikely with this saddle, it couldn't be stiffer. The rigidity also gives me piece of mind that I'm not going to snap it in half like a soggy chocolate biscuit, the fate that most of my saddles meet.

 The shape is perfect and could probably give your girlfriend a run for her money. Often have I had to get used to a seat with an exaggerated incline, which feels more like sliding down a poorly lubricated lamppost, not here. The contours allow comfort when rolling up to an object, clearing a stair set, tricking or just plain riding. That being said, I'm sure like the majority of Street/Trials saddles out there, prolonged riding will eventually bring about discomfort.

 Convenience wise, the saddle is attached and detached with the use of an Allen key, a system I fine far superior to nuts and bolts, if not for the laziness of having to carry fewer tools, for the simplicity, which no doubt saves some weight for those obsessives who try to shave off every gram.

 If you're looking for a Street/Trials saddle, look no further than the new Nimbus. It's practical in almost every way and definitely rivals it's closest competitor in the Impact saddle. With a paint splattered design on the front, which is started to rub slightly but then again I have some powerful thighs, it looks far better than the previous mentioned, it's also cheaper, so why waste your money? Go Nimbus and it'll be a long loving relationship between you and your saddle.

Jason Auld | Voodoo Unicycles

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