Back when the bicycle design was first patented in the early 1800s, the two-wheel discovery caused a cultural stir. Nowadays, a bike with only two wheels is just one option for an extreme outdoor adventure.
We’ve got your top five off-road adventure bikes, where the only qualifying factor is that the bike NOT have two wheels.
We should go right to the source for extreme one-wheelers. The KH36 is a top unicycle designed for on and off-road riding over longer distances, and most of the world’s speed records have been set on a geared KH36 including the current 10 km and 24 km world records, according to krisholm.com. “This is the unicycle that can truly replace a bike for road riding.”
Who would know better? Kris Holm is the Michael Jordan of mountain unicyclists. The pioneering Canadian founded competitive unicycle trials, and, in 2006, climbed and attempted a unicycle descent of a 19,520-foot volcano in Bolivia.
The Czech Republic-based Azub Bike designed its adventurous trike with consistency in mind: three identical-sized tires; in this case three 26-inch plus-size tires. The result is two times the extreme – built for both rough terrain and long distances.
Why three tires? A larger diameter means less resistance when rolling and thus higher speed on flat ground, Azub notes. The bigger wheels roll over obstacles easier.
Azub also gets extra points for honesty. They admit that the seating design takes some getting used to.
“The sitting position on the ‘X’ is higher than on the smaller Ti-FLY 20 or 26. Hence you get a better view but also worse stability,” the website explains. “You’ll need to lean well to a side when riding quickly through a curve. If you go at full throttle in rough terrain, you’ll certainly get a wild, euphoric ride but don’t forget to hold on tight at any moment.”
Okay technically, at last check, this extreme four-wheel single-speed BMX is at the limited production level with design changes still afoot, but the U.S.-based Contes Engineering is still at it. We hope.
Athos is aiming to blend the stability and handling of a quad with the flexibility of a bike in this eye-opening four-wheeler. Here are the specs last we heard per the Contes website:
“With over nine available inches of suspension travel and the weight distribution of a BMX bike, Athos attacks the track and trail with a vengeance. Four-wheel independent suspension. Disc brakes, front and rear. Traction-enhancing differential. Standard air suspension. Just a few of the features that make Athos the next big thing in competition cycling.”
Hard to tell how close the Athos is for consumers. We just hope it’s not destined to be the Tucker of bicycles.
Even Rungu, home of the San Clemente, California USA-based Electric Juggernaut trike, admits they get asked a lot why their innovative front has two wheels. The design keeps riders in control when riding on soft terrain and still lets you bank into a corner on a paved road, the company explains.
Sounds cool to us.
The first solution designers sought was how to transport stuff across the beach to the ocean. E-bikes were no good on the sand, and quads aren’t allowed anywhere near beaches. The dual fork fit the bill.
“When turning, one fat-tire wheel always stays on the inside of the turning radius to ‘dig-in’ instead of washing out,” Rungu states. “Advanced battery technology and high-power e-bike motors add power to overcome the resistance of soft sand.”
Conquering mud and snow is also no problem.
It looks weird, but we love it anyway.
Scratch that. It looks brilliant.
Nimbus Hatchet Ultimate
The Nimbus Hatchet Ultimate is so extreme, even the product specs at unicycle.com tell riders to chill while in its saddle.
“Please note that extreme force applied to the pedals can cause the frame/wheel to flex enough that the tire may rub the frame or your leg slightly,” it reads. “This is considered normal due to the large size of the tire depending on the psi in the tire.”
Oh, it’s large.
The uni’s Ultimate build includes an absurd 26-inch-by-5.05-inch Snowshoe 2XL tire. The frame will also hold up to a 32-inch wheel, but only at 2.125”. All told, the whole thing weighs in at approximately 17 pounds.
The price tag, too, is symmetrically big, retailing for $1,200 at unicycle.com.